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An Interview with Florence Face-to-face CELTA Tutor Louis Grech

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We are delighted to have Louis Grech as one of our CELTA Course Tutors for our upcoming courses here at CELTA Florence. Louis is a well-rounded and approachable professor, with a huge wealth of knowledge about the English language. He is particularly knowledgeable about the world’s most widely recognised Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course, the Cambridge University CELTA Certificate, having been a CELTA trainer since 1994!

Louis has kindly taken some time out from his busy schedule to answer some key questions about taking the CELTA via Florence, what you can expect from your CELTA course and the opportunities that are available to you after taking your CELTA. Here’s what Louis has to say:

Why is the CELTA so valuable for someone interested in teaching English as a foreign language?

The CELTA is not a course – it’s an experience. The course was originally designed for novice teachers or experienced teachers with no formal training; it has over the years become the most prestigious and widely recognised initial teacher training qualification in the world. Obtaining the CELTA certificate is a challenging but worthwhile achievement as it opens doors and allows you to ‘land’ teaching jobs in reputable schools worldwide.

Tell us about your experience in the English teaching environment, and training teachers for the CELTA.

I have been in English Language Teaching for more than 40 years. I have been an English language teacher and taught hundreds of both young and adult students hailing from various countries and having a wide variety of academic and professional needs. I have occupied the posts of Director of Studies and Head Teacher Trainer at the school which pioneered TEFL in my country, Malta. I have also trained teachers for the CELTA since 1994 and have helped hundreds of trainee teachers to obtain this prestigious qualification. They are now happily TEFLing in various countries all over the world. I have a passion and enthusiasm for teacher training and training on CELTA courses remains to this day the favourite role in my profession.

What support and guidance can students expect from the online CELTA via Florence?

Due to the intensity of the course, trainees need all the help they can get. Our training team guarantees continuous support, mentoring and guidance during this demanding CELTA programme. This takes the form of daily Assisted Lesson Planning, the provision of engaging teaching materials, frank and supportive teaching practice feedback, tutorials for each of the four written assignments. Our goal is to make each and every trainee the best teacher s/he can be by the end of the course.

How important is pre-course preparation for someone taking the CELTA?

Pre-course preparation is not important – it’s vital.  The course content is heavy and the programme is very intensive. As such there will be no time, for example, to teach course participants English grammar. We’ll teach them to teach English grammar. As such, we expect trainees to come to the course already possessing at least a basic familiarity with grammar.  We will also require trainees to work through a Self-Study Work Pack before course commencement.
N.B. with the CELTA course via Florence, you also get the ELTcampus online Grammar refresher and Language Awareness course and an online “Teach ready for training” mini video course completely free!

I’m not a native English speaker, but my English level is advanced. Will this be a problem when I apply for the CELTA?

This should not be a matter of concern for you. Thousands of non-native speaker teachers complete the course successfully every year. You will, however, require a level of proficiency in English equivalent to a CEFR Level C1 (or a good pass at CAE) to be able to participate and benefit fully from the course.

I’m not very confident about the idea of teaching online. Will I be ok on the online CELTA course?

Thanks to COVID-19, online teaching has slowly but surely become the most common mode of delivery in English language teaching courses all over the world. …. And it is here to stay!  Teacher Training had had to follow suit and now an ever-increasing number of CELTA courses are being taught online all over the world. Our online CELTA course has been designed to give you full confidence in teaching online. In fact, the course starts with a couple of ‘online familiarisation days’ during which we explore how best to exploit the digital platform Zoom, as well as become familiar with other digital teaching tools, like Padlet and Google Docs.  All this will allow you to prepare and teach effective lessons online, which, we all agree, is arguably the future as regards English language teaching.

Will the online CELTA train me to teach people in a face-to-face environment too?

Yes. The CELTA addresses both teaching delivery modes. In fact, some aspects of teaching face-to-face (e.g. Classroom Management) are easier to organise for your students.  By the end of the course, you will have become familiar with both online and face-to-face teaching.

What opportunities for professional development does the CELTA offer? And will I be able to get a job after I complete my CELTA?

As I said above, the CELTA, a level 5 qualification, is your passport to the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teaching world. Job prospects just multiply if you complete the course successfully. The centre will guide you towards job opportunities and encourage you to upskill your teaching qualification. In fact, we encourage trainees to think about doing the DELTA after about 2 years of regular teaching. The DELTA is a Level 7 qualification that allows you to become a Director of Studies or Academic Manager in reputable schools…but that’s another story.

What is the best thing about becoming a CELTA-qualified English language teacher?

Yes, as I often say to trainees at the end of the course “There’s life after the CELTA”!  The CELTA certificate opens up new horizons for you… it has allowed me to ‘embark’ on a rewarding lifelong teaching and training career. I have traveled and trained teachers and teacher trainers and met incredibly interesting and enthusiastic like-minded people in doing so. Successful CELTA trainees have happily found jobs either in their country of origin, lovely European or American cities or in exotic countries, for example, in South East Asia, where there’s always a good market for well-qualified EFL teachers.

In terms of teacher training, the CELTA is the best choice you can make at this stage of your development. Go for it!

Click here to apply to the CELTA in Florence