How to prepare for your CELTA Course

Do everything you can to get ready for the CELTA course to ensure it is a good experience.

We often get asked by CELTA candidates what they should do to prepare for the course. This was one of the reasons we decided to write The Ultimate Guide to CELTA so of course our first answer is to buy the book but for those of you who can’t wait for the book to arrive here are some pointers to help you get started.

Make sure you will not have any other commitments during the course.

The CELTA course is notoriously intensive and it is not unusual for people to be up until the early hours writing lesson plans and/or assignments. It is very unlikely that there will be any time during the week for you to go out and see friends. In fact, if you do have any free time you will probably want to use it to catch up on some sleep.

Warn partners and/or children that they should not expect much from you during the course

We had one trainee whose husband hated every moment his wife was on the course because his dinner wasn’t ready on time or she didn’t jump when he asked her to. In fact, he almost made her quit the course half-way through because he couldn’t handle the fact that he was not her priority for 4 weeks (I think they’re divorced now…).

Photo by from Pexels

Start reading as soon as possible

Chapter 1 of Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener will be a good place to start but don’t stop there, check out Chapter 3 on classroom management too – your first lessons will be all about getting elements of classroom management right, giving clear instructions to students can be very difficult, especially when you’re nervous so read about it now to get ahead of the game. Chapter 5 on Language Analysis will also be helpful – this is one area of the course that trainees really struggle with so start reading up on it now.

Check out our recommended reading list for other books to read.

Make sure you know at least the basics of the language

In our centre we offer a “Language Awareness Day” (LA Day) to help prepare trainees, if your centre doesn’t offer this you could do an online course with ELT Training.

In our LA Day we cover the following areas, at least make sure you understand what they are:

  • tenses
  • modal verbs
  • conditionals
  • active v passive
  • adjectives / adverbs
  • gerunds / infinitives
  • relative clauses
  • comparatives / superlatives

Bear in mind, you are not expected to know all the grammar before the course begins, nor will you know it all by the end but the more you can do beforehand, the easier you’ll be making it for yourself.

Stock your office

You will need plenty of printer paper and ink as well as a good pair of scissors, some coloured card and whiteboard pens (Tip: use a black pen on the whiteboard – green and red pens should be used for hightlighting things only!). Magnets will also come in handy.


Author: Emma Jones

A CELTA Tutor based in Munich and co-author of The Ultimate Guide to CELTA

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