Teacher, hoping to be a manager?

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

ELTM-Poster-2

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:

  • Academic Management
  • Human Resources Management (HRM)
  • Customer Service
  • Marketing

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 info@celt.edu.gr

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

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

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.

Robert O’Neill’s critique of the Communicative Approach

I found this article written by Robert O’Neill on a website maintained by Ted Powers and have long shared it with Delta trainees. Recently, I realised that Ted Powers’ excellent website is down. In anticipation of a new, perhaps, website, I am reposting it here and would be happy to link the first few lines back the Mr Powers’ new website if he has any issue with it being here.  

I hope it is of use to those who are studying the different approaches and methods and are beginning to doubt the value of adopting any one approach wholesale. It is a fully thought through argument well worth reading – am looking for the original publication as we speak. 

 Please follow this link to learn more about Robert O’Neill’s life and work. The OUP website has paid him a fitting tribute. 

 

Just some of the covers of his books
Just some of the covers of Robert O’Neill’s  books

“The appeal and poverty of CLT”

by Robert O’Neill [March, 2000]

“The belief, so widely held and so frequently repeated that ‘language is (a means of) communication‘ is wrong in a way that has been devastating to any adequate conception of what humans are and how they differ from other species. Communication is just one use to which language can be put – and distinguishing between a thing and its uses should surely form the most basic step in any analysis.” Derek Bickerton, Language & Human Behaviour: London, UCL Press, 1996.

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) has enormous intuitive appeal. Despite this, I have come to believe that at the heart of CLT – especially in fundamentalist versions of it – we find a naive, even impoverished view of language. To demonstrate what I mean, let me examine six propositions upon which I think CLT is based. I am going to argue that if these propositions are true at all, they are only superficially and trivially true – and true only in essentially uninteresting ways. In other words, they are just as true as statements like “When people speak, they use words”. Such a statement tells us nothing about what kinds of relationships there may be between words, how people learn to assemble them into larger units, or what else they do to construct or interpret meaning. I will try to show this through six counter-propositions. Then – finally – I will briefly suggest an alternative – and also suggest reasons why pluralist methodologies are more likely to be successful than any single orthodoxy.

Six fundamentally “trivial” propositions inherent in CLT

  1. Language is primarily a tool of communication. Learning a language means learning to perform communicative speech acts with it.

In CLT, “communication” means using language to make requests, give advice, agree and disagree, complain, praise, to try to persuade people to do things, and so on. The focus should be on meaning, not on form. Some supporters of CLT, like Geoff Thompson argue that this is a misconception of CLT. However, even he admits that there are good reasons for this “misconception”

  1. There is something called a “communicative syllabus” which replaces and is superior to a structural syllabus”

It is often argued that a typical structuralist syllabus focuses on the grammatical structure of language rather than on the “communicative” or pragmatic uses of those language For example, so the argument goes terms like “The Present Continuous”, tell us little or nothing about the fact that typical examples of this form such as “You’re standing in my way” or “You’re driving too fast” are complaints, or that one of the most frequent uses of the Present Progressive is not to talk about actions in the present but about pre-arranged actions in the future, For this reason, many CLT supporters used to argue and still do that language lessons should not be about “The Present Continuous” or “The Present Perfect”, but about “Giving and getting personal information”, “Asking for and giving directions”, “Expressing Opinions”, etc.

  1. Communicative goals can be specified. We can accurately describe what learners should have learned and be able to do with language at the end of the lesson

An example of a typical “communicative goal is given below.

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to

– talk about their own jobs and ask classmates about theirs

– use the Present Simple accurately and fluently in this context

– choose correctly between a/an pronounce the unstressed form of “d’you in their question

  1. Good communicative teaching is learner-centred, not teacher-centred.

“Teacher-centred” means “BAD” The teacher doles out formal knowledge of the language like a cook giving prisoners thin soup and stale bread in a Victorian prison. “Learner-centred” means “GOOD”.

This view is best summed up for me by Julian Edge in what I think is the best and most clearly written exposition of CLT principles,

Many classrooms are arranged so that all students face forward to the teacher; the message is clear.

  • the teacher dominates
  • all information will come from the teacher
  • interaction between or among students is less valued

Edge goes on to describe other seating arrangements which encourage co-operative, communicative pair-work and group-work. In one picture we see ten or eleven young learners, perhaps in their late teens or early twenties, listening attentively to one member of the group talking. In a second picture we see four learners working together. The learners are smiling, eager, interested, entirely absorbed in the communicative task that they are performing. These two pictures seem for me at least to communicate better than any others, the great intuitive appeal of CLT.

  1. What matters most is not whether learners learn to use the language accurately. What matters is that they learn to get their message across.

Professor John Trim, one of the founders of CLT, has said that “children learning in school must be taught that language learning is about communicating, not getting things right”. Trim believes in “emphasising the importance of repair strategies and of the acceptance of errors”. He asks “if certain learner errors are so predictable, how much effort is justified in the attempt to put them right, instead of developing different ways of enlarging that person’s communicative range?”. Instead of correcting mistakes, we should be doing things that will extend the communicative range of learners.

