In this post I will be (briefly) introducing the 5a form. In Delta Module 2 the amount of sheets, documents, forms, things need to be written and taken care of can be daunting for candidates. Thus, in my posts about Delta Module Two I try to write about some things so you can know what is the course like before taking the journey and be more prepared for your Module 2.
In Delta Module 2, your tutors will assess your work using 3 forms: 5a, 5b, 5c. The 5a form is related to your LSAs. For each LSA there is a 5a from.The form is filled by the tutor, and the trainee gets a copy (usually) the day after the RE is sent to the tutor along with oral feedback. 5b is for your PDA assignment, and 5c I have no idea about it because the candidates don’t see it and it’s filled by the tutors.
There are 47 criteria in 5a and they are divided among the 4 parts of an LSA as follows:
BE 15 criteria, 4 categories.
LP 12 criteria, one category.
TP 17 criteria, 4 categories.
RE 3 criteria, one category
Each criterion has 3 possible grades: met, partially met, and not met . Apparently, if one gets few of the latter, they may fail the LSA.
Met: when you completely meet the criteria throughout your whole BE/LP/TP/RE
Partially met: when you meet the criteria on many occasions. That means if you miss it even once, it will be partially met (It happened to me when I cited a reference and accidentally wrote the first name of the author rather than the surname.)
Not met: obviously, one gets that when they don’t do/write the things related to that criteria.
Your 3 5a forms are sent to Cambridge for assessment. The materials of the one LSA (the internals LSAs) will be sent for assessment, it’s usually your strongest, provided it is a system if your LSA4 was a skill, and vice versa.
5a forms can be really helpful while you are working on your LSA. For starters, you can read each category to understand what is required. Also, you can use it as a checklist to see whether you have covered what is required or not.
One thing you should notice is that any given criterion might consist of more than one thing that needs to be done. For instance, in 2c you need to explain with reference to classroom experience, reading and research why you have chose the area you based your LSA on. That is, if you write only about classroom experience, you are going to get partially met. Why? Simply because you haven’t mentioned about your research, or what the literature says about it. So, there’s that.
Another thing is key words. Not that all the words on the 5a are not important, but there are some key words you need to pay attention to. For example, 3b that you need to show a range of learning and teaching problems occurring in a range of learning contexts. That means you need to write about 4 or 5 issues related to this language area. When I was doing module 2 I was recommended to write about 4 or 5 because it might be difficult to show a range with 3 (but might be acceptable I think,) however, it’s impossible to show a range with only two issues. You also need to mention the cause of that issue and associate it with a range of contexts such as the learners’ L1 or their level.
I’d also like to mention that during the course there will be a session about the form. Your tutors will go over all the criteria, and advise you how to address them. After you get each 5a (when you are done with the LSA) your tutor will go with you over the criteria that you got ‘partially met’, and ‘not met’ to tell you why you got that and how to avoid it in your next LSA.
If you have any question, you can ask in the comments sections below 🙂
The first term of this academic year is over, and I got the chance to test something for the first time: using a point chart (which I gave a thought a couple of years ago but don’t know why I didn’t use.) A friend of mine (hey Defne!) used them last year and as she told me, they were really effective. The learners were really engaged in the process. She rewarded the winners by spending a day with them at the mall. So, I decided to see for myself.
Some of you are probably experts with the topic, and might have been using it for years. However, I’ve decided to write about my experience for 4 reasons:
- I found the experience to be a positive one, and this post might get other teachers to test it out.
- I might be using some techniques that are new to those who are already using a point chart.
- You might give me some pieces of advice from your experience.
- And because I’d like to share the point charts I’m using in my classes with you 🙂
At the beginning of the academic year, I introduced the idea to my learners that we will be using a point chart. The learners were quite excited, and the urge to earn points kicked in from day one! Here are some of the things I’d like to talk about so far:
One of the things that need to be taken into consideration is point distribution. Obviously, the points of a given behavior/achievement/homework/quiz … etc should be fixed, and not just to give a random point every time a student does a positive thing. Otherwise, you’ll be in a big trouble, because the learners remember what you gave them and you’ll be face with the comment “but teacher! why did you give her 4 points, and gave me 2 points last week for doing the same thing?!” No teacher wants to be in that position, because the whole class will come to you and ask for their right, the points that you didn’t distribute equally.
To provide an example, I award the following points when the learners are writing and role-playing their own dialog:
1 point for pronunciation, 1 point for correct vocabulary usage 1 point for making no mistakes (self-correcting is allowed,) 1 point if the dialog is overall good.
Another example: I award the following points for quiz marks, and it’s always the same no matter what:
100 = 5 points
90+ = 4 points
80+ = 3 points
70+ = 2 points
60+ = 1 point
By ‘white’ manipulation I mean using the points to target many issues in our classroom. Whether that is solving an issue related to behavior (if you’re dealing with young learners/teens) or toward learning and motivation. Below are a couple of examples:
- At my school I have only 2 contact hours a week with each class (I have 14 classes!) So that means I have to cover a lot in 2 lessons. To save time, I used the points to my advantage by providing a ‘challenge’ that by the time I enter the classroom all students who have their workbook opened to the homework page will get 1 point. Employing that technique allowed me to cut my homework check time by 50-60%.
- I’ve also used the points to promote ‘honesty’. That is, if I unintentionally mark a question on the quiz as ‘correct’ while it’s false; or when I accidentally add an extra point to a student at the end of the lesson, the students gets to keep that point if they notify me that I’ve made a mistake. However, their quiz mark will change. This happened 3 or 4 times this term, and the students were more than happy to tell me that there was a mistake.
Adding an element of collaboration
I often ask the learners to do a task/activity with a classmate to promote collaboration, and to give them a break from individual competition. I assign teams of different number (2, 3 or 4,) and mostly pair strong and weak learners. Sometimes I invite an element of unpredictability to the process of pairing students by using a decision wheel (see image below). The students would spin the wheel and see who they are paired with. It’s a cell app called Decision Roulette.
When it comes to the rewards, there are some options to choose from. You could hand out certificates. Defne (the friend that I’ve already mentioned) hands a The Student of the Month Certificate every month for the student who earned the most point at that week. Alternatively, you can make it a weekly thing.
