On the 15/02/2013 teachers from across the world met to discuss my suggested topic “How to survive and make the most of your DELTA (or similar course)” A topic I had chosen as I am about to start my DELTA (having been persuaded on a previous #ELTChat) and having seen Sandy Millin reflect on her issues and struggles on her DELTA. Thankful the ever helpful ELTchat PLN came to the rescue!
Top Survival Tips
1) Get reading early
@Marisa_C shared this tip and it quickly lead to a sharing of recommended reading books, which I’ve added to an Amazon list.
@ShaunWilden later added that forming a reading group was a good idea to assist other trainees learning.
2) Build a Jargon list
@ShaunWilden commented on the large amount of Jargon in the DELTA and so recommended making a Jargon list. @TEFLerinha agreed and added that the Exam now asks you to define terms as well (although as @Shaznosel pointed out, you only get a few points for defining terms so don’t worry too much)
@SandyMillin shared her Quizlet group as a tool for learning DELTA jargon but @toulasklavou was more critical stating that learning terms by heart was useless and that it was much better and more effective to read and learn the terms in context.
3) Get assignments out of the way early
@TheTeacherJames shared this tip from his CELTA course. Of course (no pun intended), the DELTA has a different format from the CELTA with assignments not being part of Module one, Module two has five writing assignments and Module three has an extended assignment. So time management is still a big issue.
4) Develop a good note taking system
@Maris_C Shared that when she did her Diploma she used Large paper mindmaps and Note cards but now there are plenty of tools that make storing notes a lot easier. @ShaunWilden agreed but @Shaznosel said that she still uses paper mindmaps and note cards.
Some Of the curation tools that were recommended included Evernote (my favourite), One note (from Microsoft), diigo (Useful highlighting tools) or even a tool like Pintrest. In hindsight I noticed that no one mentioned an online mindmapping tool so i’d like to recommend Google Drive’s drawing feature or wallwisher.
5) Revise Essay writing techniques and Style
Several people pointed out that it is a good idea to get used to essay formats again, especially if it has been a while since formal education. I know I need to brush up on my referencing again (Chris Wilson, ELTSquared.co.uk, 2013)
6) Revise Writing Lesson Plans
Everyone agreed that DELTA lesson plans are different from non-DELTA lesson plans. This is due to the style that you need to use for a DELTA lesson plan and as @TEFLerinha mentioned DELTA lessons plans show the “working of your mind” rather than “real lessons”. Though @Shaznosel commented that now most of her [non-DELTA] lesson plans are notes in a textbook but based on her DELTA lesson plans.
7) Do mock exams
@TEFLerinha shared that she was shocked when it actually came to her exam at the time pressure and that doing mock exams helped, linked in with that…
8) Make sure you can write for a long time by hand
One of the most interesting points for me was that you need to prepare to write for long periods of time by hand as many people aren’t used to writing by hand any more and the exam last for. @SueAnnan commented that she suffered from hand cramps on the day of her exam.
9) Get Used to Writing Things in Short
Due to the short amount of time in the test and the amount you need to write a lot. @ShaunWilden advised to write in note form and not full sentences and @Teflerinha added that writing in bullet points has potential to get more points.
10) Reach out to your PLN
@SandyMillin shared how she reached out to her PLN (including DELTA tutors) when she had questions. I asked if she had any special groups that she used but she informed me that she used her typical groups (such as the #eltchat hastag on twitter) but mentioned the DELTA in her updates.
@Marisa_C shared that she encourages her trainees to connect and share online via a Facebook group, ning, wiki or similar group.
11) Curate activities you can use
@Marisa_C also pointed out that having a “bag of trick” [my words not her’s] of activities to help your brain remember them. @teflerinha added that it was good exam practice to list activities.
12) It’s okay to take time off
Many people talked about the value of taking time off and it’s importance in Time management.
13) Check out the examiner’s report
@joannacre mentioned that the examiners report is a great tool for working out what type of answer the examiners want for Module one. To which @toulasklavou added that the examiner’s reports also guide your reading and tell you some “Dos” and “Donts”
14) Don’t stress other trainees out!
@Marisa_C shared this tip to not pass your anxieties on to other trainees as it can be destructive for everyone.
15) Choose a topic you are passionate about for Module 3
@shaznosel shared that she choose Young Learners for her module three because she was passionate about it although it was unpopular. However, @PJgallentry reflected that he might have chosen a different option for his (Blended/online TBL) as there was very little research into the topic.
How is the Distance DELTA different from the intensive?
Most people agreed that time management was an important factor in both DELTA options (@Shaunwilden, @SueAnnan) . Some people see the distance option as easier but others pointed out that autonomous learning isn’t easy for everyone (@CotterHUE).
@Noreen_Lam asked if people had any two month specific advice. @TEFLerinha suggested that you don’t do ANYTHING else and if you can get someone to cook for you as well!
Any tips for learning Phonolgy
Some shared tips were to start writing names/objects in phonemes all the time. Or sending messages to other students in IPA. However, @SueAnnan shared Adrian Underhill’s Pron chart blog as a useful resource.
Any good resources for using IPA
There were two main resources shared here. Online IPA typewriters such as this one and IPA fonts. However, @SandyMillin pointed out that if you send your writing and the recipient doesn’t have the font installed they will just see boxes so the recommend, pre-installed font was ‘lucida sans unicode’
Is a CELTA lesson good enough for the DELTA?
@Marisa_C pointed out that an OK CELTA lesson will probably not be “hot” for the DELTA, but this is a general rule of thumb.