CELTA advice from Giovanni Licata

Giovanni Licata is a CELTA tutor at IH Rome Accademia Britannica and its satellite centres in Italy


How long were you an EFL teacher, and how long have you been a teacher trainer?

I’ve been an EFL teacher since 2006 and became a teacher trainer on CELTA courses in 2012. But teaching is always a part of my life and training takes many forms in my context, as in-house training is a big part of our school.

Did you have a different career before EFL?

I still do! I’m a theater actor and director and have been since 1998. There are lots of similarities between teaching/training and theater direction so I’ve never thought of the two careers as mutually exclusive.

What are your hopes/aspirations for your trainees?

This is a big question! My main hope is that they develop the ability to reflect on their classes and identify strengths and weaknesses of their lesson plans. To me, this is the most important skill to develop on the course as the trainees are with the tutors and their peers only for a limited amount of time. It’s like planting a seed, really. 

When you were an EFL teacher what did you like most, and how do you bring that into the classroom for your trainees?

As a teacher, I mostly enjoy listening to my students’ stories and learning about their lives. You learn so much and come across people from so many different walks of life that teaching is really a great job for self-growth. For this reason, when I train I tend to focus on learner identity as well as teacher identity. I believe that a dialogue between the two is necessary for a successful learning environment.

What advice would you give your trainees for successfully completing the course?

  • Keep your notes tidy!
  • Stick to set deadlines even when you are tempted to ask for extensions.
  • Trust your tutors: they will keep your progress in check throughout the course and give you all the support you need.
  • Reality-checking is essential during the course.

What advice would you give your trainees for an interesting and rewarding career?

Use teaching qualifications as a springboard into whatever comes your way!