Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

The latest IH Journal is now available, featuring the Developing Teachers column by yours truly. This time the topic is whether the Delta is really worth it, answering a question I’ve been asked many times.

The journal features articles by IH staff from around the world, covering topics as diverse as IH Madrid’s class book competition for young learners, a potted history of the English language and even an article in Russian about equivalents of English language teaching terminology. The contents page is here, and the whole journal is here. You can also read past issues of the journal.

IH Journal issue 37 front cover



Comments on: "IH Journal Summer 2015 – Is Delta really worth it?" (5)

  1. johngall said:

    The thing about the DELTA that bugs me is that teachers have to fork out three grand in order to uncritically digest and regurgitate material that’s prescribed by Tefl hacks. It’s a gargantuan money spinner for Cambridge and the other bodies affiliated with. Most Teachers I know who’ve done it, advise against being critically-minded, as the DELTA doesn’t promote creative learning or critical thought, but instead promotes complete subservience to tiresome communicative teaching methodologies.

    To be honest,it shouldn’t take a DELTA course to encourage teachers to think outside the box and read excellent books by Micheal Lewis, the Willis’ s, Scott Thornbury’z a-z blog etc. The fact that it does, illustrates the paucity of imagination in the teaching industry. We talk about learner autonomy; what about teacher autonomy and self-directed language development.

    Apart from wanting to go into administration, which is often full of deadbeats who don’t like or can’t teach English, The DELTA seems to be a compete waste of time and money in an marketized industry soley interested in profiteering.


    • Hi John (or Patrick?),
      Thanks for the comment. Although I agree about some points in your comment, such as the fact that it shouldn’t take Delta to make you access other sources of professional development, it can be difficult to know where to start if you’re not working in an environment where CPD is valued and there are more experienced professionals who can offer you advice. Teacher autonomy is a wonderful idea, but is difficult to achieve with such varied standards for language schools around the world.
      I do feel you’re being quite harsh on people in administration. It’s true that there are people in admin who probably shouldn’t be there, but there are also many others who care about what they are doing, but don’t necessarily have access to CPD or support either.
      However difficult I found it at the time (and it wasn’t an enjoyable experience for me), ultimately I found Delta useful, and it has led me to critically appraise my teaching much more than I was doing previously. It wasn’t about ‘digesting and regurgitating’ to anywhere near the extent you mention. It opened a lot of doors for me too. Was it worth the £2300 I paid for it? Perhaps not the way I did it, but I know many others (most of whom did it face-to-face) who said it was the best 6-8 weeks of their teaching careers. It’s also nowhere near the money spinner it might seem – in my experience of the schools I’ve tutored at, the difference between CELTA and Delta breaking even and making a profit is very slim. It may look like a lot of money, but there are a lot of costs involved too, not least the cost of the tutors themselves.
      Apologies for taking so long to reply to this comment – it got lost in my inbox.


  2. I did the old version, the RSA Diploma back in the mid 90s and was incredibly lucky to have a young Jim Scrivener as my tutor – someone the person above would probably dismiss as a ‘TEFL hack’. Jim was, and still is, a tremendously positive influence on my career and to this day I feel privileged to have had him as a tutor.

    I did two months face to face at IH Hastings and it really did change my life. Yes it was hard work but I believe that most things that are really meaningful in life usually are hard work. Taking the Dip led me to both management and teacher training and I eventually decided that I prefered the latter though I have nothing against anyone who prefers the former.

    All professions have standards that have to be met and need to be examined and accredited. This is what makes them professions rather than just jobs.

    I recommend the DELTA to anyone who wants to teach for any length of time or who wants to develop as a teacher, regardless of whether they are interested in teacher training or management.


  3. Sorry but the comment about lack of critical thought made me laugh out loud. One of the key criteria for getting higher grades in written assignments is showing critical understanding of what you’ve read. It’s actually explicitly written into the assessment criteria for Module 3 too. We’re always encouraging teachers on our courses to do so.


  4. There will always be people who do a course and then slag it – not a new thing. I also had a good little laugh, Damien, as a course provider who supposedly rakes it in, exploits the candidates and has a wonderful lifestyle… yes… hm…

    Some of my Delta trainees now make a lot more than I do. Sandy mentioned the high cost of running these courses and she is absolutely right – it’s hard to break even with these courses.

    John, I am so sorry your experience of the course was not what I get from most people who have done it.

    But you are completely wrong in thinking that a teacher can autonomously reach the level of knowledge, reflection and, most especially, classroom polish in anything under 10 or more years.

    You pay for the course to save TIME and hundreds of poor students who are paying YOU, expecting you to be already trained and accomplished, not floundering and discovering and experimenting on your own.

    But I am guessing you don’t think that matters – the students are the punters and they are there to be used by a teacher while they autonomously try to make sense of the literature and improve themselves on the cheap but not feeling any guilt at all at charging their learners.

    That doesn’t sound right to me.


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