  1. The classroom and the behaviour of teachers and learners in the classroom should be as similar as possible to the behaviour of people in the “real world” outside the classroom

Strict turn-taking, “display questions”, etc. are “uncommunicative” and do not reflect the “real world” outside the classroom. The classroom must become like the world outside the classroom, where we see people using language spontaneously and communicatively.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Six opposing propositions

How can anyone who is not a reactionary, authoritarian anti-progressive disagree with an approach based on these propositions? To give my own answer to this question, I must express six different propositions.

  1. Generative competence the ability to use underlying syntax and structure is one of the foundations of communicative competence. Without it, there is no pragmatic competence worth talking about.

The question “Is form as important as meaning?” is fundamentally mistaken. Form IS part of meaning. It matters whether I say “If I have time I’ll see you” or “If I had time, I’d see you ” just as it matters whether I say “A man attacked a woman ” or “The woman attacked the man. ” The kind of meaning we get from syntactic form tells us essential things, such as “who did what, how, and to whom.” One of the many questions for teachers and materials writers is “How can we make learners aware of how form contributes to meaning?” I will give one possible answer to that question at the end of this article.

It may be possible to communicate very basic messages using words alone, but this is a hollow argument, It is also possible and probably more effective to communicate such messages using no words at all. Hunger, thirst, anger, rage, sexual desire, frustration and interest and most other emotions can all be communicated through gestures with perhaps a few grunts for emphasis. This is not the kind of “communication training” people are prepared to pay money or give up time for.

Language- as Geoffrey Leech argues, has two different domains. There is a GENERATIVE and a PRAGMATIC domain. The generative domain is syntactic and structural. It is possible to state general rules at least about how those syntactic structures are formed. The pragmatic domain is concerned with speech acts. Speech acts cannot be generated without syntax, but speech act theory analyses them purely in terms of their pragmatic effect. Speech act theory tells us nothing about how they are generated, and nothing about how they are learned in the first place.

The “narrow” or fundamentalist version of CLT can easily become a stifling orthodoxy in which things like rote-learning, memorisation, “display questions”, “teacher-talk” automatically mean BAD. None of these things alone is bad. What matters is how, when and why they are done. Although Thompson and Edge have a much broader vision of CLT than the fundamentalist version, it is often that narrow version that prevails among teacher-trainers and other people in strong positions of authority.

2. A language syllabus is more than a list. That is why examples of speech acts cannot be the basis of a syllabus.

Speech acts and functions are important. But in the real world, typical speech acts have to be modified and varied to fit different situations. Typical speech acts typically lead to very unpredictable outcomes. A competent speaker has to know different ways of performing the same speech act. Speakers can do this only if they can generate new examples of the different syntactic structures they need to perform typical speech-acts. That is only one reason a language syllabus has to have a structural as well as pragmatic component . Unfortunately, communicative goals in CLT are usually described so narrowly that it is impossible to study the necessary syntactic forms properly. For example, studying the Present Progressive from the perspective of a single kind of speech act such as “Referring to future plans and arrangements” does not tell us nearly enough about all the other pragmatic uses of the Present Progressive. It may even be better to begin with the structure and to relate it to its most important pragmatic uses. This often makes far better sense than beginning with the speech acts alone. In any case, the same speech act can be performed with very different structures. There is no one-to-one match between them. If we always begin with the speech act, we lose sight of the generative system that makes all speech acts possible.

3. Communicative goals are exercises in illusion rather than reality. It is not possible to specify communicative goals with any precision .

It sounds so neat and convincing to say “At the end of the lesson learners will be able to talk about their jobs” or “be able to give directions”. If these descriptions mean anything, they mean “with some luck and a lot of hard work and good teaching, learners may be able to say a little more about their jobs than they could at the beginning. They may be able to understand stereotypical directions like “To get to the railway station, go down this road, take the first right and then the second left” but in the real world railway stations are rarely so easy to find. Even native-speakers are often unable to give directions clearly or to understand them.

There are no reliable ways of knowing what learners have learned at the end of any lesson, still less of knowing what learners will actually retain in the long term.

Although CLT grew out of a rejection of “structuralism” which was supposed to be based on behaviourism , communicative goals in CLT are all described in typical behaviourist terminology. This implies that language is just behaviour and that communicative competence can be described in simple behaviourist terms.

4. Good teaching requires an understanding of both “whole-class” and “pair/group-methods. Very often far more often than most CLT supporters are prepared to admit competent whole-class teaching is more efficient than pair and group work

In the “real world”, real teachers have to deal with real learners and they are often very different from the eager, motivated learners in the pictures in Edge’s book. Learners in the classrooms I have in mind, typically all speak the same language; Spanish in Madrid, Polish in Warsaw. Japanese in Tokyo, and so on. They do not use English outside the classroom and they rarely if ever hear it used by anybody else. There is only one person in the classroom who has a reasonable command of English who is able to engage them in active use of English in which they also hear someone using that language competently. That person is the teacher and CLT methodology insists that person should “cut teacher-talking-time to an absolute minimum”.

