The ABC of ELT

Delta diary Unit 5

Wait a second…Unit 5…That’s over half my input units finished for Module one! Argh! A very scary realisation to suddenly have but at the same time a big relief. I haven’t really had time to process and assimilate all the ideas and information from the units. It really is a big set up from the CELTA and I can certainly see why the two years experience is a bare minimum. But as you’ll see at the end of the post I’m not down and out yet!

This week I had some more success in reading up before the weekend but I’m still not reading ahead of the units that I need to.

The four new input areas were

  • The noun phrases
  • Lexis
  • Error correction and feedback
  • Phonology

And a review of Paper one exam tasks 4 and 5.

The Noun phrases

If you thought the Verb Phrase was confusing…the noun phrase is much more confusing! There is a lot of terminology over the different parts that make up the noun phrase and there are lots of sections where “clear rules” about how to use some/any turn out to be much more complicated (What a surprise). One of the key points that Parrott picks up on (in Grammar for English language teachers) is the difference between stressed and unstressed “some” which made me wonder about a more lexical approach to teaching the idea rather than grammar rules.

Teaching phrases using some and focusing on the stress pattern makes a lot of sense and would make a lot of sense. This came back up in the Phonology section.

Again I was really glad for the International House Language awareness course in preparing me for this topic. I’ll definitely have to revise it though.


Lexis is a topic that I’ve been interested in for a while now so the reading on the topic was much more revision than learning something new…until I came to the end of the unit and came across some very interesting new information.

Hyponoymy: Looking at the category and it’s subordinates [for example clothes: t-shirt, trousers, socks etc]

The ways in which Synonyms differ (such an obvious thing which I’d never thought about)

Homonymy and Polysemy :The difference between words which are spelt the same but have completely different meanings (Homonymy “A polar bear, you should bear that in mind) or words which have the same spelling and a common trait [Polysemy: your feet (foot) is at the bottom of your leg, the foot of the mountain is also at the bottom.]

Error correction

After taking part in a Google hangout and series of discussion about error correction recently, this was a topic I was excited about reading (and I wasn’t disappointed). I want to write a longer post on Error correction soon but a couple of points which really stuck with me.

“Don’t say you should do remedial work on this item just because there are a lot of errors. That is self referencing.”

“It isn’t just the tasks goals that should influence whether you correct now or later but also the students reaction and expectation of correction.”


After the last Phonology unit looking at Phonemes this time we looked at stress and connected speech. Although I haven’t been well versed in Phoneme I am even less well versed in stress and contented speech. If in doubt I usually just say “that’s elision isn’t it” and hope to get away with it.

As such the unit was very interesting covering a lot of areas of connected speech, stress, and briefly touching on intonation (more on that in later units). One thing that I remember thinking during the Phonemes session as well as this session was the “Distinguishing” exercises and “production” were sometimes very similar and ALWAYS seem very unlike real life (when are you ever going to rattle of a list of countries with different/the same syllable stress). It doesn’t exactly create motivating conditions for talking…However, do we need every task to be “realistic” or motivating…If an activity will help a student improve, shouldn’t that be motivation enough? [answers bellow please]

More motivated?

One of the best things that happened this week is that I got my mojo back! Or rather motivation. Last week I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and that the reading was too much, in a bad order and that I might fail it. Well maybe it was just accepting I might fail, trying to co-ordinate things more or the topics but I got my motivation back. I am personally going for the interest in the topic, Unlike last week I error correction felt very practical, The Noun phrase had some interesting quirks that I hadn’t really considered and Phonology is an area I know I really need to improve upon.

I also feel that I understand the exam tasks (and more importantly the style you have to use to answer them) more and that having the space between module one and two may be a good thing. After all it will provide me the opportunity to re-read my notes again after the exam and do even more reading on these topic.

Maybe every DELTA student needs a bit of a stress and freak out every now and again?

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

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