This post is also available in: English
Today’s topic is about DELTA and specifically DELTA Module 1 preparation course and thus the preparation course IH Cairo is providing and how to get ready for such a test and so on.
And briefly we can start with what is DELTA? So tell us more about DELTA and the abbreviation and what does it mean?
Okay, actually, it used to be an acronym for Diploma in Teaching English for Adults, but it has changed and now it’s just a brand name and stands for the Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. So, it’s the same as CELTA, the name has changed and actually, it’s, as we said, a diploma level and according to the UK frame of qualifications, it’s at level 7 and actually it comprises three modules.
And CELTA is at level 5, then DELTA is at level 7 and actually it’s a very important milestone in the career of every teacher and it’s like a benchmark for quality. So if you have DELTA, then this means that you are a really experienced and qualified teacher and I was telling you that it comprises three modules, Module 1, 2, and 3, and then you can do them in any order. Cambridge doesn’t tell you which one you should start with.
And so today, we are going to talk about the first module of them, Module 1 and this is a written examination.
The assessment is done through a written examination and then Module 2 it’s the module which focuses on professional practice. So it’s like CELTA, but it’s much more advanced than CELTA. And then the last module is where you get specialized in a certain area of ELT that could be management or could be teaching young learners, teaching exam classes, or whatever, there are lots of options to choose from.
The next question was, is it a test or exam, or a course? So it seems to be both of them?
Well, it depends on the module, I mean, every module is assessed in a different way. So if you are talking about Module 1, it’s a written exam. You have to pass a written exam in order to get the certificate, and to be able to pass this exam you can attend a preparation course.
So you attend a preparation course, and then you sit the exam to get your certificate. It’s a written exam and the Module 2 it’s more like CELTA, so you teach and then you get observed by tutors and you get assessed on your teaching, you do some written assignments, and stuff like this, and then the third part, Module 3, it’s an extended assignment. So you focus on a certain area and then you either write, design a course, or you write a change proposal if you are doing the management option.
So it’s like a mini thesis.
Every module differs in how it’s accessed.
Who can do DELTA, and when to do it? Just jumping directly to it? Should I take CELTA before? Is it a must or no?
According to Cambridge, you should have at least one year experience in order to apply for DELTA. So this is the minimum, like one year experience, and actually we highly recommend that you do CELTA before you go into DELTA. Although it’s not a must by Cambridge, but it’s highly recommended in order to really benefit from the course and get the best out of it and pass it and so on, then it’s highly recommended to have an initial English training.
So if you have done CELTA and you have some experience and preferably different experiences at different age groups, if you have taught at different levels, different proficiency levels and so on, you qualify to apply for DELTA.
I got my DELTA, then when you go to the opportunities in the market, what job opportunities are often for DELTA-certified teachers?
For example, you can have a manager control, so you can work as a director of studies or assistant. Or, you can go into teaching training. And then you can start giving some in-service training or probably present at conferences and do some courses, for teachers, it could be something in your institution or you can offer courses on your own.
So it’s the first step to becoming a teacher trainer, actually. You can also become a materials writer, but probably this is not very common in Egypt. But generally, DELTA also allows you to do this, to start trying to gain experience for teaching and stuff like this.
So, whether to be on an academic or managerial level or to go to teacher training or materials writing.
Do I have to study all modules to have these job opportunities? Because you’ve mentioned, there are three modules. Should I study all of them before I pick any of these?
Actually, the good thing is that once you finish a module, you get a certificate that you have finished this module. So you don’t have to wait to finish the three modules to get certified. Every model is certified separately and then when you do the three of them, when you finish the three of them, then you get the overall certificate.
So of course you can present the certificate of each module to your employer at any time when you finish it.
Because we’re mainly talking about Module 1 preparation course and so, the next step is, what is the exam structure?
This is I guess the most important question to know about the exam. So look, the exam consists of two papers. Each paper is for about 90 minutes and then you have a short break in between the two papers and you finish both of them on the same day.
And each paper has lots of tasks, so for example, let’s go one by one.
So paper one, for example, the first task is like just a warm-up task so it’s not very challenging. You just get some definitions and then you try to figure out the terminology that the definition refers to. And then the second task is the opposite, you get a term and then you try to define this term and probably give an example. So these are the first two tasks and they are worth 18 marks.
