I personally think that the path of the educated EFLer is a bit messy and confusing. Why? For these reasons:

1)Some people aren’t aware of/can’t attend a CELTA course so do unaccredited TEFL courses but when they try to get work find their certificates aren’t recognised and have to retrain.

2)The CELTA course is intensive but relies a lot on ‘learning on the job’ afterwards.

3)The 2 years minimum between CELTA and DELTA is supposed to provide you with enough experience and knowledge to make you ‘DELTA material’ but is this true in all cases?

4)The DELTA is a lot longer than the CELTA and seriously serious, expensive and time-consuming.

5)The MA can now be done as a PGCE/DIP/MA with some places giving you 3 certificates but others only one.Yet, the PGCE isn’t really a PGCE and the Diploma isn’t really the DELTA.

6)Some unis will let you skip 1 module if you have enough teaching experience but others will let you skip the PGCE if you have the DELTA.

7)People are now saying that the DELTA is equivalent to an MA.

8)You need the DELTA (MA is not always seen as equivalent) to work as a senior teacher/ADOS but the MA to work at uni or sometimes you need both.

My main issue is that the DELTA is not an MA but there is a lot of similarity on the courses so here are my ideas on how to simplify things:

1)Combine the CELTA with some DELTA EP and basic linguistics/teaching/learning methodology but with a very short EA and some elective options. This would make it longer and provide more time to solidify the teacher and make ones who are capable of working in many contexts.

2)Offer a 2 term MA TESOL/TEFL to all CELTA holders covering advanced linguistics, advanced teaching/learning theories, electives and research methods and then a dissertation.

3)Develop a 2/3 year PhD/Doctor of Education in EFL/ESOL which can be designed around the student, covering different elements of EFL like material design or course development  but have more courses and a shorter thesis as in the Dedu (Doctor of Education).

This seems simpler are there is a clear path and making 2) and 3) distance courses would open it up for most teachers. This should also make career development simpler and thus pay.

I also like the idea of post-CELTA development courses. At St Giles in London they used to offer these to bridge the gap between the CELTA and DELTA and I think it’s a great idea to keep developing, meet other teachers, swap ideas and to help keep up-to-date.


14 thoughts on “CELTA, DELTA, MA

  1. Hi Phil,

    Let’s put you in charge then. Done.

    I do like some of your ideas here. I have some doubts about doing certain MAs, as you and I have discussed recently. I would love to follow the pathway you describe here, but I think there are a lot out there who wouldn’t.

    A huge amount of our industry is made up of people who didn’t necessarily mean to become a ELT-er. Just like me. I did the Celta not knowing I would love it so much and stay in it to this level. Therefore, had the Celta been even more time-consuming and serious, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I guess there would be a lot of others like that too. Most of my staffroom is non-career-ELT-ers. They have all done the Celta in order to spend a bit of time in Germany with their partner who they met whilst travelling etc… and who happens to be German. Either that, or they have decided to actually settle in Hamburg with said partner and teaching is the only job they can get because they can’t speak German. I doubt this is unusual. If all schools were to lose all the staff like my colleagues, they wouldn’t be able to do anywhere near as much business and help as many peope learn English. Just because a lot of my colleagues aren’t in it for the long-haul doesn’t mean they aren’t good teachers and aren’t helping people achieve their language learning goals.


    • Hi Jem,

      Glad to see the most popular Edublogger here.

      I have mixed feelings about this ‘non-career-ELT-ers’. Yes, it upsets me when people just do it to make money and some don’t even have the CELTA. The result is often lower pay as bosses can find these people for 15 or less Euros an hour and don’t see the value of someone more qualified. Students too. Afterall, would an everage student pay 50 Euros an hour for a DELTA qual 121 or 15 for a CELTA/unqualified or would they even know the difference?

      One department head said to me that “the French EFL industry is completely reliant on natives and often an EFL qualification of any kind is enough but not compulsory”. Thus, there is now only 1 place for the DELTA and maybe the CELTA. In Paris there are some great people but outside I’ve worked with many who just do it because that’s all they can do. Saying that, an old friend was on 26 thousand Euros after tax and all he had was the CELTA. I also got offered anywhere between 27 and 17 thousand as some schools recognised qualifications/experience and others didn’t.