It is true that with so-called “teacher-fronted” methods, some teachers talk too much. It is just as true that the specious description “learner-centred” covers an equally wide spectrum of lazy, ignorant, incompetent teachers who talk glibly of “learner autonomy” and fail to do any of the things that traditional but competent teachers in the past did to help learners towards true autonomy.

The issue is not “teacher-fronted” or so-called “learner-centred” The issue is how can teachers learn to vary their methods and approach, sometimes using “whole-class techniques and sometimes pair/group work. When and why is one approach better than another? A methodology that does not recognise this is not capable of providing teachers with the skills they really need.

5. A reasonable degree of accuracy is an essential part of fluency.

This is not at all the same argument as “learners must get things right from the very beginning”. But neither is this the same thing as saying that because many mistakes are predictable, they are not correctable. Trim fails to make an essential distinction, or to ask one of the many serious questions that should be part of any serious discussion of ELT: “What kind of correction strategies seem to work and which do not?” My answer to that question is “regular form-focused practice as well as many different opportunities to use the forms for a variety of pragmatic purposes”

6. There are essential differences between using your own language and trying to use a language you do not know well. These differences help to explain the differences in behaviour of people in the foreign language classroom and in the streets outside the classroom.

The first and most essential difference is that people in the streets outside the classroom are using their own language to communicate. They learned that language through a long and complex process that is part of their natural development. Children in very different cultures begin using language more or less at the same age, and go through very similar stages of development. This suggests very strongly that the process of L1 acquisition is genetically triggered and biologically driven.

The people in the street outside presumably have already learned the language and the complex syntactic relationships they are using so casually. That is why they are outside and not inside the language classroom. Learning and using an L2 – a foreign language – is an utterly different process. It is NOT genetically triggered or biologically driven in ANY way. This is what makes L1 acquisition and L2 learning so enormously different, and also why Chomsky says “you simply cannot teach a language to an adult the way a child learns a language. That’s why it’s such a hard job.”

Many typical forms of classroom behaviour, such as strict turn-taking, teacher-dominated interaction, as so on, make it possible to focus on things that we normally would not focus on in the world outside the classroom because in the world outside the classroom we would not have time to focus on them or even think about them.

An Alternative To CLT

What I am going to suggest works for me – and I believe it may work for many others. But this does not mean it can work for anybody. The principle behind this is that NO single method or approach can work for all teachers or for all students. We recognise that different learners have different preferred styles of learning. If this is true of learners and their learning styles, it is also true of teachers and their teaching styles. There is NO scientific evidence of any kind that proves or even suggests that typical CLT techniques work well or work at all under all conditions and with all learners. In fact, what little evidence there is points to the opposite conclusion. In a case such as this, it is far better to endorse pluralistic teaching strategies and techniques which allow for greater diversity and choice not just for individual learners but also for individual teachers. But what is my alternative – not the alternative?

Teaching as Narrative

As Scott Thornbury has argued, good lessons have an “affective” or “aesthetic” dimension which is just as important as their pragmatic or pedagogic dimensions. For me, this aesthetic dimension fulfils certain conditions or questions.

  1. Does the lesson, the format and material arouse interest that goes beyond the language itself?
  2. Is there a pleasing and logical relationship between the different parts of the lesson?
  3. Is there anything that the participants can look forward to besides the end of the lesson, and the chance to escape and go home?
  4. Is the language that was used or generated during the lesson memorable in any way? (There are also a number of “more practical” considerations).
  5. Is there something about the format of the lesson that makes it easily retrievable? For instance, if I am the learner, and didn’t understand parts of it or have forgotten it for some other reason, is there some way I could look at or listen to parts of it again as I go home on the bus or tram, or when I am at home the following day?
  6. Does the format and material of the lesson not only provide useful “input” for the learner but also lead to “output” and language production by the learner?
  7. Does the material and the format help to generate spontaneous language-use that is not easily predictable?
  8. Are there features of the language and the lesson format that are likely to stretch the expressive potential of the learners? That is, is there something that helps the learners to improve their generative and pragmatic competence rather than simply use fossilised resources?

My own solution is to adopt a “narrative” approach to the lessons I teach. As it happens, a fairly short text is usually the beginning, but never the end of the lesson. But the lesson would not have a narrative structure at all if that was all I did. And it is quite possible to teach within a narrative structure and not use a “text” in the conventional sense .

A lesson has a narrative structure if the following conditions are met

– The answers to the questions 1-7 are “Yes”

In other words, at each stage of the lesson, the participants have something to look forward to in the next stage; it may be a crucial piece of information they will hear in listening practice. The text might begin with a description of a fairly simple problem, such as someone – let us call her Paula – who feels unfairly treated at work- or as complex as “What led Watson and Crick to believe that the study of viruses could illuminate the secrets of DNA, and how did Rosalind Franklin’s work help them to discover its double helix structure ?”

By the middle of the lesson, learners, – perhaps working in pairs or perhaps as a whole class -should have found out what Paula decided to do about her problem with her boss – or why Watson’s was so intimidated in his first encounter with Rosalind Franklin in a laboratory in the basement of King’s College, London.

