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Sunday, February 18, 2007

International House

What! International House I imagine you're thinking. This time The Inspector has gone too far. Calm down, relax. I'm not blacklisting International House London, whose courses (albeit expensive)I have no gripe with (for the moment). I'm blacklisting the International House franchise project which lets any old Tom Dick Harry or Carlos, Pierre or Norbert start up and use, or rather abuse, the International House name. Shame on you International House. If you want to expand, do it honourably and manage the overseas scam "International House" schools to the same standard you would expect in London.
How many teachers have signed up for one of your overseas courses with one of your franchise schools without knowing that they were not the real thing. And don't waste your time replying that the courses are underwritten, supervised by International House London. It all looks nice in print but IT ISN'T HONEST.


Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Val Ferret, Switzerland

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Hypersonic said...

That´s weird, because IH affiliates here in Brazil are inspected by IH London and San Diego. I know because I worked in several. The inspections are generally yearly.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

Exactly! I didn't even know they were in South America. Affiliates/franchises or whatever you want to call them are NOT owned by International House and are NOT the same thing at all.
Inspecting something is NOT the same as actually hands on running it yourself.

Hypersonic said...

Well, seeing as the IH is a fairly desirable corporate trademark to tag on to the end of your school name and knowing that to have that trademark you have to abide by IH rules and regs and keep up to IH standards, it should be in the school´s best interests to do so.

This was the rationale behind the school I worked at and, briefly, had a franchise in. In fact it was because of the demands of IH that we spent a lot of money bringing it up to their standard. By no means take this as a defence of IH, just a perspective on how IH works here in Brazil. I know that the school is no longer an IH affiliate (but that´s another story) but it´s standards are still of the IH level.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

The Inspector notes the interesting defence of the IH franchise, although he also is puzzled by the unexplained "stories". Feel free to post away. If wrong Inspector will remove International House from the Blacklist, although cynic as he is, he eagerly awaits more concrete evidence before removal.

Hypersonic said...

Oh. I wouldn't take it off the Blacklist. Ih felt that it should charge an affiliation fee for each school (franchise) in the group rather than one affiliation fee from the whole group of schools ( as it does in other countries). So the owner of the franchise as a whole decided to drop the Ih affiliation for his particular schools, and the franchisees followed suit.

Anonymous said...

Actually the owner of the school in Brazil was quite aware of the rules and chose to ignore them. Why should a company in Spain that owns 6 or 7 IH schools pay for each one and not one in Brazil? In any case, if you don't agree that they should, don't join IH and then choose to ignore the rules. And while I'm on the subject, Mr oh so dangerous blacklist guy, why don't you back up your comments with some examples?

Anonymous said...

I think you need to check your facts before someone sues you. IH London does not run, own or in any way franchise, the other affiliates. This has been the case for several years now. In the past it may have been true (although the structure was complex) but it certainly is not now. IH London - - is an affiliate like all the others to the International House World Organisation - If schools are inspected by people from IH London, they are doing it either freelance for IHWO (which is a separate limited liability UK company) or hired out by IH London (or any other affiliates). I should know - I worked for them both for years. And there are no "franchise" schools, only affiliates. The fee is paid for central services such as recruitment, it's not a percentage of profits.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

Fighting talk! Sounds like muddying the water to The Inspector. What exactly is this many headed monster International House then? Sounds like an octopus with tentacles all over the place.
"I worked for them both for years". And who are you chum, Michael Carrier?
When is a franchise not a franchise. Oh stupid me! When it's an affiliate! When are royalties not royalties? Oh stupid me again. Of course it's when they're dressed up as recruitment fees, services rendered, entry fee, annual renewal blah blah blah.
Sue me if you will, you haven't even got the guts to leave your name.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not Michael Carrier. Or Steve Brent, for that matter. Or someone who works for, or freelances for any IH anywhere in the world. Why should I leave my name? I don't work for IH. I looked for your name but couldn't see it in your profile.

You misunderstood me if you thought I was threatening to sue you. I was suggesting that IH London might find what you were saying libellous. "Before someone sues you" - I assumed you were an EFL teacher. Perhaps your reading skills need honed.

What's IH? Well, I wasn't really tying to explain what IH is. I was explaining that IH London is not IH World, which seemed to have escaped your notice. So we don't agree on the definitions of "affiliate" and "franchise" (I checked them in a dictionary before I posted). The fact is, if an IH is crap, it doesn't reflect on IH London. It may well reflect on IH World.

I think you're being unfair to IH, but as I said, I don't have a vested interest and I'm not here to defend IH London or WO. Be brave and invite Carrier in if you want real answers to your questions.

I note that you haven't responded to anything that pointed out your errors about IH.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

"Before someone sues you" has been used before on The TEFL Blacklist as a serious threat. If you want this debate to continue stop trying to score cheap points.

