CELTA Course Preparation: 11 Tips to Get You Ready

Okay, it’s certainly a common feeling not knowing where to start with CELTA course preparation because it can feel like there’s so much to do.

So here are the 11 tips for your CELTA course preparation:

  1. Watch CELTA Lessons on YouTube
  2. Read up on the CELTA Course Syllabus
  3. Practise Writing a CELTA Lesson Plan
  4. Find a Glossary of CELTA Terms
  5. Read up on the Assignments
  6. Brush up on Academic Referencing
  7. Learn How to Reference in the Style for Your Centre
  8. Get the right stationery
  9. Ask to borrow relevant books
  10. Buy other books that you need
  11. Practise Teaching Anywhere You Can
  12. Ask to Observe Language Teachers

However, the fact that you are reading about preparing is already a great sign because some people don’t do a lot of preparation for the CELTA course, yet there are many quick wins that you can do to give yourself a better chance of thriving on your CELTA course.

From a personal point of view, I think if I’d done more preparation, I could have got a pass A instead of a pass B! Of course, any kind of pass on a CELTA is an achievement, but going the extra mile with your preparation could help you to avoid any regrets later on and also maximise your potential grade.

So, without further ado, let’s have a look at the preparation tips mentioned above in more detail!

What to do next for your CELTA Course Preparation?

Firstly, do background reading only around the parts of the course that you are concerned about and other things that worry you.

For example, if the thought of explaining grammar to a group of students scares the living daylights out of you, focus on reading how to explain grammar and also the rules of grammar, particularly the verb tenses and other parts like that.

Whatever it is, if something gives you that fear, then that’s definitely something that you should focus on because the preparation can help calm those nerves and give you that extra confidence when delivering the lessons on it.

Now if something like just standing up and talking to a class in general doesn’t worry you, then you don’t need to worry too much about that.

Personally, the things that worried me were not knowing the answer. So I didn’t really know how to prepare for that. If they asked me a difficult question, I wasn’t sure what to say.

But I did get the answer to that on my CELTA course and I think I’ve mentioned that in another answer on this blog. Otherwise, I would mainly suggest reading about the practical or logistical aspects of the course, specifically the assignments, and you can see my article on the CELTA course assignments here with a link and also focus on lesson planning.

There are also some lesson plans you can download as templates to have a look at and, as I’ve mentioned before, definitely have a go at trying to write a full lesson plan before you start the course.

If you’re focusing on the assignments…, therefore, you can find out lots of things like what is expected of each one, how you can do it, how they’re graded, and things you can do to prepare for them and you can do some reading for [the assignments].

There’s so much you can do to prepare for the assignments and I’ll go into more detail in other posts, but just do that.

Watch CELTA Lessons on YouTube

Read up on the CELTA Course Syllabus

Practise Writing a CELTA Lesson Plan

Writing a CELTA lesson plan in advance will give you a clear idea of how long it will take you to complete one while doing your CELTA and how much detail they require. In turn, this can help you identify more areas that you might need to work on.

For instance, if you find yourself wondering what concept checking questions (CCQs) are and how to use them, then you already know in advance that this is an area for you to read up on! And be sure to check out my in-depth and detailed guide designed to help beginners get to grips with CCQs.

Completing a CELTA lesson plan in advance will also give you an insight into one of the most challenging areas of the CELTA course.

Although many of the terms will be explained in more detail on the course, I’d suggest trying to complete a lesson plan so that you know roughly how long it will take you to complete it and your knowledge in the various areas.

It will also be a lesson in getting to grips with the practical points of writing a CELTA lesson plan as many are written in Microsoft Word with large parts in tables and lots of columns and boxes to fill.

This is practice extremely valuable, therefore, if you feel less confident with technology.

Find a Glossary of CELTA Terms

Although a glossary might not be that helpful in itself, just having one as a point of reference will help your confidence in the first few days and weeks of the CELTA course.

You could use a flashcard website like Quizlet to help you memorise these if you wish, along with games and other activities (which you could also use with your students on the CELTA course!)

Read up on the Assignments

I would also recommend reading some of the key articles below on the CELTA course assignments:

Brush up on Academic Referencing

Learn How to Reference in the Style for Your Centre

Get the right stationery

Ask to borrow relevant books

Buy other books that you need

Practise Teaching Anywhere You Can

Ask to Observe Language Teachers

Focused CELTA Course Preparation

Focus on the things that worry you and focus on the things that are logistical and practical and have clear limits and boundaries (i.e. assignments and lesson plans) so you know exactly what you’re doing with them.

As for the teaching, I wouldn’t worry too much about the teaching side as, in my opinion, that is best learnt while you were on the course because your tutors give you feedback and it’s all about developing as a teacher.

So, if you’re teaching and they give you their honest and genuine feedback on the lesson because they will give a lot of detail in this, then you have to reflect and apply that. But really, for me, teaching is not something you can read much about because it’s all about doing and it’s about experience and learning as you go.

So that’s how I would do it if I were to do it again and I hope that was clear and useful.

Useful Links for CELTA Course Preparation

7 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Start Your CELTA Course: Excerpt – Before starting, we all have a lot of CELTA course questions we want answered. The problem is, however, that asking someone all of them might take a very long time! Added to this is the fact that each CELTA centre has slightly different timetables and course structures. For this reason, I have made …

Stephen Beale

After taking the CELTA back in 2007, I have since gained over 11 years' experience of teaching English in various countries. I have also worked in EAP for several years and like sharing what I've learnt along the way here.

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