By the end of the lesson far more information will have been revealed, such as what happened when Watson met Franklin again or whether Paula solved her problem. The purpose of the narrative structure is not simply to arouse and sustain interest. It is to keep learners involved with the language. If, however, the narrative does no more than keep learners involved with the language, it will still fail as vehicle of language-learning. The narrative has to lead to language-production as well as comprehension. There may be “narrative gaps” that can be interpreted in different ways and which require learners to extend their pragmatic and generative repertoires as they do so. Or perhaps before it is revealed what was done by the person with the problem at work, at least three possible courses of action are described or considered by the class.

Relating form to meaning

In using this narrative approach, I often discover that learners cannot interpret the difference in meaning conveyed by two superficially similar forms, such as “What would happen if you did this?” and “What happened when you did this?” or “I’d like to read this letter to you” and “I’d like you to read this letter”.

The narratives or dialogues were not specially designed to teach such examples. They occurred because they belonged in the text or dialogue. Because they arise naturally, it is also natural to focus on the different meanings conveyed by the different forms. One of the many advantages of using a narrative approach is that the narratives and dialogues make it possible to study a number of things together, and not just one thing, such as grammar, vocabulary or a particular speech act with no context.

Narratives relate different aspects of language to each other in ways, which single speech acts or a set of collocations without context cannot do.

Authentic vs. specially written

Suppose, for example, I want a dialogue in which someone deliberately lies, or threatens someone, or promises to do something and then later fails to fulfil that promise. Where could I find an “authentic ” example of such dialogues? When people know they are being observed or that someone is recording what they say, they rarely behave authentically or normally. Yet all of us know – at least in our own languages -what people are likely to say in such situations. Why should we refuse to use those intuitions in the materials we create or use for our students? Perhaps the products of such intuitions have to be “idealised” in various ways in order to make it possible for non-native speakers to understand them, but this is just as true of “authentic materials”, which are often too long or too difficult or simply not interesting enough for classroom use. Once you adapt such authentic materials, they are no more authentic that a forged signature on a cheque. So I personally have found it far better to create the texts or dialogues myself, often using authentic examples as a guide. When I create such materials, I am only doing what good writers or speakers generally do when speaking to or writing for native speakers. Good writers and speakers do not use language they think their readers or listeners will not understand. The logical conclusion of the “authentic only” argument is that we should treat non-native speakers of English in a way good writers and speakers of English would never treat native-speakers; that is – that we should ignore the problems non-native speakers have with English and speak or write as if those problems simply did not exist. This, by the way, does not mean that we should necessarily avoid language that we think is likely to cause a problem. It means only that we should locate it in contexts that give that language saliency and which also helps learners to infer meaning.

What EFL needs today is writers capable of developing skills that writers in other genres regard as essential: they must be able to develop the kinds of story, plot and character that can keep groups of very different learners interested in the language. The texts and conversations they write must exemplify as naturally as possible how people speak and write outside the classroom. However, the texts and dialogues must also serve the distinct pedagogic purposes that I have tried to categorise here.

REFERENCES:

Some Misconceptions about Communicative Language Teaching; English Language Teaching Journal Volume 50/1 January 96

‘Pragmatic’ in this sense is used in the sense Geoffrey Leech uses the term in Principles of Pragmatics ; the meaning language acquires when used socially, by and among people, in order to perform typical speech acts.

From Beginners’ Choice , Mohamed & Aclam, Longman 1992. I use this example only because it is quoted by Julian Edge in Essentials of English Language Teaching

Essentials of Language Learning” Longman 1993, p 51 EFL Gazette, December 97

See “the origins of syntax” in Bickerton’s “Language & Human Behaviour“, pp 66-84″ for a discussion of the importance of syntax not only for language but for human evolution and cognition”

Principles of Pragmatics (London, Longman, 1983)

‘Structuralism is one of the major philosophical movements of the 20th Century, and its European form is emphatically not behaviourism’

Language and Problems of Knowledge, The Managua Lectures The MIT Press, 1988 page 180 (Discussions after Lecture 5)

See for example Wong-Fillmore, L. When Does Teacher-Talk Work As Input? in Second Language Acquisition; Newbury House, (now Pearson Education) 1985.

 

‘Good lessons share features with, among other art forms, good films. They have plot, theme, rhythm, flow and a sense of ending.’

Scott Thornbury, “Lesson art and design”, ELT Journal, January 1999

see Watson, James. D, “The Double Helix” Penguin, 1968

[My quarrel with CLT 28/03/00 Robert O’Neill]

 

Robert O’Neill, teacher, teacher trainer, and writer, was hugely influential in the world of English language teaching. He died on 29 July, 2014 at the age of 81.

With his gift for story-telling and writing, Robert is fondly remembered as a man of wide-ranging interests, encyclopaedic knowledge and controversial opinions, who took great delight in his ability to shock and surprise. Fellow ELT author, Professor Alan Maley, who knew Robert for over 40 years, remembers him as ‘eccentric, brilliant, outrageously unconventional but, in the words of the song, with a ‘heart as big as a whale’.’ He believes ‘the profession owes Robert an enormous debt for his trailblazing publications, his professional enthusiasm and his exceptional generosity to younger colleagues.’

