The CELTA And Grammar

TEFL trainees are often understandably nervous about grammar. Will you learn grammar in the CELTA or another TEFL certification course?

It’s hard to generalize, blah blah blah as usual, but my answer – based on my CELTA course – is no, you won’t learn it but you will be expected to inform yourself to a reasonable degree about whatever it is you need to teach.

A book on grammar was recommend as pre-course reading (maybe “as reference” is better), but there was very little during the course like “if + past perfect, would have + past participle is third conditional” or “present perfect can be used for actions which started in the past and continue now, and also for actions which happened at some undefined time in the past but have a present result.” If a grammar point came up in a lesson we were scheduled to teach, we had to consult reference material to find out about it and then convey some relevant portion of that during the lesson.

There was some explicit instruction on techniques like using examples or context to illustrate a point, and using timelines for tenses, but it was more about the strategy than the grammar points in particular.

I also remember learning different correction techniques, and while the ideal way to practice those was to correct student errors with them, I didn’t feel like I was penalized for not being able to explain any random student error in detail on the spot. Don’t get too lax about grammar though – depending on where you teach after your course, students may well expect you to be able to do this! However, there is enough to think about during a TEFL course that, in my experience anyway, trainers don’t focus on familiarizing trainees with all sorts of grammar terminology and explanations.