ILSC CELTA Students in Class

Full-Time On-Campus CELTA Program:
Course Information

Course Structure

The CELTA program is a full-time 4-week program and runs Monday to Friday from 8.45 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. In addition to the time spent in the school, trainees will spend a lot of their evenings and weekends working on lesson planning and the written assignments.

There is a total of 140 contact hours with an additional 80-100 hours of work to be done outside the daily timetable.

Course Content

The CELTA program covers the syllabus set by Cambridge ESOL.

The course enables candidates to:

  • acquire essential subject knowledge and familiarity with the principles of effective teaching
  • acquire a range of practical skills for teaching English to adult learners
  • demonstrate their ability to apply their learning in a real teaching context
Candidates who complete the course successfully can begin working in a variety of teaching contexts around the world. (from the Cambridge ESOL CELTA Syllabus Guidelines)

Syllabus overview:

  • Learners and teachers and the teaching and learning context
  • Language analysis and awareness
  • Language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing
  • Planning and resources for different teaching contexts
  • Developing teaching skills and professionalism
Components of the course:
  • Input
  • 6 hours of observed and assessed teaching practice for each trainee
  • Feedback on teaching practice
  • Supervised lesson planning
  • Tutorial support and assistance
  • Peer observation
  • 6 hours observation of experienced language teachers at ILSC

Teaching Practicum

By the end of the course you will have taught two groups of real language students - elementary and intermediate - for a total of six hours. These are groups of volunteer students who are mostly recent immigrants to Quebec. They know that they are being taught by training teachers and are very cooperative, motivated students to teach.

Teaching practice is a valuable opportunity to put into practice all the ideas that you are learning throughout the course. It takes place every afternoon starting on the first day of the course. When you are not teaching yourself, you will be observing your peers teach and completing observation tasks so that you can provide each other with useful and constructive feedback. There is time for group lesson planning every day when your trainer will help you plan your lessons. After your teaching there is also oral feedback from your peers and both oral and written feedback from your trainer. Your lessons are graded as being "Standard", "Above Standard" or "Below Stage" relative to the stage of the course.

Many trainees find the teaching practice to be the most valuable part of the course as it lets them see that in four short – if intensive! – weeks they are ready to plan and teach enjoyable, meaningful lessons to their students.


Candidates are assessed continuously during the course and there is no final examination. An external assessor, who is appointed by Cambridge ESOL, moderates each course, ensuring the standardization of the CELTA program internationally.

The main components to the grading are:

  • The teaching practice – candidates teach a total of six hours with classes at different levels of ability. The assessment is based on the candidate's overall performance at the end of the six hours.
  • The written assignments – there are four written assignments. These are marked by the course tutors and moderated by the external assessor.
  • Professional development – being a reliable, professional member of the CELTA group.
  • Attendance – you are required to attend 100% of the course.
It is possible to fail the course, although the CELTA program does have a very low fail rate. This is partly because there is a selection process to be accepted onto the course, and also because we offer a lot of support and guidance – tutorials, feedback, etc. – once the course has started.

A Typical Day

Here is what a typical day on the CELTA program looks like:

8.45 – 10.00 Input 1 The input sessions in the morning are when we teach you, presenting you with practical ideas and techniques for planning and delivering different types of lessons. We also teach you using the methods that we want you to adopt in your own teaching, i.e. a very student-centered approach with lots of pair or group work and self-discovery activities. In the morning the whole group of trainees is together.
10.00 – 10.15 Break
10.15 – 11.30 Input 2
11.30 – 12.30 Lunch There is an excellent café on the ground floor of the school with reasonably priced, healthy food including vegetarian options and of course lots of other options in Old Montreal.
12.30 – 1.15 Feedback Feedback is when the trainer leads a discussion on the lessons that were taught the previous day. Trainees discuss their own lessons and their colleagues then provide practical and constructive feedback on the lessons.
1.15- 1.30 Break
1.30 – 2.30 Lesson planning Together with your tutor and your colleagues you start discussing and planning for the lessons that you will be teaching in the coming days. At the beginning of the course you are given a lot of guidance; gradually less as the course proceeds.
2.30 – 2.45 Break
2.45 – 4.45 Teaching practice Teaching practice is your chance to try out all of the ideas and techniques that you have been presented with in the input sessions in the mornings. You will be teaching real students, while your colleagues and tutor observe in order to be able to give you feedback the following day.

Recommended Books

There is not a prescribed textbook for the CELTA program.

We strongly recommend accessing one or two of the following books. The first two are aimed to help with both the pre-course task and language research during the program. The third is for practical teaching tips during the course.


'Teaching English Grammar', Jim Scrivener

'Teaching English Grammar'

'Practical English Usage', Michael Swan, Oxford University Press

'Practical English Usage', Michael Swan, Oxford University Press

'How to Teach English', Jeremy Harmer, Longman UK

'How to Teach English', Jeremy Harmer, Longman UK