In the old days (pre-modular Delta) when Diploma candidates would be assigned topics/titles for their essays, we used to give trainees a couple of spoof essays and different colour highlighters for different criteria (e.g. misuse of terms, using references appropriately, relevance of content etc.) We had a lot of fun writing them (often copying from first draft submissions) and I hope they give you a smile as well. This first one was penned by George Vassilakis, one of our Cambridge Delta tutors.
by George Vassilakis
There is a number of different techniques for the presentation of new language. Describe and exemplify the main presentation techniques and explain how and why you would use them.
Presentation options include the text, the dialogue, the picture, the visual aids, the gesture, the diagram, the timeline, the drawing. the photograph, the audio recording, the video, the rule, the inductive and the deductive approach. Also we must mention the teacher himself and the learners themselves, especially in roleplay and simulation practice activities, as Penny Ur mentions in her book. Below I will write about each option separately and then I will give examples from my own teaching experiences.
Texts are very useful for presentation of written language, for example I may use the passage to explain the passive voice to my students, as it does not lend itself to drilling and similar oral techniques. Moreover, presentation through the text is recommended for the active versus passive voices by Jeremy Harmer and other theories.
On the other hand, for an oral structure like the present simple, the dialogue presentation method is obviously more suitable, as it might present the oral structure in a natural, authentic context of language use and not in the contrived exponents of inauthentic texts, as Widdowson says. It is very important, of course, to have a recording of the audio and to have good sound reproduction facilities for pronunciation, stress, intonation and phonological work.
The picture is a very important method of presentation, because it is motivating and it arouses the children’s curiosity. I would have used the pictures with junior classes to present, for example, this is and that is and it has prooved very effective in my experience as it involves personalisation, which is very important as it enhances motivation, therefore I use pictures a lot, especially with younger learners.
For older learners, visual aids are more relevant than pictures, as they tend to consider them childish. For this reason, I use visual aids for more mature structures, such as the reported speech, a form that causes difficulty even to the most advanced learners. We must bear in our mind that visuals are, moreover, advocated as a contextualisation technique by Dave Willis.
According to Gowers, gestures are a very versatile technique which I use for tenses. They help clarify the concept and function, providing they would not be ambiguous. Jeremy Harmer warns that we have to teach our learners the meanings of the gestures we use we cannot assume that they will know them, especially since there are gestures that might even be considered offensive in some cultures such as the open palm gesture in Greece, known as the mountza, so I use them sparingly and I beware of the ways I gesticulate.
Diagrams are particularly useful for the presentation of future tenses. I have used them to present the simple present with its near future meaning in the form of a timetable. I found it very effective, because it showed the uses of the future In a very clear context, and context is, as Hymes has pointed out, of paramount importance in teaching beginners and elementary students, though I have occasionally also used it with adults.
Timelines are considered by some the legacy of the direct method: they have been with us since the twenties, and as Susan Holden says, they are here to stay. I first saw them in a video class with Mary Spratt the teacher and she was really good. They are not only useful for tenses and times, but also for adverbs such as already and while and, of course, for the passive voice and the modals.
Drawings are used with young learners to involve the kinaesthetic centres of their brain, because otherwise they become sleepy, as Puchta prooved. So I often ask them to draw to relax a little during a long and tiring presentation. I always take care to give them a purpose for drawing, to make the activity more communicative, and I then display their drawings up the wall, to provide an audience, again for communicative, but also for motivational, purposes.
Photographs are a necessary part of our modern life and there is as a result no reason why they should not be used in the classroom as well. I mainly use photographs from google, which show a person before and after a slimming programme to teach comparative form of adjectives and adverbs. Of course, I opt for another method whenever I have had overweight children in the class, that is most times, as in this country mothers rarely look after the dietary aspect of their issue’s nutrition, as they suffer from the so called German Occupation syndrome. But of course, In other cultures and situations, photographs would be entirely appropriate: one must not generalise from isolated instances of experience, as the philosopher Popper says in his famous Conjectures and Refutations!
Modern technology has also offered a lot of help to the teacher of English: who can imagine, to give but a simple example, a language classroom without a CD player? Would it be an exaggeration to say that no presentation can happen without the recorded dialogue? Don’t even the titles of popular methodological books, notably Teaching Oral English by Donald Bird, suggest this? Suffice it to say that the CD player is the single, most indispensable tool available to the language teacher.
Not to mention the even more contemporary invention of the video and youtube, which, alas, I have not had access to in my school, because the computers are kept locked, but still, I would have used it for adjectives and adverbs, and especially the superlative degree, with videos of tv commercials. It is well known and widely accepted that our learners like commercials, so they would be highly motivated and in addition, it might have made our lessons more realistic, which is a basic tenet of the communicative and humanistic methodology.