As far as anonymity, it's disingenuous to equate your need with The Inpector's. A defence of IH is hardly likely to expose you to a kneecapping.

The simple fact of the matter is that regardless of whether IH London has either:

1. Restructured itself and now has a holding company called IH WO to take care of the "affiliates"
2. Been bought by someone else simply a red herring.

The Inspector has no crystal ball. He doubts that IH would like to explain transparently and honestly the corporate structure of the whole organisation but would love to be pleasantly surprised.

Branding products is a nasty global business which is often used to deceive the consumer. EFL/ESL suffers from this with the Inlinguas, Wall Street Institutes etc raking in money from a motley crew of franchisees, whilst presenting an image of a unified body to the world at large.

It's a practice that needs to be pointed out to the unsuspecting EFL teacher.

Anonymous said...

"Branding products is a nasty global business which is often used to deceive the consumer". I'm not sure there's any point in debate with someone who says that since it's more of an ideology than an argument. I've been through your blog - is there anybody you actually think is a decent employer/school or are you simply fulfilling the stereotype of the malcontent EFL teacher?

By the way, wouldn't it be fairer to ask IH to comment before you write "he doubts that IH would like to explain"?

It's not disingenuous to be anonymous. You're not democratically elected. You're self-appointed and take no responsibility for what you write. That's just like me, so you have a nerve to criticise. Your research is shoddy but you don't care as you don't have to answer for it. Take the posting about "Executive Language Services ELS Paris". You leave an insult, no explanation. Of course, I'm sure you informed that school of the comment you had made about the owner (and no, I've never worked for them).

Your description of the restructuring of IH is simply factually wrong. But I'm not sure that you really care to find out facts.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

"I've been through your blog - is there anybody you actually think is a decent employer/school"

Did you look at the entry for TEFL Worldwide Prague?

"..are you simply fulfilling the stereotype of the malcontent EFL teacher?"

I hardly think this blog is your average sterotypical rant. There are enough of those on Saint Dave's.

"your research is shoddy but you don't care as you don't have to answer for it. Take the posting about "Executive Language Services ELS Paris". You leave an insult, no explanation."

I take it that you are referring to Mad Dorothy (Polley). I suggest that you meet her and then you'll can see for yourself. Perhaps you can tell her to close her legs the next time she has a publicity photo taken, not that this is the reason that she is (whether you choose to believe it or not) known as "Mad Dorothy"! As far as the comment regarding research is concerned, do you seriously think that I'm going to post my biography?

"By the way, wouldn't it be fairer to ask IH to comment before...."

Well I suppose better late than never. The Inspector hereby officially invites IH to comment on this miserable little blog tucked away in some forgotten corner of cyberspace.

"Your description of the restructuring of IH is simply factually wrong. But I'm not sure that you really care to find out facts."

On the contrary I (and I'm sure others) would like to find out the facts and I would be delighted to amend anything incorrect.

Anonymous said...

I'm astounded by what you say about TEFL Worldwide Prague. Doesn't this confirm your approach? You slag off a school and then back down due to having done insufficient research!

No, not the average stereotypical rant, but certainly takes me back to my days in the classroom when nothing any school could do pleased my colleagues.

The reply about the individual you named was an example of many potentially libellous comments you have made. I genuinely don't understand what doing research has got to do with your biography.

That's not much of a confident invitation, is it? IH London (headed by Steve Brent) and IHWO (headed, as you know, by Michael Carrier) have email addresses on their websites. Make yourself an email address and email them.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

Correction my dear Mr Anonymous. It's you who should do a little research as you seem to be getting quite hot under the collar.
I did not slag off TEFL Worldwide. The posting was made by a Miss Anonymous on the "nominate a school" page and I would think that TEFL Worldwide Prague probably have a shrewd idea as to who dunnit.
It was quickly and eloquently discredited by a number of posters and as a result the entry was amended and the blacklisting then became a bit of positive PR.
It seems manifestly obvious to me that you are not the independent, no links with IH person that you claim to be.
From the tone of your postings you're almost certainly an IH person. Wow you could even be Steve Brent himself!
And to think that The Inspector and his readers hadn't even heard of you before today.

Anonymous said...

You seem very hung up on the fact that I must be from IH. I'm not. I left ELT some years ago. But whether I am or I am not, why do you not simply make contact these people to have your claims confirmed or dismissed? I'm really at a loss. If I were associated with IH, I'd save you the bother and look out the relevant documents and reply to you myself surely? What would I gain by pretending not to be from IH? Would you like me to list some crap IHs? Would that gain your confidence?

If I've misunderstood the discussion of TEFL Worldwide Prague, that was my misunderstanding of your blog's layout and I apologise.

