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    #1

    CELTA: how useful it is for someone who has experience in teaching linguistics

    Dear teachers/experts/members,

    I am thinking of doing a CELTA certification course in the US, however, I need some experts' opinion before I proceed.

    My background: I have a PhD in Linguistics from a recognized US university. As part of the graduate program, I have had 4+ years of experience in teaching linguistics to university undergraduates. I am now geographically restricted due to family reasons, and I am looking to teach English (as linguistics-related jobs are not that plenty, you know!). Community college ESL jobs require a TESOL/CELTA certificate for someone who has a linguistics degree. Ultimately/for future, I'll prefer any linguistics-related jobs (that's where my forte is!), but in the meantime, ESL jobs will keep me employed (but who knows!).
    I am not an English native speaker, but I have advanced knowledge of the language.

    My questions:
    (1) For someone like me who wants to get an entry to community college ESL jobs, how useful will CELTA be? Is CELTA *required* for such jobs or will my teaching experience substitute such requirement?
    (2) Is it worth the money, time, and effort?
    (3) With a PhD in linguistics, am I overqualified for ESL jobs? Does my being a non-native speaker affect the prospect?

    I'll really appreciate your suggestions. These threads indicate there are some really experienced teachers out there, and I'll look forward to their wise knowledge.

    Best,
    S. P.

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: CELTA: how useful it is for someone who has experience in teaching linguistics

    Welcome to the forum, sagipibi.
    Quote Originally Posted by sagipibi View Post
    (1) For someone like me who wants to get an entry to community college ESL jobs, how useful will CELTA be? Is CELTA *required* for such jobs or will my teaching experience substitute such requirement?
    You answered your own question when you wrote earlier "Community college ESL jobs require a TESOL/CELTA certificate for someone who has a linguistics degree".

    Your knowledge of linguistics and your classroom experience may well help make parts of your CELTA course easier, but, if I were still hiring teachers of EFL/ESOL, I always would take a person with a PhD in Nuclear Physic (plus CELTA or Trinity Dip TESOL), an MA in Women's Studies (plus CELTA or Trinity Dip TESOL) or a BA in Catering (plus CELTA or Trinity Dip TESOL) over a PhD in Linguistics with no CELTA, Trinity Cert or equivalent.

    (2) Is it worth the money, time, and effort?
    It is if you want a job where such qualifications are required.

    (3) With a PhD in linguistics, am I overqualified for ESL jobs?
    No.

    Does my being a non-native speaker affect the prospect?
    It may do. A great deal depends on how fluent your spoken English is, and how strong your Bangla accent is.While you would probably have no trouble in finding a job in Asia, you might have problems in finding one in Europe or North America. You would probably need an IELTS score of at least 7 (or its equivalent) to stand a real chance.

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    #3

    Re: CELTA: how useful it is for someone who has experience in teaching linguistics

    Thank you very much, Piscean. Please see below for comments/questions on appropriate parts of the thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Welcome to the forum, sagipibi. You answered your own question when you wrote earlier "Community college ESL jobs require a TESOL/CELTA certificate for someone who has a linguistics degree".

    Your knowledge of linguistics and your classroom experience may well help make parts of your CELTA course easier, but, if I were still hiring teachers of EFL/ESOL, I always would take a person with a PhD in Nuclear Physic (plus CELTA or Trinity Dip TESOL), an MA in Women's Studies (plus CELTA or Trinity Dip TESOL) or a BA in Catering (plus CELTA or Trinity Dip TESOL) over a PhD in Linguistics with no CELTA, Trinity Cert or equivalent.
    --> If a PhD in Linguistics had CELTA, would they still fare as well as the PhDs in the disciplines you mentioned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    It is if you want a job where such qualifications are required.


    No.
    --> that's great to know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    It may do. A great deal depends on how fluent your spoken English is, and how strong your Bangla accent is.While you would probably have no trouble in finding a job in Asia, you might have problems in finding one in Europe or North America. You would probably need an IELTS score of at least 7 (or its equivalent) to stand a real chance.
    --> Is it only based on the fluency of spoken English, then I assure you that my Bangla does not interfere with my English. Does TOEFL count? I had a nearly-perfect TOEFL score when I applied for PhD in the US, but I believe they expire.

    Thanks again, I appreciate it.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: CELTA: how useful it is for someone who has experience in teaching linguistics

    Quote Originally Posted by sagipibi View Post

    If a PhD in Linguistics had CELTA, would they still fare as well as the PhDs in the disciplines you mentioned?

    Yes. My point was that, for teaching English as a second or other language, A CELTA or Trinity Cert is more relevant than a PhD in Linguistics with no TEFL qualification.

    Does TOEFL count? I had a nearly-perfect TOEFL score when I applied for PhD in the US, but I believe they expire.

    It will probably depend on how long ago you took TOEFL, and on whether it contained a Speaking component.
    See above.