I give certificates for two students who earned the most points for their dialog (since my classes are speaking-focused.)
Another option could be giving a small present weekly such as chocolate, a pen, or anything your students fancy.
The option that I’ve decided to go with is collecting money in a moneybox to buy a USB drive for the top 3 learners. This option might be not allowed in some schools, however, my school, my students, and their parents are totally OK with it. The idea is that if learner forgets his/her book, disturbs their classmates, or shows up late to class (not the morning class though, since it might be due to traffic) they pay a small amount of money (exactly 0.50 TL which is currently like 13 cents in USD.) And to be fair, the rules applied to me too (I was never late to a class, but I forgot my markers once, and the students demanded that I pay the fine!) At the end of the term, the moneybox was opened, and the top 3 learners chose some awesome USB drive from AliExpress.
A NOTE: when I introduced the moneybox idea, it was important for me that the idea gets a unanimous vote. In one of my classes, 2 students voted against the idea, and I called it off with that class, since it’ll cause a lot of arguments among the students.
The ones to avoid
Don’t punish any student by taking or erasing all the points (or like a half of their points) they have no matter what they do. If you do so, the whole experience would become a negative one, and they would no longer care about the points and any activity related to it. Or, you’ll have to give them their points back when you see that they are heartbroken; you don’t want to do that since it’ll send a message about the consistency of your policy.
I don’t award points to students who clean the board before I come to class, or those who help me by carrying and connecting my laptop to the projector since it will promote the idea of the ‘Teacher’s Pet’ which I don’t prefer at all . I simply thank them, and smile 🙂
For the second term, I’ll be testing out and implementing more strategies and further employ the point chart and other techniques. I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading regarding motivating learners, and hopefully, by the end of this academic year I’m going to write about the experience. Stay tuned 😉
Download a point chart
Below are 4 point charts in different colors. You can print them in A3 size or A4. A3 is recommendable though. The point chart fits 24 names. I might add other colors/designs later, so give me some suggestions/feedback in the comments 🙂
This article was published in EFL Magazine. You can read it here.
A demo lesson can be nightmare, especially if you are a shiny, new teacher trying to land your first job. Some people stress over it and compare it to taking a horrible exam. However, I perceive the demo lesson experience as an opportunity rather than an exam. It’s a chance to show off your teaching skills, your knowledge, your passion, and to basically show what kind of a teacher you really are. Another way to look at it is to consider yourself as a ‘product’ and the demo lesson is the ad that would get you sold. Wouldn’t you follow an effective marketing strategy to sell your product?
Not every teacher has the luxury of a TEFL training course, perhaps because of finances or through personal circumstances. For those non -TEFL trained teachers in the far flung corners of the world, of which there are many, here are some tips to give a brilliant demo lesson that will help you land that teaching job.
Write a procedure form and a lesson plan.
Writing a lesson plan and a procedure form will show your observer(s) that you know what you are doing, when you are doing it, and above all WHY you are doing it. The procedure form will allow the observers to follow you in case there are students in the lesson. In your procedures write how you will give instructions, and how you will check the understanding of the instructions.
At the end of the lesson plan, write an extension to your lesson. So, let’s say your lesson was ‘clothes lexis’, then as an extension suggest that in the following lesson you will teach, for example, functional language, to shop for clothes.
Ask the following questions
- What is the age of the learners?
- What is the level of the learners?
- Are there going to be students, how many?
- How many teachers/observers will be there?
- How much time do I have?
- What is the topic of the demo lesson? (A skill, then which? A grammar point? Again, which one ?).
This is the most important point in the lesson. I have seen countless demo lessons, where the teachers weren’t able to explain the target structure, nor answer some of the questions raised by the observers. Once your potential employer informs you of the topic of the lesson (most of the time it is going to be grammar), go and research the target structure, even if you think you know it like the back of your hand. Some books that you can consult are:
- Teaching Tenses By Aitken.
- Teaching English Grammar by Scrivener.
- Practical English Usage by Parrot.
- Concept Questions and Time Lines by Workman.
This part of the lesson is the meat in your sandwich, so you need to do it well. I have seen observers shut down after asking a question that was not answered correctly or accurately by the teachers being observed.
- Use some CCQs (concept-checking questions) in your slides.
- Use a guided-discovery worksheet.
- Be ready for tricky questions, such as, what would you do if the learners still do not understand the target language?
Do not rush to answer a question the second it is asked. This is a common occurrence in teachers who are trying to please their observers. Instead, make use of the two second rule. Take two seconds before answering the question. This not only shows that you value the question being asked, but, it also gives you a little more time to process the question and formulate the best answer. Our brain processes are very fast and two seconds can make a big difference between a good and a poor answer. If in doubt, repeat the question. Another delaying tactic is to make the comment “good question”, before giving your answer. However all delaying tactics should be used with caution and used only once.
Try to use your own laptop if you have one, because you’ll have all your materials and the programs you need on it. The school might not have a video player that plays all the video/audio extensions. Have all the slides and materials in one folder and copy it onto your desktop, so you can reach it easily during the lesson.
Use handouts that are clear, and error-free. If you are using some materials from the internet, do check them and see if the exercises are only about the target structure. Make sure they are PARSNIP free (Politics, Alcohol, Religion, Sex, Narcotics, ISMs, and Pork.) Some institutions are pretty strict about them.
Try to find various activities such as games and communicative activities for the target structure of your demo lesson, especially if you are applying for elementary or middle school. Also try to vary the skills of the activities to include speaking, writing, listening, and reading. There are lots of books that provide activities and games based on language structures or lexical groups, or functional exponents. You do not have to include all of them in the lesson plan, but by inserting some games, even if you don’t use all of them, it shows that you have done your preparation well and have a store of material to call upon if your lesson deviates a little from the plan.
When doing the demo lesson, and trust me on this, you are going to have like a gazillion thoughts per second, not to mention the questions and the looks that will come from your audience. So, having some slides in your arsenal is also very useful. They will keep you organized, on topic, and will have everything you need to avoid forgetting something and they save s time.