I see your approach is attracting criticism from others:

I'm not even saying that IH London is a good place, or that IHWO is a good organisation (and obviously the longer I am away the less in touch with this I am). What I'm saying you should get in touch with them to check your facts which are, as I have already said, wrong. Otherwise it seems to me you're on an exercise in the self-aggrandisement of this persona of yours and little more.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

If I've misunderstood the discussion of TEFL Worldwide Prague, that was my misunderstanding of your blog's layout and I apologise.

Apology accepted.

What I'm saying you should get in touch with them...

Another disingenuous comment. If you had posted this on April first I would have taken it as an April fool. You can't seriously be suggesting that I send them my IP address. You clearly need to research the McDonald's libel trial. I'll repost the BBC article on the main page for your benefit.

Anonymous said...

So you do seem to worry that they would have legal recourse. However, I'm not sure that you actually have libelled IH, I think that's still up for debate. I certainly think you've libelled several other people. So emailing IH shouldn't hold any worry for you, surely? Anyway, go to an internet cafe or use an anonymiser if you're worried. Or call them.

Can I just go back to my original point? I'm not defending IH. Some of them are good, some are not, but how you describe how they run is factually correct. I'm only suggesting you should get your facts right before you criticise.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

My very last word on the subject as otherwise this is in danger of becoming indistinguishable from one of the rants on Saint Dave's Cafe.

OK here we go again for one last time.......... !

1. "So you do seem to worry that they would have legal recourse."

You have clearly not understood my argument Steve. The use of the phrase "would have legal recourse" implies some acceptance that "they", whoever "they" might be, would be able to nail me in a court of law. No, sorry chum, but to take one example that seems to have particularly offended you, I have seen a real genu(eye)ne photo of Dorothy Polley of ELS Paris in her corporate brochure with her legs clearly not tucked tightly together. That certainly does not label her mad, although perhaps a tad careless, but that's another story, and not to be told here! I simply don't wish to be blackmailed by corporate bullies with lots of cash, as illustrated in the McDonald's libel case.

2. "So emailing IH shouldn't hold any worry for you, surely? Anyway, go to an internet cafe or use an anonymiser if you're worried. Or call them.

This is not a newspaper Steve, this is a blog! I suggest you get your dictionary out again and discover the difference between the two. If IH or anyone else has anything relevant to add to this saga, the doors to this blog are wide open.

3. I'm only suggesting you should get your facts right before you criticise.

A deletion, amendment, correction or retraction is but a cyberclick away and you are clearly very cyber aware Steve. To quote an ex UK PM ... "put up or shut up".

Anonymous said...

I think the answer to who this guy is lies somewhere within your blog as he's pretty sore at you but as sure as hell ain't giving much away.
Here's what you do know about him:
1. He knows a helluva lot about IH
2. He worked for IH and IHWO a few years back.
3. He or the organization he works for, or both, are probably real mad at you or he woudldn't have got so involved.
4. He's probably a Brit
5. The only people I can think of who would get so upset are Cactus TEFL as they sell IH courses and you've given them a rough time.
6. Looking at your posting about them you mention somone called Richard Bradford.

Just a guess but does anyone know if he ever worked for IH?

Anonymous said...

This whole argument is teetering on the very silly. IH is a quality organisation and always has been, with IH London always packed with happy students and happy teachers. IH World is not IH London and how they affiliate schools into the organisation is a totally different question. And to answer the question above...Richard Bradford DID work for IH London Marketing from 2000 for 2 years before joining Cactus...... and NO, I don't work for IH London and am not Steve Brent, thank goodness!

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...


I couldn't disagree with you more. That sort of comment sounds exactly like the thing someone would say if they wanted the whole topic swept swiftly under the carpet and who wishes they'd never opened their mouth in the first place.

Stop muddying the water and treating the readers like idiots. Read through this thread carefully as there is absolutely no criticism whatsoever of IH London's courses, students or teachers.

This thread is and has always been about the IH franchises/affiliates. Even you yourself volunteered the information that some of them are "crap". To use your own words Some of them are good, some are not" and you also wrote "Would you like me to list some crap IHs?"

I do indeed seem to have touched a raw nerve.

Hypersonic said...

I1d forgotten this post! well well well. So IH has decided to dissimulate and split into two "seperate" companies with various "franchisees" around thew globe?

IH has gone right down in my estimation. Down to the level of Studygroup (ex)property of the Daily Mail and (present) property of some other corporate whoremongerer.

MAny schools I have worked at over the years have been excellent, but that doesn't mean Ihave to close my eyes to those that are nothing more than maey making or money laundering machines. I'm no embittered TEFLER, just an honest bloke trying to do an honest days work.

Viva Inspector McHammered!!!

Anonymous said...

