2020 CELTA Success

Teacher Training

We are delighted to announce our latest class of CELTA trainees have completed their course with a 100% pass rate. This is the second face-to-face CELTA course we’ve run since reopening in August, following a very successful two online courses over the lockdown period and – under the circumstances – one of our most successful CELTA years to date.  

With new dates just announced for our 2021 courses, it felt like a good time to reflect on our year of teacher training so far, and what future trainees can expect on a post-covid course. 

How has the pandemic affected the delivery of the face-to-face course? 

Liz Bowden, IH Bristol’s Head of Teacher Training said “in terms of the sessions we run, the main thing that’s changed is the pair and groupwork, and moving students around the class for speaking activities – obviously everyone’s got to maintain their space so there are certain things you can’t do, but not too many. Charlie [IH Bristol Teacher Trainer] and I will explain techniques that are used in normal circumstances, so they’re aware of them and can implement them in future classes.” 

For CELTA trainee Eoin, the only impact that the COVID situation had was his decision to take the course at all: "It changed the way I wanted to live my life and moved my career to a completely different path. [In terms of the classroom experience] it seemed pretty normal to me, we socially distanced where we could in the class, we wore masks where necessary, but apart from that it was all pretty standard."

Since returning to face-to-face teaching we have introduced a session on teaching online, which all students have found very useful – although we cannot predict what the next few years will look like, we do know that online teaching is here to stay and, as Director Val Hennessy puts it, “a necessary string to add to your bow”. Many of our trainees will teach online initially and then plan to travel further afield once it's safe to do so. 

Why choose IH Bristol? 

Schools in the IH network train about of half of all the CELTA graduates in the world every year, and we have an unchanging staff of CELTA trainers at IH Bristol – the same people have been delivering our teacher training courses for more than a decade, and although they update their skills regularly, the foundations that their teaching philosophy is based on remains the same. Continuity of staff not only assures quality, it also means that every trainee at IH Bristol is trained to the same high standard. 

In fact, in a normal summer we often take a large proportion of our summer teachers from our pool of CELTA graduates – particularly those who continue to teach our free lesson students even after they’ve finished, who have demonstrated commitment and desire to improve. A lot of our trainees already have teaching experience, but irrespective of whether they have experience or not, those we take on to do summer teaching are employed into a fully scaffolded framework. All materials and lessons plans are produced by experienced staff, and the newly qualified teachers are buddied up with more experienced staff to ensure quality of lessons. There are regular observations, feedback and ongoing CPD for all staff.  

Given the scope and the range of IH schools around the world there are always opportunities for new teachers - it was IH that actually developed the course that became the CELTA – as an organization we remain dedicated to the development of teachers, and whatever IH school you end up working in you will find opportunities for career development as well as a warm welcome and high levels of support. 

Logistically, taking the CELTA in a smaller city means less daily travel and therefore less pressure on the individual – our homely school building also provides a very relaxed, supportive environment for our students and teachers in training alike.  

Advice for those thinking of applying for the course 

Preparation is key! Above all, apply for the course in plenty of time - 6 weeks before the start date if you can. It’s not just an application form; there’s a pre-interview task, an interview (face-to-face or online) and a pre-course task, and plenty of advanced reading and training materials available especially when it comes to looking at the language from the learners’ perspective. There’s no limit to the preparation you can do - and no limit to what you can do with the qualification afterwards. 

"I think it’s definitely surpassed my expectations – I knew it was going to be engaging and really fun, but I didn’t know how close we would be to actual students, I hadn’t foreseen how much I would progress teaching students directly ... I think that’s one of the things that’s pleasantly surprised me - how much on-the-ground experience you get teaching, which has been great."  

- Tom, CELTA trainee October 2020 with previous experience teaching in Chile

"I expected it to be hard, but I didn’t expect that I would learn as much and improve as much, and I know that I’ve definitely picked up so much since I’ve been here." 

- Ingrid, CELTA trainee October 2020

"I was quite apprehensive before starting the course as I was told it was going to be quite intensive, but actually I realised I quite enjoyed the intensity of it ... I really enjoyed teaching the classes, I liked meeting different groups of students from various nationalities, it was probably the highlight for me."  

- Eoin, CELTA trainee October 2020

“I enjoy sharing my experiences with the trainees, to help them improve. And of course you enjoy seeing them improve over the 4 weeks. You see someone on day one on their first teaching practice - they’ve never taught before and they’re really nervous and they don’t really know what they’re doing, then 4 weeks later they’re really confident using the techniques. Seeing trainees use the things you’ve taught them and how they’ve improved – that’s the most enjoyable thing. And seeing them enjoying it, too!” 

- Liz Bowden, Head of Teacher Training


Finally, hear what Tom had to say about the experience:


Interested in learning more? See our upcoming CELTA dates and full course details here, or to discuss further contact Liz - liz@ihbristol.com / +44 117 0909 0911