Try to create your own slides with your name in the corner, and avoid writing 100 words on each slide. Simplicity is the key.
Know who is your audience and how to address them.
I recommend using this strategy when there will be no actual students in the demo lesson. When you are about to start your lesson, ask how your observer(s) would like to be addressed. You need to know whether your observers are going to be students all the time, students and observers/teachers, or just observers/teachers. I find the second one to be the best since you can ‘teach’ the lesson, and comment on it simultaneously. If the observers do not specify an approach, try to choose the second. The reason for this is because that way you will present the activity/skill/language point/material/stage and have the chance to give the rationale behind it. You will be able to show them that you’re doing this because it will lead to that.
Some other tips
Practice teaching the lesson at home, and if possible, have a colleague or a friend observe and critique your lesson.
It is fine to reschedule. If anything goes wrong, or they ask you to give a different lesson from the one already agreed upon, then reschedule, so you can prepare the materials. This happened to a good teacher who agreed to do a different lesson. Unfortunately, it did not go well for him. So, do reschedule.
Do not be over confident and do not patronize the observers as if they are learners and know nothing. Even if you think they know very little, do not act like it. Again, this happened to a teacher who ended up talking to experienced teachers as if they did not know the first thing about English. She kept giving them tips about learning, and told them that with practice they would be able to speak without any trouble. All they asked was “can you highlight the difference between the simple past and the present perfect?”
Thank the observers for the time and the opportunity. You can ask when they will contact you to inform you about the decision.
This might seem a lot of work, but the old adage “failing to plan is planning to fail” comes in very useful here. If I had a language institution, I would definitely expect a good teacher to follow most of these tips and in a perfect world, all of them.
Do you have other tips you would like to add?
Deciding on a title for the LSA is the most important thing because you would know your focus area and narrow it to be able to cover it in 2000-2500 words. Once you know what your title is, the rest is easy (I’m just kidding, nothing is easy :D) but you would know what your focus is.
Don’t go back and forth between systems and skills, or a system and another. Once you start the process of going back and forth between options, you’ll be frustrated and probably won’t know what to write and how to write. Just stick with the first idea you get, ask for your tutor feedback, and start writing.
It is a good idea to pick a system or a receptive skill for the first LSA, or even the first two LSAs, and leave the productive skill till the third or fourth LSA.
So, what does an LSA title look like?
The titles of LSAs in Delta are long and might be up to 20 words! Depending on what you’re analyzing, for whom, and using what. Some sample titles (thanks for my friends Romina, Basak, Duygu, Nastya, Maria, Ebru, and Saoirse for providing me with some of their titles) :
Helping Low Level Learners to Develop Scanning and Skimming Reading Subskills to Find Information Online about University Courses
Helping lower level learners (A1, A2, B1) develop skimming and scanning subskills for reading advertisements
Developing lower level learners’ (A1, A2, B1) speaking subskills (turn-taking and adjacency pairs) in transactional situations
Helping Higher Level Learners to Develop Speaking Sub-skills to Participate in Conversations.
Helping lower level learners to write a cover letter for a job application.
Helping lower level learners develop their intensive reading skills.
helping lower level learners to listen to video travel guides.
helping lower level learners write a job application email.
Helping lower level learners to develop skimmimg and scanning sub- skills.
Helping lower level learners write text messages.
Developing lower level learners’ speaking sub skills in conversations.
Developing lower level learners’ informal email writing sub-skills.
Developing lower level learners’ skimming and scanning reading sub-skills.
Helping Turkish Speakers to Notice and Produce Intelligible Pronunciation of Dental and Labiodental Sounds
Helping lower level learners to use the simple past
Helping learners of lower levels (A1, A2, B1) recognize and use modal verbs of obligation.
Helping lower level learners (A1, A2, B1) recognize and use functional language to offer and request help.
Enabling lower level (CEFR a1,A2) learners to use be going to for future plans and present progressive for arrangements.
Introducing lower level learners to phrasal verbs within the theme of friendship.
Helping lower level learners recognize and used adjective+ noun collocations
Helping lower level learners to understand and use verb noun collocations
Helping lower level learners recognize and use Type 1 Conditionals for future possible results
Helping A2 level learners use polite requests in transactional contexts.
Helping lower level learners use the Past Simple to describe past events.
Enable lower level learners to recognise and use phrasal verbs.
What does an LSA title contain?
- The word used to introduce the learners
- The level of the learners
- The Skill/System you’re analyzing
- The genre/context
The word used to introduce the learners:
Avoid using the word ‘teaching’ it entails that the lesson is teacher-centered and the focus is on teaching rather than learning. Use words like enabling, helping, and developing, these words shifts the attention to the learners. To add, developing or helping the learners is what actually is going to happen in the lesson, since the learners won’t be able to be introduced to a system/skill, practice, and become experts at it in one lesson, right?
The level of the learners:
Mentioning the level of the learners, like lower-level or higher-level learners, in your titles narrows your focus to that level. It would help you when writing the issues and suggestions section(s) in your LSA. Picking a specific level means that your issues will be about that level. Sometimes, it is a good idea to narrow down to a level since some areas come with numerous learning issues and you need to keep the number to four or five issues due to the word count.
The Skill/System you’re Analyzing:
Obviously, you will need to write the system or the skills your LSA is about. be careful though not to choose something that can’t be covered in 2500 words. When I wanted to write a grammar LSA I thought about the past tense and past aspects. After pondering on the decision for like half an hour, I realized that I would need like 10,000 words to cover the topic. Instead, I went for used to and would for expressing past habits.
You don’t have to write a specific genre, but sometimes you need to. Like if your LSA is about scanning and skimming it might help to add the genre or the context that these sub-skills will be practiced. Be careful though, if you include the genre in your title, you need to analyze the genre in your LSA. One of my LSAs (my first actually) was about developing scanning and skimming in reading, and I added the genre to the title. My tutor read my LSA and asked me about the genre analysis, and I was like “do I need to add it?!!!!” I had to spend a whole evening researching the genre to include an analysis in the LSA (I don’t need to talk about how frustrated and upset I was, and how I felt I was going to fail the assignment. But I didn’t!!)
