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International House Mexico
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In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching (ICELT)


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Frequently Asked Questions ICELT

What does ICELT stand for?

In-Service Certificate in English Language Teaching

What is the main aim of the course?

  • The main aim of ICELT is to develop your knowledge and skills in the following areas.
    Language awareness & language use in the classroom.
    Planning teaching & teaching methods for the classroom.
    Assessment and evaluation.

What are the key features of the ICELT course?

ICELT will give you insight into the principles of effective teaching and a range of skills for teaching English in your teaching context. You will:

  • Gain hands-on teaching practice.
  • Be exposed to a minimum of 150 faceto-face contact hours i.e. input sessions, supervised lesson planning, observation of teaching and feedback, observation of teaching by experienced teachers, & consultation with tutors.
  • Complete written assignments and language tasks.
  • Be assessed on four of your lessons by your course tutors.
  • Have a Cambridge University moderator visit the course to moderate your work.

Who teaches the ICELT course?

The ICELT tutors are highly experienced teachers who have also received ICELT Trainer accreditation through the University of Cambridge. They have completed both the ICELT and Delta qualifications and have many years of both teaching and training experience. Some of them have MAs in TESOL, Teacher Education, Applied Linguistics and ELT. We also have two ICELT Moderators on our team of trainers (Orlando Delgado Mata and Arturo Navarro), and one Delta Assessor (Orlando Delgado Mata, our Director of Teacher Training & Development).

Do I need my school’s agreement to do the ICELT?

As people will be coming to your school to observe your lessons, you will at least need your school’s permission for that. The deadlines for written work are also strict, so make sure that you have the time available at the right points in the course. ICELT courses are often set up specifically for groups of teachers in the same school or education district, but this doesn’t always have to be the case.

My school places real restrictions on how I am allowed to teach. Will I still be able to take/pass the ICELT?

The ICELT is specifically designed to take these kinds of real-life situations into account. However, if there are very few changes that you can make to the way that you teach, there seems little point in doing the course. You need to be open to changing your practice and trying out different approaches. If your school director does not allow you to change syllabus or teach in a different way, you will first need to consider this before taking the course. On the course, you will learnt to adapt your materials and teaching to teach your school syllabus, but you should still adapt and be open to changes.

Can I take the ICELT intensively, like the CELTA?

No. The ICELT is specifically designed to fit in with your normal working life and bases the observations on your normal classes. However, Ih Mexico does run part of the course intensively during a holidays or what we call “modules”. This is normally the case in places out site Mexico City. Also, if there is a group of teacher at your school that would all like to take the course, we could offer modular options to suit your needs and our centre needs. For more information, please contact:

What are the differences between the CELTA and the ICELT?

The main difference is that with the ICELT you are usually observed and graded while teaching your own classes or in your own context, whereas with the CELTA you teach a group of students who are put together for you to practise on. For this reason, the ICELT is always taken part-time, whereas with the CELTA the 4-week intensive version is much more popular. The CELTA is designed to be taken before you start work (although many people take it after they already have some experience) but the ICELT is an in-service course for working teachers (although it can be taken near the beginning of your career). The CELTA is also only about teaching adults, whereas many people who take the ICELT work with children or teenagers. Because they can enter the ICELT with a lower level of English (CEF level C1, as against C2 for the CELTA) and it more closely matches their teaching situations, the ICELT is commonly taken by non-native English speaking teachers. However, this is also a good course for native speaker who want to improve their teaching in specific contexts. The course also has a specific element of language development for the teacher, which CELTA sometimes doesn ́t have at this level. The course also allows you to deepen your theoretical understanding of your practice, while CELTA is mainly practical.

Is the ICELT equivalent to the CELTA?

It is offered by the same exam board (Cambridge ESOL) and based on similar criteria. One factor is the lower level of English needed to enter the ICELT, so if you have a level of IELTS or above (or Cambridge CAE A or CPE) you could do the CELTA instead or mention your level of English on your CV when applying for a job with ICELT. However, the Mexican Ministry of Education in Mexico (SEP) recognizes ICELT as a BA in ELT, and there have been many successful candidates who now have ICELT and BA in ELT through the same course (two qualifications through only one programme, so to speak).

Should I take the ICELT or the CELTA?

If you want to take a qualification before you look for your first job it will have to be the CELTA, as the ICELT is only available for in-service teachers. The ICELT is also not available as an intensive course, and there are many more CELTA courses run every year than ICELT ones. However, if your own classes are very different from those that you will do your teaching practice with on the CELTA (small classes of adults), you may find that the ICELT is better tailored to your needs.

If someone already has a national teaching qualification, why would they need to take the ICELT?

Much of the teaching that happens in the world is not very close to what is presently considered best practice, e.g. includes the over-use of grammar-translation and L1. Taking the ICELT is a chance to be exposed to more up-to-date techniques and to gain a certificate by an internationally- known organisation to prove that you are able to understand and use them.

Can I take the ICELT by distance/online/?

A core part of the ICELT is the four observed and graded lessons, so the course will need to be face-to-face. How the other course content is handled is up to the course providers. IH Mexico offers ICELT through a Blended option, where 30% of the course will be delivered online and thus allow for greater flexibility to course participants.

There aren’t any ICELT courses near me. How can I take the course?

Contact and ask if they would consider running a course. It would help a lot if you already had a group of teachers who wanted to take the course together. If you have a sufficient number of teachers, we may be willing to send a trainer for the length of the course. Alternatively, try another course such as a preparation course for the Cambridge TKT.

Is the ICELT only for people who teach kids?

No, although most people who take the course do teach young learners.

What are the entry requirements for the course?

Cambridge ask for someone to be at least 18, to have 500 hours of teaching experience at the start of the course, to be a practising teacher, and to have a level of English good enough to do the course and teach a range of levels (CEF C1). You need to be teaching learners of at least 8 years old (you cannot do your practices with kindergarden learners).

Is the ICELT also suitable for native speakers of English?

Cambridge specifically mention that it is, but most if not all of the people who take the course are non-native English speaking teachers.

My English isn’t good enough to get on the ICELT course. What should I do?

It is possible to do specific language development courses for teachers, even at out own centre. Your other option is the Cambridge TKT.

Is the course suitable for beginner teachers?

Yes, as long as you are already working and will have taught 500 hours of relevant classes by the start of the course.

How long does the course take?

It is usually between eight and ten months.

Do you need to pass both modules to pass the ICELT?


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