    I am far from an authority on what qualifications individual schools and colleges require. I suggest you ask institutions in which you are interested in working what they require.
    Last edited by Piscean; 15-Aug-2017 at 08:42. Reason: typo

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    #5

    Re: CELTA: how useful it is for someone who has experience in teaching linguistics

    TOEFL counts.

    I agree with Piscean about the CELTA- it opens doors and some remain closed without it, which makes it worth the money and time for me. It remains the standard qualification, so getting it will stand you in good stead. Being a non-native speaker may affect things, but I know non-native speakers working in English-speaking countries in university ESL courses, so it is not a block, and I think the numbers of non-native teachers are growing in most areas of ESL.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: CELTA: how useful it is for someone who has experience in teaching linguistics

    A slight tangent. When I was training teachers a few years ago, some of my best trainees were non-native speakers. The only difficulties most of them experienced in finding work in countries where English was the native language were to do with work and residence permits. The fact that they were not native speakers of English was rarely a problem.

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    #7

    Thumbs up Re: CELTA: how useful it is for someone who has experience in teaching linguistics

    Thank you very much, Piscean and Tdol. I appreciate it.

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    #8

    Re: CELTA: how useful it is for someone who has experience in teaching linguistics

    I am new to this forum (my own background is briefly as follows: Ph. D. in Linguistics and other advanced degrees in some other related areas, former university professor with a focus in ESL teacher training), and I want to add some critical comments on what others have said before.

    1. Sagipibi, I am escited to meet a colleague in the field. Regarding your question: Depending on your focus in Linguistics, you may need further teacher training im case you want to teach English as a Foreign/Second Language. At some unis, ESL teacher training is regarded to be field of Applied Linguistics with a concentration in TESOL. With your previous training in Linguistics, you could probably transfer credits and concentrate on Language Pedagogy issues if you haven't studied them before.

    2. University-based ESL teacher training, by its very nature, is training in (not only) Applied Linguistics plus a number of Language Pedagogy-related courses such as Didactics, Language Acquisition, Methodology, Classroom Management and similar. You will certainly notice that ESL methodology in its various approaches is closely linked to developments in Descriptive Linguistics (the systematic description of languages) and their various "schools of thought". For example, the current standard of communicative language teaching approach and its Methodology is tied to Pragmalinguistics, especially the works on Speech Acts by Searle et al. The outdated Grammar-Translation Method, on the other hand, is closely linked to what linguists consider "traditional grammar" . a descriptive approach that uses Latin and Classical Greek Grammar as its descriptive framework. With this connection in mind, you will both sides of the coin and will make you a real expert in a certain area of ESL Methodology.

    3. On the issue of CELTA: This is a professional qualification recognised by many schools and well-known. The focus is on teaching ESL to adults, and it is largely based on communicative language teaching as the current standard in the ESL industry. To enroll, you will not need to be a graduate from uni in any subject area (as far as I know),.and the program is an intensive crash course of some four weeks or so. It will qualify you to teach at training centres and other places. There are also some problems:
    a. A crash course like this must be somewhat superficial in content coverage given the time limit of four works or so. Do you really believe you can accomplish to study all this you need to know when it takes other people in other programs significantly longer than 4 weeks?
    b. Many people graduating from a CELTA course do not know enough about methodologies other than communicative to meet the different needs of different learner types in class. That is, their methodological training is relatively limited with a mere concentration on communicative language teaching. Learner needs may require, however, a bit more than that - for example, the explananation of underlying grammar rules that many graduates from a CELTA will find difficult to explain to second language learners of English.
    c. Many of the CELTA graduates, native speakers themselves, still make basic mistakes/errors in their written English like confusing "its" and "it's". Non-native English speakers like you and me are probably much more "grammar conscious" than certain relatively poorly trained native speakers in this respect because as non-native speakers we are aware of the underlying rules:
    (i) "its" is a possessive pronoun preceeding an noun referring to an inanimate object in English (like his, her etc. in other cases).
    (ii) "it's" is a contraction of "it is" and cannot occur in places of English sentences where "its" as a possessive pronoun would be appropriate.
    Another issue may be explaining/teaching the correct usage of English articles like "the" and/or "a/an". Learners of English whose first language does not have articles face tremendous difficulties with this grammar point. My own first language does not have articles either. So, how could I teach a simple rule to male it easier for learners to use the correct articles? I could go on and on.....-- what I am saying is that the CELTA curriculum fails to address all this and that this is highly problematic.
    (I might write a brierf article on my own research on this topic in the future).

    In summary, if I can give a recommendation at all, and keeping in mind the things pointed out above,.I would say this: an alternative ti CELTA may be a Master degree program in TESOL which covers all the things CELTA fails to include. Before retirement, I was in charge of a college network hiring native ESL teachers. If the applicant had a CELTA but not at least a Master degree in a relevant subject ares like English, s/he did not meet the basic requiremenst for the position. If the applicant had no uni degree but a CELTA, it was the same. An applicant with an advanced degree in TESOL, on the other hand. met the minimum requirements for appointment at a college at tertiary level with a reasonable salary and other social benefits and a reasonable weekly teaching load of 12 classes per week (45 minutes each). Thus, not a job at the bottom of the barrel that you find more than enough in ESlL. In the future, please concentrate on the latter, and good luck in pursuing a rewarding and a fruitful career that would make a difference to your students!