      I agree with what you say about schools collapsing if bosses didn’t hire these ‘non-careers’ but should they get the same pay as people who see EFL as their career and don’t work part-time as an actor or in a pub? Or should those just do the DELTA asap for the reason my CELTA tutor states being “to show you are serious”??

  2. Hi Phil,

    I think the difference between an MA and the Delta is more the practical element.

    Nobody on my MA has seen me teach (thankfully!), it’s about demonstrating a grasp of the theoretical arguments, being able to structure academic discourse and (in my view) build a solid foundation of knowledge for future practice.

    The Delta is more about demonstrating the ability to link theory and practice – it’s much more about the impact of all your knowledge and reading on what you then do in the classroom, plus your ability to reflect upon your successes and failures and take things forward from there.

    I think the “2 year gap” between CELTA and DELTA is a valid one, and no, it isn’t always enough, but I suspect it’s usually enough to deter people who just aren’t ready – there is also a quite convoluted and extensive application process and not everybody who applies is accepted.

    Great post, love to hear more!

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Practical? Well, some MA’s now have recorded teaching practice for distance students and I remember in London MA EFL students got to practice on ESOL students for free (similar to the CELTA set up) which I thought was great.

      So, do you think all these postgrads who go straight onto MA’s are not as good teachers as those on the DELTAs? I once had an EFL student who I then saw at my uni doing an MA EFL because she’d gone to class to learn ideas for her MA. Maybe there should be a 2+ year experience quota for MAs too then?

      You said:

      The Delta is more about demonstrating the ability to link theory and practice – it’s much more about the impact of all your knowledge and reading on what you then do in the classroom, plus your ability to reflect upon your successes and failures and take things forward from there.

      I think the MA’s have a lot more theory and some activities are very practical like make plans, lessons, materials etc. I recall a lot of online discussion about the weekly topics and how people were using them in their classes. For this reason I think the distance courses are great as you are working and studying. I also remember a few people complaining about the DELTA as they said all they did was sit in groups and talk about their classes then the very few times they observed they chose their best classes and made sure they were prepped. Perhaps a CELTA/PGCE approach is better where there is more practice?


  3. I think there is a lot to be said for simplifying qualifications in ELT – and as you point out, the real issue is not so much the types of qualification, but their recognition when applying for other courses. My DELTA cut me no slack on my MA, for example, but would have got me lots of credits on other programmes. Some programme directors simply aren’t aware that they can give credit for such qualifications!

    • Hi Anthony,

      I don’t know why some courses don’t give you credits for a DELTA, after all, aren’t they saying it’s equivalent to an MA nowadays?

      I agree that some directors just don’t know and that goes for many things if they haven’t been keeping up with the industry. Saying that, I have been surprised by the old materials and reading lists on many TEFL/TESOL courses with books from the 1970’s sometimes being the majority. I raised this with a colleague who argues that “we can’t be expected to redo everything every year, we should find a balance between the old and a bit of new stuff”. Problem here is that things change so quickly and just “redoing the same stuff” for a couple years can make a course already old.

      There’s also the old chestnut of professors making their books compulsory reading. I had that on my BA but her book wasn’t published so we had to photocopy this huge spiral bound copy.

      Also, how much credit should experience get you?

  4. Phil,

    I cornered my assessor for the practical block in my Trinity Dip (same as DELTA) to ask her about doing a future MA. She runs a respected MA course in northern England, so I thought she’d be a good person to ask re the value of an MA. She said that the Dip/DELTA is much better to do than an MA because of the practical element. She added that an MA is probably only/mostly beneficial if you want to go into ELT management.

    Take from that what you will!

    All in all though, I would definitely say that doing the DIp/DELTA makes you an all-round ‘stronger’ teacher. Would you also say that about doing an MA?

    • Hi Bren,

      Cheers for the comment.