So, that’s all I have to say about titles. Remember, pick an area quickly to avoid frustration, and then give a careful thought about the wording of the title. Of course, your tutor will provide support, but it’s HIGHLY recommended to have an idea in mind before going to your tutor.
This is the second time I get publish at EFL Magazine. In the article, I write about the ways to develop as a teacher other than taking a course such as CELTA or TESOL.
You can read the article here: How to Develop and Thrive as a Teacher Without Taking CELTA or TESOL.
I hope you find the article useful, and feel free to comment on it 🙂
The idea of a sharing board first came to me when I saw the bulletin board at my school, and thought we could use it for sharing stuff. However, the idea as it is, came from reading the informative book, The Developing Teacher by Duncan Foord, where he talks about creating a sharing board, its benefits for teachers, and how it can be used effectively.
The board is a very effective way to share and develop with teachers at your institution. It costs nothing other than 2 sheets. It doesn’t take time to maintain since many teachers will be working on it.
The Sharing Board that I’ve created is two A3 sheets with spaces for websites, YouTube channels, webinars, seminars, books, articles, blogs, activities, games, materials and worksheets, rules, and thanks. You can download the sheets and print them on A3 or A4. However, A3 is recommended to have some space for what is going to be written.
If you don’t like the layout, or some of the sections, you can use some labels to cover the sections’ titles, and write above them the section you want. Or you can design or draw your own, it is practically some squares/rectangles, but I thought a colorful one would make it a bit attractive. If you have suggestions for other sections, please write them in the comments so I can add them to the current design.
These are the rules that I’ve written on the board. You can add/remove as appropriate:
• Post one idea at a time.
• Leave space for others.
• Put your name on the material, or near it so that people will know who posted it.
• If you post something, make sure it is clear how to use it.
• If you use something, thank the person who posted it.
•use a pencil to write so we can erase the old posts to make place for new ones.
To make the experience fun, and to add an element of competition to it, I’ve created a point chart. The teachers can be in team a (Awesome) or team b (Brilliant). For each thing shared by a team member, the team get a point.They can circle a star. Every 25th star is golden to make it easier to keep track of points. The team that reaches 200 points (the big star) is the winner. If you like, you can make a small party for the winning team where the team that lost gets a cake and some juice, or something else! Then you can reprint/erase the point chart, and start over.
This is my first attempt to gamify a learning experience. If you have a suggestion to enhance the experience, please let me know so I can add it to the point chart, or change the design altogether. Having said that, I tried to keep the gamification experience to minimum so it won’t take time to track since we’re already busy teaching.
I have added two plastic sleeves next to the board. The first is going to be used for ‘Article of the Week’. Each week I will print out (or one of my colleagues will) an interesting ELT article that I’ve read to share with my coworkers. The other is for the materials and worksheets, so teachers can provide a sample copy for other teachers to photocopy.
These ones are the same as the first, but I’ve added ‘online courses‘ with seminars and webinars. The second has ‘YouTube Channels‘, and the third one has ‘Games and Activities‘ in the same box. Pick the ones that you like most.
The board one day after sticking it on a wall in our teachers’ room:
Going back and forth between writing, rewriting, reading, citing, and making a final draft in a limited time would probably be the reason to forget doing the following little things. Some of them are crucial and you will get a ‘not met’ or ‘partially met’ because of them.
I categorized the mistakes into 2 sections, background essay, and lesson plan.
The cover page of your Background Essay, should contain the following: the title, the number of the assignment, whether it’s a system or a skill, your name, your center, your candidate number, the date of submission, and last but not least the word count.
not stating the word count on the cover page. There is one criterion related to word count: respects the word limit (2,000-2,500 words) and states the number of words used. The key words are underlined. So, respecting the word count is half of the criterion, stating the word count on the cover page is the other half. So, respecting without stating will get you a ‘partially met’ for the criterion. And take my word for it, it may happen because there’s a lot to take care of.
Not adding a footer with your name, LSA number, and its title, and the page number. I have no idea if there is a criterion related to the footer (probably there is), however, it is important to do it since my tutors told us to include a footer containing: Name, LSA number, LSA title, and page number.
Misspelling the authors’ names or confusing them. I got a ‘partially met’ for the criterion related to citing and referencing in on of my BEs because I’ve used the first name of the author when using in-text citation, and because I didn’t use italics in the bibliography. I used MLA as a citing system, and MLA italicizes the titles in the bibliography.
Not adding the appendices in the same document. If you use any activity in the Suggestion section, you need to add a copy of that worksheet/slide/document an an appendix. You need to name them, something like Appendix A, Appendix B … etc. You also need to source them.
Learners’ Strengths and Weaknesses
When writing the learners’ profile, you need to write their strengths and weaknesses. However, a common mistake is that candidates usually write about those in general, while you should write only those which are related to the focus of your lesson. So, if your focus is Phonology, writing “this learner can’t use conditionals correctly” is not valid.
Links with other Lessons
Another common mistake is that writing all/any lesson that was prior to THIS LSA. The criteria 5d dictates that the lessons listed/mentioned should be related to the focus of the LSA. In other words, ‘relevance’ is a key word here. For instance, your LSA focus is past perfect, you need to to mention a lesson when the learners learned how to use the simple past. And as a subsequent lesson, you might be able to mention using the same structure with another context, or using the structure in a skill-based lesson like writing or speaking.
When stating assumptions related to your lesson focus, you need to include assumptions related to learners knowledge, abilities, and interests. If you exclude one of those, you’ll get a ‘partially met.’ For example, you can write:
Interests: I assume that the learners will be engaged in the theme of the lesson because … .
Abilities: I assume they will have a difficulty when applying reading subskills since … .
Knowledge: I assume they will know the key vocabulary related to … because … .
Copying the Analysis from the Background Essay
The analysis in the lesson plan is going to be narrower when compared with the analysis of the skill/system area in your background essay. In the background essay, you’re analyzing the area in general. On the other hand, in the lesson plan you’re analyzing what is going to be presented in the lesson. Let’s say your focus in the background essay is noun + verb collocations, you will analyzed the collocations in general. In the lesson plan, you will need to write the list of collocations you are going to present, and analyze them.
