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Professional development for teachers? the options in Poland?


MartyMc
13 Jun 2010 #1
I have been teaching English in Poland now for 18months. I enjoy my job, it is secure and I get paid well.

I have time free during the week and weekends and I want to look for some professional development courses for teachers. Does anybody know of anything like that near Wrocław?

I have a BA Economics and I am considering studying for my MA in English here in Wro. Are there any other courses or training schools for language teachers? I want to keep improving my skills and certificates are important pieces if evidence for that in Poland.

I considered doing the DELTA but to be honest I didn't think much of my CELTA course so I'm not prepared to spend the money.

Any alternatives?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,845
13 Jun 2010 #2
it is secure

Where on earth are you working that is so secure? With the proposal to stick VAT onto education, nothing is secure in relation to schools at the minute. I know at least two schools have closed in Poznan already because of this, and at least one more is considering closing down this summer instead of risking financial disaster if they do bring in VAT.

I have a BA Economics and I am considering studying for my MA in English here in Wro.

It really isn't worth anything - unless you get it from the best State university in the city. Don't even bother with a private university one - it's worthless.

I considered doing the DELTA but to be honest I didn't think much of my CELTA course so I'm not prepared to spend the money.

The DELTA is the de facto school management qualification - it won't get you more money in Poland (okay, so it depends how much you earn at the minute) - but it will open doors if you want to consider management jobs. It'll also be very useful abroad - for instance, summer camps in the UK think highly of the DELTA.
OP MartyMc
13 Jun 2010 #3
Where on earth are you working that is so secure? With the proposal to stick VAT onto education, nothing is secure in relation to schools at the minute. I know at least two schools have closed in Poznan already because of this, and at least one more is considering closing down this summer instead of risking financial disaster if they do bring in VAT.

Let me understand this, you think that when they bring the VAT increase in that people will magically want to stop learninng English?

It is demand that aggregates all market forces and there certainly is enough demand for language training in Poland, Language knowledge is one of Poland's critical success factors (HP and IBM both consder it so). Besides, A lot of my teaching is to corporate clients who aren't too concentrated on the bottom line since language training is a relatively small expenditure that brings tangible rewards.

I am considering my MA at either Wrocław Universytet or in Poznan,

But the question remains, what are the options for professional development?
scottie1113 7 | 898
13 Jun 2010 #4
The DELTA is the de facto school management qualification - it won't get you more money in Poland (okay, so it depends how much you earn at the minute) - but it will open doors if you want to consider management jobs. It'll also be very useful abroad - for instance, summer camps in the UK think highly of the DELTA.

True. I have a CELTA and will never do DELTA. I have no desire to be in a management position in Poland or anywhere else. Been there, done that, got the t shirt-and I'm not kidding about the t-shirt. I'd rather be where the rubber hits the road-in the classroom. I find it infinitely more satisfying, but that's just me.

[quote=MartyMc]I am considering studying for my MA in English here in Wro.

Why? It's worthless.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,845
14 Jun 2010 #5
Let me understand this, you think that when they bring the VAT increase in that people will magically want to stop learninng English?

When course costs either have to go up by 22% or teachers salaries have to go down by a similar amount - then you're going to see a reduction in the amount of people learning English. Schools doing mostly corporate training will be fine - but it always has been an unreliable job. I know someone who was teaching at a company that was absolutely happy with him, loved him, the school loved him - everything was perfect. Until of course, the big cheeses from Germany turned up and told them to get cheaper teachers. Not an uncommon story, especially with more expensive schools.

Or we could talk about the mid-sized Polish company (around 100 employees) who were very happy with a school where I used to work. All of the employees had classes, all was fine and well - until of course, the director felt that the school wasn't providing value for money. Bye bye contract.

Or maybe - we could talk about how 22% on courses means that schools will be starting to aggressively go after corporate clients as they won't be bothered about VAT being charged on courses. End result = lower wages for native corporate teachers as everyone will want a piece of the action.

It is demand that aggregates all market forces and there certainly is enough demand for language training in Poland, Language knowledge is one of Poland's critical success factors (HP and IBM both consder it so). Besides, A lot of my teaching is to corporate clients who aren't too concentrated on the bottom line since language training is a relatively small expenditure that brings tangible rewards.

Corporate training is very whimsical though - just because your school has nice contracts at the minute doesn't mean that they will have them tomorrow. I certainly wouldn't call corporate teaching stable - where will you be if your school hasn't got long term agreements in place and a competitor takes their classes? The smart teacher knows that the industry isn't stable at all - for instance, I was negotiating to take over classes from a well known school here, simply because I could supply myself for a few zloty cheaper than the school could supply a native. Of course - it didn't hurt that I knew someone who knew the director of the company ;)

I am considering my MA at either Wrocław Universytet or in Poznan,

There are some MA's at UAM that are worthwhile, but again - why bother with a Polish MA when you can obtain a far more credible British MA by distance learning that's actually worth something on the world scale?

