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 🙂
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.
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