      Interesting point. I don’t know about management though as I’ve been told that the DELTA is all that’s initially needed for ADOS/DOS positions by then I think a lot of people do MA’s or EFL management diplomas. Weird though as there’s nothing at all about management on either the DELTA or MA but the former does have the EA course plan I guess. This raises another of my questions ie do you have to be an EFL to become a DOS? I’m a teacher and I don’t have school management skills or good admin skills and I’m terrible at attending lots of meetings about things not directly related to teaching. Course manager/co-ordinator things I have done and enjoyed but in some countries it ends up being 90% admin and only 10% teaching which I am very against. If skills are transferrable then a manager from a company should be able to run a school as long as they are not planning courses. Perhaps having such a person to do all the business end, then course managers to do the planning and then teachers could work.

      I did DELTA module 3 for fun and it was enjoyable but just what I have always done in the past ie plan courses. It was nowhere near as difficult as a dissertation and had no statistical analysis. It was, yes, very practical, so much so that I used some of it for future courses. From what I’ve seen of Module 1 exam it seems like a condensed version of the linguistics courses on an MA with a bit of EFL examiner-style marking thrown in. When I applied for module 3 one school said I should do all 3 modules while another agreed that an MA is more than equivalent to M2/3.

      Better teacher? I’ve always been concerned about M2 as I’ve seen teachers in tears after observations but I don’t think a couple (I don’t know how many there are) is enough. I did PGCE and it was about 50/50 class and TP and the majority of TP’s were observed and some by 2 people. I would say that made me into a teacher. The ‘sink or swim’ situation worked for me but not for others. I think the actual day was when I was thrown in to teach a full afternoon of classes with 30+ students and my tutor as an observer, some with ‘special needs’ and in general very ‘difficult’ as they said to me. I started teaching and students didn’t care and some even began fighting. I thought “well, either I walk out and quit or I shout and take control”, either way I thought I’d fail the observation and course. So, I shouted and hit a table with a stick then broke in half. This stopped everything and brought order. I then explained my rules and took it from there. In the post-obs FB I was actually congratulated and then the same by 3 teachers. Things then got better and I really enjoyed it while the class next door went through a supply teacher every day with some quitting in less than an hour.

      So, MA=better teacher??

      I’d say you really know your stuff afterwards and can do academic research but unless you’ve had VERY practical assignments or been consistent in applying stuff to teaching then it may just be academic and not that practical. I think it definitely makes you more interested in teaching though.

  5. Hi Patrick,

    Cheers for the comment.

    Yes, I’ve seen the immense variety which makes choosing on quite tough not to mention all the options. Glad we agree that distance ones are better. I would have got bored going to class every day and just learning, it was so much better practising stuff and doing the assignments on students. I never understood how MA on-campus students can do the dissertation research if they aren’t teaching.

  6. Hi Phil,

    I just came across something which made me think of this conversation – there’s an interesting article in the ELT journal (Brumfitt & Rossner 1982) called “The Decision Pyramid and teacher training for ELT”. They differentiate between pre-service, in-service and academic courses – which I think we can read as CELTA, DELTA, MA – and look at generally, what each offers in terms of approach, syllabus design, materials construction and classroom decisions.
    Here’s the link – though it kept crashing in Chrome, so I had to save as and reopen it in Acrobat Reader.
    All the best,

    • Thanks David.

      Yes, mine crashed too.

      I agree that the top part is definitely MA level be perhaps DELTA too. It’s also definitely ‘experienced teacher’ territory as they can take a step back and view everything as opposed to a CELTA grad who just does lessons and classroom level stuff.

      As with many courses I recall the MA marking guidelines were:
      Repeat=low marks
      Critique=A lot better
      Have your own opinions built on others=Very good

      Straightaway an experienced teacher is capable of high marks and if you bear that in mind so are you. You’ll also probably get better marks for ‘seeing the whole picture’.

      I do recall making some materials on the CELTA but everything was book-led and so what we did make was related to the book. I think there should be some proper materials dev emphasis. Some MA courses have it as an option and even possibly as a specialism. I also think the DELTA EA should provide more time and emphasis on material development. I’d have loved that.

  7. I’m currently doing the DELTA module 2 (finished M1 in Dec–waiting for the exam results!) and find that it is indeed very helpful because of the observation/feedback element. Personally, it’s been the best career and motivation boost I’ve had in recent years (that and getting involved in TESOL France events 🙂 That being said, I’m not sure what I’m going to get out of it professionally, because at evey place I’ve interviewed at has no idea what it is!

