17 Jun The quality of a CELTA course at IH Bucharest: 7 points summing up the trainees’ feedback
“Thank you for this amazing experience, this was one of the best teacher training courses I’ve attended, by far. :)”
(Laura, January 2021 CELTA graduate at IH Bucharest)
Author: Ilinca Stroe
The Teacher Training Centre of International House Bucharest took off in May 2019. Almost two years, eight CELTA courses and a pandemic-imposed quarantine later, we would like to let the world know how we are doing, from our clients’ own perspective. So we decided, having gained progressively more experience, to have a round of feedback after our seventh (part-time, online) CELTA course, in January 2021. And here are the (native and non-native) trainees’ marks, thoughts and impressions, in figures, words, and those smileys which really signal you’re on the right track.
- Overall experience of the course: 88% excellent, 12% good
The trainees were happy that all their “pre-course aims were achieved” and pleasantly surprised that the overall course experience was above their expectations. Although “intense” and “stressful”, the course had “superb” content which was “well paced” and “well thought out” – with some of the trainees expressing satisfaction at the high degree of language awareness that they acquired (“I learned many aspects of teaching English that I didn’t even know existed”), while others appreciated the opportunity to use methods taught in input promptly for teaching practice. All in all, the course experience was considered “enriching”.
- Pre-course experience (information, application process, interview): 100% excellent
The respondents felt well prepared before the start of the course, due to the fact that clear instructions and information had been given to them, and things had been explained properly. Also, the trainees appreciated the fact that the application process included clear, transparent procedures which were followed professionally.
- Input sessions: 75% excellent, 25% good
The interviewees found the input sessions very useful and informative, but a bit too lengthy or, quite the opposite, not long enough for the amount of information they conveyed. The sessions not only prepared the trainees properly for the upcoming lessons, but they also motivated them about the teaching practice. Their topics were “extremely useful and clearly related to [the trainees’] teaching development and practice”, while the extra materials recommended during input helped the trainees do further practice on their own. Again, the word used to describe the overall input experience was “enriching”.
- Feedback on assignments: 100% excellent
Assignments on a CELTA course require a great deal of work, hence the course tutor’s feedback about them should really be commensurate with the trainee’s effort. That was, it seems, exactly what our CELTA graduates appreciated about the feedback they received on their written assignments: well set up, “focused”, “objective and constructive”, the course tutors’ feedback “identified the areas to be improved”, made some “fair points” and was “delivered in a nice manner”.
- Support and feedback for teaching practice: 100% excellent
It’s commonplace: you can improve during the CELTA teaching practice only if you get, as you go along, relevant, helpful and kind feedback. Your tutor’s feedback can really make or break your performance on the course – a fact our tutors seem well aware of, since their feedback was found to help the trainees “a lot in planning [their] lessons” and helped them overcome their weaknesses. Valuable, “thorough, concise, well thought out and very useful”, the feedback was an “honest assessment” of the trainees’ work and taught them how to “grow professionally”. Most importantly, it was “delivered in various ways and in a nice, friendly and smooth manner.” One of the trainees mentioned specifically that she “received guidance and support throughout the whole course, which genuinely helped [her] to improve [her] teaching practice.”
- Course resources on the Google Drive: 88% excellent, 12% good
Resources on a CELTA course are particularly useful at the time of drafting assignments and planning lessons. While during face-to-face CELTAs the trainees often find themselves competing over a limited number of copies of resources in the centre’s library, online CELTAs provide resources in electronic format. Our trainees thought the PDF format was all right for e-books originally published like that, but not very easy to navigate in the case of scanned documents. However, most of the digital resources provided were found to help “immensely in [the] preparation of lessons and assignments”, were “easy to access” and “overall very useful”.
- Experience with the course tutors: 88% excellent, 12% good
What the trainees appreciated about their tutors was the “great communication, involvement and overall support” they provided. The tutors were found to be “dedicated, reliable”, “straightforward” when giving feedback, but also “friendly” – with a very balanced approach, on the whole. Specifically, they helped “throughout the course with lesson plans, assignments and answers to questions”, and were “responsive, as well as very patient”, “always there when you needed some advice or guidance”, having “a very warm approach” and being “very professional at the same time”. In just two words: very “kind” and “helpful”.
So what did the trainees get from their CELTA with IH Bucharest? How exactly did it benefit them, and how did it feel? “I am traumatized but very grateful for this experience”, joked one of the interviewees, adding a smiley to that. The challenging course, according to another graduate, “helped me get out of my comfort zone and become a bit more conscientious”. It was like “an Unexpected Journey” on which, “apart from learning a lot of new things, it felt as if I was in an ongoing knowledge management exercise, i.e. making me aware of what I knew or did in my teaching”. In conclusion, is the IH Bucharest CELTA worth doing? “Definitely”, declares one of the graduates. Not just as a valuable training experience, but also as a valuable life experience.
International House Bucharest runs regular CELTA and DELTA courses for teachers of English at its Teacher Training Centre, as well as training events online, onsite or at partner locations. To sign up for a course or event, contact [email protected].