Scott Thornbury and CELTA

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The CELTA Trainee Book by Scott Thornbury and Peter Watkins is the first book to appear if you search for books on CELTA at Amazon.

Scott Thornbury is also the co-author of Meddings, L. and Thornbury, S. (2009). Teaching Unplugged: Dogme in English Language Teaching.

The obvious question arises: How does Scott Thornbury reconcile the views expressed in these two books?

Let’s look at CELTA.

Young students working on an assignment

CELTA = Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults

It’s a product of Cambridge English and, according to them. “The essential TEFL qualification that’s trusted by employers, language schools and governments around the world”.

More than 100,000 people did the CELTA course in 2016. There are more than 800 Approved Centres in more than 60 countries.

International House offers CELTA preparation Courses. Cost: 1,450 pounds sterling. Duration: 4 weeks. One of the recommended book for the course is The CELTA Trainee Book by Scott Thornbury and Peter Watkins.

The CELTA Syllabus is as follows:

Topic 1 – Learners and teachers, and the teaching and learning context

  • 1.1 Cultural, linguistic and education backgrounds
  • 1.2 Motivations for learning English as an adult
  • 1.3 Learning and teaching styles
  • 1.4 Contexts for learning and teaching English
  • 1.5 Varieties of English
  • 1.6 Multilingualism and the role of first languages.

Topic 2 – Language analysis and awareness

  • 2.1 Basic concepts and terminology used in English language teaching to discuss language form and use
  • 2.2 Grammar – grammatical frameworks: rules and conventions relating to words, sentences paragraphs and texts
  • 2.3 Lexis – word formation, meaning and use in context;
  • 2.4 Phonology – the formation and description of English phonemes and the feature of connected speech
  • 2.5 The practical significance of similarities and differences between languages
  • 2.6 Reference materials for language awareness
  • 2.7 Key strategies and approaches for developing learners’ language knowledge.

Topic 3 – Language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing

  • 3.1 Reading (basic concepts and terminology, purposes, decoding meaning and potential barriers);
  • 3.2 Listening (basic concepts and terminology, purposes, features, potential barriers)
  • 3.3 Speaking(basic concepts and terminology, features, language functions, paralinguistic features, phonemic systems)
  • 3.4 Writing (basic concepts and terminology, sub-skills and features, stages of teaching writing, beginner literacy, English spelling and punctuation)
  • 3.5 Teaching (key strategies and approaches for developing learners’ receptive and productive skills).

Topic 4 – Planning and resources for different teaching contexts

  • 4.1 Principles of planning for effective teaching of adult learners of English
  • 4.2 Lesson planning for effective teaching of adult learners of English
  • 4.3 Evaluation and lesson planning
  • 4.4 The selection, adaption and evaluation of materials and resources in planning (including computer and other technology based resources)
  • 4.5 Knowledge of commercially produced resources and non-published materials and classroom resources for teaching English to adults.

Topic 5 – Developing teaching skills and professionalism

  • 5.1 The effective organisation of the classroom
  • 5.2 Classroom presence and control
  • 5.3 Teacher and learner language
  • 5.4 The use of teaching materials and resources
  • 5.5 practical skills for teaching at a range of levels
  • 5.6 The monitoring and evaluation of adult learners
  • 5.7 Evaluation of the teaching/learning process
  • 5.8 Professional development responsibilities
  • 5.9 Professional development support systems

There are two components of assessment:

Teaching Practice

You will teach for a total of six hours, working with classes at two levels of ability. Assessment is based on your overall performance at the end of the six hours.

Written Assignments

You will complete four written assignments: one focusing on adult learning; one on the language system of English; one on language skills; and one on classroom teaching.

