Preparing for Delta Module 3
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What is Delta Module 3?
I assume that most people who found this page will already know something about the Delta course, but for anyone who has stumbled upon this page, here is a quick explanation.
Delta is a diploma in teaching English to adults. It is a higher-level qualification than the CELTA, being equivalent to part of a masters’ degree (in fact you can use credits from Delta towards some masters’ degrees). It consists of three modules which can be taken separately or integrated into one course. In module 3, you have two options. You can either design a course for a specific group of students, or you can write a change proposal for an LTO (language teaching organisation).
The written submission is marked out of 140 and this is then translated into a grade which can be distinction (120), merit (100), pass (80) or fail. Each year around 85% get a pass or better, with 28% getting a merit and 6% getting a distinction. In practical terms however, there is no real advantage to getting a merit or distinction in any module of the Delta. Those who “fail” are given a chance to resubmit at a later exam date.
Why is it Difficult?
Tip: Don't Take the Management Option!
In my view the management elective is harder than the course proposal option for several reasons, including:
- If you’re taking Delta, you probably have more teaching experience than management experience, therefore you can probably write more easily about teaching.
- Academic management books may not be available in your LTO or from your preparation course provider. These can be expensive and difficult to obtain if you are overseas.
- Delta tutors are less familiar with this option so the help they can offer may be limited.
- Your LTO may be resistant to change or unsupportive (which can be true about the other option too) and therefore not be forthcoming with the information you require.
- It is very difficult to identify the correct scope for a problem that is significant enough to be worthy of writing about, but not so significant and complex that writing a 4,500 word essay is not going to cover any part of it in sufficient detail.
- You don’t need the management option to get academic management positions. Designing courses is equally likely to be part of a management role. If you really want to learn about management, you may be better off taking a dedicated management course.
Despite the above, you may feel that the management option is for you. On the plus side for this option there are some points for creativity and being innovative. You may be better placed to hit these points than if you design (yet another) exam course! I’m not a Delta tutor (yet), but I do empathise with the tutors who have to read exam course after exam course. If you haven’t worked it out, exams are generally a popular specialism for Delta module 3 as it is seen as a safe pass.
What Should you Know about Delta Module 3?
Before starting the course you should decide one thing: what specialism will you focus your course or proposal on. Cambridge list the following options:
- Business English (BE)
- Teaching young learners/young adults (specified age group required within a 5-year range e.g. 8–13, 14–19) (YL)
- English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
- English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
- Teaching examination classes (EX)
- Teaching one-to-one (1to1)
- ESOL learners with literacy needs (ESOLLIT)
- CLIL/Embedded ESOL (teaching English through subject/work-based learning) (CLIL)
- Teaching monolingual classes (MON)
- Teaching multilingual classes (MUL)
- Teaching in an English-speaking environment (ESE)
- Teaching in a non-English-speaking environment (NESE)
- Teaching learners online/through distance/blended learning (DL)
- Teaching English to learners with special requirements, e.g. visual/hearing impairment, dyslexia, ASD (SR)
- Language development for teachers (LDT)
- Language support (e.g. on mainstream teaching programmes, specialist skills support, such as supporting writing needs) (LS).
The first question you should be asking about this list is what classes do I have which fit these labels. Although it sounds interesting, you shouldn’t decide to design a course for students with special requirements if you will not have access to these students. You don’t actually have to teach these students, but you will need to get information about real and particular students, so you must have access to these people.
For the management option there are fewer choices:
- Academic management
- Human resource management (HRM)
- Customer service
While there are fewer options, these are quite wide areas and have some overlap. Where these do overlap, it is important to identify which is the main specialism you are focussing on.
What do you Cover in Module 3?
For the introduction, you need to research and write about your chosen specialism. An important point here is that you do not write about your chosen students at this stage, only the theories and principles of your chosen specialism. For example, if you have chosen teaching young learners, you don’t write about a group of young learners that you have, but about teaching young learners generally. To get a good mark on this section, you will need to show you have read widely on your specialism. For management, this section is basically the same – what theories and principles of your chosen specialism are relevant to LTOs?