I made this mistake in one of my LSAs, and got a ‘not met’, and the tutor was not happy at all when he saw it.
ًWriting a Detailed Procedure Form
This is just my personal opinion: writing a procedure form that is way too much detailed can, and probably will backfire. For my LSA1, the procedure form was 4 complete pages! When I reviewed it, I found out that I will absolutely forget something, or do something in a way different from what I’ve written. One of the things that I’ve written in details and changed later on, the ICQs. I wrote the exact ICQs that I should ask, however, I removed the questions and wrote “T checks the instructions using ICQs.” I figured writing that is better than writing the exact questions, because if I forget to ask one of the questions, the tutor is going to highlight it. I tried to write enough details to understand how the lesson will flow, but not too much details that something here or there might be forgotten.
For some, a detailed procedure form might seem better, and that might be true. It’s just I found out that writing too much details will make it hard to stay on the exact track in the lesson. The rationale behind that is although you’re an experienced teacher, but there will be a bit of room for stress, for an obvious reason, you’re being assessed. If you disagree, please let me know in the comments 🙂
So there it is, 10 minor mistakes to avoid in your Delta Module Two. If you can add other, please do in the comments.
For some, this post might seem a cliche. However, I decided to write about the issue due to the fact that this ‘rule’ is usually overlooked.
Many people who did CELTA or Delta have told me that it was really a bad experience. That wasn’t because of the nature of the course, their tutors, the pressure, the amount of work needed to be done, nor lack of knowledge. It was simply because of their peers.
I’ve heard about a lot of people who would fight during the course, or provide each other with destructive criticism, rather than constructive one. Or, not sharing materials with other peers.
During my CELTA and Delta, it was a privilege from me to meet friendly, kind, collaborative, and caring people (shout out to my CELTA peers: Tatyana, Fatma, Idil, Alper, Tevhide, and Taylan. And for my Delta peers Duygu, Romina, Ebru, Charles, Saoirsi, Basak, Maria, John, Nastya, Gamze, and Dilek.) We collaborated a lot and comforted each other when any of us had gone through a bad TP or was feeling stressed because of what was coming. We shared materials, resources, books, activities, plans, feedback, and food. I’ll always be grateful for them because they have made the courses an even better experience.
An important reminder
What you need to know is that you’re not assessed on how many times you answer a question, nor when you dominate a feedback or an input session. You’re not going to be assessed against your peers, and there’s no ‘the teacher’s favorite student’ here. Nothing of what I’ve mentioned will affect your grade.
You will be assessed based on your performance when writing assignments and teaching lessons against a list of criteria, that’s it. So, trashing your peers’ lesson will do no good for both parties. Nor hiding materials/resources would.
Another thing to add, is that helping other teachers (in this case your peers) is a kind of professional development. Simply because you’ll help them to overcome troubles, listen to how they react to an arising issue, and the list goes on.
A Final Word
Collaborate, and enjoy the experience with your peers so when you or they talk about their course later on, you will all have a smile on your face. Doing such a course is a great opportunity to meet professional, developing teachers, and you will probably be friends for life. In the end, it is only a course that lasts for a few weeks, so why not make those weeks count?
Image credit: Freepik
In Delta Module 2 you have to observe 10 hours/lessons and write anything from 800-2000 words for each observation. Though they might seem a lot to do, but you are going to learn a lot from them. This was the consensus in my course when we discussed the peer observations and what was their impact on our learning. If you are doing an intensive course, 6-8 weeks, it is good to write a couple before the course starts (as I heard). It is also good if you write some of them in week 1 when you are observing your peers’ Diagnostic Lessons. Don’t rely on writing them when observing your peers’ LSAs, because the norm is that no one is allowed into an LSA except for the assessor. Everything in this post is descriptive, and not prescriptive.
Defining your Focus
You need to link each observation with a focus. The focus should be related to your action points from your PDA. The focuses might be monitoring, reducing TTT, giving instruction, varying feedback, exploiting materials and learners’ output, dealing with learners’ errors, focusing on drilling and pronunciation, and the list goes on. So, you need to know your focus when you are observing the lesson, and later when you are writing the peer observation, you need to state it.
Using an Observation Task/Sheet
Your center is probably going to provide you with observation tasks sheets. They are helpful because their layout and the notes/questions on them are focused to target teaching areas that I’ve mentioned in Defining your Focus. Try to use them while observing because they will guide your and offer good tips for observing the lesson.
Asking the teacher for a copy of the lesson plan might come in handy too. Also, be ready to give feedback to the teacher, because probably they would be expecting it (for some it might be a part of their action plan in their PDA.)
Writing the Peer Observation
You need to include 4 parts in a peer observation: Introduction, Description of the Lesson, Analysis, and Reflection.
It shouldn’t be long. You can write your focus for this observation, and some information about the lesson like the lesson’s focus, lesson’s context, level of learners, and how many there are. Should be something like 40 words.
Description of the Lesson
Here, you write what happened during the lesson, i.e. running commentary. What the teacher did and how they did it. What the learners did, and their reaction/involvement/participation. How the lesson developed, and how stages unfolded. It could be about 300 words.
In this part you analyzed the techniques and the way the teacher acted throughout the lesson. For example, you’re commenting on the way the teacher managed the pair/group work, then you support your comments by quoting from ELT literature. For instance, Harmer notes the importance of pair and group work by stating: “Groupwork and pairwork have been popular in language teaching for many years and have many advantages.” But, you need to state the year and the page.
In this part you will express your thoughts about the the approach the teacher followed. Remember, you are not criticizing the teacher. You need to state whether you do things differently in your teaching practice, and whether observing the lesson will make you change the way you do things.
The Golden Tip
What turned out to be helpful the most was that when I observed a lesson, I wrote directly using my laptop. That way when the lesson was over I would end up writing 300-400 words and some notes that I will elaborate on when writing the complete observation. Believe me you need to save as much time as you could. However, you need to check with the teacher, because some might be irritated if someone is using their laptop at the back of the classroom. My kind, awesome, lovely, and amazing peers (now friends) always allowed me to use my laptop.
