CELTA before teaching in Taiwan

Hello Everyone,
I am hoping to travel to Taiwan this fall to teach English and study Chinese. However, before that, I want to get certified to teach. I know that this is not required, but feel that it is important and would help me to be a better teacher.

My questions, then, involve where to get certified. (A Masters might come later, but for now I would just like to invest the time and money into a month-long certification program.) Have any of you or your colleagues taken a CELTA or other certification program? Where did you (or they) do it and what was your (their) experience? Would you (they) recommend the particular training center that you (they) went to?

I’m living in the States right now, but would consider going to elsewhere (e.g. Canada, UK, Australia, SE Asia) for a good certification program and center. What centers in these locations have excellent reputations?

All help is greatly appreciated.


Jack, I did the CELTA in Australia prior to coming over. The CELTA centres are overseen by UCLES (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate)and run in accordance to their guidelines. They’re also moderated by an external assessor, so there would be no difference in where you decided to do the course.

I though it was pretty worthwhile, cost me about $A1,600 for the 16 week p/t course (also have full time). If your Uni field wasn’t in Edu, then definately wouldn’t hurt. I got heaps out of it. Some places also have the one aimed at teaching kids, not adults CELTC??? or something.

Cheers Amos.

Thanks for the info. At what university or training center did you get certified? Do you know of other centers in Australia that have a good reputation?


Jack, living in Melbourne I had four choices. I chose Holmesglen TAFE, but RMIT I think offered part time as well. I chose it due to it being closest to my house, that’s all. They other two places were ?? Victoria Uni and Homes College I think. If you’re in the States there must be hundreds of places you can do it at, and I’d doubt the price would vary at all.

It’s pretty intensive, and there’s a entry test that you should carefully fill in before they’ll accept you. Mostly full of grammer crap like 'Identify two past continuous (progressive) sentences in the following text.

Hope this helps some more, Amos.

Thanks for the additional info. Actually, the States have only about a half dozen locations that have CELTA training. I think because the focus is more on teaching immigrants English as a second language rather than teaching it as a foreign language. I’m not exactly sure of the difference , but that’s what I’ve heard. So, most of the stuff I’ve seen has been for graduate degrees (1-2 years). Also, I think that most American universities (and many Americans) take the attitude that they know how best to do things and aren’t interested in other opinions. So, the CELTA is not widely recognized.

Further, those half dozen or so centers that offer the training are no where near where I live (Midwest - Michigan), so I’ll be travelling to get the training regardless. I’m just exploring my options to see where I might go!

Thanks again, Amos.


PS - Anyone else out there have any advice or recommendations? Just send them my way! Thanks.

Oh, one more thing. The centers that offer training here in the States are quite expensive. The cheapest I’ve seen is US$2300 just for the tuition. Other countries are usually between US$1000 - US$1500, some with housing included. Not sure why this is, but maybe because of the lack of students?

So, I keep looking…

Yeah, sounds like you need to travel then. Australian actually has 20 accredited cetres. That US price is pretty steep to say the least. Like I said, I paid $1600, or $1650 in 1999. That’s only around $US 800.

As part of our assessment/training we taught adult migrants coming from a range of different places (South America, Japanese, Mainland Chinese and the odd Middle Eastern). Beginner, intermediate and advanced level are all covered.

Check out NZ, it’s about the only country in the world where the dollar is weaker than ours.

Thanks, Amos, for the suggestion about New Zealand. I hadn’t thought of that, but will check their centers out. I’m also going to email the US centers and just ask them why they are soooo expensive. If I get an interesting response (or any response), I’ll post it here.

Does the Moderator have any thoughts on this? CELTA, that is. I’ve seen some of your other posts regarding teacher education and it looks like you’ve taken the MA (or MS, I forgotten) route. However, I’m interested in your opinion, too. Perhaps you’ve had colleagues who have done the CELTA?

Waiting with great anticipation,

It looks like your CELTA training was solid AND a great value - lots of different levels, different teaching styles, different types of students… You’ve given me a lot of extra info to use while checking out certain centers.
Thanks for the great insight!

I took a 4 week course in Thailand through TEFL. Really enjoyed it and learned a great deal. I found the most useful info through Daves ESL cafe online. If you haven’t already checked it out, it’s a great place to start.

Hi Dawn,
Thanks for the info and your opinions about TEFL (TEFL International, I assume). Yes, I’ve checked out Dave’s ESL cafe. It’s got a lot of good info, but has been tough at times to get specific questions answered.

Anyway, would you recommend TEFL International to others considering training? Do you think that your certification is as recognized as a CELTA? TEFL definitely has a better price, esp. considering accommodation is included in the price.

Also, are you teaching in Taiwan now? How do you like it? Where do you teach and what are your hours like? Teaching kids or adults or both?

Any additional help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,

Hi there Guys !

Jie Kie - i’m also intending to teach in Taiwan whilst buffing up my Mandarin (being an ABC - Aussie Born Chinese).

With regards to the CELTA -I’m in Sydney, Australia and there are two major institutions (ACE-Australian College of English & International House) which offer the Cambridge Uni CELTA (previously known as RSA) course. Course fees are now ~A$2700 for either 4 week intensive or 12 week part-time.

