Professional Development for English Teachers in Taiwan Part 1

Part One: Qualifications and Courses


by Gerhard Erasmus and Hall Houston


Why Professional Development?


Professional development in education is something that gets mixed reactions from many teachers. Some teachers enjoy the challenge of learning something new about their chosen field, while others find it tedious and meaningless. It is often difficult to structure what and how we learn and it can be very time consuming. For the sake of self-satisfaction and commitment to one’s career, professional development is definitely worth pursuing for teachers in Taiwan, regardless of where you teach.


While pursuing any professional development activity, it’s important to remember that no presentation, publication, or certificate will guarantee a dream job. Some employers in Taiwan don’t know the difference between a CELTA and a DELTA. However, a track record of effort towards improving one’s teaching can demonstrate your seriousness about teaching and your commitment towards improving your teaching skills, setting you apart from other teachers.


It can also increase your confidence in the classroom. If you understand the theory and principles behind your teaching, you will feel more relaxed in the classroom. You will be able to answer students’ questions more easily, and be more prepared to handle unexpected situations.


The objective of this article is primarily to raise awareness of professional development opportunities available to teachers in Taiwan and how to access them. We are going to list a number of directions you can pursue your own professional development and provide links that will give you more information.

In this first part of the article, we will list several qualifications and courses that one can take for professional development in Taiwan. In the second part, we will provide information about self-directed learning (joining an organization, reading, viewing webinars) and professional development through actions (writing, presenting, training, examining, joining a PLN).



This first section introduces several qualifications that are available in Taiwan. It also describes a number of options for online courses.


Cambridge English Language Assessment offers a number of different qualifications, most of which are available in Taiwan.


TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) is a test that assesses your knowledge of teaching English. This is ideal for teachers who have taught for a few years, but have nothing to show for their experience. At present, there are three core modules (1, 2, and 3), in addition to a few specialist modules. These tests are fairly inexpensive to take, and can help you get a solid grasp of basic concepts of teaching English, including lesson planning, using supplementary materials, motivation, and many other topics. Cambridge University Press offers several test prep books for the modules. You can download FREE sample tests and preparation materials from Cambridge here:


Three organizations in Taiwan offer TKT:


YMCA Education Center


Caves Educational Training Taipei


Hwa-Kang Hsin-Ye Foundation


CELTA (Certificate for English Language Teachers of Adults) is a course that involves a teaching practicum. It involves a lot of reading and studying as well as observed teaching. The assessment is based on written assignments and teaching practice. The cost is a bit higher than TKT, but CELTA is a qualification well recognized all over the world. If you are considering teaching elsewhere or would like to become a speaking examiner, this is a step in the right direction. Although not currently available in Taiwan, there is a strong possibility that it will be available in Taiwan in 2016 or 2017.


DELTA (Diploma for English Language Teachers of Adults) is a diploma program that has 3 modules. It involves a lot of intensive study and is very challenging, but will give you a very comprehensive knowledge of English language teaching. Module 1 involves a test that can be taken at either YMCA or The British Council (See details below). Module 2 is the practical and most costly module and module 3 is an extended course design or management assignment. There are online courses available for each module.

A further benefit of the Delta is that there are quite a few universities offering credit for Delta when studying towards an MA.


These two organizations offer the DELTA module 1 exam:


YMCA Education Center


British Council Taipei


These organizations allow you to study for the DELTA while in Taiwan:



Module 1, 2 and 3 can be done without leaving Taiwan, but you’ll need to find a Regional Delta Tutor (RDT)


The Distance Delta

Module 1 and 3 can be done without leaving Taiwan, but you’ll need to leave for Module 2 or switch to another provider.


ITI in Instanbul

Module 1 and 3 can be done without leaving Taiwan, but you’ll need to leave for Module 2 or switch to another provider.



Module 1 and 3 can be done without leaving Taiwan, but you’ll need to leave for Module 2 or switch to another provider.

They also offer an MA which allow for Delta credits.


For more information about these qualifications, visit Cambridge’s website at:


TESOL Taiwan offers an Advanced TESOL Course:




Several organizations have courses which can be done online. Take a look at the sites below, and see if there is a course that appeals to you.


Cambridge English Teacher


IH Online Training Courses


ELT Advantage


Oxford TEFL Teacher Development Courses


If you are interested in teaching with technology, The Consultants-E offers several certificate programs that add to one’s knowledge of online teaching.


The Consultants-E


Courses from these and other online suppliers differ slightly in content, but often allows for a variety of options and courses specifically designed to the needs of an ever-changing ELT market.


There is also the option of accessing MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) for study purposes. The two most common ones offering education type programs are:


Future Learn




Both these two sites offer free programs as well as paid programs and cover a variety of specialisms and subjects.


Click here for Part 2 of Professional Development


Gerhard Erasmus has an MSc Ed TEFL, a PGCE and a Cambridge Delta. He is currently the Director of Studies at a language centre in Taipei, Taiwan and actively involved in teacher training, from entry level qualifications to tutoring on the Cambridge Delta. He has authored a Young Learners series and consulted on various curriculum and training design projects. He also co-authored the ebook Brainstorming with Hall Houston. His main area of interest in ELT is teacher development including continuous professional development.


Hall Houston is a language teacher in the Department of Applied English at Kainan University in Taoyuan, Taiwan. He has a Master’s degree in Foreign Language Education from The University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of several books about language teaching, including Provoking Thought and The ELT Daily Journal. His practical articles have been published in English Teaching Professional, EFL Magazine, IH Journal, and One Stop English. His professional interests include second language listening, materials development, creativity and critical thinking. He is a Cambridge English teacher trainer and presenter.

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