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Some questions about this syllabus:

  • Why is the question of “How do adults learn an L2?” not more prominent?
  • Why is PPP the dominant teaching method?
  • Why is it assumed that using a coursebook is an acceptable way to teach?
  • Why is it assumed than learning an L2 is a matter of mastering “The 4 skills”?
  • Why is it assumed that presenting grammar points in a pre-determined order will lead to their being learned in that order?
  • Why is teaching vocabulary treated as distinct from teaching grammar?
  • Why isn’t more time devoted to criticising a PPP methodology?
  • Why are the criteria for assessment of teaching practice based on a PPP methodology?
  • Why is only one of the written assignments on teaching?
  • How much can be covered in a 4 week course?

Evaluation

In my opinion, as I hope the questions above indicate, the CELTA course is based on a false view of how adults learn an L2 and on a teaching methodology which flies in the face of SLA research. The structure of the syllabus is unbalanced and gives no overt declaration of the principles of ELT on which it’s based. The course attempts to cover far too much and fails to give any serious consideration to how adults learn an L2. The instruction on the language itself, and the teaching practice, encourage an out of date approach to both. It is, in short, a crap course, a piece of commercial, well-marketed dross. Education relies heavily on teachers, and the CELTA course is an affront to teacher education. For all the high fallutin baloney of the syllabus, the course is an ill-considered, backward-looking, inadequate, badly-administered disgrace.

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So what about Scott Thornbury’s book?

If I were doing the CELTA course I’d find the book infuriating.  It’s main part consists of 40 Units where every bit of the CELTA syllabus is examined in a “Think For Yourself” format . Warm-up activities are followed by the Main Question (How would you classify Learner Styles?), and then more questions meant to make you think. Instead of just telling you what you need to know, the book leads you up a series of garden paths. If I were a newcomer, I’d throw it out of the window very quickly and read anything, anything else, like Parrott on grammar, for example, or Scrivener’s Learning Teaching, which, for all the matters that I disagree with him about, is well-considered, well-organised, and, as always, very well-written. The 40 Units of Thornbury’s book faithfully mimic the CELTA syllabus without the slightest hint of critical evaluation or any appreciation of the newcomer’s ignorance of ELT. The whole book is appalling, right up there with Natural Grammar, and evidence that Thornbury , rather like another hero of mine, Ridley Scott, has at least as many badly-conceived duds to his name as he does good works. He’s erratic; you can’t trust either his style or his judgment.

And What About Dogme?

Quite apart from its failings as a book, the most obvious question to ask Thornbury about his CELTA guide is “Why did you write it?” Why did he decide to help novice teachers through a course which so evidently contradicts his published views on ELT?  Thornbury is, after all, the inventor of Dogme, the man who so famously talks about McNuggets; the man who adopts the view that learning languages is best explained by emergentism; the man who so passionately argues the case against the current domination of coursebook-driven ELT; the man who, in short, stands out among the leading lights in current ELT as “The Voice Of Progress”. Why did this man write a book, albeit a really bad book, aimed at helping people through one ot the most inadequate training courses ever devised?

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23 thoughts on “Scott Thornbury and CELTA

  1. Writing a guide on how to pass a course doesn’t necessarily imply endorsement of the contents of the course? Altrenatively, while the CELTA’s inadequacies are legion, it may represent a useful toolkit for the novice teacher, to be outgrown, one hopes, quite quickly?

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    • Hi Patrick,

      There does seem to me to be something wrong with Scott’s writing a guide on how to teach in a way that packages language up into McNuggets and contradicts the principles of Dogme.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A technical comment; the link you provide for Celta Preparation courses which cost 850 euros, takes you to the IH London website and the course description of ‘Current Trends – Theory and Practice in ELT’. This is not a ‘Celta preparation’ course, and IH London does not offer Celta preparation courses. You may be thinking of another IH schhool which does offer such courses? I work for IH London.

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  3. I love reading your blog, and think your criticisms of CELTA are largely valid Geoff, but I think that when we critically evaluate courses like the CELTA we have to recognize that we are doing so with the benefit of hindsight – we know what works and what doesn’t (or so we might like to tell ourselves).

