What is CELTA?

This information describes the CELTA programme. It is not an event notice, so if you would like to know when a programme is to be offered, join our emailing list and like us on Facebook to receive regular updates. Please click here for information on the Young Learners extension for teaching ages 6 – 11.


Universidad Chileno-Británico de Cultura – Chile´s CELTA Centre!


Teaching English to speakers of other languages can be a highly rewarding career, offering you the chance to live and work abroad. You will need an internationally-recognised teaching qualification. The Cambridge Certificate in English Teaching to Adults (“CELTA”), highly regarded throughout the world, will give you the skills you need and make it easier for you to get a teaching job anywhere. A minimum “C1″ English Level (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (“CEFR”)) is required to take a CELTA course.

What is CELTA?

The certificate is an initial training course. Its general aims are to develop basic practical awareness – a combination of language awareness and classroom skills – and to equip trainees with the confidence, resources and resourcefulness that they will need to stand up in front of a class of EFL students – and then to continue learning how to teach.


The course provides a practical introduction to the teaching of English as a Foreign Language. There is a limited amount of reading and written work involved, all of which is related to the practical classroom requirements of teaching practice (“TP”). TP is the central element of the course, on which the majority of the assessment is based, although written assignments are also compulsory.

** Note : The intensive course is extremely intensive. Trainees need to commit themselves full-time to the course for the entire four weeks. Days are quite long and therefore it is desirable not to be living too far away from our Santa Lucia venue; accommodation for international trainees can be arranged if necessary.


Assessment is continuous, there is no final exam, and there is, of course, an expectation of overall proceltagress through the course. The grades awarded are: “Fail”, “Pass”, “Pass B” and “Pass A”. On most courses, the majority of trainees receive a “Pass”, some of which are in the “B” category; few trainees receive an “A” and few fail.

Trainees should always have a clear idea of their progress throughout the course. In addition to regular feedback on performance in TP, there are usually two mid-course tutorials and in the event of a trainee being considered ‘borderline’, s/he would be given explicit indications of the areas in need of improvement.

Assessment is based primarily on performance in the classroom, but trainees are also required to pass three of the four written assignments. Other factors are taken into account and may be especially significant in the event of a borderline assessment. Trainees are also expected to develop self-awareness and the ability to assess their own performance in TP, as well as that of others.

Course Content

There are three main components: teaching practice, observation and input.

• Teaching Practice

Each trainee has approximately six hours of Teaching Practice (“TP”) over the course. Initially, the lessons are shorter: for example, in a 120-minute TP block three trainees will each teach a 40-minute lesson. Towards the end of the course, however, trainees teach for 60 minutes.

There are usually 12 trainees on a course, and TP is organised in two groups. The classes of students are at different levels, CEFR-A2 to CEFR-B2. TP is observed by a supervisor and by the other members of the TP group. The groups rotate during the course, so that teaching is assessed at two contrasting levels.

In the intensive programme, TP takes place every afternoon and classes are relatively small (8 -14). Part-time programme TP is scheduled within the regular class times. Supervised Lesson Planning takes place most afternoons at 1.45pm and is an opportunity for trainees to talk to TP supervisors about the lesson they intend to teach the following day.

At the beginning of the course, trainees receive detailed guidelines from their supervisors as to content and appropriate procedures for their TP lessons. This guidance gradually diminishes as the course goes on and in the final week TP groups are responsible for planning and preparing their own lessons. Feedback on TP is given in the form of summary notes from the supervisor and in a post-lesson discussion with the supervisor and the rest of the TP group.


Each trainee observes at least four hours of live teaching of regular classes in addition to observing fellow-trainees during TP and opportunities to see further classes on video. Observation is organised so that trainees have the opportunity initially to see classes at the level that they are teaching in TP, and is task-based; trainees are directed to focus on particular aspects of teaching / learning in each observed lesson. Notes written during / after observation also provide the Course Tutor with an indication of what is being learned from the experience.


Input sessions tend to be seminars/workshops rather than lectures and cover three broad areas: language awareness, phonology and methodology.

Language Awareness sessions are an introduction to the structure and meaning of English (centred on verb forms) from an English language teaching (ELT) perspective. They relate to some extent to the needs of TP, and are intended to provide trainees with a basis for developing their language awareness after the course.

Phonology sessions are an introduction to the sounds of English – again from an ELT perspective. Sessions are devoted to word stress, sentence stress, pronunciation (vowels and consonants), rhythm, intonation and features of connected speech.

Methodology covers a wide range of classroom approaches, procedures and techniques. Topics include classroom management, the use of aids and resources, teaching and practising new language, developing language skills, adapting lessons to suit learners from different backgrounds, lesson planning and using course books.

There is also normally a session towards the end of the course on careers in EFL and suggestions on how to find employment.*


The timetable varies from course to course; as an example, the intensive programme day typically runs 12.00 – 8.30pm (intensive) with two input sessions (1½ hours each) before and after lunch, and lesson planning later in the afternoon. Teaching practice usually runs 6.30 – 8.30pm, followed by feedback.

Written Work

There are four assessed written assignments, all of a practical nature. Assignments have a 750-1000 word limit and one re-submission is allowed for each assignment which is not of pass standard. In addition to these assignments, trainees are required to hand in their observation notes and lesson plans for TP and to do a variety of short written tasks (eg worksheets relating to input sessions).

There is little time for extensive reading. Reading references will be given throughout the course, but these tend to be articles or chapters from books rather than entire books. Reading on the CELTA is also of a practical nature – teacher’s handbooks rather than theoretical material. However, trainees are strongly recommended to do as much reading (especially grammar books) before the course as possible.

inst02The Assessor

Every CELTA course is moderated by a Cambridge Assessor. S/he visits the course and samples input, coursework and TP. The Assessor is not a Cambridge official – s/he is a Course Tutor from another centre. The main role of the Assessor is to assess trainees’ teaching practice, written work and contribution to the course, and to ensure that grading is in line with Cambridge requirements. In addition, s/he is there to check overall course standards, to ensure that regulations are being met and to suggest ways of improving course quality.

There is no final examination, and the assessment system is a guarantee that trainees receive (broadly) the same course experience and are judged according to the same standards, wherever they may happen to be doing the course.


To get the most out of the course, trainees should be prepared to:

  • work intensively and consistently for four weeks
  • collaborate with other members of the TP group
  • accept and learn from constructive criticism
  • look analytically at the structure of English
  • pay attention to the needs of individual students
  • assess their own performance objectively

Please remember that:

  • 100% attendance is required
  • acceptance onto the course does not guarantee success: we screen applicants carefully, but inevitably some applicants do not meet the pass standard

Who recognises the CELTA?

The CELTA is accepted throughout the world by organisations which employ English Language teachers. The Cambridge CELTA has been accredited by Ofqual (the Office of Qualification and Examinations Regulation) at Level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework for England. Cambridge ESOL also works with international ELT organisations to ensure the acceptance of CELTA globally.

Am I eligible to apply?

Ideally you should:

  • Have a standard of education equivalent to that required for entry into higher education
  • Be age 20 or over
  • Have a standard of English which will enable you to teach a range of levels

You are still encouraged to apply even if you do not have formal qualifications at this level but can demonstrate that you would be likely to pass the course successfully.

Pre-requisites : ALTE 4 / CEFR-C1 for non-native speakers

All applicants must submit a short piece of written work and have an interview before being offered a place on a course.

And finally

If you have a CELTA, you are invited to join the Santiago CELTA Network. Contact us for information on the next event, or click on the event listings to the right.

For more information on CELTA at the British University at Santiago, or to learn more about our next course(s), please contact us.