And then you move to the third task, and actually this is one of my favorite tasks. You get a productive task from a course book. So for example, it tells you the students, and it gives you the level, so for example, a group of B2 students, I have to talk about their, let’s say plans for the holiday, and then it asks you to write down some language features that they would need in order to complete this task.
So for example, to talk about future plans, you would need to be able to use “going to” to express future plans. It’s about holiday, so you need some holiday lexic.
It’s a group discussion so probably you need to know how to take turns, how to ask follow-up questions and stuff like this. So you write some language features that students would need in order to complete this productive task and of course in relation to the level of the students, and you have to also give examples for each feature that you mention. And this task is worth 12 marks. Again, it’s not one of the most challenging tasks, and then you move to the fourth task, which is worth 20 marks.
So in this task you get a text which is produced by a learner, either a written text or a transcription of a spoken text. Of course, if it’s a transcription of the spoken text, then you will have some phonetic transcription to indicate how the students pronounce some words.
And then you are asked to comment on some strengths and weaknesses of that student, so probably a comment on the range of their vocabulary, you comment on the accuracy of their grammar, their pronunciation, if it’s spoken, the task achievement, whether they achieve the task correctly or not and so on. So it’s like you are marking a writing task for students and you comment on both strengths, good points and weaknesses.
And then we move to Task 5, which is the biggest bulk of the exam and one of the most challenging tasks and it’s worth 50 marks. So in this task, you are given an authentic text, for example, a newspaper article and then you are asked to mention some of the genre features of that text. So what are the features of a newspaper article in terms of, like, content, layout?
So for example, it’s usually written in columns and then you have headlines in a bigger font and so on to some of the layout features. And then you also comment on the organization of ideas, how ideas are usually organized or are typically organized in that kind of text. And also about grammar, lexis style, whether it’s formal, informal.
So generally, you show how these features are demonstrated in that example, in that text and then you get some phrases or words from the text and you are supposed to linguistically analyze it. So you analyze the meaning, form, use of these items. This could be a tense for example and then you are asked to analyze, it could be a collocation, idiom, whatever. And also, it includes some focus on learner difficulties and like commenting on what could be difficult for learners when learning such items.
So this is Task 5 and this is the end of paper one.
And then you will have a short break and then start paper two. Paper two is shorter somehow as far as the number of tasks concerned, but it’s still the same, I mean like the length is 90 minutes as well, same duration.
So, the first task is related to assessment, and in this task, you are given a context. Like, for example, it tells you that this is a student who is doing a placement test, for example, and the level of the student and then it gives you a test, and then you have to evaluate this test according to the purpose.
So, if it says that it’s a placement test, do you think that it’s really good as a placement test for that level of students or not? Is it effective or not? So you start to comment on the effectiveness of that test according to the stated purpose and according to the context, to the learners themselves. And again, you have to mention good points and some weaknesses.
And this tests your understanding of different concepts of assessment, like different types of tests, like some concepts like validity, reliability, backwash effects and stuff like this, things that are related to assessment. This is worth 18 marks.
Then you move to Task 2 of paper two and again this is one of the most challenging tasks. It’s worth 42 marks and you get an extract from a course book, like a lesson from a course book, I think a page or two from a course book and then you are asked to comment on the purpose of a certain task.
For example, is this task like kind of a lead-in just to get students interested and warm them up and probably activate the risky matter or is it a controlled practice? So what exactly the purpose of this task is and then in the second section, you comment on the rest of the tasks in relation to one another, so how do we build on one another? So the first one was activating schemata, what’s the purpose of the second one, how does it relate to the first one and so on.
And then the last part, we are still talking here about Task 2. So it’s about the assumptions underlying the design of this lesson. So, for example, what are the assumptions behind having a guided discovery task? It’s because we believe that when you are cognitively engaged in a task, this allows you to retain the information and learn better and so on. So this is the assumption behind designing this task.
So you comment on some assumptions and actually, usually trainees find it very challenging.
And finally, we move to the last task and it’s about teaching beliefs. So you’re given a statement, for example, you should correct students’ mistakes on the spot. This is a belief and then some people agree, and some people might disagree. It could be good in a certain context, could have some disadvantages in another context. So you start commenting on this belief. For or against. You either defend it or you mention why you don’t believe it’s a good idea and so on. And then you write about 15 points on this belief.
This is the end of Task 2 and this is the end of the exam.
Is the time usually sufficient for finishing all of it?
It’s a little bit challenging because you have to be fast. And you have to be well prepared in order to make best use of your time and finish it all. So that’s why preparation for that course is very important.
