A few months ago I decided to move to Colombia where I was born and obtain my CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) in order to gain a basic qualification to teach English and gain a much better understanding of English grammar and teaching methodology.
There are two different institutes that offer the CELTA in Colombia, International House and the British Council. I opted for International House due to the cost of the course ($1,795 USD to $2,280 USD (approximately)). These are the steps I took in order to qualify for the CELTA course.
#2: I headed on over to IH Bogota’s website and downloaded the CELTA course application and pre-interview form.
#3: I completely filled out the form accurately and in its entirety. This requires knowledge of active verb forms and sentence structure. There are also questions on teaching methodology such as “How would you CONVEY THE MEANING of “congratulations?” Due to the difficult nature of the form I spent about a week filling it out the first time.
#4: If you pass the pre-interview task, you’ll be emailed by IH and they will request to set up a Skype interview with you in order to go over your application answers. I should note that my application was not accepted on the first try because my answers were not accurate and I had to edit two sections of the application and then resubmit it. It took me about another 5 days to edit it. Since I knew I needed textbook help in order to complete the application, I went to the library and picked up a grammar book.
#5: Time for the interview! Good news, my application was accepted after I submitted it for the second time. The interview was 45 minutes long over Skype, just audio with no video feed. My interviewer is the training manager at IH in Bogota. I would say it was a difficult interview. I had to identify each part of a sentence. My sentence was “The teacher is absent.” The = definite article; teacher = noun; is = verb; and absent = adjective. I was then given 4 sentences and asked to define the active verb forms such as simple past and present perfect simple, etc. I was even asked to change the last sentence given to me into another form. I was also asked quite a few questions on methodology such as “How would I explain ‘I must have something to drink’ to a group of students?” One way to explain it to students is to tell a simple story about someone in the desert who is looking for water. My interviewer mentioned that on my application I stated that “must have” is a certainty but that “certainty” isn’t quite correct and asked me what makes it different from the other sentences in the list. I said it’s a “necessity” which was the correct answer.
#6: Be formally accepted into the CELTA course at IH! At the end of my interview the interviewer took a moment to verbally accept me into the CELTA course. She told me she would be emailing me a formal letter of acceptance along with some additional information. I received the email about an hour later with the acceptance letter along with a pre-course task and key, and information for shared accommodation.
The last step is to pay for the entire course, which is $1795 USD. In addition I have to pick an accommodation option which will probably be around another $600 for the month for a single person studio apartment (Nov 10 to Dec 9).
A few tips:
Buy a grammar book to study! I bought myself Michael Swan’s English Grammar Usage which I kept open to the Active Verb Form section during the interview. This proved invaluable since I referred to the book during the interview in order to answer the questions. In addition, make sure you study the difference between nouns, verbs, articles, etc., as you will be expected to identify the different parts of a sentence. This did not occur to me in advance but since I have no teaching experience I should have purchased a book on teaching methodology to learn a couple of basics. If you plan on taking the CELTA I suggest you do the same.
Have you taken the CELTA? What else would you have done to prepare for the interview?