DELTA course update – five weeks down, three to go!

It’s only been two weeks since my last post but it feels like a lifetime ago! Guess that’s the nature of an intensive course. Since then, I’ve completed and had feedback on two LSAs, completed the experimental practice assignment and submitted three quarters of the professional development assignment. In total, that little lot is equal to about 20,000 words, yet only represents materials for two hours of assessed teaching. Suffice to say, I haven’t had much time or much of an appetite for any other writing.

For those uninitiated in DELTA parlance, below is a quick guide to module 2 of the DELTA course (the one I’m currently taking), which should help you make sense of what the hell I’m on about above.

Module 2 consists of:

  • 4 LSAs*
    • Of these four, two must be skills (reading, listening, speaking or writing) and two must be systems (vocabulary, discourse, grammar, pronunciation)
    • For each one you must write a 2,500 word background essay backed up with research and appropriately sourced materials and complete a lesson plan including class and individual learner profiles, aims, assumptions, problems and solutions, procedure, relevance to other lessons and a 750 word commentary justifying your reasons for teaching this lesson with respect to your background research and your learners. The lesson plan doesn’t have a word limit but my three so far have added up to over 5000 words each.
    • A post lesson evaluation of 500 words reflecting on how the lesson went, justifying any changes and explaining what you will do in subsequent lessons to follow up on what was taught.
  • An ongoing Professional Development Assignment
    • This consists of two parts:
      • Part A, which is about reflecting on  your beliefs and development as you go through the course. This is split into 4 short essays ranging from 750 – 1000 words each.
      • Part B, the experimental practice, which allows you to try out a technique you never normally use, reflect on it and say how it will influence your future teaching. To complete this part you have to write a 2000 word researched essay on your area of interest and your reasons for choosing it, then plan and teach a lesson before reflecting on how it went.

So now we all know we’re all on the same page, I’ll give you a bit more detail about what I’ve been doing.

I decided to do LSA1 on reading and focused on skills that students need to be able to understand a reading and how they can use their prior knowledge about a subject to help them. We were really thrown in at the deep end for this first LSA and had little more than 5 days to do the research, write the essay and complete the lesson plan. We did all this while also attending input sessions and teaching unobserved classes so it was a lot to cope with. However, everything turned out well and I was very happy with the lesson that I taught.

LSA2 happened two weeks later (in week 4 of the course) and compared to LSA1 it felt like we had all the time in the world to research and write it. I chose to look at grammatical discourse and sequencing words, which is just a fancy way of saying I did a lesson on phrases like ‘first of all’, ‘then’, ‘suddenly’, ‘finally’ etc. For this LSA I spent a bit too much time perfecting the background essay so the lesson didn’t go as smoothly as the first but it was still a pass.

In week 5 of the course I did the experimental practice. I chose task-based learning as my area of research as I hadn’t really tried it before and had heard many good things about it. After the lesson I’m a total convert and will certainly be using it a lot more in the future. You can read in more detail about my lesson here and try it out yourself.

Now we’re into week 6 and I’m currently writing LSA3 and will be teaching it bright and early Thursday morning. This time I’m focusing on writing, specifically formal e-mail writing for job applications. This has been the hardest assignment so far, perhaps because I’m not really feeling the subject matter, but probably also because fatigue is starting to set in. That was always bound to happen, but just need to persevere and make it to the last LSA in two weeks’ time.

The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter every day!

*not sure exactly what LSA stands for, but I’d hazard a guess that it’s Language/Skills Analysis.


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