Why further study? Why Delta?

Why further study?

It might seem like a question with an obvious answer, and it partly is: I want to increase my employability and have better career opportunities. It’s more than just this, though.

My current job has had very little active professional development, and I felt like I was stagnating a little in this area. I wanted input. I’m looking for Delta to give me a much desired “jump” in my development as an English language teacher.

There are further, more specific reasons within the scope of professional development, and perhaps easily communicated by quoting a part of my Delta application to IH Bangkok:

Why am I interested in this course? I have ten aims in two areas:

My career progression:

  • To increase employment opportunities in general
  • To be able to expand my role/move into different roles within the ELT industry
  • To identify exactly in which direction I would like to progress my ELT career
  • To foster a deeper passion for ELT

My ELT knowledge and abilities:

  • To clearly identify my strengths and weaknesses as an ELT teacher
  • To fill in my gaps in the understanding of how the English language works
  • To deepen my existing understanding of how the English language works
  • To become familiar with ELT methodology
  • To understand how learners acquire languages
  • To prove that I have reached the Proficient level of English teaching and demonstrate clear potential to move to the Expert level

I know that sounded a tad snooty, but it was part of my official application to IH, after all.

Why Delta?

Well, many people who are thinking of taking Delta are probably aware of the other options out there (a master’s degree in TESOL or the Trinity Diploma in TESOL) and their major differences. The general word on the street is that the Cambridge diploma (the Delta) is more highly regarded than the Trinity one and that a master’s degree is more theoretical and research-based while Delta is more practical. While Delta is considered “just as good” as master’s in the UK and Europe (I believe it’s at the same level as a master’s in the European Education Framework, or whatever it’s called), it’s not as well known or as “sort after” in Asia or North America, as well as in Australia. I’m sure it depends on individual institutions and locations, but I believe that’s the gist of things.

I wanted to do some kind of professional development that would prove and improve my teaching skills and knowledge (I thoroughly read through the Delta handbook, available at Cambridge’s official website), and I think the practical nature of Delta will do this better than a master’s.

I’m from Australia and wanted whatever qualification I went for to be as useful as possible back home since it would be high on my list of places to work. I’m interested in ELT in the university setting and I gather that a master’s degree would be of more use to me.

My issue with a master’s is that there are just too many options! Too many choices of university, location, length, courses/subjects, research. At this point in my life, I’m really not sure what I’d want a master’s degree to be in – maybe not even TESOL! So, master’s for another day (well, year or decade!).

What I really liked is that Delta is standardised, and standardised by Cambridge, of all places. A diploma from Cambridge University – fancy!

And it’s HARD. I’ve heard a 50% fail rate at some centres. I need a challenge and something that’s going to push me to the next level. If I passed, I’d have a sense of achievement the likes of which I have not felt in a long time.

The multiple ways to do Delta

(and which option did I choose?)

So if you’re reading this you may already have some idea of how Delta can be done. There are 3 modules that each standalone and can be done in any order. All 3 can also be done either online or face-to-face (with the exception of attending the exam for Module 1 and the observed teaching and tutoring component of Module 2).

I made a little spreadsheet and compared and contrasted different options, keeping in mind my personal context (current finances, work commitments, and preferred learning environment). You can take a look at this spreadsheet on Google Drive here: Stewart’s Cambridge Delta Option Comparisons.

This was my conclusion from the spreadsheet: “From an education perspective, the IH Bangkok intensive course is clearly the better option – and I get much more value for my money. However, I do lose a substantial amount of salary, which means that The Distance Delta is financially a much better option. Although I can do the Bell online course this year, it’s still at the end of the year, and the course is only 1 month longer than the full-time face-to-face course and 6 month’s less than the other online option, although it doesn’t require a face-to-face orientation like The Distance Delta does.”

So, I chose to do the 8-week, face-to-face course at International House Bangkok.

Basically, my thinking was that there is going to be more ‘educational’ value in doing the course full-time and face-to-face: no work to distract me, enabling 100% focus on the course; doing a lot in a shorter period of time, meaning I will hopefully “connect the dots” more quickly and more deeply; and having peers (face-to-face ones!) that I can observe, work with, and get help from – not to mention the face-to-face trainers! The price of one the online courses was comparable, too!

I also did my CELTA at IH Bangkok, and even know some of the trainers who will be training me on the Delta course (which is a good thing, since I like them!). I’m also familiar with the location, and it’s convenient for me to travel to and from.



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