But the question remains, what are the options for professional development?

Very little, really. From what I know, most people do either an MA through distance learning from a British university (set price, doesn't mention "distance" on the certificate) or the DELTA if they want to expand further. There are sometimes workshops organised by the publishers, but they're pretty dire - I haven't seen one in Poznan worth going to yet.

Really, professional development is either an MA through a reputable place (and not a diploma factory, like the vast majority of Polish universities) or the DELTA.
asa
1 Sep 2011 #6
Try the British Council

Try the British Council. Look at their website - google british council teaching english - there's a lot of free teacher development stuff there.
teflcat 5 | 1,032
1 Sep 2011 #7
I have to disagree with the opinion voiced by a couple of posters that an MA in English Philology from a Polish university is worthless. If you mean that it isn't as highly valued as one from, e.g. a British uni, then you may have a point, but in terms of education, the two-year course is much more intensive than people might think. I teach MA students at a state uni and I can tell you that the course is no joke. At the end of it students not only have a thorough education in three branches of linguistics (synchronic, diachronic and phonology), but they will also have studied teaching methodology, literature, academic writing, grammar at a deep level, and several other subjects. I doubt that MA programmes from UK uni's offer anything as comprehensive.

I agree that almost all private uni's offer worthless degrees.

DELTA is an interesting but exhausting course and well worth doing if you want to get into EFL management or senior teaching positions. UK summer schools usually require DELTA or MA for DOS positions, which can be very lucrative.

As for publisher-organised seminars, they are very hit and miss, and frankly I haven't bothered for years.

So come on guys, tell me why a Polish MA is a waste of time.
Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
1 Sep 2011 #8
So come on guys, tell me why a Polish MA is a waste of time.

If time is money then how much money does one stand to gain from their time investment in a Polish Philology MA? I really don't know the answer but I wonder how much practical classroom usage there is to be garnered from so much theory. You tell me if having a "a thorough education in three branches of linguistics (synchronic, diachronic and phonology" is going to financially set one apart from those who have a celta or delta.

I did a pronunciation activity at a high school a couple years ago. It was a group of about 40 or more and I was there as a guest to do a presentation and basically keep a group of strangers entertained. I followed up the presentation with a pronunciation activity- all of these teachers with MA's were in shock as it seemed they genuinely had no idea how to run such a simple activity. Students doing their MA's regularly "steal" the materials I bring to class- there's a lot of bull sh*t in any arts degree so I am skeptical...
teflcat 5 | 1,032
1 Sep 2011 #9
Students doing their MA's regularly "steal" the materials I bring to class

Good for them. All good teachers are magpies. I'm pleased if someone asks for a copy of my materials to use in their classes.

You tell me if having a "a thorough education in three branches of linguistics (synchronic, diachronic and phonology" is going to financially set one apart from those who have a celta or delta.

My comments about MA concerned knowledge gained, not money. If you want to make a lot of money, don't teach.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,845
1 Sep 2011 #10
If you mean that it isn't as highly valued as one from, e.g. a British uni, then you may have a point, but in terms of education, the two-year course is much more intensive than people might think.

That's what I meant - it's just not valued at all outside of Poland. It's not a bad idea to do one if you're already in Poland and planning a long stay here, but it's not a good idea if you want to use it elsewhere.

Actually - I'd say that their strength (deep and demanding) is also their drawback (too much theory). It's a double edged sword - but I wouldn't dispute the content of them. The problem is with the integrity of Polish universities - and the relevance of what's actually being taught. I know one guy, for instance, who failed a student for being a lazy, know-nothing arsehole. He was then ordered to pass him by his boss - and as it was an oral exam, he had no choice.

My comments about MA concerned knowledge gained, not money. If you want to make a lot of money, don't teach.

I'd say in terms of knowledge gained, a Polish MA will give you a very, very detailed understanding of the theory.

Mind you, one thing about Poland - if you need an MA, and don't care where you get it from, a weekend MA in English from a crap private university isn't a bad bet.
Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
1 Sep 2011 #11
My comments about MA concerned knowledge gained

Then I'd argue there's precious little knowledge that one needs to enroll in an MA Philology program to attain that can't be attained for much less a cost elsewhere and independantly (i.e. if time is money).

If you want to make a lot of money, don't teach

I never suggested that's the aim but point taken nonetheless.


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