There’s a lot to consider when writing your Delta Module 2 background essays (BEs). Some things might be more explicit than others. I provide a list here of some of what needs to be done when writing a BE.
Always respect the word count. Cambridge is strict when it comes to word count. If they say 2000-2500 words, that is exactly what they mean. There is no 10% tolerance or anything else. Don’t go over or under it, not even by 1 word!
Do specify your area, the genre (if you think you need one,) the subskills/language structure in the title.
Don’t just come up with a title like “teaching past tenses for English learners” this title has a wide scope and it is too vague for the reader. For more information about the titles of BEs, check out my other post here.
The evaluation of suggestions mustn’t be just a sentence or two. You need to evaluate a suggestion critically, and not only mentioning its strengths. For example, comment by saying something like ‘this activity will not work with lower level learner because …’. You need to support your evaluation with your reading from research. You need to quote someone to back up your evaluation. There is a criterion about this, and it won’t be ‘met’ if you don’t evaluate it well enough.
Cambridge guidelines suggests that the minimum should be 3 book in the bibliography. However, you need to use more than that to be able to analyze the area well enough. Use key sources that are credible such as books and professional journals. Avoid using any titles that are written for language learners. Avoid quoting blogs unless the author is someone who has been published in the ELT world like Jermey Harmer or Scott Thornbury, i.e., someone credible.
Use your own voice when writing and try to paraphrase rather than direct quoting. A mistake that I made when paraphrasing (and had to spend 3 hours rewriting) was changing just some of the words and using fronting or another grammatical structure. However, it turned out that you need to write the whole thing with your own words when paraphrasing, which is actually, paraphrasing. Do check this page to be able to differentiate between quoting and paraphrasing so you won’t be accused of plagiarism. Even if you think you know the difference, I urge you to check it to be on the safe side.
Link each issue to a source from your own teaching context(s). Meaning, what is the source of the issue, is it the learners’ L1, the level of the learners, or confusing the target structure with other similar structure?
Here is a part of what I mean that should be done, associating the issue with its source (this is from a background essay about reading sub-skills.):
When I am teaching lower-level learners, they quite often stop the reading task to ask me, their classmates, or to check a dictionary for the meaning of each word that is new to them. They tend to do this regardless of the reading task assigned, which, in turns, affects the subskills and the general aim behind the task.
Don’t write anything related to language learning and learning problems in the analysis. The analysis should be only about what proficient language users do with the skill/system. The learning process and the problems can be discussed in later parts, issues and suggestions.
Don’t write about the teaching process from your own perspective. Meaning, don’t use phrases like ‘I will teach the learners’ or in the title ‘teaching learners…’ rather use the learners’ perspective by using phrases such as ‘helping the learners to use,’ ‘enabling the learners to recognize,’ and ‘developing learners’ reading subskills.’
Don’t insert images of text in the body of the essay without including the words in the images in the word count. What I was told is that the background essays are scanned by programs that count every word in the body of the essay including the ones in the images. So, if you want to insert a table from a book, try to write it in the word processor in order to be clear on the word count.
Do not write 2000 words and stop. This is a mistake that some trainees commit. You need to use those words to analyze the area, and to write about problems and suggestions. If you end up writing toward the low end of the word count, then you probably haven’t analyzed the area well enough.
In the issues and suggestions, do not write about 2 issues. A minimum is 3, though I was advised against it. And was recommended to go with 4 or 5. If you write more it means that you are not giving enough details, back up from research, and critical evaluation. When writing the issues vary the type. For example, if you are writing about a grammar structure, come up with an issue with meaning, another with form, and one with pronunciation. You can write two about form/meaning/pronunciation, however, you need to provide an issue for each aspect.
Hope you find the tips helpful. Feel free to ask any question or add any other tips in the comments.
Delta Module 2
In this post I will show you the Delta Module 2 timeline. Meaning, what you have to do, and when you have to do it. I’ve finished my Delta module two last Friday, and I’m already at it! It was a great experience for me, and I learned a lot from it. I met really great people and enjoyed learning with and from them about teaching.
I will be posting more about Delta Module 2 in the next few weeks. And feel free to ask any question you want, and I will try to answer it in a comment or write a post here about it to give more information.
Module 2 is broadly speaking offered in 4 versions (in parenthesis is what I like to call them): over 9 months (part-time), over 12 weeks (full-time), over 8 weeks (intensive full-time), and over 6 weeks (insanely intensive full-time).
This Delta Module 2 timeline is for the insanely intensive full-time (6 weeks) course. In part-time course you’ll have to do things in the same order, but spread over more weeks. However, check with your center/tutor.
If you have done an eight or twelve week Module 2, please write in the comment how it was different from the six-week one.
The abbreviations used in the infographic (you NEED to know them because everyone at the course will be using them):
LSA: Language System/Skill Assignment.
PDA: Professional Development Assignment.
BE: Background Essay.
LP: Lesson Plan.
RE: Reflection and Evaluation.
EP: Experimental Practice.
PO: Peer Observation.
NOTE: don’t forget to download and print the Delta Module 2 Planner from here to keep you organized throughout the course. some of my peers and I used it, and it was really helpful.
click on the image for a larger version or to save it
This is going to be my last post for a while. My DELTA Module 2 course starts tomorrow and it lasts for six long weeks 🙂
Hopefully, I will post about my experience after the course and share it with passionate ELT teachers.
Wish me luck 🙂
I have created this Cambridge Delta Module One infographic to function as a simple introduction to module 1. In the infographic I have listed the tasks of paper 1 and paper 2, the marks available for each task, what is the task about, and what to read to prepare for the task.
When to start reading?
It’s a good idea to start reading early for Module 1. So, if you are planning to take the course in December, maybe you’d like to start reading as early as January since there’s a lot to cover, and not to mention that you are already working full-time. The readings in the infographic are suggestions and you might wanna read more to be able to score high, or get your head round the topic.
How to prepare?
