DELTA Diary: Module One; the first three weeks

I’m almost at the end of my third week on my DELTA course and I thought I’d keep you updated on how the course has been going so far.

Come and do your DELTA in Seville...
Structure of the course
There are fourteen other crazy fools doing Module One on-line with International House in Seville. Most are based in Andalucía but a couple live outside Spain. The plan is to work through the exam twice before the big day, Thursday the 6th of December. We get access to everything via wikispaces, which is easy to navigate and useful for keeping in touch with everyone. (Photo by karismafilms)

At the start of the course we were given a detailed plan on our tasks with deadlines and the dates of the two mock exams. This is great because you can plan and ‘try’ to get ahead; not had much luck so far though. For each task you work both individually and in groups, which I enjoy because you can get feedback and can help each other out. There’s a really good atmosphere.
What have we done so far?
The course started with a ‘get to know each other’ activity where we had to analyse the exams and say which parts we thought we’d find easy or difficult. Then we had to suggest reading material to each other. It was a great way to get into the course, read the exams in detail, and realize what we were letting ourselves in for.

Since then each task has concentrated on a particular part of the exam. So, for example, parts 1 and 2 are about terminology. We had to test ourselves before making exam style questions for everyone else on the course. I’ve been making terminology cards to practise for this part of the exam.

Part 3 was about understanding language features in different genres and Part 4 analysing features of language and identifying problems. We’re just about to finish task 5, which is about finding strengths and weaknesses in learner’s written or spoken texts.

Not had to use this yet...
How am I coping?
I think I’m doing alright. I’ve been lucky enough to be grouped up with some pretty knowledgeable teachers and it’s been fun doing the tasks together. There’s a lot of experience between all of us and the tutors have given us decent feedback. The only thing is that until now I’ve been on my ‘holiday’ so I’ve been able to do the tasks and reading. Next week I’m back to work so it’s going to get tougher. (Photo by eamoncurry)

What’s been the easiest part?
None have been ‘easy’, but I guess part 3 for me. I found I had quite a lot of existing knowledge on different genres to be able to do the tasks.

What’s been the hardest part?
Task 4 by a long way! It’s all about analyzing a text, either written or spoken, and supplying definitions on form, meaning/use, and phonology. Luckily I read About Language, English phonetics and pronunciation, Beyond the sentence, and a few books from the 'How to Teach Series' so I’ve picked up a reasonable base, but there’s definitely room for improvement here.

Am I glad I did the pre-reading?
Definitely, (I managed about 8 books, with notes taken). If I hadn’t then I would have been stuffed. There is A LOT of terminology and information to take in and even though I’ve been teaching for nearly 10 years; there’s loads I didn’t know. That’s one thing I’d suggest; don’t rush into doing the DELTA, give yourself plenty of time to do some reading first.

Negative aspects
None yet. The other teachers have been fab, tutors great, and I’m learning a lot. Like I said, when I start back next week I’ll be pretty stressed I guess. I’ll be getting up at 7ish to do the course in the morning and I don’t get home until 10.30pm so it’s going to be a long day. I’ve spent all day today, Saturday, reading a book on Discourse Analysis, not exactly a fun way to spend your weekend but I keep telling myself it’s only for three months…until Module 2 anyway.

Is anyone else out there doing a DELTA at the moment? It would be great to hear from you. Don’t forget to check out my other blogs on DELTA and my book reviews. 

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