The DELTA was an amazing experience and I feel like a better teacher,
but it was hard, harder than anything I’ve ever done before. After finishing
the DELTA Module 2 in May, almost five months ago, it’s taken me a while to
want to write about it again. I guess mainly because I was sick of hearing that
word ‘DELTA’. I´d thought about it repeatedly for almost a year, suffered by
putting my life on hold, fallen out of contact with mates, family and neglected
my own dog.
So when I got my result for Module 2, a pass with Merit, I was darn
happy. I hadn’t been that happy since I found out my wife was preggers
(although admittedly slightly happier knowing I was going to be a Dad).
Now I’m ready to write about the DELTA again. Now I’m ready to share my
experience with you guys and try to convince you to do the DELTA.
Here are my ten reasons why you should take the DELTA challenge.
Become a better teacher
|Life gets better after a DELTA|
(not during) Photo by trustocorp
I suppose this goes without saying. After a hard year of studying a
massive range of books, learning loads during the input sessions, and really
thinking more about your classes, then no doubt you’ll become a better teacher.
Admittedly this is the ‘Cambridge’ equivalent of a better teacher,
jumping through the hoops and all that malarkey. You can decide what you want
to take from the course and put into practise in your own classes.
After the DELTA you will have more knowledge of grammar, understand the
importance of teaching skills, and become aware of different ways of correcting
You’ll feel like an expert, at least compare to when you first started
teaching. Module 1 is great for a sound knowledge boost and becoming more aware
of language. Module 2 will hopefully guide you towards becoming an expert at
teaching a particular skill and make you realise which area of English you
enjoy teaching more. I am a massive fan of phonetics now, but also I have
realised the importance of helping students boost their vocabulary. Module 3 is
a bit of a pain in the arse (in my opinion, other teachers love it), but more
on that in another blog.
Know how to really teach grammar
I used to be scared of grammar. Honestly, sometimes I went to pieces in
front of groups of adults asking me to explain the difference between past
simple and past perfect. Doing a DELTA won’t turn you into a walking grammar
reference book, but it will give you the confidence to deal with on the spot
questions. You should find that you see the importance to teaching students
through contexts, providing them with guided discovery tasks so they can really
understand the grammar, and then see the value in giving them both controlled
and freer practise. This isn’t always possible with time constraints, but at
least you’ll have some sort of strategy (in theory).
Realise the importance of skills
Ever feel that your life in the classroom is based mainly around
teaching grammar? I used to. Grammar is important, well, in my opinion it is,
but it’s not a means to an end. I think I used to spend between 60 and 70% of
my time teaching grammar, mainly because I just thought that all the other
areas would fall into place.
‘How can you teach students to listen?’
‘Everyone knows how to speak...’
‘You’re either a born writer, or a failure in life.’
I was surprised how much of the DELTA wasn’t focussed on grammar; we
hardly spent any time on it at all, but mainly because we all had a fair idea
of how to teach it.
The DELTA will show you the light with regards to skills. You not only
see the IMPORTANCE of teaching your students to listen, speak, write, and read,
but also HOW to teach them those skills.
Learn how to write phonetics fluently
Okay, now this has blown me away. My wife officially thinks I’m a freak
now; especially the other day when I tried to teach her a few symbols while we
were out food shopping. It wasn’t the sounds, rather the actions I use for each
sound. We did get a few funny looks from old Spanish ladies in the fruit and veg stand.
Using phonetics in class is not only vital for improving students’
pronunciation and listening skills, but it’s great fun, and you’re actually
giving the students something that can help them through their whole English
If you chose the right DELTA course, and get decent tutors, then you
should get practical ideas on how to teach phonetics to your students, and also
see the importance of aspects of connected speech.
After a lot of practise I reckon I can now write most words in
phonetics, sometimes needing a quick glance at the chart on my wall. It’s a
great tool to have to iron out all those pronunciation issues. I used the phonetic
chart properly last year and my students loved it. Check out my Phonetics Project.
For more reasons to do a DELTA come back next week.
Labels: benefits of delta, DELTA, grammar, phonetics, reasons to do a delta, skills, why do a DELTA