To prepare for Delta Module One, you can either study on your own and sit the exam. Or, you can take a preparation course with a center. From my experience, I’ve found the course to be a great option, since it provides you with practice, feedback, tips, and techniques to tackle the tasks.
I’m taking the a preparation course at ITI Istanbul. They run a great course online and they offer a HUGE advantage: you can retake the course as many times as you want without having to pay again till you pass the test! (NOTE: I’m not an affiliate for ITI Istanbul nor was asked to talk about their course here. I’m doing it out of love. They did a great job, and still doing so since I haven’t sat the exam this June.)
Some Random Thoughts
You can take the preparation course for Delta Module One in a center and sit the exam in another. It won’t be an issue.
Module One exam fee is 140 GBP and you pay it once you decide to sit the exam (the fee might vary).
You need to register for the exam at least 4 or 5 weeks before its date.
Once you pay for the exam you can’t postpone it. (meaning you can’t take back your money or change the date of your exam).
click on the image for a larger version
Before you read this post, if you wanna know more about CELTA check out my posts: CELTA in a Nutshell and Why Do I need to take CELTA?
Summer has come, and with it comes the time when motivated teachers do their CELTA course. So, I’ve decided to create this planner to keep the candidates on track. Print it on an A3 sheet, and you are good to go!
There are 2 formats of the planner. One for the course of 8 TPs, and the other for 6 TPs. What does that mean??
Well, in the course you have to teach 6 observed hours. These 6 hours might be spread over 8 TPs (lessons), 6 TPs, or any other number. The most common ones are 8 and 6. That’s why you can find 2 formats, pick the one that you’ll be doing, and tick as you go!
You might wanna mark the days of your TPs on the calendar. Your TPs will be on either Tuesdays and Thursdays, or Wednesdays and Fridays (provided that your centers follows the 8 TPs format and not another one, like 6 TPs.)
If your course will have a different number of TPs, you might wanna ask your tutor/center about the days of your TPs so you can mark them on the calendar.
I have created on the planner a spot for ‘Action Points’. Action points are the elements related to your teaching practice that you need to work on for the next TPs. They could be giving instructions, analyzing target language, using concept questions, monitoring, or any thing thing your tutor comments on in your TP Feedback.
I think it’s imperative that you write on the planner your action points, think about them, include them in your lesson objectives, and fulfill them to show that you are a developing and a reflective teacher.
You can download the planner from the following links. Feel free to share and comment 🙂
Why to Take CELTA? After introducing what CELTA is as a course and what it has to offer in my previous post, in this one I’m gonna tackle the question which many teachers ask (me): “Why should I take CELTA?”. Well, the best person to answer this question is you. (To be honest I always recommend taking the course if there is no financial problems. And that was my advice to my wife too!)
There are many things to consider when thinking ‘why to take CELTA?’. One which is highly important is whether you hold a university degree in ELT, or English Language and Literature, or another field of study since this means whether you have ELT-related knowledge or not.
Some other things that you need to consider are:
Have you been observed by a teacher trainer?
Why this is important: This is imperative, and I would argue that it is the most important element in teacher training, since we can’t notice everything we say and do in the language classroom. We need an objective view where someone else can observe us and give us feedback about our strengths and action points. This is important for those who are not new to teaching as much as it is for new teachers, because the issue of fossilized errors is in play here. Countless experienced teachers who decided to take CELTA after teaching for many years said that they didn’t know they should do this thing or that thing, in a specific way. A common problem among these teachers is TTT (teacher talk time). They all have commented/said that their CELTA tutors informed them that they talk (way) too much during the lesson and they should reduce their TTT time to raise STT (Student Talk Time).
How this is related to CELTA: As a CELTA trainee you’ll be observed by 2 experienced teacher trainers (a shout out to my awesome trainers Steve Darn and Billy Sevki Hasirci) who would provide you with valuable feedback regarding your teaching practice.
Have you observed other teachers in practice?
Why this is important: Well, now you can be that objective person and see other teacher in their teaching practice. You’ll be able to learn from their strengths and action points, and think about those and compare them to yours.
How this is related to CELTA: When taking CELTA you’ll have the chance of observing other trainees, and also experienced teachers. When observing other trainees, your tutor will provide you with a handout asking you to comment on specific teaching areas in that lesson. When observing experienced teachers, you’ll have to write an “observation report” about 250 words (as far as I remember) and hand it to your tutor.
Reflecting on your lessons:
Why this is important:Being a reflective teacher cannot be stressed enough. Taking some time to think after your lesson to consider what went well and what didn’t. Reflection would allow you to learn from your action points, and alter your lessons, aims, strategies, and techniques accordingly.
How this is related to CELTA: In CELTA, after each TP (lesson) you give, you have to write a self evaluation reflecting on how well your lesson went, what would you change, and how did the learners react to/during the lesson. Another thing is starting from your second lesson (TP 2) you should include in your lesson plan your personal aims for the lesson. And you can take that from the feedback form given to you by your tutor. For example, you should write like ‘in this lesson I will work on my TTT, or my target language.’
Have you analyzed language areas before?
Why this is important: it goes without saying that as a language teacher you do know grammar. However, have you analyzed grammar areas in terms of forms and functions? what is a tense and what is an aspect? how many tenses are there in English? (the answer to the last one would probably shock you!)
How this is related to CELTA: Many input sessions in CELTA are about language analysis. Although you won’t be taught grammar-this is a misconception that some candidates think CELTA includes a ‘grammar module.- but you will be taught how to analyze grammar areas. And trust me you gonna like this a lot.
Do you know how to teach language skills and systems?
Why this is important: Knowing how to teach the four skills (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) Language Systems (pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and discourse) with their logical stages is what actually teaching is. And it’s not like ‘of course I do, I play the listening file and voila, that was listening skill’. For instance, each skill has stages like pre-reading, while-reading, and post-reading. And for each stage there are specific activities that would work well with one, but not with another.
How this is related to CELTA: In the course there will be input sessions about the skills and systems where you can learn the aforementioned stages, and experience them firsthand.
