Developing Professional Practice
Module 2 is the part of the Delta which employers are often most concerned with, as it focuses exclusively on developing teaching practice in the classroom. The Delta overall contributes to making teachers much better educators, but it could be said that most of this development stems from the work done in Module 2.
Module 2 resembles the old Delta format in many ways. For example:
- It is most often done as a face-to-face course over a period of two months
- It involves Teaching Practice assignments, known as LSA’s – more about them below
- It involves Peer-Observations, Experimental Practice and Reflective Feedback
Courses and Mode of Study
Teacher Training centres around the globe offer a wide range of modes of study for Module 2 – follow this link and choose your location to find a centre near you.
However, due to the ever-changing nature of the ELT industry and the fact that most Delta candidates hold positions at schools where taking two or three months off for an intensive course is simply not an option, there have been a number of Blended Learning courses created over the last few years, including:
- The Distance Delta – Module 2:
Doing Module 2 through the Distance Delta is a big commitment, not only financially but also in terms of time, as the course lasts 9 months! It involves a two week Orientation Programme at one of several available centres around the world, where the introduction to the course and the first observations are covered.Once you have completed the Orientation Programme, you continue your development week by week through a blended approach of Online Learning and through a Local Tutor – someone who is qualified to support and assess your teaching development and grade your assignments.
- CELT Athens – Online/Blended Delta:
Similar to the Distance Delta above, CELT Athens makes use of a blended approach for their 24 week Delta course. This approach covers all three modules, but there is an option to each module separately, in which case for Module 2 part of the learning is done online through an online platform and part of it is completed in Athens over four weeks – this part of the course focuses on Teaching Practice and Observations.
- Bell Online Delta:
Bell offers a number of modes of study, from a face-to-face on their campus in Cambridge, through online learning with a local tutor, to a blended approach mixing components of the two.What is particularly advantageous about the Bell package is the amount of time: if you go for the full-time option you can do the whole of Module 2 in 6 weeks, and the part-time option only takes 12 weeks.
There are ranging arguments for an against doing Module 2 vis-à-vis or through distance learning. Although the choice is probably largely dictated by individual’s working situation, the most insightful insight you can get into the pros and cons of all modes of study is through Sandy Millin’s Delta Conversations series, in which successful Delta candidates recount their experience with the course, giving reasons for their chosen mode of study.
What it involves
The Cambridge website makes it clear the module focuses on “the principles and practice of planning and teaching” and in terms of content, it covers the following:
- The language learner and the language learning context
- Preparation for teaching English to language learners
- Evaluating, selecting and using resources and materials for teaching purposes
- Managing and supporting learning
- Evaluation of lesson preparation and teaching
- Observation/Evaluation of other teachers’ lessons
- Professionalism and opportunities for professional development
In reality, the above translates into four teaching practice assignments, known as Language Systems and Skills Assignments – or LSA for short. Each LSA involves the following:
- Background Essay on a particular aspect of language (systems) or a receptive or productive skill (skills):
The essay will cover a fairly large topic in terms of language usage or skills, such as Language Used for Expressing Questions in Present Time or Raising Awareness of Bottom-up Processing through Listening. The essay will look at the topic in considerable depth, taking into account its use, meaning, form and pronunciation (for system LSA’s) or the sub-skills involved in developing the macro-skill (for skill LSA’s) and the problematic areas learners face with possible solutions.
- Lesson Planning Document:
This will include an overview of the learners which the lesson is being designed for, including their strengths and weaknesses, and an analysis of the specific aspect of language or the specific sub-skills which are to be taught during the lesson, as well as a detailed lesson plan outlying the procedure and the principles involved in every stage of the lesson.
- Post Lesson Evaluation:
While this is constructive, it is also honest and not overly self-depricating: you outline what you achieved and what you could have done better, explaining how you know this and what steps you would take if you could teach the lesson again. The purpose of the document is more about Continued Professional Development than overly self-critising one’s performance.
It also involves a portfolio of Professional Development Assignments. These include the following:
- Essay on your current beliefs and practices as a teacher:
This will look at what your current principles of teaching are and what constitutes effective teaching at this stage of your career.You will also revisit this topic at the end of the course and write another essay reflecting not only your then currenty beliefs and practices but also on how they have altered since the start of the course.
- Development Action Plan:
You will idenitfy your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher and will develop a plan of developmental action. This will require the use of quantitative and qualitative methods for collecting effective feedback on your development, such as the use of questionnaires to give to your observer or learners.You will also revisit your action at the end of the course, where you will identify how far you have come in it, what else you still need to work and devise a final action to use after the course has finished.
- Experimental Practice:
During this module you also get the opportunity to experiment with a method or an approach you haven’t used before or one that you have little experience in. This assignment, though necessary to pass the course, is often well-received by candidates, as it encourages them to consider approaches which they have never considered before as well as discovering that not all approaches can be easily written off as ‘useless’, such as the Grammar-Translation method.The assignment is centred around an hypothesis which you aim to prove or disprove. An example of such an hypothesis would be Cuisenaire rods will facilitate the generation of ideas and elicitation of lexis. It doesn’t matter whether this assignment is proven or disproven, or whether the lesson is a huge success or an absolute disaster, what it is important is that you experiment with an approach in a measured and quantitative way.
Assessment and Grading
Assessment is set up in such a way that Cambridge receives two insights into your teaching abilities:
- The course tutors write a general profile about you as a teacher and as a professional, to which they attach your assignments and grades for LSA 1 – 3.
- LSA 4 is externally assessed, with a Cambridger assessor coming out to you to assess your written assignment and your teaching practice.
Through the combinatio of both insights, Cambridge gives you a final grade. Generally speaking, if you are successful in LSA’s 1 – 3 but fail LSA 4, then overall you will be referred. Referral means that you get another chance to resit the externally assessed LSA.
In module 2, as for all three modules of the Delta, there are three possible grades:
The pass rate is so low, with a significant proportion of candidates not passing all modules, it is generally accepted that a candidate should aim to simply pass. Merits and Distinctions are awarded for assignments and teaching practices which go above and beyond the standard expectation – however, the ‘standard’ in Delta is already significantly high.
In order to pass module 2, you will need to do two things:
- Pass at least one Background Essay and one Lesson Planning Document in LSA’s 1 – 3.
- Pass the externally assessed LSA
- Successfully complete your Professional Development Assignment portfolio, for which there is only a Pass or Fail grade.