    When we make statements like “If I were doing the CELTA course, I’d find it infuriating”, we may be telling the truth, but we’re speaking as, um, slightly older teachers who have faced countless teaching situations, overcome all kind of problems, and will have had some successes along the way. We may even have taught a Dogme lesson or two. If I went back again and did CELTA now, I’d find it infuriating, sure, but we have to bear in mind that most of those who take the course have no teaching experience before they begin. They don’t have much of it afterwards either, but that’s beside the point.

    Generally, those who enrol on CELTA courses are probably not (yet) in a position to ask, let alone answer, the questions that you raise regarding the CELTA syllabus (some of them are – consider the non-native speakers who are often required to take CELTA in spite of already possessing degrees in Teaching English or a related field). I wonder what you’d say to someone who was considering a career in ELT – should they take the CELTA or not? What other options are feasible?

    Perhaps the designers of courses like CELTA need to ask themselves what the novice teacher really can learn within the space of four weeks – it’s never going to be enough (in their defence, it might be a start). The course designers would need to put themselves in the shoes of the novice teacher rather than the shoes of Geoff Jordan or Scott Thornbury. CELTA might at least be able to make a contribution toward the professionalization of ELT if it’s re-designed in a way that matches the ethos of professionalization that many practitioners strive for (but how likely is that?).

    I had to roll my eyes when you described the course as “crap” though – we’re welcome to criticize, but there remain too many parts of the world where thousands of people – typically native speakers of English from places like the UK and USA – work as English teachers with no real training or qualifications whatsoever. I wonder sometimes whether CELTA would do anything to change the woefully inept “teaching” that goes on in too many classrooms in countries like Taiwan and South Korea.

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    • Hi Martin,

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      I should make it clear that when I said “If I were doing the CELTA course, I’d find it infuriating” I was referring to Scott Thornbury’s book, not to the CELTA course itself. I think newcomers will find the book infuriating because it doesn’t give them in a straightforward way the information they need – it invites them to work things out in exactly the kind of way that the trainer of the course does. There’s actually a comment by somebody who bought the book from Amazon to that effect.

      As to the CELTA syllabus, I think it’s crap; I think all we experienced teachers who know something about SLA should speak out against its view of adult L2 learning; and I would certainly not advise anybody thinking of getting into ELT to do it.

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  4. Pingback: Are we a community of ‘assessment illiterates’? – pedagogablog

  5. Thanks, as ever, for your views which are always interesting. As usual however, I would also like to offer some counterpoints or at least suggest other ways in which the situation could be interpreted.(Although I have a CELTA (from 1996!) as my first teaching qualification and – a long time ago now – have worked as in-service teacher trainer, I have never qualified as a CELTA trainer and so even more so than usual, all comments that follow are my own personal views in case that is not clear from what follows).

    Why is the question of “How do adults learn an L2?” not more prominent?

    Arguably because it is simply beyond the scope of the course. It would of course be useful for trainees to investigate this idea further, but on the other hand – who are the trainees?

    Perhaps this has changed since I took my CELTA course, but every one of the participants on my course had experience of either living in and/or learning a foreign language. How many of those 100,000 trainees from 2016 had relevant degrees in, say, a Modern Foreign Language? Or were themselves bilingual? On my own CELTA in 1996, three of the participants spoke English as a second language for instance. Of the rest of us, we had all experience of learning at least one other foreign language to a reasonable standard.

    None of that makes trainees experts in SLA of course, but those experiences, however subjective and anecdotal, are nevertheless quite valuable. (I do concede that there are always some trainees whose background is an unrelated field – e.g. Physics – and who have not learned a foreign language beyond perhaps GCSE French).

    Why is PPP the dominant teaching method?

    Only going by the syllabus outline reproduced above, it doesn’t appear to be intended – certainly, there’s no mention of PPP as a specific subtopic under “Planning and resources for different teaching contexts”.

