Face-to-Face CELTA Courses: What safety measures have been put in place?
Face-to-face CELTA courses are beginning to restart with many countries easing out of lockdown and more language schools are reopening. But will it be the same as before?
Over the last few months, the CELTA has successfully been offered online to ensure the safety of students. With schools now reopening their doors, measures have been put in place to for students, teachers and schools to safely deliver their courses with specific rules and guidelines in place.
We have spoken with a few of our partners who have already or are currently offering CELTA Face-to-Face classes. They have kindly offered CELTA candidate feedback and given us an insight into what the new face-to-face CELTA class will be like.
Lyon CELTA Tutor Neil McCutcheon on the Face-to-Face CELTA
“We implemented social distancing in the classroom. That meant that there is a maximum number of students in some cases in the smaller classrooms. Sometimes it was six that was the maximum, which is slightly different than the usual Cambridge averages. Mostly, we have been teaching in a larger classroom. Currently the group size in 10. In Lyon, the group size is 12 and we were able to keep everyone at least a metre a part with the trainees well away from each other.”
“There is sanitiser -- at least one bottle in every classroom. Face masks were compulsory in Lyon.
In regards to communal areas...
“For trainees, there was a lunch room which was used. Again, desks were a meter a part to sit down. You can sit in one chair and leave another one empty.”
On the overall experience…
“To be honest, people were very relaxed about it in Lyon. Everyone liked the course, feedback was good. We followed the rules, we felt relaxed, we felt comfortable, and we weren’t really afraid of the virus. It’s important that you take the rules seriously.
There was a little bit of a problem to begin with because the masks as rapport was not as good as usual as I can’t see their reaction and they can’t see my face through my face mask. After a while, the visors were effective, especially with modelling pronunciation and such.”
Palermo's Director of Studies, Jennifer Holden, on their Face-to-Face CELTA
On implementing social distancing and safety measures in the school...
“We spoke at length to our health and safety consultant and prepared well to ensure a safe learning environment for all. One of the key elements was to arrange the classrooms appropriately. In Italy, students need to be in a well-ventilated place, one meter away from each other, meaning we can’t use the traditional horseshoe classroom set up. However, the safety of everyone is obviously our number one priority. Whilst our classrooms are large, we’ve also had to reduce the number of teaching practice students in the class, so we now have a maximum of 8 students in each practice class.
“We’re careful with the use of space too, for example, instead of carrying out traditional free-form mingles; we have been encouraging trainees to use a ‘speed dating’ or 'talking wall' approach to ensure social distancing is maintained at all times.”
On students getting around communal areas and public facilities...
“There are signs up reminding us all to maintain distance and sanitize/ wash our hands regularly, we’ve placed bottles of hand sanitizer at pertinent spots around the school. (In compliance with the law, all participants must sign a form stating they understand and will comply with all safety procedures in place)
“Some changes were made as soon as the school was allowed to reopen to the public including Perspex screens at reception and the re-organisation of our IT Lab to maintain distancing.
“Small changes like students having their own copies of course books and teachers having their own set of board pens also keep the risk of using shared resources lower. We have also looked at more ways to go paper-free – so hopefully we’re a little more environmentally friendly too.
“We are lucky to have an excellent maintenance team who keep the school cleaned and sanitized at regular spots throughout the day. We also have a patio area which allows us to keep physically distanced, yet remain social!”
The general feedback on the face to face course and the safety measures?
“Our fantastic Teaching Practice students are delighted to be back in the classroom, as are our trainers. We have been really impressed by our trainees too; taking on the CELTA is always a challenge, and choosing to do so in these unprecedented times means we have a motivated, determined cohort who are making great strides with their teaching.
“It goes without saying that the devastating impact of Coronavirus was felt heavily in Italy and our hearts go out to all those affected by it both here and globally. This means that we all have no doubt about how important it is to follow safety precautions and protect each other. Whether trainees, students, tutors or support staff, everyone is working together to continue moving forward in the safest possible way for all.”
For more information about the CELTA Face to face course in Palermo, see dates and fees on the CELTA Palermo Page.
Valencia CELTA Tutor Séamas Campbell on the Face-to-Face CELTA
On class sizes…
We have reduced the number of students per room from 12 to 5 or 6 depending on the size of the classroom - we have had to curtail some of the more dynamic activities (like milling for example) and instead increased the number of simple pair tasks to avoid close contact
On masks and hand sanitiser…
"We ask students, candidates as well as admin and teaching staff to wear masks at all times on entering the school . We have a small supply of masks available in case someone forgets to bring it - but in practice this hasn't happened as yet."
"We have hand sanitiser at the door for compulsory use . Furthermore, we make hand sanitizer available also in each classroom - if the teacher asks students to do an activity with cards for example we tell students to use the sanitizer provided both before and afterwards to ensure safety."
On students using communal areas…
"As the weather is good, we encourage candidates to eat outside on the patio where there is more space for all , and being outdoors reduces the viral load. We have also staggered the starting and finishing times of classes to avoid students and candidates crossing in corridors as much as possible."
On Candidate Feedback…
"It is true there are times that we feel we are in a hospital rather than a school with all the facemasks and hand sanitizer. However, on the plus side candidates have said they feel all the measures provided have added to their overall safety . In week one it was all new and challenging but it is amazing how quickly everyone has got accustomed to the new normal!"
For more information about the CELTA Face to face course in Valencia, see dates and fees on the CELTA Valencia page.
Kiev CELTA Tutor Kateryna Protsenko on the Face-to-Face CELTA
On Class Sizes...
We normally have 8-10 TP students in our classrooms (plus 1 CELTA candidate teaching, plus 5 more candidates and one trainer observing the lesson). We limited the number of students in TP groups to 5 so that we could still meet the Cambridge requirement.
In terms of social distancing, we have also removed additional chairs and we tend to place the chairs where we want the students to sit, and keep reminding them about social distancing. Luckily, we have big tables in our classrooms, so we can arrange islands and make sure there is enough distance (1.5m) between the students.
On Sanitizer and Masks...
We have sanitizers in the classrooms and ask students to clean their hands when they come in. We also ask the teachers to clean the desks using wet tissues and sanitizers after every 45-minute lessons. We also air the classrooms after every 45-minute lesson.
There are masks available for all students and teachers. They all have their own and usually come prepared, but in case they forget their masks, or they get broken, we give them masks free of charge of course, and we ask them to keep the masks on at all times.
On the experience...
The feedback has been very positive. We have candidates who want to take courses in the face-to-face format only, and they were happy to follow all the rules. Both students and candidates have been very responsible and have been following our rules.
Face-to-face CELTA courses are now being offered at the Kiev CELTA centre.
Face-to-Face CELTA Courses: The New Normal
Cambridge has been closely monitoring the situation and all courses that are now going ahead have been carefully thought out, ensuring your safety is in mind. For those who prefer a face to face course, schools are slowly reopening and it is important to follow the guidelines. With face masks (or visors!) at hand, you can start planning your teacher training and get CELTA qualified.
If you wish to apply for a CELTA course, please see our online application form and a member of the StudyCELTA team will be in touch.