CELTA: The Application

A typical application starts with questions on your personal and contact details, your education history and recent professional experience. Then, you’re asked to write a statement about your motivations and what you intend to do with your certification.

Next, is where the real fun starts – the application task itself.

I really took my time with my application and I was able to get it done within a week.  I spent my time reading each question carefully, researching, working on my statement and proofreading everything I had written, making sure there were no stupid grammatical or spelling mistakes and that my answers were well-formed.

Although they don’t expect you to know all the correct answers, I think the real key to nailing the application task is showing that you can think independently and that you’re willing to take the time to do further reading and research.  Don’t ramble on but instead, try to construct succinct and clear answers.

It would also be a good idea to get your hands on some English grammar and teaching methodology books, too. I used Jim Scrivener’s Learning Teaching (2nd Edition), and I found it very helpful for the questions targeting classroom management, language analysis and skills.

The application I completed was divided into 5 sections:

  1. Awareness of Teaching and Learning
  2. Language Awareness
  3. Language Skills Development
  4. Planning for Effective Teaching
  5. Teaching Techniques

To help you understand the type of questions you’ll be asked, I’ll share a question from each section and the answers I provided:

Section 1 –  Do you think language teaching is more like academic study or more like coaching? Why?

Language teaching is more like coaching. You might learn about linguistics in academic study, but if you want to be able to communicate in writing and speaking, and understand written and spoken language, you need practice. You learn by doing, just like you would if you were learning to swim, play tennis or dance ballet.

Section 2 – How you would convey the meaning of the underlined word to learners at intermediate level: “Cynthia came up with a good idea for the business model.”

Here “came up with” means “produce”. Cynthia produced a good idea.

Section 3 – The topic of your lesson is ‘cultural festivals’. You want to help intermediate students develop their written expression. What kind of activities could you do in the classroom to do this?

I would introduce the topic with the class, chatting about their experience of cultural festivals. Do they know what a cultural festival is? Who has been to one? Then I would put them into small groups and ask them to write a short text about one cultural festival by asking questions to a person who knows about one. First, I would ask them to collect notes, and then write a first draft, and finally, a final draft so they get plenty of writing practice.

Section 4 – Comment on the effectiveness of this lesson: The lesson aim is to teach future tenses. The lesson context is fortune tellers giving readings to people to predict their futures.

It can be entertaining and engaging and it provides a very clear context to demonstrate prediction forms.However, this is not a very realistic context. The majority of learners will likely not need to understand the reading of a fortune-teller or tell a fortune: it does not prepare learners for real-world communication contexts.

 Section 5 – Simplify the following instruction for elementary learners: “Could I just ask everyone to please have a look at the text on page 42 now?”

Turn to page 42. Read the text.

Well, what are you waiting for? Start working on your application!

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