    However, if it is the dominant method, which it may well be, I think it may be reasonably justified on the grounds that for a complete novice teacher it is a structure that is easy to follow and produces results which are satisfactory from a classroom management point of view. So notwithstanding your earlier post in which you critiqued PPP (and there is much for which it can be criticised) I think it seems to be a reasonable focus within the limited scope of the course.

    Why is it assumed that using a coursebook is an acceptable way to teach?

    Because it would be rather silly not to. The kind of schools that will employ someone with a university degree and a CELTA but no other teaching experience are invariably the kind of schools that use coursebooks to structure what they offer to students e.g. a course may comprise 1/3 of the units in a coursebook; the end of course assessments will be based on those coursebooks.

    Bearing in mind we are talking about completely novice teachers here for the most part, the coursebook – whatever your other views on it – can be remarkably useful for all manner of reasons.

    The majority of trainees will be expected to teach from coursebooks – so would it not be irresponsible to *not* include how to use coursebooks given that this is what they are almost guaranteed to be doing?

    Why is it assumed tha[t] learning an L2 is a matter of mastering “The 4 skills”?

    I confess I’m a bit unclear what your complain is here – as opposed to doing what?

    Why is it assumed that presenting grammar points in a pre-determined order will lead to their being learned in that order?

    I know you have strong ideas about this, but I really do feel this a strawman. No coursebook that I am aware of has ever claimed to be able to do what you have suggested here and the fact that the same kind of grammar points are repeatedly encountered across the various levels of the course (e.g. Headway, Inside Out, Face2Face or whatever)

    Why is teaching vocabulary treated as distinct from teaching grammar?

    I think this is a fair question, but again I think it is a bit harsh to comment on this within the scope of the course.

    Why isn’t more time devoted to criticising a PPP methodology?

    See above.

    Why are the criteria for assessment of teaching practice based on a PPP methodology?

    See above.

    Why is only one of the written assignments on teaching?

    I’m not sure quite what issue you have with this – in your summary, one is based on adult learning and the other two on aspects of language – although the scope would presumably be quite limited, aren’t these at least pointing the way toward a future interest in learning more about SLA? Not all trainees will follow up on this, but then the majority of people who take the CELTA teach for between 9 and 18 months (I think) and never return to teaching again.

    How much can be covered in a 2 week course?

    It is 4 weeks, not 2, but either way, “not much” is the answer. But then this, I think, is the real issue. Ideally, the course would be longer and would perhaps (as it is in some places) be part of a university degree in languages and/or linguistics.

    But the schools into which many CELTA trainees go are privately owned businesses and so to an extent they are beholden to what the market can afford.

    If schools only employed graduates of something like an English Language Teaching degree, then those graduates would presumably be uninterested in the kinds of wages typically offered. If the wages of the teachers go up, so do the course fees and this results in a corresponding fall in the number of students (and a higher number of unemployed or underemployed graduates). That situation in turn would create a demand for English teachers who may not be as qualified as those with the ELT degree, but who would at least be affordable to any adults needing/wanting to improve their English language. So it seems like the problem (of quality and standards) wouldn’t be solved so much as shifted.

    Incidentally, one significant criticism of the CELTA which you don’t mention is the number of teachers who assume they will be teaching adults, but who end up teaching either mostly or even exclusively teenagers and even younger learners.

    If CELTA includes how to use a coursebook because that is almost certainly what fresh trainees will end up doing, then it should really also be geared to teaching teenagers and other younger learners as well i.e. a CELTYA rather than a CELTA.

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    • Hi again Nicholas,

      Thanks for taking the time to give these replies.