Continue reading here

 

A special tribute article accompanies this image on the Pilgrims website here 

Module 3 ELT Management – Interview with a recent candidate

The interview was suggested by Liam who really liked the format of the course and wanted to help us spread this information.

His promised blog post will appear on this very same page in a few weeks.

leadership

Meanwhile, here is what he said about our course

 

Different platforms for online courses

How we combine online spaces for our courses

Every online course needs to fulfill certain functions in order to work well for all concerned

  1. inform
  2. communicate
  3. provide resources
  4. support trainees
  5. allow trainees to socialise
  6. encourage sharing

Clearly, there are overlaps in the functions I have outlined above and all course providers are constantly on the lookout for the perfect platform that does everything, all in one space.

I haven’t found such a space yet – Moodle can do this perhaps on asynchronous courses but if the course is a synchronous one, it may be better to ‘shop’ elsewhere.

Click on the image below to watch a short presentation which we use to introduce our own trainees to their online spaces; in a lighthearted way, of course.

             https://www.emaze.com/@ATFICCW/delta-online

Adobe Connect Pro

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

Pbworks wikis

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.

Wiggio

Our third platform is a free platform which we absolutely swear by,Wiggio. Wiggio is our communication platform and eliminates multiple emails on the same questions/topics as it has its own public 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 (thanks to Zoho Documents which power the app).  I have blogged about this wonderful platform before and will attach a link to my blog post here, for anyone interested in more details, such the live text chat and live audio and video conferences and presentations available:

June Wiggio Group: Cambridge DELTA Trainees

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.

Delta Module 1 Preparation Online mini course

celtbannerFB

Our Delta Courses are integrated and we like them that way but every term we offer a short 12-15 hour course for our candidates and for people who have been studying on their own but need some tips and tricks for the exam itself.

So, this course will not teach you the main areas of the content but aims to help you pass if you have done the studying on your own!

What this course can do for you

If you have been studying for Module 1 on your own, this course will help you with exam technique, suggestions on managing your time during the exam and strategies for answering the exam questions so that you can get the marks you need in order to pass.

It is not intended as a content introduction course but will give you the strategies you need to answer the questions in the exam. A thorough analysis of the exam questions followed by practice will help you focus on how to study and how to answer more efficiently.

On finishing the course, you can choose to pay an additional 30 euros to have a mock exam paper marked and advice sent to you on what to revise and which areas/questions you need to focus on.

Course Structure

There will be four meetings of 3 hours each – each meeting is divided into two 90 minute webinars

Saturday November 14 12:00 p.m. GMT+2

Session 1  Introduction to Module 1 Written Exam Paper 1 – Tasks 1 & 2
Session 2
 Paper 1 Task 3

Sunday November 15  18:00 p.m. GMT+2

Session 3  Module 1 Paper 1 Task 4
Session 4  
Module 1 Paper 1 Task 5

Saturday November 21 12:00 p.m. GMT+2

Session 5  Module 1 Paper 2 Task 1
Session 6  
Module 1 paper 2 tasks 2 & 3 

Sunday November 22  18:00 p.m. GMT+2

Session 7  Module 1 Paper 2 Task 2 
Session 8  
Module 1 Paper 2 Tasks 2 & 3  

Where sessions will be held

All sessions will be online in our online virtual classroom which is in Adobe Connect Pro

Please note

This is a live sessions course where you can see, hear and speak to the tutor and other course participants 

See image below – an example of one of our current Delta online courses

To participate you MUST HAVE:

  • a fast internet connection
  • a headset and, if possible,
  • a webcam (this is not essential but will enhance communication with the tutor)
  • studied for the course content and have applied for the December 2015 exam or preparing for the June 2016; people who join the course out of curiosity and without having done any background reading already should NOT apply.
Our Online Classroom in Adobe Connect Pro
Our Online Classroom in Adobe Connect Pro

Participants will be able to download all handouts or presentation materials used in their virtual classroom, including sample past exam papers and examiner reports 

Two mock examination papers will be sent to all participants to use for timed practice before the exam.

For a small additional fee you can receive detailed feedback on ONE of these two mock exams if you submit by the 25th of November and no later.

How to Pay

Tuition fees must be prepaid – tuition for the course is 120 euros 

For an additional 30 euros, you can have feedback on one Mock exam paper. Please choose the appropriate payment option on the page linked below.  We accept payments via PayPal where you can use your debit or credit card for payment.

Places will be on a first come first served basis.

Module 1 Online Course payment page

Summary of the Cambridge Delta Module 2 assessment

carolineThe 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.

You can find the latest Cambridge Delta Handbook (2015) embedded below. If you are thinking of following a Delta course, careful reading of this document is necessary!

 

Students engaged in an activity during a Module 2 teaching assessment

 

 

What you need in order to pass Module 2

Both the internal and the external assessment contribute to the final grade.

