The Great DELTA / MA Debate

Pick up a chair of your choice to use as a weapon because TEFLtastic has a debate: DELTA or MA? I’m semi-kidding about the chair (that’s a Jerry Springer reference and chairs don’t work on the web) but discussions about qualifications can get heated.

I’ll clarify my own position first: I have a CELTA (which, on occasion, people seem to love to hate), and while people may make assumptions about my future plans based on my admission that I took the GRE…don’t jump to conclusions! Despite the vast amount of info I share here, I don’t make all my plans public.

In any case, aside from my support for the DELTA because, well, it rhymes real nice with CELTA, I recognize that without any qualification beyond the CELTA, I am not personally in the best position to speak authoritatively on the MA/DELTA debate. The TEFL Logue has featured an interview with a DELTA grad as well as guest posts from an MA holder.

Most people have experience with one or the other – but not both. So when you come across someone who does have experience of both…I’d say they are well worth listening to. And in fact, Alex Case of TEFLtastic fits that bill, plus he has had experience training people with different qualifications – including some with ESOL MA’s. Head on over to TEFLtastic to see what he has to say about all this.

He does point out that there are one-year programs which grant M.A. degrees to teachers and do not include any teaching practice with real students. And that fact would put into better context this recent news article from the Guardian’s Education section, saying, “the University of Ulster’s course remains one of very few MA programmes to provide real-class experience.” It is worth noting that many programs do apparently require experience prior to starting though.

I think it’s reasonable to assume there are benefits to each, of course, and there’s a good argument for gaining the qualification favored where you want to work. However it does seem that the MA often receives automatic credibility more due to name recognition than to an accurate understanding of what it actually involves…which strikes me as not quite right given what I know of the DELTA.