The CELTA: Do People Love To Hate It?

lovehate37-thumb.jpgIt doesn’t take much to raise a ruckus at the ESL café, but one surprising – to me anyway – recipient of a good amount of wrath is the CELTA – not because it is “only” a four week course (ie not sufficient in the opinion of some) but rather in contrast to other TEFL certificates.

I have a CELTA; I think it’s good (do see my “objectivity disclaimer”), and I don’t necessarily think other TEFL certificates are not as good. To be honest, I don’t really think about it all that much, but I suspect CELTA critics may feel that the CELTA is a “snob” of a certificate, and disparages their certificates. I don’t believe I see this, but I won’t say that means it doesn’t ever happen.

I think the reality is that applicants are sometimes turned down, and trainees do sometimes fail – to me this is not a sign of snobbery, it’s what responsible educational institutions do. There are standards and trainers are in a position to ensure those standards are met. It gives credibility not only to the program as a whole but also to holders of the certificate.

Are the standards some kind of sham? If so, it sure is an elaborate one; I don’t think CELTA standards are a sham any more than university or other educational standards are. I’m no expert on the process, but during my course a (Cambridge?) assessor visited for a couple of days and observed trainees teaching, assigning them his own marks which he presumably checked against those of the trainers, to ensure they were similar. As I understand it this is what external assessment involves – .it’s certainly not proof that “abuse” never happens, but it’s an extra bit of insurance against it. And while it may not be easy to rival association with Cambridge, there are other courses which are externally assessed – so it’s not as if this is an exclusive right; the CELTA is just very well-known.

So…leave the CELTA in peace, please!