logo ELT Concourse: a basic ELT training course
Concourse 2

A basic ELT training course


In an ideal world, everyone would take a recognised initial teacher training course, go on to work in a supportive and professional environment and then take a more advanced course to become a master practitioner.
However, you have probably noticed that the world is not ideal.


The real world

In the real world there are lots of people who need to teach English to people with other first languages.
Some don't have the money, the opportunity or the time to take a properly recognised professional qualification.  If that describes you, and you are serious about being a good teacher, this is the page to start your own training.



This course is free but cannot provide you with a recognised teaching qualification.  Unfortunately, there are also lots of online courses on the web which are not free but which also cannot provide you with a recognised qualification.
There are no short cuts to getting qualified

Do not be tempted to take an unrecognised, on-line training course, whatever its claims.  It will not be recognised by anyone worthwhile and you will waste your money.


You may not use this material for commercial purposes.  The material may be used with fee-paying learners of English but may not be used on fee-paying courses for teachers.  Small excerpts from materials, conventionally attributed, may be used on such courses but wholesale lifting of materials is explicitly forbidden.  There is, of course, no objection at all to providing fee-paying course participants with annotated links to materials anywhere on this site.  Indeed, that is welcomed.

This area of the site is a basic training course.  If you want some advice about how to get properly qualified there is some here.
However, if you follow this course carefully and conscientiously, it will give you some necessary background knowledge and a basic toolbox of classroom techniques.  You can build on that later.
You may like to read an introduction to English Language Teaching if you are completely new to the area.  Click here to open that guide in a new tab.


Two types of knowledge you need to have

Nobody trusts a teacher who doesn't know her subject and nobody likes a teacher who can't explain, practise, demonstrate and even entertain from time to time.  There are two types of knowledge that all teachers need:

  1. Subject knowledge: knowing about what you teach
  2. Procedural knowledge: knowing how to teach it

This course has sections covering both these areas.


Subject knowledge

Your subject is (or will be) English and you need to know something about it.  Make a few notes now about what you think you have to know about the language to be a competent teacher.
Click here when you have done that.


Procedural knowledge

Procedural knowledge refers to the knowing what to do in a classroom and with a learner or group of learners to help them learn.  Think of it as the teacher's toolbox.  Again, it's not a mystery and we can break it down.  Before we do that, make a short list of some things you think you need to know how to do in the classroom.
Think of what your best teachers did and the sorts of roles they took on.
Click here when you have some notes.

A summary of what you need to know

There are 12 areas here.  Now you can design your own course to make you a teacher.  It won't make you an expert but it will allow you to go into a classroom with confidence and, more importantly, it will help you help people to learn.  There is nothing, nothing at all, so rewarding, by the way.

subject knowledge  procedural knowledge 
Click on the area you want to learn about Click on the area you want to learn about


Designing your own course

Enjoy your course.


OK, I've done the course – what's the next step?

There are lots of options (one of which is to get yourself properly qualified by doing a recognised course).
Failing that, on this site you will find:

Cambridge Teaching Knowledge Test This is a complete, online course.  TKT is a qualification recognised by Cambridge English.  It is not a teaching certificate because there is no practical teaching element but there is an examination and it shows you are serious.
A language analysis course This is a 10-unit course which will extend and consolidate what you have learned on this course.  It covers phonology, morphology, lexis, tense, aspect, phrases, clauses, sentences and text structures.  If you have never analysed language carefully, this is to be recommended for any initial training course you may take, such as CELTA (before, during and after a course).
A pre-initial training preparation guide This is a guide (with lots of links to others) designed for people who are going to take either the Cambridge Assessment English CELTA course or the Trinity Certificate in TESOL course and want to hit the ground running with some of the key ideas and concepts already mastered.
The initial plus index This is where you will find guides to background, methodology, pronunciation, language analysis and more.  The guides are intended for people doing, are about to do or have recently done an initial training course such as Cambridge CELTA or the Trinity TESOL Certificate.
The in-service training section If you find any area particularly interesting and you want to know more, there will frequently be more advanced guides in this index.  Following the guides there conscientiously will put you on the road to becoming an expert.
Professional development This is for anyone who wants to develop professionally in the field.  You will find much there to entertain and educate.
An expert teacher So you have a clear idea of where you are heading, you should also read the article explaining (or attempting to) what makes an expert in ELT.
A-Z index This is a long index (which you can search using Ctrl + F) and may be of use to you if you are faced with teaching in an area you do not know much about.  It opens in a new tab.