Pass requirements

  • a Pass grade in both parts of the submitted internally assessed assignment
  • a Pass grade in both parts of the external assessment • completion of both parts of the PDA.

Merit requirements

  • a minimum of a Pass grade for the submitted internally assessed background essay
  • a Pass or Merit grade for the submitted internally assessed lesson • a minimum of a Pass grade for the externally assessed background essay
  • a Merit grade for the externally assessed lesson
  • a Pass in both parts of the PDA.

Distinction requirements

  • a minimum of a Pass grade for the submitted internally assessed background essay
  • a Merit or Distinction grade for the submitted internally assessed lesson
  • a minimum of a Pass grade for the externally assessed background essay
  • a Distinction grade for the externally assessed lesson
  • a Pass in both parts of the PDA.

Where there is a difference in the internal and external grades, the coursework will be moderated and the internal grades and the predicted coursework grade taken into account.

(information taken from the Delta Handbook) 

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Do your Delta at CELT

DELTA options and opportunities in 2015

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  DELTA options & opportunities in 2015


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Helping Intermediate Learners Better Understand Cohesion

Helping Intermediate Learners Better Understand Cohesion

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                           Caroline teaching one of her previous LSA’s

by Caroline Leaming 2012

Introduction

Cohesion is regarded by Halliday as ‘the crucial criterion to distinguish text from ‘non-text’ (Y. Liu & K.L. O’Halloran, 2009, p.368). Along with coherence, cohesion plays an important role of creating texture in a text (Halliday and Hasan 2003, p.17). However, based on my experience of teaching Japanese and Saudi students, cohesion appears to cause trouble to learners of all levels of English. These observations were also noted in studies concerning the use of cohesion with EFL students. Crane (2000, p.142) remarks that while Japanese students have a firm grasp on the theoretical structure of the English language, they ‘seem to lack the ability to coordinate functional usage of this knowledge with semantic patterning.’ Research also reveals that even advanced level, non-native speakers of English rely on a ‘restricted repertoire of features in constructing unified text’ (Hinkel, 2001, p111). Recent studies show how Arabic cohesion differs greatly from the conventions in English (Ahmed, 2010, p.218) and explains why my students in Saudi Arabia struggled to understand the importance of repetition and reiteration when writing or speaking in English. In Arabic, it is ‘considered good style to simply repeat the same word several times’ (Murcia & Olshtain, 2000, p.83).

What becomes obvious then is that cohesion in English follows different rules from many of our students’ native languages, therefore time invested studying cohesion in English should not be underestimated. It is for these reasons that cohesion will be considered in this assignment. This examination will pertain to the intermediate learner as this is the level in which the learning of these devices takes prominence. While linguists agree cohesion is essential to texture, the text-forming resources which are believed to constitute cohesion, differ between them. Hassan refers to cohesion in terms of the cohesive devices Theme, Information and Parallelism (Martin, 1992, cited in Liu & O’Halloran, 2009, p369) whereas Martin ‘introduces Collocation and Sequence of Tone but excludes Parallelism.’ Eggins’(2004) view that Cohesion is created from Referential, Lexical and Conjunctive Cohesive devices as well as the use of Theme and Rheme will be adopted for this study.

It should be noted that McCarthy (1991, p.2) warns us that ‘discourse analysis is not a method for teaching languages; it is a way of describing and understanding how language is used. With this in mind, the following section describes the various forms of cohesion. The final section explores problems students have understanding and applying these forms, and offers some suggested solutions that could remedy these issues.

Section One: Analysis of Cohesion

1.1      Conjunctive Cohesion

Conjunctive cohesion involves the use of conjunctions to create and express logical relationships between the parts of a text. Conjunctions act as a “cohesive tie between causes or sections of text in such a way as to demonstrate meaningful pattern between them,” (Bloor. T. & Bloor. M. 2004, p 97). According to Halliday and Matthiessen, (2004, cited in Eggins, 2004, p. 47) the three main types of conjunctions are Elaboration (for example, in fact), Extension (and, also, moreover) and Enhancement (next, likewise, hence, however). Conjunctions add texture by creating semantic unity in texts which makes them ‘unproblematic,’ (Eggins, 2004, p.47)

1.2      Referencing

Referencing allows writers to introduce participants, such as people, places, and things, and then ‘keep track of them once they are in the text’ (Eggins, 2004, p33). Three types of referencing exist. Homophoric refers to the shared information of a culture for example, the Queen. Exophoric refers to information from the immediate context of the situation. These two types of referencing contribute to the texts’ situational coherence (ibid. p.34). The final type of referencing, endophoric, exists in the internal texture of the text and can be categorized into three types; esophoric, in which the referent occurs in the phrase immediately following the presuming referent item. cataphoric, which refers to a referent that has not yet appeared, and anaphoric, which refers to a referent that has appeared earlier in the text.

