9 weeks, 118 input sessions, 4 assessed teaching practices, 30,000 words in assignments, a written exam, many reflections, and infinite moments of doubt over… basically everything. Delta is over, people!
Some months ago, a very dear tutor of mine had said “You do not understand how or when this course is over; once you start attending, time flies away and as if it were magic, you survive.” This is the Delta course, for me: a course of survival.
Of course, the “survival” aspect of it raises many questions as per its effectiveness. However, I will not comment on that at the moment. This blog post will be my response to all future Delta candidates who email me every now and then asking for advice.
NB: What follows is about intensive courses. I have no experience of part-time/distant Delta courses.
When you refer to this qualification, do not use capital letters. DELTA is an older version of the current Delta. It is rather unfortunate that even experienced tutors confuse between the two. Yet, you know… Labeling your qualification correctly says something about you as a professional methinks.
There is nothing you can do in order to prepare for this course other than identifying your weak areas and doing something about them. For example, one of my major weaknesses was in-class language analysis. What I did before the beginning of the course was to watch recorded teaching practices of experienced teachers and read books, blogs, articles, etc. on different ways of analyzing language in class.
If you have much free time and you want to do some general background reading, ask your tutors for titles. They know what they want to read in your assignments better than you or me or anyone who shares his/her advice.
Learn the handbook by heart. Handbooks change, get updated and some times tutors do not remember everything correctly – they are humans, too! It is your responsibility to know what you are supposed to do.
Get a calendar and assign deadlines to yourself. Tutors believe that you are a responsible professional who knows about time management (“believe” is deliberately used). Yet, the load of work you have to do during the course is unimaginable. You must break it down. If you do a bit of it every day, you do not need more than 3 hours of study per day.
Most probably you will hear/read that Module 1 exam is a hard one and the like. Well, it is not. It is just another Cambridge exam. If you have taught exam prep classes, you know exactly what I mean. The best prep material is past papers and examiner’s reports. The more you practice, the better. At the end of the day, they will not ask you about nuclear physics; it is about our job: analysis of coursebook materials, tests, learner’s work, etc.
No matter what you already know, or what you believe you already know, follow your tutors’ advice faithfully and uncritically (yes, I know… but!) Especially for Module 2, they will assess 3 teaching practices and assignments of yours. If they tell you to do something, do it. The only thing you want is pass the Module.
Scott Thornbury’s An A-Z of ELT is the only book you may want to buy. Most of the times tutors will contradict one another. One might name something as X, the other as Y. Thornbury’s book has all the definitions you want. What is more is that you will not use the book just for definitions. It is a great source for revision, as well.
Talk to your tutors. No matter what, do not allow stress to take over. They are experienced tutors who deal with people like you and me on a daily basis.
Try to enjoy it and always try to include non-Delta things in your day.
Be a team player. The only people who know what you are going through are your fellow Delta candidates. You do not have to like them. You must find a way, though, to work really well with them. If I didn’t have such amazing people to work with, I wouldn’t have made it. It is more that sharing tips on how to study. It is about releasing some tension (“some” might have been an understatement, here).
So, best of luck. Delta is a great journey the destination of which is still unknown to me.