These technological advances should not lead us to believe that old, tried and tested techniques such as the rule are useless. After all, most of us non-native teachers learned English through the rules, and we evidently learned them well. That’s why I invariably use the rule to begin my presentation, as it is the clearest and most economical way of explaining the forms, but also the concepts. Particularly when one is dealing with such aspects of grammar that are notoriously difficult to teach as the conditionals.
The inductive method, where the students induce the examples, is extremely useful as well. But it Is perhaps more appropriate for revision and remedial lessons, while first presentations had better be done deductively (i. e. the students deduce the rules), because as I said before rules are very useful, provided, of course, that they are explicit enough for all of our students to understand, so they might occasionally be in the learner’s native tongues, which, however, we must remember, should be used sparingly and, above all, judiciously!
The teacher himself is an important presentation technique. I remember, following John Haycraft, who suggests the mime stories, I used myself to teach the present simple. I did not use mimes, of course, as I was not teaching little children, but I explained and the students repeated all of my daily routines, which are the basic meaning of the simple present according to Geoffrey, and so they learned this tense intensively.
Sometimes we might even want to exploit the learners for our presentation. I remember the last time that I taught the modal verb should with the perfect infinitive of the main verb to express rebuke, I drew on the learners themselves and the mistakes in their homeworks and I presented it in the example “you put X but you should have put Y”. Thus I killed two birds with one stone: the students not only did they understand the new structure through personalistion but they also corrected their mistakes in other structures as well.
Finally, last but not least, comes the roleplay. Because students like to play roles and their extrinsic (see Gardner and Gardner) motivation increases, I use roleplays a lot, especially with everyday conversations for beginners and intermediate learners. They read the rolecards dramatically and then the class claps the best performance. It must be noticed, however, that not all students like the theatre, because as a very able girl once told me “we are learners, not actors” for this reason we must be careful not to have these roleplays very often and even when we have them to not insist too much.
In conclusion we can say, as Thornbury opines, that no presentation method or option stands out as the best for all situations. Depending on the age and level of the learners and the technology available, we should always choose the best option we can!
Since the time I completed my Delta course and overall assessment, I have received several messages from prospective candidates who want to or have to follow an intensive course because no other viable option is open to them.
But often, colleagues have read this or that comment, especially in various forums, and have been intimidated or even downright put off!
The purpose of this post is not to convince people that the intensive Delta course option is easy – why would it be, anyway?
And it does give people access to some of the best jobs around! So I didn’t live under the misapprehension that I was going to have a summer holiday in Greece!
The purpose of this post is to clarify some things relevant to the intensive Delta course which I followed (and completed successfully, I will also add!) and hope that those thinking about it will not be frightened away.
My intensive Delta Experience at CELT Athens
The intensive Delta course at CELT Athens lasts for 8 weeks during which candidates attend all Module 1 and Module 2 input sessions as well as introductory sessions on most specialisms available for Module 3, observe colleagues teaching (these could be tutors, experienced teachers on other courses, or other Delta candidates), write 5 background essays for their assignments, design 5 lesson plans and teach assessed and unassessed lessons and complete a Professional Development Assignment which has them taking stock of their progress after 4 points during their course as well as at the very end.
It’s a lot of work.
But hear me out.
It was less intensive than I expected
The intensive Delta course lasts 8 weeks. This means that I had 8 weeks in which to complete 4 LSA’s (glossary at the end of the post) and the 3 parts of the PDA assignment.
People on the online/blended course attend input sessions and write their background assignments throughout a longer period of time (usually 8 months), true.
But they do this while they are working, so for Module 2, candidates on an intensive course have more time than candidates on a part-time one. Of course I didn’t have all the time in the world, but I had more time than expected because I was focusing only on my module 2 work during these 8 weeks.
I was fully focused on my course
My understanding is that people choose the online/blended course because they have other commitments (teaching, family, etc.). People who choose to follow an intensive course, though, are much more focused as they spend 8 weeks dealing only with matters related to the Delta course. Also, because of the intensive nature of the course, it is less likely that one might lose touch with the subject matter. This, in my case, helped me pass Module 1 examination without spending very much time revising Module 1-related content.
I felt that this complete focus on the course without any other distractions is what helped me concentrate, organize my work and do well in all my internal assessments, as well as my final external assessments for my Module 2.
I did not have to do everything at once.
There are, indeed, people who need more time than others and cannot handle many things in one time (like preparation and assessment for 3 Delta modules). However, the intensive course does not necessarily mean that candidates have to submit assessment for all three modules at the end of the 8-week period. The only thing that is certain is that by the end of the 8 weeks, candidates will have finished with all the attendance requirements, as well as with Module 2; whether they choose to participate in Module 1 examination and/or submit their Module 3 assignment at the end of the course is the candidates’ choice.
