Is the full-time CELTA course really as intensive as they say?

Well… some people overdo it a bit but the CELTA is definitely an intensive course and you will have to clear your agenda for the whole month. Having said that, thousands of people each year take the course and most of them will pass.

The CELTA involves a minimum of 120 contact hours with your tutors and you are expected to devote another 80 hours to prepare lessons, analyse language points and do research for the four written assignments on the course.

Teaching practice

The CELTA is very much a hands-on course and teaching practice is an integral part of the course. The teaching practice is organised in small groups with a maximum of six trainees. You will teach real students at two different levels, usually pre-intermediate and upper-intermediate. Each teaching practice session is followed by a feedback session in which you discuss your lesson with your peers and your tutor. And, of course,  you will get oral and written feedback from the tutor that observed your lesson.

On each level you will be observed by another tutor so there are two tutors who will observe your lessons and individual tutorials are held with trainees to monitor and discuss progress. You will be informed regularly of your progress through feedback on your teaching practice and written assignments.

Input sessions

And, of course, you will get input sessions on the course in which you will learn the techniques that you will need to apply in the teaching practice. You will get input on:

  • Methodology
  • Language analysis and language awareness
  • The learner, the teacher, and the teaching and learning context
  • Classroom management
  • Teaching frameworks and techniques
  • Using course books and authentic material

You can download the complete CELTA syllabus here.

Written assignments

You will have to write four written assignments on the course, each 750 – 1000 words. The background reading and research you will have to do will help you to get more insight into the methodology and techniques that have been discussed in the input sessions.

Observation of experienced teachers

To help you to develop your teaching skills further, you will observe specially arranged classes taught by the tutors and filmed lessons on DVD.

Job search and continuous professional development

To help you to develop further after the course and find a suitable teaching position, there will be a session on the course in which you will get all necessary information about both the international and local job market and options for further development after CELTA.


This is what a typical day on the CELTA at our centre looks like:

09.00 – 10.30: Input session 1

10.30 – 10.45: Coffee break

10.45 – 12.15: Input session 2

12.15 – 12.30: Coffee break

12.30 – 13.15: Feedback (on the teaching of the day before)

13.15 – 14.15: Lunch

14.15 – 16.30: Teaching practice

16.30 – 17.30: Guided lesson planning

CELTA qualification and moderation – Cambridge University

Each CELTA course is externally moderated by an assessor from Cambridge University. The assessor visits the centre during the second half of the course and looks at trainees’ portfolios and assignments and observes their teaching practice. Trainees are invited to meet the assessor if they’d like to discuss any matters.

The clear CELTA qualification standards set by Cambridge University and the external moderation of each course are two of the many reasons why the Cambridge University CELTA Course is considered the best TESOL qualification in the world.