1.3      Lexical Cohesion

Unlike other forms of cohesion, lexical cohesion is non-grammatical and concerns the relationship between words which are members of the same semantic set. Bloor & Bloor comment that these meaningful relationships between words help create cohesion when they are used together in the same short stretch of written English (Bloor. T. & Bloor. M. 2004, p. 87). Eggins purports that there are two kinds of lexical relations between words; taxonomic (words relate to others through class/subclass or part/whole) and expectancy (where a nominal element is linked with a predictable verbal element). Lexical relations analysis is a way of systematically describing how words in a text relate to one another and can be represented in the form of lexical sets or lexical strings. The importance of students being aware of lexical cohesion was proved in a study conducted amongst Japanese students of English which showed the considerable effect the knowledge of lexical cohesion had on their understanding of texts (Muto, 2007).

1.4      Theme and Rheme

The importance of theme in creating cohesion in a text is supported by Eggins who asserts that the theme/rheme structure of a clause is an essential component in the construction of a cohesive text (Eggins, 2004, p. 326). Theme is the departure point which the writer has chosen for a clause and typically contains familiar or ‘given’ information. Since the aim of this essay is to concentrate on the metafunction of texture, and in particular on its use to create cohesion, the interpersonal properties of theme will not be explored. Instead, the role of textual elements in the position of theme, such as continuity adjuncts and conjunctive adjuncts, will be considered.

Continuity adjuncts are mainly used in spoken discourse. When used as theme, they indicate a speaker’s orientation to the interactive continuity of their contribution (Eggins & Slade, 2004, p.84) and their response to what has previously been said. Examples include, yeah, oh, well. Conjunctive adjuncts are conjunctions such as so, but, and which act as textual theme when positioned before the first topical theme in a clause.

 

Section Two

Issues for Intermediate Students & Suggested Solutions

This section comprises the principal challenges hindering intermediate, adult learners from using & understanding cohesion and some suggestions for the teacher. Since cohesion can be related to both written and spoken discourse, the following offers a variety of both, indicated with either S (spoken), W(written) or B (both).

2.1    Conjunctive Cohesion

Problem 1 – Misuse of discourse markers

Intermediate students often overuse many discourse markers in oral or written tests, thinking it will gain extra points. However, they are often misused and in fact do the opposite in losing them points. Similar research has been noted by Anderson (1989) and Lindsay (1984) in Murcia & Olshtain (2000, p.206).

Suggested Solutions

Students need additional practice with incorporating discourse markers into their productive work. This can be achieved through:

  • (W) – Gap fill exercises in which the discourse marker is missing and the appropriate one is chosen from a selection. Gradually, as the student’s familiarity with their use grows, the selection is removed, forcing students to recall an appropriate discourse marker by themselves. This works well with analytical & visual students and students with logical-mathematical intelligences.
  • (S) – Giving students in small groups (2-3 students) a pack of discourse marker cards. Students have to start and continue a story using the discourse marker written on the card each time it is their turn to contribute to the story. This is excellent for verbal learners with interpersonal intelligences. The teacher gives students a topic based on the lesson’s context to make the story more relevant.
  • (B) – Cohesion Mingle: Students are given different halves of a sentence, one with a discourse marker, one without. Students find their correct other half. In later lessons, students are asked to write their own sentences on two pieces of card. The teacher collects them in, shuffle them, and redistribute them randomly. Students, once again, have to find the other half of their sentence. Bodily-kinesthetic & interpersonal intelligences respond well to this type of activity. My Saudi intermediate students enjoyed the challenge of making their own materials and being responsible for their learning. This is a technique I have used often in classes teaching conjunctions.
  • (W) – Cutting up short texts (stories, newspaper articles etc…) and asking learners to rearrange them in the correct order. This alerts them to the importance of cohesive devises for linking texts. Spatial intelligences are satisfied by this type of activity.
  • (S) – For visual learners, pictures telling a story are given out, mixed. Students should rearrange the story into a logical sequence and then tell the story using cohesive devices.
  • (B) – Nuttall (1982, p.82) suggests tackling cohesion issues by identifying problems and then asking questions in which the meaning of the cohesive items is made explicit. For example, the clause: The Scottish went there because…, would raise the question, Why did the Scottish go there?’ This may be challenging for some intermediate learners, but could be introduced initially with pre-made cards that students had to match. Gradually, the students write and make the cards which are swapped between groups. This worked particularly well with a number of intelligences in my Saudi class of intermediates such as, kinesthetic, spatial, linguistic, and interpersonal. They were split into teams and had great fun trying to catch the other team out with difficult questions.

2.2    Referencing

Problem 2 – Students have difficulty understanding references

English often creates ambiguity in terms of referential ties. E.g. Bob talked to Hans and then drove his car to Berlin (Murcia & Olshtain, 2000, p.131). Whose car was driven, Bob or Hans, is unknown. When a student’s L1 offers access to additional pronoun features such as gender to help them retrieve the antecedent more easily, students may have difficulty understanding references in English.

Suggested Solutions

Provide activities that ask learners to locate obscure reference and practice identification and utilization.

