What are 10 steps for successful CELTA interviews?
This is the second of three lessons about the Cambridge University CELTA. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Focus on the application and interview process of the CELTA
– Offer ten steps to success for gaining a placement on the Cambridge CELTA course
– Complete activities to check progress and understanding
If you’ve arrived at Lesson 2 of this short course, then you should’ve already have an understanding of the overall requirements of Cambridge University’s CELTA qualification. One thing that should be reiterated at this point however is that the CELTA is not an easy qualification – not if you wish to receive an ‘A’ or a ‘B’. The CELTA is a level 5 higher-education certificate in the British framework, and those undertaking it should be prepared to study at a level equitable to a bachelor’s degree. This is one reason why the CELTA is not simply a pay-and-enrol course, and why it indeed possesses both an application and an interview. To help new teachers with the interview process, we’ve outlined ten easy-to-follow steps for securing a place on this prestigious programme.
Step 1: Be Sure about the Course
It’s a good idea to research several websites, blogs and testimonials to get a true sense of the benefits and challenges ahead. CELTA trainers want to make sure that they accept people who are prepared for the intensity of the course, and reading the accounts of trainers and trainees is a great way to get this insight. After doing so, you should be able to explain why you are enrolling – which is a question firmly on the application form.
Step 2: Choose the Right Course
The first thing the online application asks is which type of course you want to apply for. Now that there are full- and part-time courses available, teachers do have some choice as to which type of CELTA fits their preferences. While studying full-time has historically been the go-to method, this may not be best for you.
Step 3: Select a Location
This is the second question you will be asked when applying. Take the time to really consider your options here. If you’re doing a full-time course and have the flexibility to relocate to foreign lands for the duration and beyond, then this may be a real option for you. Where you complete your CELTA can give you connections to jobs in that locale, so if you’ve always wanted to live and teach in Argentina, why not look for testing centres there?
Step 4: Be Comprehensive
The application will ask you the usual personal details, but much like when applying for a degree or scholarship, your education and work experience will also be requested – including transferable skills and experiences. The application may also require references and possibly a copy of your most up-to-date CV. Take your time here and consider the skills and character traits that a CELTA trainer will be looking for in a teacher. If your application passes this first stage, you’ll then be contacted for an interview. In this, the aim is to demonstrate that your knowledge of the course and of the English language is proficient enough to succeed at the CELTA.
Step 5: Review Your Grammar
While there won’t be any syntactic tree-diagrams or Chomskian debates, there will be a few questions in your interview that elicit how you describe language and recognise its functions. The areas that you will be (lightly) tested on are:
a) word meanings and the subtle differences between lexis
d) the use of definitions and scenarios to describe semantics
e) phonological issues that learners may have, or figuring out why they may have them (such as why far-east Asians confuse rice with lice)
Step 6: Do Some Pre-Reading
There are lots of resources available online for while you’re on the CELTA. While much of the literature is intended for those who have secured a place, having a dip into a coursebook and seeing what’s expected of you in terms of lesson planning, grammar knowledge and reflective writing will help you refer to something in the interview that shows you are organised and committed.
Step 7: Study the Aims/Assessments
At this point, you’ll also benefit from knowing the course aims and objectives the trainers will work to help you achieve. Being able to apply these aims to your own goals and aspirations will show you’re prepared. You can also show the interviewer that you’re aware of what strengths you have to bring to the programme as well any weaknesses (and how you intend to overcome them).
Step 8: Prepare Some Questions
While you may have many questions, or perhaps think you know everything, preparing a concise and worthwhile question or two can help to show the interviewer that you are serious and makes your application more memorable. Try calling on the years of experience and expertise of those interviewing you by considering what knowledge they have which might be very beneficial to you.
Step 9: Be yourself
Your CELTA interviewers are likely friendly people who are experienced, patient and understanding. If you found something challenging about one of the grammar tasks, or you’re a little nervous about an aspect of the course, then don’t be afraid to show this. Let your personality shine through. Afterall, you will be teaching others in the future, and the interviewer will want to see an approachable and friendly side to your personality too.
Step 10: Learn from the Interview
One of the key skills that teachers (and the CELTA) try to instil in their students is the ability to reflect on their own performance. Reflection allows us to notice what works and what doesn’t and why. It might be a good idea to apply this to your interview, dropping your interviewees a thank you message about something you really appreciated from the experience such as the style of interview or the beneficial application process. You never know, it may help.
Once you’ve completed all three lessons in this short course about Cambridge University CELTA qualifications, you might then wish to download our Lesson Worksheets to check your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks.
Lesson 2 explores the topic: What are 10 steps for successful CELTA interviews? Our Lesson 2 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button.
Lesson 3 explores the topic: Which top 10 tips achieve an A grade in the CELTA? Our Lesson 3 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button.
There are currently no PowerPoint activities, additional teacher resources or audio and video recordings created for this topic. Please come back again next semester.
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