Yes, exactly. It’s more of the way and the content and the knowledge you need to have before the test itself.
I was just going to say that generally I just described the tasks, overall, Module 1 focuses on language awareness and your ability to analyze language. It also focuses on methodologies and your awareness of historical and current methodologies, and language acquisition, and also teaching resources.
So this is what you’re tested on and so in order to pass the test, you have to have this background knowledge and you have to have rounding knowledge in these areas and also you have to be aware of the exam structure and how to score the highest marks in every part of the exam.
So you need to be aware of what the examiners expect from you and what’s not to be accepted as a good answer and what could be improved, and probably what’s not accepted as a full answer according to the examiners. That’s why it’s a little bit challenging.
The next step after having the exam is waiting for the grade, because you got distinction in your DELTA Module 1, you might tell us more about the grades and how you did it.
So Distinction, Pass with Distinction is the highest grade and then Pass with Merit and then Pass and of course, some people fail the exam. And Pass is perfectly fine, don’t worry about Pass with Distinction and so on. This is, of course, very useful, especially if you’d like to become a teacher trainer or something like this, but I mean other than this, Pass is perfectly fine.
So the exam is run twice a year, usually in December and in June, the first Wednesday of December and June and the results usually appear approximately eight weeks after the exam.
So, you were asking how I got a distinction. Actually, I guess probably it’s because I already had a good linguistic background before I started Module 1, so this helped me a lot and also because I have good analytical skills.
So being able to analyze language and analyze resources and everything in this module is about analysis, you have to really have good analytical skills. And of course, you have to be very motivated because it can be a bit challenging at times.
So as far as you are determined and motivated, then you can definitely pass the course and the exam.
With the help of the material of the Module 1 preparation course we’re offering in IH Cairo, what can people expect with the preparation course?
People can expect some input that would help them develop the kinds of knowledge required to pass the test. Some input sessions about language acquisition, about methodologies and the history of methodologies, about some systems, skills, assessment, of course, it’s an important part of the syllabus.
So some input sessions, similar to CELTA input sessions, and then the most important part is the exam preparation part or the exam practice. They are given some tasks from the exam and some guidelines on how to answer them and then they get personalized feedback. So everyone gets feedback on their answers and some comments on how to improve their answers.
It mainly consists of two parts: the background part or the theoretical, and then the exam practice part. We do both at IH Cairo.
Why would you want the preparation with IH Cairo?
Because IH Cairo is part of IH World, and actually IH has been in the industry for about 65 years and it’s a hub of teacher training. We run CELTA at IH Cairo, we have lots of teacher training courses.
We have a library for CELTA and then of course DELTA candidates would be able to access this library and read some of the books we have, which is very important for DELTA, and you have qualified trainers that can help you through the course.
How to apply for the module preparation?
Okay, so I was just saying that there is a difference between the preparation course, you can apply for the preparation course through the website of IH Cairo. You can just go to the website and then search for DELTA Module 1 and then you can apply online.
And after you finish the preparation course, we will help you to apply for the exam because you applied for the exam at an exam center that’s approved by Cambridge. So you have to apply for the exam as well, there’s a difference between the preparation course application and then the exam application, of course.
What books to read to prepare ourselves for DELTA Module 1? A reading list.
It’s an exhausting list actually. So some of them actually are the books recommended on CELTA as well. For example, Grammar for English Language Teachers, highly recommended by Martin Parrott. Practical English Usage by Swan, it’s very important. About Language by Scott Thornbury and then okay, so this is for grammar.
And then for vocabulary, you’ll have a book called Vocabulary, just vocabulary by McCarthy and then you have the series of how-to, it’s by Longman, published by Longman, you have how to teach, and how to teach vocabulary and so on, so this series is very important.
As for pronunciation, you can go for Sounds Foundation by Adrian Underhill, and you can also read English Phonetics and Phonology by Peter Roach.
Learn Your English. This is actually one of the books that we use on CELTA, it tells you about the kind of errors to expect from students, based on their language (mother tongue)
I think we can also add Beyond the Sentence.
Yeah, definitely, if you were to think about discourse, very good.
So the more you read, the better.
During the preparation course, we will recommend the list of readings for every topic.
So if you’re talking about methodologies and the history of methodology, then we will give you some recommendations, and then some recommendations for pronunciation and for reading, whatever topic we are talking about. So you will always have a list of recommended books.