  • (W) – Give students in groups a place/ person/ thing mentioned in a text and have them work together to highlight with (coloured pens or pencils) all the references back to (or forward to) the place/ person / thing in a text. Repeat the process with another referent. Have groups compare their answers and discuss their results. This activity has worked well with my analytical learners and students with spatial, linguistic and interpersonal intelligences.
  • (B) – Encourage Ss to make reference chains for the main items in the text. Reference chains are used to show the patterns of the main participants in the text and their importance. Students then use higher critical thinking skills to discuss in groups what the intention of the author was when mentioning certain places/ people/ things more often than others. This will appeal to analytical learners and students with linguistic, spatial and logical intelligences. My Japanese learners especially were able to learn much from this type of referencing and would often use this technique in subsequent classes, regardless of the text type. They enjoyed being pushed to think outside the box, which is a skill they are often not encouraged to do at school.

Problem 3 – Distance between the referent and its antecedent confuses students

When referents and antecedents are placed far apart in the text, students’ ability to process the text might be slowed down considerably and students may need to read a second or third time.

Suggested Solutions

  • (W) – Reassure students that reading texts several times to search back for referents and antecedents is not a problem and that in real life, native speakers often have to reread things, as they probably do too in their own L1. If students’ affective filter is raised every time the teacher asks students to do this type of activity, they will not be productive in their learning.
  • (W) – Start slow. Introduce students to progressively difficult references by choosing texts in which the references become gradually further from the antecedents. This will slowly ease students into this type of cohesion and build confidence in their reading abilities.

2.3    Lexical Cohesion

Problem 4 – Unaware of the importance of repetition and reiteration in English

As mentioned previously, (Introduction) some languages do not value the importance of varying repetitions and using different synonyms.

Suggested Solutions

  • (W) – Ask students to identify lexical chains from a text to show how often, different words from the same lexical field are used in English. E.g. family – parents – mother. Students could then be asked to rearrange the chain based on semantic relationships. This exercise alerts learners to the synonyms & hyponyms and words of the same lexical field in a text and shows how important lexis is in creating a cohesive text.
  • (B) – Teach synonymy through Odd One Out games in which students must correctly identify which, out of 3 or 5 items, does not belong in that lexical field. I tried this activity with my younger Saudi learners with excellent results. I believe this worked especially well because a competitive element was added by having groups compete and discuss answers in teams.

Problem 5 Producing cohesive written text

Students struggle to produce cohesively written texts, often because they fail to see the cohesion in their own writing.

Suggested Solutions

  • (W) – Ask students to attempt writing parallel texts. Through contrastive analysis, the importance of the cohesive devices they use naturally in their L1 can heighten their awareness of their importance in English. Parallel texts could also be used as a reading exercise in which students are asked to notice and evaluate the differences in use of cohesive devises between their L1 and English. This would be especially beneficial to Arabic and Japanese learners in which the conventions of cohesion are different to that of English.
  • (W) – Give students a random mixture of sentences and challenge them to discover the connections between them and add appropriate cohesive devices. This will appeal to linguistic and spatial intelligences.
  • (B)In as Few Steps: Give students two random words and ask them to come up with and write/ say in as few steps as possible, a possible connection between them. Students should use cohesive devices to show the connections. This can be made more challenging if a competitive edge is added with other teams. A time limit could be set in which learners must try to come up with as many connections between words, using cohesive devises, as possible in under two minutes.

 

Conclusion

Taking the metafunction of texture, and concentrating specifically on the role of cohesion, this essay has analysed the different types of cohesion according to Eggins. As cohesion is a difficult area of English for even advanced learners to fully understand, this essay has set out to explore the principle problems intermediate learners face as well as to offer some evaluated solutions and activities.

Section Three: References

Ahmed, A.H. (2010). Students’ Problems with Cohesion and Coherence in EFL Essay Writing in Egypt: Different Perspectives, Literacy Information and Computer Education Journal (LICEJ), 1 (4), 211-221.

Bloor, T. and Bloor, M. (2004). Functional Analysis of English (2nd Ed.). London: Hodder Education.

Crane, P. A. (2000). Texture in Text: A Discourse Analysis of a News Article Using Halliday and Hansan’s Model of Cohesion. Retrieved on 20th November, 2012 from http://library.nakanishi.ac.jp/kiyou/gaidai%2830%29/08.pdf

Eggins, S. (2004). An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics (2nd Ed.). Great Britain: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Eggins, S. and Slade, D. (2004). Analysing Casual Conversation. London: Equinox Publishing Ltd.

Hinkel, E. (2001) Matters of Cohesion in L2 Academic Texts, Applied Language Learning, 12:2. 111-132.

Liu, Y., O’Halloran, K.L. (2009). Intersemiotic Texture: analyzing cohesive devices between language and images. Social Semiotics, 19:4, 367-388.

McCarthy, M. (1991). Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Muto, K. (2007). The Use of Lexical Cohesion in Reading & Writing, 107-129 Retrieved on 19th November, 2012, from library.nakanishi.ac.jp/kiyou/gaidai(30)/07.pdf

Nuttall, C. E. (1982). Teaching reading skills in a foreign language. London: Heinemann Educational Books.

Thornbury, S (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Lesson Plan Download

Caroline Leaming LSA4

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