After discussing the theories and principles, you should identify the implications for teaching these students or managing in an LTO.
Before we start teaching students, we should ideally know something about their needs. In practice, this is rarely true other than a general idea or assumption of their needs based on the purpose of the course. For example, when teaching IELTS, I assume my students will need to learn and practise exam techniques for all four skills. However, I might find out that all the students have sufficient speaking skills, but really need help with writing.
To find out what your chosen students need, you must design a needs assessment. This may sound as simple as designing a questionnaire but it can be a lot more complicated. If you are focussed on young learners, you will need to consider the parents, and possibly their school teachers. If you focus on business English, you should consider the students’ employers. Not only do you have to design any instruments you use for this purpose, you also have to justify the choices you make.
In addition to needs assessment, you also need to conduct a diagnostic test. This can be entirely bespoke or an existing test, although again the choice must be justified. The choice of test can be linked to the needs assessment. For example, in my case students identified speaking and listening as their weakest areas and so I limited my diagnostic testing to these areas. I used parts of Cambridge FCE, but adapted them and analysed the results very closely to take diagnostic value from them.
The results of the needs assessment and diagnostic test form a large part of the appendices, with only the main findings needing to go into the main body of the essay. You must then identify the priorities which the course will address.
For your course proposal you must describe the use of assessment in the course. This should include formative and summative assessment. As before, you may use bespoke tests or existing tests but these must be justified. Ideally you should have multiple assessment opportunities.
For a change proposal you should identify the necessary steps and timescale to implement the change in the LTO.
This section is asking how you will evaluate whether the course or change did what it was supposed to. It is not enough to assume students getting high marks in the assessment means that the course would have been effective – the assessments might be too easy!
When I have explained this to teachers, they seem to get confused about whether you have to teach the course or implement the change. You do NOT have to do either. You should imagine that you were going to do it though, and ask yourself how you would know it was successful.
The test results of students might form part of the evaluation. However, you should think wider. If the course is for young learners, you would want to know that their parents are happy, and maybe their school teachers. If the course is for a company, you might want to know the students’ bosses are happy (or at least the training manager). If you proposed a change, you want to know that this has made life better for teachers, administrative staff and students. It is likely therefore that you will need to design some evaluative instruments and justify your decisions.
What Else do you Need to Know?
One problem that people have on the module 3 is linking the different sections. The implications in the introduction should link to the priorities in the needs analysis, which should link to the aims and objectives of the course. The easiest way to do this is to create reference numbers for these three parts and then use these in tables. For example, when teaching YLs:
I1 – students have short attention spans
P1 – ensure the course has a variety of activity types
A1 – to provide a stimulating and motivating learning experience
The above implication, priority and aim appear as though they could be linked. However, you can’t rely on the examiner making mental leaps about how they connect together. Instead you should use tables to present some of your ideas, e.g.
|to provide a stimulating and motivating learning experience||I1||P1|
In this way, you clearly show the examiner what links you think are relevant. Of course, one aim might address several priorities and implications.
How Should you Prepare for Delta Module 3?
Take a Course?
We would strongly recommend taking a course for Delta module 3. There are many places which offer these courses either face to face or online. We recommend face to face courses because often you are able to bounce off each other and share ideas. However, Delta module 3 does involve doing a lot of individual work, so some may prefer to do it online.
You can find a course simply by typing Delta module 3 course into Google. Some places that we know offer such courses are (please contact us if you wish to see your centre added):
You will need to do a lot of reading for Delta module 3, including about your specialism. A list of suggested books can be seen here.
Additionally these websites are useful:
Delta module 3 involves a lot of study and writing. The easiest option is to choose a teaching specialism rather than the management option. Once you have decided what you want to do, you are ready to start a preparation course, although you may wish to take some time for reading up on your chosen specialism. The most important thing is to make clear links between the different parts of your submission.
Good luck with your Delta module 3.