      All very reasonable, but I’m afraid I continue to think that CELTA is a very bad course. It encourages those who do it to make false assumptions about how people learn an L2 and to believe that if you chop the L2 up into arbitrary bits, talk about these bits to students and then practice them in various stylised ways, students will learn them and become proficient users of the L2. But it’s quite simply not true: they will not learn what they’re taught in this way. It doesn’t matter how convenient coursebook-driven ELT might be, it’s basically wrong; i.e., it’s based on false assumptions about language learning. The CELTA syllabus is a basic training course where trainees are not encouraged to question any of the silly stuff they’re told about the 4 skills, about lesson plans where the presentation of some bit of language is followed up with concept questions, then controlled practice, then group work, and all the rest of the nonsense. Later, trainees are observed by a trainer, who judges the clarity of the explanation, the suitability of the concept questions, the energy level in the group work, etc., etc., on the fanciful assumption that, done properly, learners will actually learn what is presented to them in this way. The whole thing is an elaborate farce, where any language learning occurs more despite than because of the teaching.

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      • So, let’s imagine the parallel universe where things are set right, where teacher supervision is done the way languages are learned, where teaching materials are designed the way languages are learned….and where we encounter a methodology where languages are taught the way they are learned.

        And what would that be? How can it be done? …where learning happens because of me? I sense teaching would become unintelligible if it mirrored the pristine learning process. Case in point, I do frequent memory checks with students, a thing I got from Earl Stevick (Images and Options), just to demonstrate how the thing, learning, on our end of the experience, not biochemical but in our mind, seems so partial, random, and unpredictable. The thing over there, where synapses bounce in and out, is sure to be even messier than my mind admits. My teaching, however, naively, I know, assumes that students remember what we have done last. What else could I do? There is no way I can gauge the learning taking place with each of my students. If I wanted to mimic learning, my teaching would become a kind of stream of consciousness methodology. To think that we can teach the way we learn, even if we had the SLA theory, the, is yet another grand assumption. Saying that structured representation of language spreads flawed views of how languages are learned, is blaming the treatment for the side-effects. Side effects are not intended and so I do not remember any course author ever having said that their text is equivalent to what students learn, or that the scope and sequence of their text provide the surest roadmap for acquisition. Are the side effects outweighing the benefits? What is to be gained with the main treatment? Structuring language, the thing to be learned, and giving it sequential, one after the other, and coherent, the tenses, the moods, etc. treatment is done not because this is the way we learn. Rather, it is to make the messy business of learning manageable. It is something language learners tend to be thankful for. I have been living in a Spanish speaking environment for a third of my life now and being immersed in the language, I have one “learning” text on my desk—Barron’s Spanish Verbs. It is the most artificial and least communicative language text one can imagine. But, I turn to it now and then when I have to make sense of the mess around me. I imagine, as I can hardly remember my first day in class, that this is what language learners are grateful for when they turn to page 1. Teachers likewise welcome the ordered rendition of language. It makes it teachable. I guess Raymond Murphy has been thriving on this. I have made less than friends with teachers when I insisted on memory and vocabulary “how do you teach that?”

        PS: As I mildly disagree, here one good reason in favor: textbooks should be committed to the flames because so many of them are painfully boring.

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      • Packaging the English language into convenient little bits, and organising a syllabus around 10 Units of a coursebook makes order out of chaos. Given the traditional roles assigned to teachers and students by most educational institutions, nearly everybody is happy with the dominant model of ELT: teachers delivering a product syllabus via a coursebook. The problem is that learners will not learn what they’re taught in this way. There are many alternatives, including Mike Long’s special TBLT, explained in his (2015) book “SLA and TBLT”; a process approach as advocated by Breen (1987); or the approach that Meddings and Thornbury suggest.