    I don’t know if this is particular to France, but I’ve gone for interviews at four different language schools here in Grenoble (including a Grandes Ecoles business school, where an English woman runs the English department) and since I put that I am doing the DELTA on my CV, they ask what it is. When I start with “Well, you know what the CELTA is…” and they say “No, what’s that?” I find this quite alarming, a bit like a business manager who didn’t know what the MBA is–the CELTA seems like such a benchmark program in the industry and the people are running ELT businesses have no clue what the basic qualification is for their industry!

    I say I don’t know if this unique to France because I can compare with a similar situation in Germany. A girl who is doing the DELTA with me works in Germany, in a language school similar to the ones here in France. However, she makes nearly twice as much as I do and does four hours less in contact hours, plus gets a 300 euro bonus (or maybe raise, not sure) for each DELTA module she completes. Maybe she has just found the rare gem of the trade though–any Germany-based teachers got any input on this?

    When I told my director I wanted to do the DELTA, he just asked “Why?” and not the kind of why that shows he’s interested in knowing more about the program. The kind of why as to say “What’s up your sleeve with wanting to get more qualified? Are you going to ask me for more money? Leave the company? What’s the point?” I guess I don’t need to point out that I’m paying all the expenses out of pocket and using up my vacation (paid and unpaid) to attend the sessions. But again, maybe that’s normal and I’ve just gotten used to France’s usually-cushy system where employees feel they deserve all sorts of extras…

    Getting back on topic, I think this lack of knowledge combined with the strange mistrust of teachers wanting to become more qualified has led to the bottom-level base pay for all, which here in France tends to run from about 10 to 18 euros/hour after taxes. Why pay more for a teacher who has a qualification that you don’t even know about when you can get untrained native speakers for a lower price. Sure, the quality may differ, but I get the feeling that quality is not really an issue…

    So that this post doesn’t turn into one big gripe fest, I guess my questions are:

    -How do we get the people who pay the salaries to care about quality and qualifications?

    -What’s a dedicated teacher to do when it seems that all the language schools in the area won’t pay qualified teachers fairly (compared to what they pay new or unqualified teachers)?

    -Would there be any way of educating directors/Human Resource Managers/DOS about the qualifications out there? Would it change anything?

    • Hi Christina,

      Yes, I teach in France and it is the same.They know CAPES and Agregee but nothing else. There is little TD as there is no point ie you get a job for life and automatically get pay rises. Sad isn’t it?

      My next post is on this topic so I won’t repeat but as more and more EFL teachers are France seem to be bilingual and teach Spanish, French etc our days may be numbered. In my last post nobody else had an MA or DELTA and I think only 1 had a CELTA and I was the lowest paid even though I was the most qualified and experienced. Seems a bit weird to me.

      To change things you’d have to change the government rules which say Unis can only give 100 hrs to each vacataire, and many only pay after 2/3/6 months. You’d also have to tackle the ‘old school boys’ ideology amongst some foreign department bosses where they support these daft rules. There are loads of these people who are Brits running English depts in French schools/unis and so they should be pushing for change. I think they are but it’s hard not to get sucked into the mentality. Most of these people also have Maitre de conf (French Phd) but due to lack of training/TD there are few people in their depts who can replace them, especially as many places only hire PT vacataires.

      The whole system needs changing. More in my next post.

    • Just got this job advert:

      Les candidats tiendront compte des éléments suivants:
      – L’anglais doit être obligatoirement la langue maternelle.
      – Maîtrise de la langue française.
      – Présenter un diplôme attestant d’un niveau équivalent ou supérieur à un Master (équivalent Bac + 4 minimum)
      – Une expérience pédagogique dans l’enseignement supérieur

      No mention of ANY teaching qualifications at all so it means being English/American, speaking French and having worked in a uni is enough. No requests for CELTA, DELTA or years of experience. You could have an MA in anything.

      What’s the result then? Content specialists who teach the degree subject in English or unqualified EFLers who just talk?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s