For example, summer candidates have until the beginning of December to revise for their Module 1 exam and to write and submit their Module 3 assignment. Or, they can wait till the next exam session in June.
I acquired some invaluable organisational skills
Having to squeeze all Delta-related tasks in a 8 weeks makes candidates hone up a number of professional skills. One, inevitably, learns how to organize their time, how to be a better team player (because collaboration with one’s fellow course mates is key!), to combine and synthesise information from different input sessions, to observe, support and help other colleagues and much more! These are skills that I did not expect I would get or improve but which I found of great value when given new responsibilities, for example in my new job supporting teachers.
I learnt how to work under pressure
Being productive under pressure is not everyone’s cup of tea, but teachers do need this skill and experienced teachers who may soon need to acquire more responsibilities either as trainers or academic managers or materials writers, do need to be able to do that!
Following the course I followed an MA course in ELT (for which I got to do 3 modules less than the others because I had the Delta), I got a job supervising teachers for summer school in the UK, worked as an EAP tutor at a University in the UK and, I also got a job with a great local language centre in Greece to help with teacher development and materials writing and, believe me, all these new-found skills have truly made a great difference to my working life.
Take the plunge – it’s a great course and a great experience
No matter what course mode one chooses to follow, the Cambridge Delta is – and will be – one of the most prestigious qualification one can attain. Delta holders are employable for top ELT roles in most – if not all – countries and prospective candidates should not be discouraged by hearsay.
In any case, it should be noted that even those who typically tend to scare people away from such courses or modes of study, when asked, usually confess to the Delta being one of the most eye-opening and significant experiences in their careers as teachers. It was for me, too! So I know!
So, if you are interested in applying for a Delta course, contact the centre(s) of your choice and discuss all your concerns, as well as your schedule and preferred mode of study, with an experienced tutor who will be better able to suggest a course that best suits your particular needs.
Module 1: One of the three Delta modules. Candidates are assessed through a two-part examination,
Module 2: The second Delta module and according to many, the most demanding one. This module’s assessment is continuous and consists of the following parts:
Four LSA’s (Language Systems/Skills Assignment): Each LSA consists of a 2,500-word background essay, a lesson plan, delivery of a lesson, and a post-lesson written reflection. Delta candidates have to submit 4 LSAs, three of which are internally assessed and one, the last one, is assessed by an external assessor. Of those, two have to be focused on skills (reading, listening, speaking, or writing) and two on systems (grammar, lexis, discourse analysis, or phonology).
A PDA (Professional Development Assignment): This assignment has four parts. For the first one, candidates teach an observed diagnostic lesson, receive feedback and reflect on their performance and beliefs about teaching and learning. For the second part of the PDA, candidates do the same as with part 1 but this time they do so for their first two LSAs. Part 3 of the PDA involves the design, execution, and reflection of an experimental lesson (a lesson in which the candidate tries out a method/technique that they have never tried before in their career). The last part of the PDA involves the candidate’s reflection on their overall progress and development.
Module 3: This is the third Delta module and is assessed by submission of an extended written assignment on a specialization of the candidate’s choice. Usually, this assignment is about syllabus/course design
Teacher, hoping to be a Manager? Or are you already a manager and learnt how to run your institution on the job? Like many of us, you probably thought there wasn’t much to running a school.
But running a school is a very special kind of management and requires special skills. No wonder teachers often do not show a preference for managers who have no background in education and no experience of classroom teaching.
Whichever direction you are coming from, an organised course on ELT Management, especially one which is part of the Cambridge Diploma and so clearly connected with a background in teaching and understanding of sound pedagogical principles may well turn your career around and give you the opportunity to develop it in a different way.
Enter the Cambridge Delta ELT Management Course
ELT Management Module 3 Course
Delivered entirely online – you can log in and complete tasks whenever you have free time
Join this 8-week online course to learn all about what it takes to be a manager in a Language Teaching Operation.
Cambridge Assessment offers this opportunity to Delta candidates who wish to move from being a teacher to being a manager. More and more institutions are becoming aware of this qualification and are showing a preference for teachers who also have management potential.
The course is assessed via an extended assignment on one of the following specialisms listed below:
Human Resources Management (HRM)
In order to participate you must be eligible to be a Delta candidate (more here).
In addition you must
– be able to do academic research
– be able to write academic English
– have access to a language teaching operation (LTO) e.g. a language school or institution
– have access to data/information which will be useful to their project.
In order to apply, please download the application form from this link and send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuition is 700 euros inclusive of Cambridge assessment fees.
