LSI / IH Portsmouth’s very first CELTA course – a great success!

We’ve been running teaching training courses for teachers for many years at LSI / IH Portsmouth, but this October we ran our very first CELTA course, which is a very exciting step for the school.   The four-week intensive CELTA prepares and qualifies people to teach English as a Foreign Language – you don’t have to have any teaching experience to do it, as the course takes through the principles of teaching from the beginning, as well as giving you classroom teaching experience from day one!

Our GE/Exams Director of Studies, Lewis Richards, was already a qualified CELTA tutor, and we also hired Neil McCutcheon, a published author and highly experienced CELTA trainer (over 100 CELTAs taught so far) to teach the course.   Our trainees were a mix of nationalities – three English trainees, one from Switzerland and one from Romania.

The CELTA course involves teaching groups of volunteer students from the first day, so that the trainees get practical experience of teaching from the start, with the tutors observing and giving feedback every day, in order to help the trainees develop and improve their teaching as the course goes along.   LSI / IH has long-standing links with the refugee community in Portsmouth, and so our volunteer students were all local refugees in need of free lessons.   This made for an amazing mix of nationalities, from countries such as Afghanistan, El Salvador, Sudan, Iraq and Iran.    Our ‘guinea pig’ refugee students got 2 hours a day of free lessons, and our trainees got to practise their teaching on a very enthusiastic and keen group of students!

As a result of the contact with the refugee students during the CELTA course, we were also able to offer three full-time free scholarships to three of the students after the CELTA.  LSI / IH Portsmouth has been offering scholarships to local refugees for over five years, and we are delighted to continue to be able to offer these to three more people.   The scholarships include up to a year of free tuition, depending on the particular needs or plans of the person in question.

After four weeks of hard work, we were delighted that all of our trainees passed the CELTA, and they are now in the process of applying for jobs in the UK or abroad.   A particular highlight of the CELTA course was that Peter Watkins, Principal Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Portsmouth, and co-author of The CELTA course trainee book, kindly gave a brilliant guest input session to the trainees, on reactive teaching.   “I really enjoyed the experience” Peter told us “the course is really well-run, and I’d happy to contribute to future CELTA courses at the school”

Our next full-time CELTA course runs from 10th January to 4th February.   For more information about the course please contact Lewis Richards: