Demand-High Teaching

I first heard about Demand-High Teaching in 2013 thanks to my colleague Emma Fiander. However, I didn’t read up about it until very recently. For those of you who aren’t in the know, the term was coined by Adrian Underhill and Jim Scrivener and was until quite recently ‘the next big thing’ in ELT. You can read up on the entire history of the DHT movement, from conception to first results, here:

What struck me most while reading about Demand-High Teaching is that the approach echoes a lot of what I learnt during Delta.

Delta is a very individualised path of development, in that you identify your strengths and weaknesses right at the beginning: the actions you take from thereon in should reflect developments in your weaknesses. In my particular case, I can say I finished Delta having improved significantly on the following areas:

  1. Not just simply ‘covering’ materials and following the coursebook but deciding on what learners do and don’t need, developing lessons around those needs and delving into coursebooks where the materials aid you in achieving the lesson aims
  1. Teaching language overtly: getting your hands dirty with language forms and not simply hoping the learners will ‘absorb it’
  1. Creating lessons which are enjoyable from their engagement, not from a façade of fun and games

Amazingly, while reading an #ELTChat summary on Demand-High Teaching, I came across precisely these three things, among others of course:

So, that led me to the following questions:

  1. Is Demand-High Teaching perhaps less to do with Learning and more to do with Teaching?
  2. In Demand-High, do you demand ‘more’ from the learner or from the teacher?
  3. Is Demand-High actually something new or is it just another expression of Delta level teaching?

Like most things in ELT, there probably aren’t any Yes/No answers to these questions. Nonetheless, I would like to hear your opinion and take on these questions, so feel free to leave a comment below.

8 thoughts on “Demand-High Teaching

  1. I second that. I was thinking the same thing the other day too – Scriviner and Underhill manage to succinctly communicate some of the main ideas that I got out of Delta Mod2.


  2. I am surprised at the negative reaction to Demand High and a rather unprovoked outpouring of vitriol against it over the past couple of weeks – I’m catching up on the debate only now. Having said that, I was never taken by the idea because my initial reaction (similar to that of some other representatives of the Lexical camp) was: “Where is Language in the Demand High manifesto?” Now reading your post I realise that there must be references to language in DH after all and I should revisit the topic and visit the links you mention.


  3. I don’t remember much about Demand High, will have to read up on it now that you’ve inspired me with your post:) Jim Scrivener’s talk on Demand High at IH DOS conference 2013 was quite charming, have you seen it?


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