English teachers and other professionals who want to start teaching English usually want to have an accredited international TEFL qualification. And the new 4-week intensive or 14-week part-time 100% online CELTA offered by Oxford TEFL is a great opportunity for you to get one of the most renowned teaching qualifications in the world. After all, most potential employers include the CELTA as a requirement for English teaching jobs. But how can you get the most out of the online CELTA? And how can you prepare and get organised to take the 100% online version of the course?
Before the course starts:
The 4-week intensive CELTA is quite an intensive course and the 100% online CELTA is no different. It does require you to have some independence, discipline and organisation. With that in mind, there are actions you can take before the course starts and during the course itself to organise your work more effectively, maximise your time and achieve better results.
- Get familiar with digital tools commonly used by teachers.
Even though the course doesn’t require you to be a digital expert, the entire process will be easier if you are already familiar with some of the tools you are likely to use during the course to produce and share lesson plans and assignments (e.g. Google Docs, Google Drive), teach students (e.g. Zoom) and communicate with peers and tutors (e.g. Slack, Telegram). Check with your tutors or interviewer what software will be used in the course so that you can already get a head start.
- Make sure you have the necessary equipment.
During the course, you’ll be taking part in video conferences constantly. Although you don’t need any expensive or fancy equipment, it is important that students are able to see you and hear you well, so stable internet connection and a decent webcam and microphone are very important. Because webcams (especially built-in cameras) don’t usually work well in dimly lit rooms, it is also a good idea to have a source of light (a lamp or a window) in front of you.
- Have a suitable space dedicated to your studies.
You’ll spend a considerable amount of time in front of a computer during the course, so think about your comfort and make sure you’re able to sit upright comfortably for extended periods. Also, try to choose a well-lit area without background noise where you won’t be interrupted or distracted.
During the course:
Once the course starts, you’ll deal with multiple tasks, such as planning and delivering lessons, writing assignments and doing background reading and research. Without proper organisation, you might be overwhelmed by the workload. Here are some tips to help you organise your work and time during the course:
- Establish a study routine.
Besides the general course schedule including dates and times for input sessions and lessons with students, you’ll need some extra time to write your assignments and lesson plans, as well as to do research and background reading. Creating a self-study routine including personal time either before or after the time you’ll be working with tutors and colleagues. This can help you take advantage of the time of the day when you are most productive.
- Keep your files organised.
During the CELTA, your portfolio will contain a large number of files: lesson plans, post-lesson reflections, lesson materials, tutor feedback and assignments (which may have more than one submission). On top of that, you’ll also have to deal with input materials provided by your tutors. A system to organise everything is extremely useful when juggling so many files. Consider having separate folders for each of your Teaching Practice lessons, assignments and input material. Also, using clear and consistent names for your files (e.g. Your name_TP1_lesson plan; your name_assignment1_first submission) can help ensure you locate them more quickly and prevent you from sending the wrong files to your tutors.
- Be mindful of deadlines.
Since the CELTA has a considerable number of deliverables, deadlines for handing in assignments and lesson plans will be set by your tutors with the aim of helping you maximise the time you’ll dedicate to the course and spread the workload more evenly. Failing to meet deadlines will certainly result in work piling up quite quickly, so make sure you are aware of what the deadlines are and don’t leave things to the last minute.
- Bookmark useful websites and resources.
Throughout input sessions, lesson planning and feedback, your tutors and peers will probably share helpful websites and online resources that will come in handy when planning lessons and writing assignments, and you don’t want to waste any time searching for them in your notes when you have tight deadlines. Using your browser Bookmark tool or creating a digital document where you categorise, label and paste all the relevant links can help you save time and access all the material more easily.
- Rehearse the lessons with your peers.
Even if you are tech-savvy and familiar with the digital tools you’ll use, you don’t want to spend time and energy during the lessons dealing with technical difficulties or trying to remember how to share materials with the learners. Talk to your colleagues to organise some time for you to rehearse the lesson and have a go at using the tools and materials. By doing that, you can help each other out with ideas, suggestions and peer-feedback, as well as prevent problems that may arise during lessons.
- Get all materials ready before Teaching Practice
Not everyone is good at dealing with multiple tabs, windows and software. Even those who are can end up struggling with navigating from one digital tool to the other in the heat of the lesson, when nerves can get the best of you. Join the online room before the beginning of the lesson to make sure that everything is working well. Close any other tabs, windows and software you are not going to use during the lesson to prevent distractions, confusion and accidental displaying of personal information when sharing your screen. The fewer things you have to deal with during the lessons, the better you’ll be able to focus on your learners and your lesson aims.
- Take advantage of resources, peers and tutors.
Granted, the workload of the CELTA is not exactly light. However, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel or start everything from scratch. Assignment and lesson plan templates and models will be available to you and can help make your work more time effective and avoid resubmissions. Liaising with other trainees can also help you gain insight and strategies to organise your work more effectively. Finally, remember that the role of your trainers goes beyond assessment. All the experienced CELTA tutors at Oxford TEFL are there to help you and guide you in your CELTA journey, so don’t hesitate to get advice and ask questions to clarify your doubts. Everyone will be glad to provide all the support you need.
Getting an internationally accredited TEFL certification such as the CELTA does require hard work. But the hard work pays off with better employability and confidence to teach English to different types of students anywhere in the world. With these tips to get organised and the support of the Oxford TEFL team, not only will you be able to get your qualification, but you’ll also do it 100% online, while having a rewarding hands-on experience.
Would you like to gain a Cambridge CELTA online?
If you would like to start a new career teaching English as a foreign language, gaining a Cambridge CELTA certification is one of the best ways to start. We offer two formats for our 100% Online CELTA courses:
4-week intensive 100% Online CELTA course
Study online over 4 weeks and receive all the training you need from our expert tutors via Zoom. Read more
14-week part-time 100% Online CELTA course
Study online over 14 weeks and receive all the training you need from our expert tutors via the Cambridge online learning platform. Read more
Simply complete the obligation-free application form below and we will get in touch to arrange an interview and check your suitability for the course.
Alternatively, complete the enquiry form below if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you.
Rubens Heredia is a CELTA tutor and teacher trainer based in Barcelona. He holds the DELTA and is currently taking an MA in TESOL at Nile/University of Chichester. He is one of the creators of the website and YouTube channel What is ELT? and is also a vlogger for the magazines ETprofessional and Modern English Teachers (Pavilion ELT). An active member of the ELT community both online and offline, he’s a frequent speaker in international ELT conferences.