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Choosing the right methodology book for your CELTA course

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Choosing the right methodology book for your CELTA course

One of the questions prospective CELTA trainees ask most often is which books they should buy. We've already written about which grammar books to buy here. We also recommend that all CELTA trainees have access to a methodology book during their course. There are a number of books written specifically for trainee teachers and new teachers on courses like CELTA and these are the three recommended most often.

Teach EFL book cover

Teach Yourself: Teach EFL by David Riddell, available here

This is the most straightforward book you can get describing English teaching methods. It gives clear and simple explanations of how we can approach different lesson types. It's written in very comprehensible language and is the book we recommend to novices who have never had any training in teaching in the past. While it is very readable, it is somewhat more limited than other English teaching methodology books because it deliberately leaves out some situations, approaches and lesson types in order to keep things simple.

How to Teach English book cover

How to Teach English by Jeremy Harmer, available here

Jeremy Harmer has written many books about English teaching and is rightly revered as an expert in the English teaching community. His book is the most neutral and academic of the books listed here. He is a little more wordy than either Riddell or Scrivener. If you enjoy research into methodology and you'd like to learn about the relationship between how languages are learned and what we can do as teachers in the classroom, then this is a good beginners guide.

Learning Teaching book cover

Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener, available here

Learning Teaching is the longest and most detailed of the books recommended here. It goes into more scenarios and more lesson types than Riddell or Harmer. It's an entertaining read - Scrivener's personality comes through quite clearly in the book, and this sometimes means that some of the teaching ideas he discusses are idiosyncratic. It's probably the most widely read introduction to English teaching methods, and so you'll almost certainly come across a reference to it during your CELTA course.

To summarise, all of these books are good choices for someone starting a CELTA course, but you need to choose based on what you think will suit your personal needs best - if you need a short and simple guide to the basics, then choose Riddell; if you need a more thorough, theoretical one, then it's Harmer; and finally, if you need an engaging and widely-read, but lengthy one, choose Scrivener.

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