    H.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 20-Sep-2017 at 16:45. Reason: Removed unnecessary quote

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    #9

    Re: CELTA: how useful it is for someone who has experience in teaching linguistics

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunia View Post
    I am new to this forum (my own background is briefly as follows: Ph. D. in Linguistics and other advanced degrees in some other related areas, former university professor with a focus in ESL teacher training), and I want to add some critical comments on what others have said before.

    1. Sagipibi, I am escited to meet a colleague in the field. Regarding your question: Depending on your focus in Linguistics, you may need further teacher training im case you want to teach English as a Foreign/Second Language. At some unis, ESL teacher training is regarded to be missing word field of Applied Linguistics with a concentration in TESOL. With your previous training in Linguistics, you could probably transfer credits and concentrate on Language Pedagogy issues if you haven't studied them before.

    2. University-based ESL teacher training, by its very nature, is training in (not only) Applied Linguistics plus a number of Language Pedagogy-related courses such as Didactics, Language Acquisition, Methodology, Classroom Management and similar. You will certainly notice that ESL methodology in its various approaches is closely linked to developments in Descriptive Linguistics (the systematic description of languages) and their various "schools of thought". For example, the current standard of communicative language teaching approach and its Methodology is tied to Pragmalinguistics, especially the works on Speech Acts by Searle et al. The outdated Grammar-Translation Method, on the other hand, is closely linked to what linguists consider "traditional grammar" . a descriptive approach that uses Latin and Classical Greek Grammar as its descriptive framework. With this connection in mind, you will missing word both sides of the coin and will make you a real expert in a certain area of ESL Methodology.

    3. On the issue of CELTA: This is a professional qualification recognised by many schools and well-known. The focus is on teaching ESL to adults, and it is largely based on communicative language teaching as the current standard in the ESL industry. To enroll, you will not need to be a graduate from uni in any subject area (as far as I know),.and the program is an intensive crash course of some four weeks or so. It will qualify you to teach at training centres and other places. There are also some problems:
    a. A crash course like this must be somewhat superficial in content coverage given the time limit of four works or so. Do you really believe you can accomplish to study all this you need to know when it takes other people in other programs significantly longer than 4 weeks?
    b. Many people graduating from a CELTA course do not know enough about methodologies other than communicative to meet the different needs of different learner types in class. That is, their methodological training is relatively limited with a mere concentration on communicative language teaching. Learner needs may require, however, a bit more than that - for example, the explananation of underlying grammar rules that many graduates from a CELTA will find difficult to explain to second language learners of English.
    c. Many of the CELTA graduates, native speakers themselves, still make basic mistakes/errors in their written English like confusing "its" and "it's". Non-native English speakers like you and me are probably much more "grammar conscious" than certain relatively poorly trained native speakers in this respect because as non-native speakers we are aware of the underlying rules:
    (i) "its" is a possessive pronoun preceeding an noun referring to an inanimate object in English (like his, her etc. in other cases).
    (ii) "it's" is a contraction of "it is" and cannot occur in places of English sentences where "its" as a possessive pronoun would be appropriate.
    Another issue may be explaining/teaching the correct usage of English articles like "the" and/or "a/an". Learners of English whose first language does not have articles face tremendous difficulties with this grammar point. My own first language does not have articles either. So, how could I teach a simple rule to male it easier for learners to use the correct articles? I could go on and on.....-- what I am saying is that the CELTA curriculum fails to address all this and that this is highly problematic.
    (I might write a brierf article on my own research on this topic in the future).

    In summary, if I can give a recommendation at all, and keeping in mind the things pointed out above,.I would say this: an alternative ti CELTA may be a Master degree program in TESOL which covers all the things CELTA fails to include. Before retirement, I was in charge of a college network hiring native ESL teachers. If the applicant had a CELTA but not at least a Master degree in a relevant subject ares like English, s/he did not meet the basic requiremenst for the position. If the applicant had no uni degree but a CELTA, it was the same. An applicant with an advanced degree in TESOL, on the other hand. met the minimum requirements for appointment at a college at tertiary level with a reasonable salary and other social benefits and a reasonable weekly teaching load of 12 classes per week (45 minutes each). Thus, not a job at the bottom of the barrel that you find more than enough in ESlL. In the future, please concentrate on the latter, and good luck in pursuing a rewarding and a fruitful career that would make a difference to your students!

    H.
    Hunia, you will wish to use the Edit Post facility to correct the spelling and punctuation errors marked above, and add the relevant missing words. Remember to click Save once you've made the changes.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #10

    Re: CELTA: how useful it is for someone who has experience in teaching linguistics

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Hunia, you will wish to use the Edit Post facility to correct the spelling and punctuation errors marked above, and add the relevant missing words. Remember to click Save once you've made the changes.
    Thanks for pointing it out. I am visually a bit impaired, but I will do my best.

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