        All your points Thom are variations on the “Yes, but…” response to being told that coursebook-driven ELT flies in the face of what we know about how people learn an L2. There are realistic alternatives, but very few in the ELT profession are prepared to take them seriously. Part of the reason for this is that those who profit from coursebook-driven ELT are very powerful. Their influence extends to how CELTA is taught, for example, and to how most ELT institutions organise their work. Another factor is intellectual laziness on the part of many teachers. Despite all of which, I believe that there is a growing movement against the coursebook, and that’s why I find it disappointing that Scott Thornbury, who has done more than anybody else to challenge the hegemony of the coursebook, should have written the CELTA prep. book.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi again,
        I am not really saying “yes” and then “but”. Rather, my point is that the “flying in the face” is not relevant, as any teaching will always be groping in the dark as to what students actually learn. You write “they will not learn what they’re taught in this way” suggesting that there is a “that way”. Can it be either – or? Do we understand what we mean when we say “…not learn the WHAT”? Does Interchange (to give an example) teach grammar, or lexis, or strategies, or skills, which students CANNOT learn that way? What about the students that seem to have managed “that way”? I can’t see how TBL can claim that what students do in tasks, they will, must, also learn. Seems to be a bold claim. Isn’t one of the interlanguage dictums that the order is fixed, can’t be altered, and is indifferent to the teaching going on on the surface? So, apropos, flying in the face of what? We have witnessed the debate, right here, over what an accepted model for SLA would be. Do we have one that speaks clearly to the classroom? Should we teach assuming grammar to emerge? No, not really; should we assume that when students are “ready” we can chime in some useful input. What input? and what is the +1 in input +1? What if a student´s boss wants him/her attend meetings and give presentations and we think they are not quite ready yet? Also, I haven’t checked this, but I would not be surprised if Long and Thornbury in some form or another will make use of the bits and pieces that are stitched and pieced together in textbooks, as in “by the way, did you notice how we just referred to things that happened yesterday?

        I have suffered through, yes, textbooks, where authors try to elicit, make students induce, and go to great length showing rather than telling, in order to avoid instructing students straight forward what the usual thing in English is; I guess, to dodge the charge of teaching what cannot be learned. I have come around to this, sometimes as a learner, I just want to know how the damn thing works, and have re-admitted explicit grammar explanation (just a little).

        I think the problem resides neither with teaching nor textbooks (ignoring the money / greed / control side of things for a moment and hoping that the text is somewhat engaging). Testing is the problem. Testing assumes that I have a good idea of what students should have learned down to the single loathsome Can-Do statement. That assumption is fatal. I think the testing industry goes against the grain of unpredictable learning. I wish your wrath could be unleashed to smite the CEFR. 😉 And oh yes, teaching, I was once told by a teacher friend, does not always attract the most inquisitive individuals. In a general survey, many might not even know that Dogme is not a kind of dog food and TBLT does not stand for a nasty health condition.

        Regards,

        TK

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      • Hi Thom,
        My replies come after the ***s

        my point is that the “flying in the face” is not relevant, as any teaching will always be groping in the dark as to what students actually learn.
        *** Flying in the face of what we know about SLA is irrational. We know a lot about what students learn, enough to know that some approaches to ELT are better than others.

        You write “they will not learn what they’re taught in this way” suggesting that there is a “that way”.
        *** It’s not “This or that”; it’s just not “this”. We know that coursebook-driven ELT is based on false assumptions about L2 learning. Some alternatives have been suggested that try to work in harmony with research findings and deserve our attention. In the case of Long’s TBLT, there is good evidence to suggest that it gives better results.

        Do we understand what we mean when we say “…not learn the WHAT”?
        *** Yes. We mean not learn through being led through a product / synthetic syllabus.

        Does Interchange (to give an example) teach grammar, or lexis, or strategies, or skills, which students CANNOT learn that way?
        *** Yes.

        What about the students that seem to have managed “that way”?
        *** They didn’t learn “that way”.

        I can’t see how TBL can claim that what students do in tasks, they will, must, also learn.
        *** That’s not the claim.

        Isn’t one of the interlanguage dictums that the order is fixed, can’t be altered, and is indifferent to the teaching going on on the surface? So, apropos, flying in the face of what?
        *** Flying in the face of teaching a grammar-based syllabus by PPP.

