5 Key CELTA Terms You Need to Know: TTT, PPP and Other CELTA Abbreviations

These key CELTA terms and abbreviations are terms which you will hear all the time on your future course.

None of them are particularly difficult to understand, however they will be used with an alarming frequency once you start!

Hopefully, after reading this, you will be able to remember some of them and be more aware of some of the concepts for CELTA course.

Just leave a comment below if anything is unclear and I will get back to you.

Before We Start: Abbreviations not Acronyms

Why have I not done a post on ‘CELTA acronyms’? Well, this is something that I was corrected on not long back by a colleague.

Acronyms are actually when the initial letters of are spoken as a word. For example, NATO or AIDS – both are pronounced as words – we do not spell out the letters.

You can see more on this from the Cambridge Dictionary here.
If your CELTA tutors get this wrong, feel free to correct them!
As such, what you will find below are a list of CELTA abbreviations, although many might try searching for CELTA acronyms to find this kind of information!


CCQ is short for concept checking question. There’s no need to be put off by the seeming complexity since these are simply what the name suggests:

simple questions to check that students have understood a concept before moving on to the next topic.

This avoids students simply nodding their heads saying yes we understand when clearly they don’t and the next activity falls apart because of this!

A couple of tips for using CCQs are never to use the target language you have just taught them in your CCQ. This is because your question might just confuse them further if they have not yet grasped the language point in questions!

Another one is to use questions that have either yes/no answers or with two given options, like ‘postive or ‘negative’. If you give an open-ended question, it could make this exercise more difficult and time consuming than it needs to be.

You can see my more detailed article on CCQs here.

[convertkit form=5012078]


ICQ stands for instruction checking question.  Similar to CCQs, these can be short and simple but instead of checking for a concept, you are checking that students have understood your instructions.

These are needed before you set them off on a task or activity. It is a sinking feeling to see them start an activity only to do it completely wrong!
If you use ICQs correctly, you should avoid this kind of embarrassing moment in your teaching practice.

One way of using ICQs is by asking students to remind you of the instructions before you start. I like to say things like ‘So tell me, what do we have to do now?’. Students might look at you like you’re mad at this point but don’t let that put you off, this will help to clarify any issues!

You can nominate students to give you answers to make it a bit faster. You can also break the instructions down into stages, using questions like “What is the first thing to do?”, and so on. You can also throw in some trick questions to check that they are listening.

You can see more on ICQs in the video at the bottom of this post.


TTT is an abbreviation for teacher talking time. This is because the amount of time a teacher spends talking during their lessons is a key piece of CELTA feedback.

Unlike many traditional approaches to teaching, you will be penalised for speaking too much when teaching on your CELTA course. This is because you should place the onus on the students to do the talking.

Through talking, students can practice their speaking and communication skills and they also have to engage more in the content.

If they are doing this, it is believed that they will learn more and that they get more from the lessons, as per the communicative approach to teaching on your CELTA.

If it helps, try to think of yourself as more of a facilitator than a traditional teacher. You simply ask them key questions at the right times and guide them to the right answers. But remember that the students are the ones who should do the ‘heavy lifting’ and all the hard work!

One tip here is to try to avoid giving explanations and instead turn these into questions for students to answer. This can also become an activity in its own right, which might come under what’s called ‘guided discovery’.

This idea of keeping TTT to a minimum reminds me of a famous quote, attributed to Benjamin Franklin (but who knows with these online quotes!):

““Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”



PPP Is short for presentation, practice, production. This is a recommended way to teach new language points to your students.

First you should present the point. As the British Council state:

“The practice stage aims to provide opportunities for learners to use the target structure…The teacher presents and illustrates the communicative purpose of a new structure ‘If I was you…’ for advice.”

The next stage is then to give the students practice of the language point. At this point, however, the practice should be quite controlled full stop this can be done through something like a gap fill activity where the students only have 2 choose words that are given to them.

The production stage then builds on the previous to status. This is where the students will actually produce the language in a more natural or open way. You could have some kind of open speaking activity here, where the students discuss something about their life and have to use the target language. In paragraph

As you can see, the above stages should help the students to understand the point, have some easy practice followed by some more advanced practice.

You will hear the letters PPP all the time on your CELTA course!


TP is an abbreviation of teaching practice. You will be assessed for a total of 6 hours of TP sessions in total throughout the course.

According to the official CELTA syllabus:

“candidates are required to practice-teach for a total of six assessed hours, working with adult learners at a minimum of two levels in classes of the required size.” (see page 13)

Each teaching practice will receive a grade which then feeds into your overall grade, along with CELTA assignments and other aspects.

The amount of time for each session will gradually increase during the course, so you don’t need to worry about giving a full lesson if you have no experience when starting your CELTA.

Your tutors will help you to prepare for this step in your CELTA teaching practice.

CELTA Glossary

I have written the terms above fairly quickly from my own knowledge of the CELTA course and teaching, along with some help from other sites.

However, the most extensive glossary of CELTA termsthat I know of is in the book The Ultimate Guide to CELTA, by Amanda Momeni and Emma Jones.

I have not yet read the book, although I do know that it has the glossary from doing a YouTube video with Emma Jones talking about all things CELTA, which you can check out below!

Remember to subscribe to the CELTA Helper TV channel for more!

Useful Links

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.

Recent Posts