IH Journal of Education and Development

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IH Journal Issues:

Doing The Delta; Doing The Distance

Doing the Delta; Doing the Distance (by Rachel Clark)
Have you been teaching for at least a year post CELTA (or equivalent)?

If so, do you feel it’s time for a bit more of a challenge in your teaching?  Or do you feel you’d like to know more about theory and terminology? Or would you like to explore some new area of teaching that you don’t feel very confident with? Or even all of these?  If so, then I expect you’ll be thinking about doing the Delta.  In this article I’d like to show you why this is the best moment to do so and why the Distance Delta could be the best way for you to do it.
Several years ago, Cambridge ESOL consulted DELTA trainers and candidates asking what they liked about the course and any changes they would like to see in a revised DELTA.  As a result of the vast amount of feedback they received, the new Delta (notice it is no longer written all in capital letters) was born and the first Delta course started in September 2008.
Those of us who took the DTEFLA years ago have already seen many big changes in the scheme when the DTEFLA became the DELTA.  But how much do you know about the latest changes in the new Delta?  I expect you know that it is now a modular course with Module One focusing on the exam (about theory and terminology), Module Two being the practical teaching aspect and Module Three being an extended assignment based around a chosen specialism.

But what else do you know about the changes?

Try this quiz to find out:

Are the following statements true or false?
  1. All the modules take the same amount of time to do.
  2. You can do the modules in any order.
  3. You have to pass all three modules to receive a certificate.
  4. The possible overall grades for each module and for individual lessons are distinction, merit, pass and fail.
  5. The new exam for Module One consists of two papers instead of one.
  6. In Module Two, you have to teach 6 assessed lessons.
  7. You can only teach your assessed lessons with general English adult classes.
  8. You need a minimum of 5 students in each assessed lesson and in one class you need a minimum of 10.
  9. You must teach your assessed lessons to classes at two different levels during the course.
  10. All your assessed lessons make up a portfolio which is sent to Cambridge.
  11. There is a separate assignment based on development and reflection in Module Two.
  12. Module Three should be based on a class that you are teaching during the course.

Now check your answers – how many did you get right? – and at the same time let’s look in more depth at these changes.

1. F: They CAN take the same amount of time to do if you take a face to face course and work on all three modules concurrently.  But for more flexibility see the Distance Delta information (see end of article for the web address).
2. T:  You can do the modules in whichever order suits you best.
3. F: You’ll receive a certificate for each module, so if you don’t want to or don’t need to take all of them, then you can still get a certificate for the module(s) you have done.  However, there is also a full Delta certificate, which you’ll only be awarded if you’ve passed all three modules.
4. T:  Gone are the bad old days when strong pass candidates could only expect a pass grade. Now your ability is recognised and you can be awarded a merit.
5. T:  There are now two one and a half hour exams with a half hour break.  So, the aching wrists and the horror of having to write by hand for three and a half hours without a break are thankfully things of the past.
6. F: You only teach four assessed lessons; three internally assessed and one externally assessed. So, another bit of good news – the number of assessed teaching assignments has been reduced.
7. F:  You can now teach the students that are relevant to your teaching situation eg YLs, Business students or EAP.
8. F:  This was the old system. Cambridge now acknowledges that for many teachers it was hard to find classes of 10 students, so this part of the ruling has now been dropped.  No more niggling worry that you won’t make the required numbers because the rain will put your students off coming to the lesson or because students may just decide they’d rather stay at home and watch the match on the day that you desperately need them to be in class.
9. F:  This is no longer the case. You can do all your classes with students at the same level, but why not use the course to help you get feedback on your teaching at more than one level if you can? It’s now totally up to you.
10. F: Some really good news here. In the past, all your assignments went to Cambridge. Now only two do – the best of the internally assessed ones and your externally assessed one.  So if you’ve failed an assignment (everyone has their off days) there’s no need for you to include it.
11. T: An exciting addition to the scheme which encourages you to reflect on your teaching and to notice the progress that you’ve made during the course, partly as a result of targets you have set yourself.
12. F: You do need access to a class of the type you have chosen to focus the assignment on, but the beauty of this Module is that it can serve many purposes e.g. to help you to find out more about an area, such as  business English, that you have little or no experience of but may be teaching in the future; to help you to research in more depth an area that you are currently teaching; to improve on a course that you teach often but have never quite felt totally on top of.
Now that you know more about the Delta, I can see that you are even more eager to do it!
But you’re probably also wondering what’s so special about the Distance Delta and why you should consider doing the Delta with the Distance Delta. Have a look below for 8 very good reasons:
Distance Delta is a very well established joint venture between IH London and the British Council with an excellent track record for passes and distinctions from candidates.
If you’re working full time and don’t have enough money saved to be able to give up work for two months or if you prefer more time to assimilate information, then the Distance Delta is for you.  You can keep your salary and integrate your studies around your working life.
Support at many levels.  We provide help from very experienced Cambridge approved course tutors. They offer an excellent standard of input and because they are working from a wide variety of places such as Portugal, Britain, Canada, Turkey, Malaysia and Hungary you can bet that at pretty much any time of day or night when you’re online with a question, at least one of them will be too. In addition, for Module Two, you have local tutor support from someone in your school (or nearby area) who knows you and the characteristics of the students you are working with.  Thirdly, you will get regular exam input, practice and feedback for Module One and detailed guidance about background reading for all the modules.  And, finally, you can rely on constant IT support.
Time to read new information and not only to assimilate it but also to experiment with new approaches, techniques and ideas that come out of this. With the extra time, the course can be much less pressured than if you did it intensively.
All the materials are totally up to date, having been rewritten in line with the new scheme during the last year.  At the same time, the materials still contain all the successful elements, vital information and guidance that have helped hundreds of people pass the DELTA since it began.
No need to do all the modules at the same time.  The Distance Delta is flexible. You can do all modules together over 9 months or you can spread the work out over more time to suit you. Modules One and Three take 3 months each and Module Two lasts 9 months.
Camaraderie/ Community: On the Distance Delta you’re part of a learning community. Currently, we have people from more than 30 countries doing the course and they are constantly exchanging information about their own students and language issues specific to these nationalities – a fantastic resource for background assignments – as well as sharing panics, advice and successes with each other via the forums. No matter where you are or how small your school is, you are not alone when you do the Distance Delta.
Expertise:  We know exactly what you need to do in order to do well in every module since the Distance Delta materials and support for Module One are given by tutors who actually write and mark the exam questions for Cambridge, many of the tutors on Module Two are also assessors and because we have such an excellent pool of tutors who mark Module Three assignments, we are able to provide expertise in the fields that you will research for this module.
The new streamlined, more user-friendly Delta has arrived, so now is clearly THE time to do the Delta and if you want to find out more about the Distance Delta or apply online go to www.thedistancedelta.com  The deadline for applications for September 09 is the 29th June.
So, go for it. Don’t delay any longer.  We look forward to ‘talking to you’ on the forums.
Author’s Bio:
Rachel has been teaching for nearly twenty years and has taught/ trained/ worked as a DoS in London, Poland, Turkey, Argentina, Spain and Lebanon. She has been one of the Distance DELTA coordinators in London for 7 years and is also a CELTA and Delta trainer. She also used to be a one of the editors of the IHJ.
She is a Cambridge main suite oral examiner, an IELTS examiner and a CELTA and DELTA assessor. She has also written two teacher’s books for the new CUP course book, Face2face and has been touring at conferences in South America, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Serbia, Croatia and Harrogate promoting the book. Her scariest talk was to 1000 people in Mexico!

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