        We have witnessed the debate, right here, over what an accepted model for SLA would be. Do we have one that speaks clearly to the classroom?
        *** There’s no generaaly-accepted complete theory of SLA. But there is strong evidence to suggest that teaching can’t influence the route of interlanguage development.

        Should we teach assuming grammar to emerge?
        *** We should teach supposing that implicit learning is the default mode but that some explicit attention to grammar can help speed up learning.

        should we assume that when students are “ready” we can chime in some useful input.
        *** That’s not it.

        What input? and what is the +1 in input +1?
        *** It’s a very poor construct indeed proposed by Krashen. I for one don’t agree with Krashen’s view of SLA or of ELT.

        What if a student´s boss wants him/her attend meetings and give presentations and we think they are not quite ready yet?
        *** That’s far too general to mean much.

        Also, I haven’t checked this, but I would not be surprised if Long and Thornbury in some form or another will make use of the bits and pieces that are stitched and pieced together in textbooks, as in “by the way, did you notice how we just referred to things that happened yesterday?
        *** There’s quite a lot of stuff in coursebooks that could be useful. It’s the syllabus and the way it’s implemented that’s being criticised.

        I have suffered through, yes, textbooks, where authors try to elicit, make students induce, and go to great length showing rather than telling, in order to avoid instructing students straight forward what the usual thing in English is; I guess, to dodge the charge of teaching what cannot be learned. I have come around to this, sometimes as a learner, I just want to know how the damn thing works, and have re-admitted explicit grammar explanation (just a little).
        *** What’s wrong with answering questions about grammar?

        I think the problem resides neither with teaching nor textbooks (ignoring the money / greed / control side of things for a moment and hoping that the text is somewhat engaging).
        *** I disagree.

        Testing is the problem.
        *** I agree that testing is a big problem.

        Testing assumes that I have a good idea of what students should have learned down to the single loathsome Can-Do statement. That assumption is fatal. I think the testing industry goes against the grain of unpredictable earning.
        *** Testing has a huge influence over ELT, not just in direct washback. Most proficiency tests are deeply flawed as Fulcher, for example, eloquently argues.

        I wish your wrath could be unleashed to smite the CEFR.
        *** I’ve already said how much I’m against CEFR, but I’ll do another post on it, and again, I’ll lean heavily on Fulcher.

        And oh yes, teaching, I was once told by a teacher friend, does not always attract the most inquisitive individuals. In a general survey, many might not even know that Dogme is not a kind of dog food and TBLT does not stand for a nasty health condition.
        *** If that’s the case, then one might ask who benefits from such ignorance and who suffers.

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  6. It’s refreshing as always to find a corner of the ELT blogosphere where criticisms like these are made. I’ve often wondered why not so much the training of CELTA and TESOL cert holders vs. MAs was different but why they seemed to hold fundamentally different ideas of what SLA as an academic pursuit meant.

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    • Thanks very much for this. I’m sure pure greed doesn’t explain why you wrote the book and that your wish to make the best of a bad job was sincere.

      My criticisms of the book are that it’s not very useful for beginners and that it makes no attempt to encourage the views of language learning and teaching which you publicly espouse.

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  7. Want to echo M Makino’s point. Very refreshing to read these criticisms about the CELTA here.

    Without delving into the nitty gritty of the course, one thing that to me seems utterly unfair is that such little account is given to NNS teachers many of whom have completed a degree in teaching prior to the CELTA. This prior knowledge doesn’t seem to count for much next to the ‘Cambridge’ CELTA.
    On a similar note, newly qualified CELTA graduates are considered ready for any and all classroom situations despite their flimsy teaching knowledge. The limited nature of the course ought to be acknowledged more by the schools which employ CELTA graduates.

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  8. Pingback: The pre-service TEFL certificate: 12 things I learned – DYNAMITE ELT

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