Payment details will be sent to candidates upon acceptance to the course.
Watch an interview with a recent successful candidate
The course is asynchronous and you are not required to attend at a specific time.
Candidates who aim to obtain the Cambridge Certificate are required to write a 4,500 word assignment on one of the four areas mentioned earlier.
Submission of assignments is either in early June or early December.
As you will note, our top gear teaching tool is Adobe Connect Pro, a virtual learning classroom which we consider the best available one at the moment; when I was in the process of looking for a VLE, I could not believe that it was possible to have 100 participants all with video and voice, but it is!!!!
Screenshot of one of our Delta recent sessions with identities blurred
Wikis are great both for collaboration as well as for support; we use ours as a resource repository and it is the second major online tool we use – even on the free version you can have up to 5GB space for resources; on the paid option up to 40GBn and despite the multitude of uploads we haven’t filled even 10GB yet.
Our third platform is a free platform which we started using recently is Schoology which functions as our communication platform and eliminates multiple emails on the same questions/topics.
It has its own feed and the option to message a tutor or a fellow course participant privately. Our trainees can upload assignment proposals, assignments and even have assignment drafts edited online with comments visible.
Facebook Closed Group
Finally, we opted to create one more – closed – group on Facebook to be used as a playground by any current or recent trainees. This works as a social connections point where current or new trainees can talk to the ‘veterans’, can ask them about the learner profiles, ask for advice or a suggestion for material but also share photos from an outing or a conference or webinar they have been to, a great blog post which is not related to current course input and might confuse in Wiggio.
Is there one single place that can do all this and still be affordable and flexible enough? Not sure. Adobe Connect solutions at that level seem as expensive as paying rent on one of the most expensive streets in Athens – all right, this is something of an exaggeration. But the point is that if you are not a big university outfit and are looking for online platforms within your means, you might have to use a combination of solutions.
Which ones do you use?
Moodle and Blackboard? Adobe and something else? Would love to hear about your solutions.
The DELTA Module 2 assessment is somewhat complicated to someone unfamiliar with this model of reflective practice in which candidates reflect on the practices, values and beliefs throughout the course and identify and pursue the goals they have set for themselves.
Module 2 Assessment Summary in Table format
I have summarised the various assessment components in a table format to make it easier to visualise – I hope this helps candidates and tutor colleagues on the Delta course.
8 weeks to complete your course and input for Modules 1-3, one extra week for your Module 2 Assessment and you are done!!! Module 3 is written after the contact course in Athens as you need to be in touch with a class in order to write it.
To participate in this intensive and highly demanding option, ideally, you do need to have finished your CELTA or equivalent course and you need to have done some background reading – before the course starts!
Find out about our upcoming courses by clicking here – Coming up in April, May and all through the summer months
The Cambridge CELTA – a great course & international qualification – recommend this course to a colleague!
Online 24 weeks – Athens 4 weeks
our blended course
October 3 2015 – March 27 2016
24 weeks to complete your course input for Modules 1-3 and 4 weeks in Athens to complete your Module 2 teaching assessments! You can come to Athens ANY four weeks you can!
More time for reading and reflection – following a course from the comfort of home though does not mean you miss out on the experience of interactive live sessions with some great teachers from around the globe!!!!
Blogs & Social Media
Follow our blogs to keep up with your professional development – be inspired to blog yourself!
Face-to-Face Intensive or Online/Blended Part Time Cambridge DELTA Course? Which mode is the best one for you? There is still time to apply for one of our fall courses
Our 8-week face-to-face course in Athens is your best option if you are the type of person who needs to focus on your studies fully with no other distractions.
Our Blended course with 24-weeks of input sessions online and 4 weeks in Athens, may be your best option if you are a working teacher and you have commitments which do no allow you to be away for more than the 4 weeks needed to complete your Module 2 assessments.
Our next course begins on September 29th
Of course, you need to have those 8 weeks available!!!! During those 8 weeks, you will have classes available to observe and teach your assessed lessons for Module 2 and one of the best ELT librariesavailable.It’s intensive and highly demanding, of course, it is! But if you have a solid background in ELT, have a CELTA or equivalent initial training qualification and prefer this mode, it is a great course to follow.Click here to find out more about the demands of the course during the 8 weeks and here to check our forthcoming course dates for the fall and for 2015.
This course is delivered using Adobe Connect Pro, which is the top virtual classroom with tools such as audio, video for ALL participants, voice and text chat as well as technology which allows participants to work in separate breakout rooms and discuss during workshop activities. Sessions are offered usually on weekends.The 4 weeks in Athens are needed for participants to teach our classes as part of their Module 2 coursework.Click here to find out more about this course option and here to find out about the dates of our forthcoming courses.