Read “intensive” as v.little social life but pure work for a month - on advice from a friend who has completed it. Very practical course with accreditations towards TESOL further qualifications if intending to do so. First day of class - the instructor sends you up in front of a class already! ACE has a Very Good reputation - they really impressed me with their tight interviews.

If you would like more information, feel free to drop me a line.

Any tips on where we can learn Mandarin in Taiwan? ie what reliable institutions, sites, costs?

Cheerz all!

Does anybody who’e done CELTA feel they have recouped the cost involved, and if so how long did it take ?

Looks like my original post was lost , so here it is again as best as I can remember it…

Hi Al,
Thanks for the info on the Sydney CELTA center. It is greatly appreciated. Are you yourself now (or soon to be) taking the certification there? Any more info on how good the training is?

Also, I have heard similarly - that taking the CELTA means all work and no play, but thanks for the reminder.

You mentioned that you’ve got more info. If this is information that isn’t included on their website, then I’d love to have it. Please send it my way. Otherwise, I’ll just check out their website. Thanks!

As for places to study Mandarin in Taiwan, I’m currently most interested in the Taipei Language Institute. The reason is that I’ve heard that TLI’s course schedule is more flexible than the universities, which I feel will be very important while I work teaching English. I’ve also heard good things about Taiwan University (TaiDa) and the Mandarin Training Center at the National Taiwan Normal University (ShiDa). In fact, my wife (who is also an ABC - though American-Born) has several family members who went to ShiDa. However, that was about 15 years ago. One more thing, I know that there has been a lot of discussion about this on the “Learning Chinese” forum on this site. I suggest checking that out for more information.

Thanks again for the info, Al. If everything goes well, perhaps I’ll run into you in Taiwan in a couple of months.

Lost this post, too.

Amos (and anyone else interested),
In one of my previous posts, I said that I would post answers to the question “Why is the cost of tuition at US CELTA centers so much higher that at centers in other countries?” Well, I actually got an answer! Just one though. Anyway, this is what the International House of San Diego said:

quote[quote]Regarding cost, the prices charged are based on a lot of things (such as providing the tutors with air travel and accommodation to the US).[/quote] Perhaps they don't get enough business, so they have to always fly their trainers in? [img]images/smiles/icon_confused.gif[/img] They can't afford to keep one on full-time, and so have to always pay for air fare and hotel rooms? [img]images/smiles/icon_confused.gif[/img] I'm not sure how insightful this answer is, but I wanted to post it, for whatever it's worth... [img]images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img] Jack

I’m starting my CELTA course on Monday. I’ll let y’all know what I think, if anyone’s interested ?

Hexuan, there’s also this link from segue.

So, the first week is over. And I am knackered. Two things strike me immediately: this will scare the pants off you if you’ve never taught before (real students in your teaching practice on Day 3, continual assessment from the word “Go”); some teaching guidance materials I’ve used in Taiwanese bushibans (esp ELSI) that I thought were all over-theoretical mumbo jumbo are beginning to make sense.

If a trainee gets to the end of this and fufills all the criteria set out in the CELTA sillybus, I guess he would have a pretty good idea what he was doing and why it was being done. “Aims” ? “Objectives” ? What, other than just getting through the lesson ? That’s novel !

I picked up a few tricks and good tips on how to teach when I was in Taiwan from a number of helpful colleagues, but a lot of them I never wrote down, never practiced, or somehow forgot. I am finding it very useful to be instructed in them, and be asessed on how effectively I am using them. Less likely to forget that way. The most useful thing I have learnt this week (and the most obvious I suppose) is that no matter what methodology or procedure you employ, the single most important thing is selecting your aims for the learners and ensuring they are achieved. The focus is not on “how” it is done, but whether it is achieved. I had hitherto believed there was a magic formula.

What did other CELTA candidates out there think of the course ?

Hexuan, I thing you’re right on the money so far. I did it before I came to Taiwan, and found it to be well worth the money and more. I was in a group of 12, then we were split into 3’s for the demo rounds. We had to teach immigrants from everywhere, Honk Kong, Mainland China, Thailand, Latin American Countries, Japan and Cambodia. My only advice is to cover all the criterea set out in the guidelines, because if you don’t cover 1, whether it be the eleciting of vocab, wrap up or whatever, they’ll fail you.

I also found that I was the only student studying the course who wasn’t already a chalky! And a lot of them were really set in their ways. A lot of this “well I’ve been teaching for 20years, and have never done it this way, I just don’t agree” blah, blah, blah, you probably have the same bunch. They’ll be the one’s who’ll fail the course. I think the pass rate is about 80%.

Your teaching in Taiwan will be a good advantage, especially when you start the assignments that focus on diffulties encountered by 2nd language learners. I think there were three assignments. They’re pretty tough too.

Great course mate, but it won’t get any easier after week 1. Good luck.

On my course only myself and another have taught English before. Pretty much as you descibe it. 12 trainees, students from everywhere (never met a Libyan before - have met three now!)

When I looked at the syllabus, I just thought “Surely they can’t expect us to do all that !?”

But I guess they do. Crikey ! Right, I’m off to do Assignment 1.