Whether you have classroom experience or you are new to the teaching profession, you may be wondering if getting an internationally recognized qualification in TESOL is the right move for you.
There are a lot of different teacher education courses on the market, so what can the Cambridge CELTA or the Trinity College London Certificate in TESOL (CertTESOL) offer to prepare you to start your development as a language educator?
1. An Individualized Approach
The CELTA or the CertTESOL qualifications are designed to provide training centers some flexibility in how it is delivered. This means that courses can be designed to best meet the needs of the trainees who attend courses there.
It can be adapted to focus on the types of learner who attend classes at the center, and can work to the strengths of both the course trainers and the emerging styles of teaching demonstrated by course participants. This flexibility is an important aspect of the course; the global ESOL industry is very diverse, and the range of different teaching settings where English is taught as a second language demands different approaches from teachers.
Having the adaptability to do things in different ways is a skill that will stand you in good stead as a teacher starting out.
2. Knowledge and Application
As with Cambridge CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL qualifications, the main focus of assessment is on candidates’ performance when they apply the skills that they earn on their training course.
These skills are based not only on the ability to teach but are also informed by the level of knowledge that is developed through methodology, language awareness, and other theoretical input, which forms much of the first half of a CELTA or a CertTESOL course.
The balance between knowledge of approaches, methods and the features of English, coupled with practical techniques for effective delivery of lessons, means that when it comes to your observed teaching practice (weighted at around 50% of your total course grade), teachers and observers have a wide range of resources to draw on in assessment. Without this knowledge base, the depth of feedback and reflection by trainees would be compromised.
3. Developing Reflective Teachers
The focus on “reflection” as an ongoing skill for teachers is another aspect of both CELTA or CertTESOL course, which prepares new teachers for their future as effective educators.
If we don’t take time to reflect on what we are doing in the classroom, we are unlikely to improve our teaching skills going forward. This is equally true in an assessment situation such as the course itself and in the daily teaching load, which you will experience as a practicing teacher in the workplace.
Reflective skills are developed through group feedback sessions after each taught lesson on the course and in the form of written reflections presented as part of every assignment submitted over the period of the course. Self-evaluation, rethinking how you are doing things, and the ability to change what you do to make it better are skills that cannot be overstated in the context of education.
A better teacher makes for better students, so the reflective habit is a healthy thing to develop as you move into your teaching career.
4. Building Effective Teaching Teams
A further skill which is developed during the CELTA or CertTESOL course is the ability to work as an effective member of a teaching team.
Most lessons taught on a CELTA or a CertTESOL course are either team-taught, with trainees sharing the planning and delivery load, or taught consecutively with shared resources in a room, and thus a continuity is established throughout the lessons as they are delivered.
In addition, the planning and preparation work done by course trainees depends on clear communication and shared use of resources so that everyone’s lessons run smoothly across the course. The ability to work well as a considerate, flexible and proactive member of the staff room is highly prized by schools the world over, so the experience of working together develops employability skills as the course progresses, giving a realistic experience of what it is like to work in a real, functioning school.
5. Other Skills for Employability
Further skills which make both CELTA and CertTESOL graduates attractive prospects for ESL employers are:
– time management, developed in response to the demands of the intensive workload
– balancing self-study,
– assignment work,
– lesson planning and preparation for input sessions takes some juggling, just as does a busy week in a working school.
The benefits of effective collaboration with other teachers are useful in that this kind of cooperation leads to greater development as ideas and resources are shared, different approaches are discussed, and people help each other with issues that may arise.
These are all common features of a successful graduate’s approach to the course and make for better teachers.
Finally, working with teaching technologies and digital resources is an important way of developing your skills with current classroom equipment – electronic whiteboards, online learning, audiovisual resources, and social media all play a big part in the teaching profession in the 21st century.
Most of the centers are recommended to provide access to all of these valuable resources for trainees to find better ways of doing things in the classroom. These skills combine to make CELTA and CertTESOL graduates a desirable human resource for language centers worldwide.
6. Travel the world with guaranteed visa and job opportunities worldwide
Finally, perhaps the most common reason for people to choose a course such as CELTA or CertTESOL is the ease with which the qualification can support visa applications and help you to travel to almost any country in the world as a second passport.
Many countries now demand a level 5 qualification in TESOL from their international educators, and this is a trend that is growing as the benefits of hiring rounded, well-developed teachers becomes clearer.
The level of accreditation held by Cambridge CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL means that as long as you fulfill other national criteria laid out by embassies and consulates, you will be free to travel without issues and have incredible experiences in and out of the classroom along the way.
Conclusion: Overall, the benefits of taking a qualification such as the CELTA or the Trinity CertTESOL are many and go beyond the nuts and bolts of language education that you would expect from this kind of course. By aiming higher and achieving this level of qualification, you are adding weight to your prospects internationally, and starting a much wider pathway for your own development as an international language educator.