Some other ELT techniques that you will learn during CELTA are conducting feedback and varying the methods for it. Monitoring, when to monitor and how to monitor depending on the task at hand. Another one is correction, when to correct, how to correct, and varying your correction techniques. Giving and checking instructions to make sure your learners know what to do next. If you think the answer for those techniques are respectively: giving feedback is when telling my students ‘that’s good/work harder;’ 2 monitoring is simple I just look at my learners and walk around the classroom; 3 correction is when my students make a mistake I correct them and carry on; 4 and when it comes to instructions; that’s a piece of cake; I tell my learners ‘do this exercise,’ then I have to tell you that you surely need to take CELTA.
You also need to take into consideration what other advantages CELTA provides; better job perspectives to name one. I once had a talk with a language school manager in the UK. She said that whenever she gets job applications she categorize them as: those who have CELTA, and those who don’t. Another point is that many schools when posting job vacancies they ask for a certain number of years of experience AFTER certification. Another advantage is the ability to continue developing and get Cambridge DELTA. And let’s not forget that CELTA is provided by Cambridge University!
Now let’s give you what you are here for, the quiz. Take this quiz which I have created based on the most important things that the CELTA will train you for. See for yourself whether you need to take the course or not. Don’t forget to share the quiz with your colleagues!
Now, tell me in the comments, what is your result, and has it changed your opinion?
UPDATE 28/5/2017: There was a mistake in the second planner and I have edited it. Please redownload it.
UPDATE 13/6/2017: I have added an eight-week version 🙂
My DELTA Module Two is starting this July, 2017. I know I should be very organized and manage my time properly since the course is highly intensive. That’s why I’ve created these 2 planners which are for full-time DELTA Module Two courses. The calendars is a ready-to-print, A3 sized.
You can print them on A4-sized paper too, but it would look a bit small. Stick it on your wall, and tick as you go!
The abbreviations (They are used during the Module 2 course, so you need to learn them):
LSA: Language Systems/Skills Assignment
BE: Background Essay
LP: Lesson Plan
TP: Teaching Practice (the lesson that you will teach)
SE: Self Evaluation
PDA: Professional Development Assignment
Click on the the download link to get the planner:
Hope you like, and find them useful. I will write more posts about DELTA Module 2 once I finish the course this August. So, stay tuned to my blog 🙂
Good luck with your DELTA Module 2, and feel free to comment on and share this post 🙂
I prepare my students for Cambridge Exams (Flyers, KET, and PET). And since the examination date is just around the corner, I thought I should revise the vocabulary list. Also, my learners asked me for an activity or a game to revise the Flyers word list. So, I came up with the following game, and it went well!
You are going to need the Thematic Vocabulary List for Flyers. You can download the list from here (PDF file. Size 1.66 MB, taken form the Cambridge YLE Handbook.)
I grouped the learners into groups of 4s and 3s and asked each group to get 1 sheet of paper, and a pen/pencil for each student.
The instructions were that I’m going write a category on the board taken from the vocabulary list, and they will have 1 minute to write as much words as they know on their sheet, and when the time is up, they should stop. You can use the clock on the wall as a timer, or if you have a stopwatch on your phone. I used Google Stopwatch, and projected it on the board so the learners can know how much left. You can find it here. (press the CTRL key while clicking on the link to open it in a new tab.)
When the time was up, I asked each group to pass their sheet to the group next to them, and showed the aforementioned vocabulary list on the board. The learners checked the sheets against the vocabulary list. Giving 1 point for any word that is on the list, 2 points for any correct word that is not on the list, and crossing any word that doesn’t belong to the category or that is false in a way or another. And wrote their points under their team’s name on the board. If you don’t like having a competition in your classroom, you can skip writing the points on the board. However, my learners enjoyed that a lot!
After getting back their own sheets, I asked the learners to write on their notebooks any word that is on the list but they didn’t write, so they would learn and study this word later.
And that’s all about it. I’m gonna try out this activity with my KET and PET students and see how it goes!
What do you think about the activity? Any comments or alterations?
You can access the page behind this post here, and if you like you can read the post too 🙂
There are many forms of continuing professional development, one that I just love is webinars. They’re held regularly, and tackle different issues in ELT. I always learn new things from webinars, that’s why I keep attending them. So far, I’ve attended more than 30 certified webinars, and half as much of recorded webinars.
Before going any further, I’d like to say that this is why I’ve decided to create The ELT Webinars Calendar. I’ll add the webinars that I know so you can check them and attend those who interest you. You can also find a form beneath the calendar which you can use to add an event or a webinar which is not already on the list. And beneath the form you can find links for recorded webinars in case you wanna watch some.
So, back to the track, here’s my list of reasons why you should attend webinars:
-You can access them on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and cellphone.
-They don’t take a lot of your schedule. Usually they are 40-80 minutes.
-You can gain certificates to prove your CPD (continuing professional development) to your (potential) employer.
-In case you miss one, you can watch the recording when it’s convenient for you.
-They keep you up-to-date with what’s new in the ELT world.
-You learn about an area that is new to you OR you deepen your knowledge in an are that you already know.
Jack Richards give these reasons for attending a workshop (workshops and webinars are practically the same thing) in his book Professional Development for Language Teachers, on page 25:
Attending workshops can provide input from experts.
Workshops offer teachers practical classroom applications.
Attending workshops can raise teachers’ motivation.
Workshops develop collegiality.
Participating in workshops can support innovations.
Workshops are short-term.
Workshops are flexible in organization.
I can’t stress the importance of attending webinars enough. If you are new to them, try them a couple of times, and you’ll become addictive.
Over to you: what is your take on webinars?
Update: read this post to know the benefits of CELTA and take the quiz!
Ever since I’ve finished my CELTA in December 2014, I’ve been contacted by countless people from all over the world (I hope you are reading this post) who want to take CELTA. And always, I was happy to help my fellow colleagues.
That’s why I’ve decided to create this infographic hoping it would be helpful for teachers who don’t know what CELTA is. or what it does offer. And to function as Cambridge CELTA introduction. Of course, this is not what all is CELTA about. To know ALL about CELTA you gotta read the CELTA Course Trainee Book, or take the course yourself 😉
click on the image for a larger version and share if you care