I posted this on a thread on Dave’s ESL cafe a while back (pre MA and other TT exp.), in response to a (somewhat common) query into how the courses differ:
“I’ve taken both courses. I took the CELTA in 2005 and the SIT TESOL in 2007. I can say from personal experience that the courses are generally ‘equivalent’ in terms of structure, content, and the overall focus on a core cluster of teaching practice methods and techniques.
The main difference in my experience was the ‘intensity factor’: in this regard I found the CELTA to be superior – that is, if you’re looking for a course that is extremely challenging, really grinding for most. Keep in mind, however, that the CELTA was my first course…the SIT TESOL, for me, was bound to feel comparatively easy as it was a re-tread, essentially. I’d been though the mill a bit. Other trainees on the SIT TESOL had a very similar challenging experience I had had on the CELTA two years before.
Trying to ‘look from above’ at this, as much as possible anyway…I personally found the SIT TESOL to be a biiiiit more ‘laid back’, even while keeping trainees essentially as busy and focused as the CELTA did. Perhaps it’s a cultural thing: SIT is a very progressive Peace Corps school in Brattleboro, Vermont and Cambridge is…well, it’s Cambridge!
So I’d recommend either to you. From my perspective – having taken both of these, sat in for awhile on another local course, and talked with at least 100 people about their various TEFL courses over the years…you’re golden either way, these courses are the cream of the crop if you’re at all ‘serious’ about getting started in ELT.”
Once I’m in the thick of it as a new CELTA trainer (provided I make it through basic training!) perhaps I’ll have a different tune to play. Will I realize how many more fundamental differences there actually are between the two courses? I took the CELTA in 2005 and the SIT TESOL in 2007. Have the two courses since moved closer together in some ways, perhaps? Does the more explicit emphasis on Reflective Practice and Dewey and the Experiential Learning Cycle on the SIT TESOL get a bit more play on the CELTA nowadays? Has the SIT TESOL laid off of ‘learning styles’ somewhat? For that matter, I suppose all this all leads to: how much have either really changed at all? For these questions I have no solid answers at this moment (I’d assume they have shifted and flexed in certain ways in response to developments in the field, etc). Just a newbie’s wonderings…perhaps obviously chomping at the bit!
Will all be revealed during secret and esoteric CELTA trainer initiations? 😉
Maybe I just need a subscription to http://www.tttjournal.co.uk/ 🙂