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difficulty of CELTA compared to PGCE?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by losangeles, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. losangeles

    losangeles New commenter

    Hi,
    I just completed my secondary PGCE (MFL) a couple of days ago, and now I'm starting a CELTA course in Cambridge next month. Thing is, I'm starting to regret paying the deposit as everyone is banging on about how hard it is.
    Are there any teachers here who have completed the PGCE in the last few years, and have also done the CELTA?

    Thanks.
    LA
     
  2. AshgarMary

    AshgarMary New commenter



    I did my PGCE (science) zillions of years ago. I did CELTA ( 4 week intensive) in 2007. I can safely say that the CELTA was far harder work BUT was only for 4 weeks. On our course we wre literally working 17 hours a day INCLUDING weekends and had assessed teaching practice right from day 2.
    I can safely say that I learnt far more about practical teaching (applicable across the curriculum) on the CELTA than I ever did on the PGCE which was stuffed full of sociology and pedagogy but didn't as far as I recall mention different learning styles, catering to the VAKOG etc etc. and essentially HOW to teach (and I was at one of the best). Of course, things may have changed since then.
    Your grammar needs to be excellent. I've said on here before - many on my course were graduates (actually very few were teachers) with excellent English abilities. BUT knowing what the tense is called and why you are using it is a very different kettle of fish! With the exception of one Serbian woman who knew all the tenses and uses and could explain them (having learnt English as a foreign language herself), we all had to resubmit our grammar coursework, some more than once!
    Don't regret spending the money at all. What you will learn will support your teaching generally. One thing the teachers on the course were particularly bad at, and which the instructors were VERY hot on, was 'teacher talk' - random conversations teachers have with projectors that won't work, handouts that didn't come out properly etc!
    If you are doing the 4 week intensive, cancel all social engagements now because you won't have a life for that period.


     
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    Even though I have never done a CELTA, I would say that you are not comparing like with like, losangeles. The CELTA course only lasts a month, whereas the PGCE goes on for rather longer than that. The CELTA course is very much "hands on" and practical, while the PGCE is at least partly concerned with educational theory (well, mine seemed to be, when I was a PGCE students back in the early 14th century). A PGCE course has long written assignments, but a CELTA does not. Last but not least, a CELTA more or less guarantees you a job at the end of it and the same cannot be said for a PGCE these days. Yes, a CELTA is supposed to be bloody hard work (or so I am told), but at least you have something that really prepares you for teaching English to non-English speakers. If you read some of the postings on the NQT forum, you will discover that plenty of NQTs who have done their PGCEs do not think that it was an adequate preparation for the harsh realities of a British classroom.
     
  4. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda New commenter

    I did a CELTA in 2004 and my PGCE in 2006. If you have completed your PGCE then you will be fine! The quality of the training may not be quite the same though...
     
  5. I was thinking of doing a CELTA course, but the part-time 12 week course. Is this less stressful? Less intense?
     
  6. nemo.

    nemo. New commenter

    Hi I did my celta 2007 and PGCE 2009 (I taught efl before my celt and a year afterwards). I agree different things. Worth having both! Do the course it's hard and 4 assignments but worth it
     
  7. losangeles

    losangeles New commenter

    No offence, but the PGCE today is a whole different animal to what it once was.
     
  8. I'm doing the Celta part-time. I can assure you it is MUCH harder than the PGCE. What is more please please don't think you can teach EFL without one. You can't. The most cursory research will reveal this to you.

    Don't bother to do this unless you have found it impossible to get a job as a secondary school teacher. It's expensive and as tough as sh*t.

    Don't do it intensive unless you have to.
     
  9. cuppacoffee

    cuppacoffee New commenter

    I also did the intensive one and was a wreck at the end, but it was worth it on all levels
     
  10. yasf

    yasf New commenter

    Did an MFL PGCE and a CELTA. I found both fairly intensive. Early starts, late finishes, lots of work in the evenings and at weekends. Lots of really useful hands on experience. The PGCE lasted 9 months, the CELTA 4 weeks. Both were great preparation for real teaching in the classroom and both have got me jobs. But both require additional classroom experience before you are considered a "real teacher". That experience will become more important on your CV than either the CELTA or PGCE, although they are prerequisites.

    Even if never teach ESL/EFL again, you won't regret doing a CELTA - it'll really help you get a solid grounding in language teaching and give you great additional ideas for your MFL classes.
     
  11. Dramakween

    Dramakween New commenter

    Lots of good advice on here and I agree with practically everything. I wouldn't agree, however, that having a CELTA more or less guarantees you a job at the end - experience is just as important with EFL jobs - it also depends where you are prepared to work and EFL teaching can be poorly paid. There are assignments on the CELTA - they are an essential part of the course, quite technical and have to be re-done if they aren't up to standard. Do not assume that because you've paid your thousand quid, or whatever you've paid, you will automatically pass. On the plus side, if you're a linguist and have just done a PGCE in MFL, you're one step ahead and it will be easier for you than some. Yes, it's four weeks of intensive slog, cancel your social life, buy hey, it's only 4 weeks. I loved it - best thing I've ever done :)
     
  12. GordonNome

    GordonNome New commenter

    Doing CELTA or CertTESOL? Intensively?

    #1 Stock up on all stationery, coloured card (for flashcards), several sets of printer cartridges, laminator and LOTS of pouches, many gluesticks. Do it now. Don't wait until the beginning of the course.

    #2 DO the pre-reading they recommend. That includes the grammar book. Cover to cover. Even as an MFL teacher I found that my pre-reading was vital as the English tenses are not the same as the MFL ones (depending on your language)

    #3. Get cooking. Cook in bulk and freeze in individual portions (or portions to suit your family size). You won't be doing any "from scratch" cooking once the course starts and take-aways are expensive.

    #4 Check out your library for books on TEFL. I borrowed a great one called something like "What to expect on your TEFL/CELTA course". (Not exactly that, but similar). There was a lot of focus on reflective thinking and it was invaluable for the write-ups after each TP.

    #5 Be prepared to listen and do as you are told, even if it does not exactly match with your teaching style or what you have learned elsewhere. Jump through the hoops. The course is short - there is no time for convincing your teacher they are wrong or not "up with modern teaching". You can adapt later.

    #6 Learn all about how your modern technology works. Check how to change margin sizes on your wordprocessing package, make sure you have a speaker with your MP3 player (and that you know how loud it goes/how to attach to your laptop instead/have spare batteries)

    Good luck! It was tough, but one of the best things I have done as I can use the techniques in my MFL teaching as well.
     

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