Now that I come to the end of my own DELTA journey and I would like to share my experience with all you potential DELTA-ers out there in the hope that it helps you.
The order in which I did my DELTA was Module 1 – Module 3 – Module 2. There is no set order in which you need to do the modules, and I found that the way I did worked very well for me. While preparing for Module 1, I read a wide variety of books and as a result, developed a good understanding of a whole host of teaching issues. With Module 3, I got good at academic writing and the whole drafting/revising/re-drafting process. All of the above came useful during Module 2. It was by far the most intensive of the modules, mostly because in 1 and 3 you can pace yourself and space out the studying/writing but in Module 2 there is no time to pause – you are always writing assignments or planning lessons or panicking about how much you have to do and stress-eating cheese (true story).
I took my Module 1 exam in December, 2014 and I got Pass with Distinction. To prepare for the exam, I took an online course with ITI Istanbul. It was conducted via Moodle and there were lots of useful links and how-to guides, including ‘What to do first’. Our exam practice papers were graded promptly and we received constructive feedback. One great thing about the course is that when the time comes to register for the exam, should you decide that you are not quite ready yet, you can enroll into the next online course free of charge. Another useful feature was the forum where you could post all your silly questions and concerns which were answered by your peers and tutors. I outlined some tips for Module one specifically in this post.
For Module 2, I traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria and did a full-time blended course with AVO. I got Pass with Merit. I chose this center based on the timing: because the course is blended and some work is done online before the course starts (namely, EPA and LSA1), the course itself is only 5 weeks long. Not to mention the lovely Sofia as a location.
I did Module 3 with ITI Istanbul. As my specialism, I chose to focus on EAP because it was relevant for my teaching context at the time and I was able to draw on my experience for examples of issues in this area. As far as the preparation course, we received some guidelines on choosing a focus and on writing style. We were able to discuss our choice of specialism in online Moodle forums as well as ask any other questions. Then we were given deadlines for completing each part of the paper, e.g. introduction, specialism etc. After each stage, we submitted a draft for feedback. The feedback covered not just the newly completed stage, but also everything written up to that point.
At the end of the course we submitted the full paper one last time and then we had about a month to revise the paper – but no more feedback at that point. ITI provided us with good models for papers – one with a pass, one with merit and one with distinction, which was very useful as it is hard to find examples of papers online.
I don’t have many tips for Module 3 except this: read the handbook very carefully before the course and start thinking about your specialism before you start a course. Once you familiarize yourself with the format of the paper, you can start doing background reading and taking notes in an organized manner – i.e. “This quote would look great in the introduction” or ‘This is a good example of issues specific to my specialism”.
The course for the June submission I took started in January and I found that the timing worked really well, especially since I chose your specialism before the course (as I did) and start doing my background reading and research on both my specialism and curriculum development and assessment well before the course because I was wary of repeating my mistake with Module 1.
As far as WHAT to read, here is the bibliography section from my paper, which I organized by subject for your convenience:
- Hamp-Lyons, L. (2001) English for Academic Purposes. In Nunan, D., & Carter, R. (Eds.). (2001) The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Harwood, N. (2005) What do we want EAP teaching materials for? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4/2:149-161
- Harwood, N., & Petric, B. (2011) English for academic purposes. In Simpson, J. (Ed.) (2011) The Routledge handbook of applied linguistics. Abingdon: Routledge.
- Hutchinson, T., & Waters, A. (1987). English for specific purposes: A learning-centered approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Hyland, K. (2002) Specificity revisited: How far should we go now? English for Specific Purposes, 21: 385-395.
- Hyland, K. (2006) English for Academic Purposes: An Advanced Resource Book. London: Taylor & Francis.
- Jordan, R. (1997) English for academic purposes: A guide and resource book for teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Paltridge, B., & Starfield, S. (2013). The handbook of English for specific purposes. Malden, Massachusetts: John Wiley & Sons.
- Peacock, M., & Flowerdew, J. (2001) Issues in EAP: A preliminary perspective. In Peacock, M., & Flowerdew, J. (Eds.) (2001) Research perspectives on English for academic purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Spack, R. (1988) Initiating ESL Students into the Academic Discourse Community: How Far Should We Go? TESOL Quarterly, 22/1: 29-52.
- Todd, R. (2003) EAP or TEAP? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2/2:147- 156.
- Breen, M.P. (2001). Syllabus design. In Nunan, D., & Carter, R. (Eds.). (2001) The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Dudley-Evans, T. (2001) English for Specific Purposes. In Nunan, D., & Carter, R. (Eds.). (2001) The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Graves, K. (2014). Syllabus and Curriculum Design for Second Language Teaching. In Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. M., & Snow, M. A. (Eds.). (2014). Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
- Nation, I. S., & Macalister, J. (2010). Language curriculum design. New York: Routledge.
- Richards, J. C. (2001). Curriculum development in language teaching. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
- Brindley, G. (2001). Assessment. In Nunan, D., & Carter, R. (Eds.). (2001) The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Brown, H. D. (2004). Language assessment: Principles and classroom practices. New York: Pearson/Longman.
- Heaton, J. B. (1988). Writing English language tests. London: Longman.
- Hughes, A. (1989). Testing for language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Katz, A. (2014) Assessment in Second Language Classroom. In Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. M., & Snow, M. A. (Eds.). (2014). Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Boston: Heinle & Heinle
- McNamara, T. F. (2000). Language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Where can you find the books? If you are lucky to work at an institution that provides access to online publication libraries, such as Jstor, you`ll be able to get lots of useful articles. If not, don’t despair – some articles are available free of charge. Same with books – Google Books and Amazon Look Inside allow you to preview significant portions of books so you might be able to get away with using just those if you get lucky and need the sections that are available.
With all 3 modules under my belt, I definitely feel like it was a worthwhile experience. I have learned so much, both about teaching and about myself as a teacher and as a learner. Also, having successfully passed DELTA I feel like I can take on an MA. Finally, having DELTA is the necessary step on the path to becoming a CELTA trainer, which is one of my biggest career goals.
If you want more resources for DELTA, check out this blog written by my absolute role-model and a huge source of inspiration for this blog Sandy Millin. She also has a series of interviews with people who took DELTA about their experience and I`m on there, too – check out the article here.