So this is the place where I took my CELTA (previous post here). Like I said before, it's a very intensive course, but it's also the most enjoyable thing I've done in years. So if you're interested in taking the course and don't know which centre to go to, the centre at Thailand is quite a good choice. One reason is its relatively low course fee. Another is that it's in Thailand! And yes, the Thais are really wonderful people
I think there are some things that could be improved such as the limited number of computers available (so bring your own laptop!), but overall, it was a very good experience. Your mileage will vary of course as the teacher trainers aren't always the same. But I think all of them have valuable insights to offer, even if they don't always tell you the same things. If you're thinking of doing a part-time course, don't. Do the full-on, full-time version instead.
Also, how much you get out of the course also depends on the classmates you get. I was lucky that the trainees in this batch were 'above and beyond the call of duty' helpful, gracious, and classy, so I got the chance to learn heaps from them. (Congrats to Alice, Bianca, and Lenore for getting As!) Remember to help one another as much as possible since everyone is in this together. In case you're stressing out so much by the third week that you're about to burst into tears, read Barry's words of wisdom and try to get some perspective...
I think the key to a good time doing the CELTA is to have an open mind, a quick adaptability to new ideas and methodologies that might initially seem so psychobable-esque (I still have my doubts on misguided discovery, arghhh!), an eagerness to critique the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of your lessons, and accepting that it's one month of intensive work, with little time to rest, perhaps only a few hours on Saturday afternoon and night, but that's about it. Of course, those who work faster or more effectively will have much more free time than that.
Also, there should be no distractions, which is why it's probably a good thing to leave your country/ family/friends/spouse behind and do this course in an overseas country. Under no circumstances should you attempt a CELTA romance, please! (How did that happen?!) If you already have some teaching experience under your belt, that's great. If you don't, the course is still very much doable, but before you start the course, you may want to get yourself the Parrot and Harmer books and study them to get the basics first. (They are available at the library at ECC too.) I thought I knew my grammar, but during the course, I realised how little I understood the nuances and subtleties of supposedly 'simple' language points.
So, if you're thinking of doing this course, all the best! But first, you need to get through the pre-interview (chat) task. I took two weeks slowly doing that. You might have an easier time than me. Click the pictures below and you'll get larger ones...
Richard welcomes you to ECC!
The nice view from ECC
My group mates Richard, Lenore, Alice, and Jas.
On the last day, the school held a party for the students. They're really cool... Here's Kathleen, Jas and Andrew.
Bianca in the middle
Gary, Ashleigh, Kirsten
Steven's mobbed by enthusiatic learners of English.
Sylvie and Steven
Laurence, Bianca, Alice
Barry, Lalita, Jas and Dan
This is the A-One Inn, a nice place that costs about 13,000 baht per month for a single bed room. The double bed rooms cost the same amount, but I was too lazy to move. WIFI in the room is available at 100 baht per day.
The view from my window. From right to left, Pisces, Reno Hotel, and the National Stadium BTS station.
This is Soi Kasem San 1, quite a few guesthouses can be found on this Soi. I'll probably still stay at the A-One if I return here in the future.
What I find remarkable about this place is that one usually thinks that Bangkok is a very crowded place, and yet, it feels so quiet in places like Pisces and Sorn's where Lenore and I sometimes had breakfast or dinner. This is Pisces, a nice, quaint place just across the soi from A-One.
Sorn's is 10m away from Pisces. They serve Western breakfast and excellent fried rice and curry. The menu has cute chilli icons that grade the spiciness of things, with one icon meaning 'not for the fainted heart [sic]', and five icons representing 'for the adventurous' or something...
My last breakfast there, this cost 75 baht (SGD3, USD1.8)
Update (!): Here's someone who's just done the CELTA in Vietnam. Fred Shannon talks about his ECC experience last year. Another blog has an upcoming series 'one month of CELTA at International House, London'. Mel did the CELTA in Beijing. More background information from Dave's ESL Cafe: here, here, and here.