I worked with IH affiliates (yes, they are affiliates not franchises) for 9 years. In total I was employed at 7 IH affiliates.
I came across a couple of good centres, a couple of mediocre ones and some utterly appalling ones.
The general feeling I got was that IH was in decline, moral and managerial decline. When I first started working at an IH affiliate there were structured points within the affiliation agreement which gave the teacher a fair deal. One such example was the minimum annual leave entitlement. However, with the now not so new director taking over (that's the affable Mr Carrier, of course), these points were either watered down or dropped all together. Thus you now have IH affiliates such as Kuala Lumpur offering only 18 days annual leave a year and making the teacher work 5 and a half days a week for a pathetic local salary which is laughed at even by local Malaysians.
The reasons for this were soon clear to anyone prepared to do the tiniest amount of research. Firstly, IH wants affiliation money. It is a business after all and a greedy one at that, so it has been encouraging expansion through taking onboard centres with woefully poor and exploitative conditions. These centres were not keen on improving their conditions, especially when they had just started paying a rather sizeable affiliation fee (a huge fee for some economies), so the IH direcorate gave the nod to allow them to establish whatever conditions and teaching contracts they liked.
Another important and often overlooked situation concerns the inner managerial decion makers. Who are they exactly? Well, we have the director of IH San Sebastian who just happens to preside over the most notorous IH affiliate in Spain with 6 day working weeks and low salaries for teachers living in one of the most expensive cities in Spain. Lovely chap though Mr Lcunza is, especially when he has just had dinner with his bank manager. Ah yes, there is also the director of IH Mexico City, the place where teachers are crying poverty. Yes, these and others like them are the people making all the affiliation decisions in the IH world.
So, from personal experience of certain IH centres I worked at what can I say? Of the good centres we can count in some of the affiliates in Southern Poland. These affiliates would be good places for the first time teacher to spend a year with. Their in-house training is very good indeed, although the salaries they offer, although adequate to live on, are below the market rate. So any teacher shouldn't bother with them for more than a year. Another very good IH affiliate I taught with for 2 years has now disaffiliated. It did this owing to the IH name losing credibility, the watering down of the agreement, and, more precisely because IH allowed the establishment of other new IH affiliates in the same city. These new affiliates were serious competition and offered both the teacher and the student a far inferior quality in terms of remuneration for the teacher and facilities for the student. This particular IH affiliate had worked very hard for years to build up the IH name to be well-recognised and highly thought of in its city. But with the arrival of the new affiliates the quality and reputation dropped rapidly and student numbers dropped owing to new competition and a reduced confidence. The only way forward was to disaffiliate and start again under its own name.
I won't mention the mediocre affiliates I worked at but will merely mention the name of one which appears all over the net as being one of the worst schools in existence ( I mean anywhere, not just IH. It epitomises everything that is wrong with IH: International House Kuala Lumpur - just do a google search, and while your at it, look out for a picture of the debonnaire Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing (Warning: do not do this while eating)
I could go on and give pages of details about my experience as a teacher and Director of Studies with the IH affiliates I have worked at, but I'd prefer to save them for the moment in the belief that when I turn them into a bestseller, I'll recoup some of the cash that IH exploited me and counless others for.
So, Mr anonymous, with regards to your comments about IH, you are clearly posting some of the most nonsensical garbage I have ever seen, but I do thank you for providing an abundance of mirth and joviality to my day.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I would add to this discussion as someone with 15 years of experience as a teacher, DOS and director for international house.
Firstly, the level of control that the IHWO exercises over quality in its affiliates is laughable. Hence there are some extremely good schools, with excellent educational and HR policies, and some real charlatans. That is a shame, because the good schools are still streets ahead of the competition in thought leadership in the TEFL world.
Secondly, though Cactus has done extremely well through PR deals with the Guardian etc, it has to be said that the boy Richard Bradford is widely regarded within language school circles as a self important twat. He is just a young buck who thinks he is a world beating businessman, and a bit of a lady's man to boot. Personally I looked on him with a fatherly sense of love and pity but I have heard man a person being far less charitable about his arrogance.

Well, that's it. Bye.

Anonymous said...

international house KL needs to be closed.

imagine being told lies everyday by a bunch of people who just want to suck you dry of every single penny - this is cry of its students

ih has sold out itself. despite hearing fantastic reviews of IH Poland and some others, IH KL is indeed run by idiot malaysians and Elizabeth who is more a tea lady rather than a manager.

students are complaining of poor standards. teachers who dont have 1st degrees and teaching certs are allowed to teach. working hours suck. no intelligent training whatsoever. 1 bad attempt was once carried out by Naziha and the topic was ice-breakers. it well amused the locals who cant seem to do anything correct, but all foreign teachers were just laughing themselves silly. malaysians who cant speak english are teaching, hence the rubbish standards. students complain day after day. rude local staff are being hired. they bitch on just about everything but dont seem to speaking out when asked by management, guess this is the nature of such asians.

if 10 teachers have left in the past 11 or so months from what ive heard, dont you think this place is just crap?

its proven.....

you can lie to some but not to all