Tag Archives: DELTA

The Unspoken Rule to Survive CELTA or Delta

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

Writing the Peer Observations in Delta Module Two

Delta Module two peer observation
Delta Module two peer observation


Peer Observations

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.



Dos and Don’ts for Writing a Delta Background Essay

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 Timeline

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

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

Delta Module 2 Timeline

Delta Module Two Planner

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!

DELTA Module Two Planner
DELTA Module Two Planner

DELTA Module Two Planner
DELTA Module Two Planner
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 🙂