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Thursday, January 9, 2014

DELTA Module 1 Tips

Having completed the first module and taken the exam, I decided to share some tips with those planning to take the course.

I chose to do the course with TheDistanceDelta because the online mode is more convenient for me as I don't have to give up work and travel somewhere to do it and I can also take care of my family while doing the course.

Initially (the first week only) the course seemed easy enough and we were all quite optimistic about it but then we started doing the assignments (tasks from the exam papers), panic set in and the forums started filling up with pessimistic and desperate  messages. Sometimes I didn't even want to check the threads not to lose faith completely. Working full-time didn't help either. So, if you can work part-time while taking the course, it will be a very good idea to do so.

Although the course is very demanding, there are some things which could be done before and during the course to ease the tension.

1. Before the course starts

Make sure you read (and even re-read)

  • Beyond the Sentence by Scott Thornbury,
  • About Language by Scott Thornbury,
  • An A-Z of ELT by Scott Thornbury (this one is a must-have book for the whole course and you'd be better off almost memorizing the terms in it as good use of terminology will earn you extra points),
  • How to teach pronunciation by Gerald Kelly (this one is also very important because knowledge of phonology and phonetics is tested very often).
This is essential to do because it will help you a lot during your training.

2. During the course

You will need to refer to An A-Z of ELT during the course, so I would advise buying the book. Throughout both exam papers terminology is tested and you are expected to use the correct terms not the ones you use with your students (for the latter you don't gain any points) and the terminology needs to be spelt correctly for you to get a point - any mistakes and goodbye a valuable point. This British Council page may also come handy.

There is a Quizlet set to memorize the terminology and practise spelling and the app is free for Android and iOS so you can install it on your phone or tablet and work with the cards on the way to work and back home. Alternatively, you can create your own set on Quizlet but before the course because during it you won't have much time.

It is also useful to have Grammar for English Language Teachers by Martin Parrot which has grammar tasks for teachers to do and they help a lot in the exam preparation.

During this time it is very important to read about the development of ELT, the approaches and methods from Grammar Translation to Principled Eclecticism - names of people and approaches taken in each method are very important for the exam. 

Revise testing terminology and what each kind of test tests. This also comes up very often in the exam papers. There is even a task which asks you to analyse a test in relation to a certain learner with certain needs in a certain context. 

Also read this Examination Report to see what the guideline answers are and how you should approach each task. 

And revise terminology of phonology again and again. Analyse anything your students say in English for features of connected speech, assimilation, elision, etc.

3. Before the exam

Make sure you do a full mock exam under exam conditions to see which sections you need to spend more time on and, in general, to get a feel for the exam itself. Timing is tough for the tasks and you may find that you do not have enough time to complete a task or two. I managed to complete the tasks but didn't have time to check anything at all. This, I think, is one of the toughest challenges in the exam. 

The day before the exam, I revised terminology for phonology and I was right in doing so - most part of the exam tested phonology related terminology and various features of pronunciation.

And finally, get enough sleep! 

Good luck with the exam!


1 comment:

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