Wow, I haven’t posted ALL YEAR. There are two main reasons for this: 1) if there was time to do extra-curricular writing, it meant there was time to write my extended assignment (I’ve used that excuse a lot); 2) I moved to a new city and a new job, and it took a bit of time to find my feet.
So, what can I say about DELTA module 3? I chose to specialise in exams and there’s a good amount of material available. I handed it in on Wednesday, whereupon I promptly lost my voice. Coincidence? The tutors did tell us that Cambridge like to hear your voice in your assignment…
Here’s my final reflection using the same questions as before. Please don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you want to ask about anything I fail to mention.
1. What was your lightbulb moment?
Less of a sudden switching on, and more of a slow dawning: all the academics put forward theories about the best way to teach and how learning happens and calling them different names, even when they’re the same thing, but NO-ONE really knows how learning happens. Current dream job: to be neuroscientist and find out what’s going on.
2. What was the most stressful thing?
Realising the above after I’d signed up for an online on Academic English (in preparation for a pre-sessional EAP job application) only to discover it was really only about Krashen’s theory of comprehensible input and some general waffle at a time when every minute was precious because part 2 (Needs Analysis and Diagnostic Testing) was due and it was exam time at school. The good souls who ran the course let me drop out.
3. What do you wish you could have done?
I’m sure there’s a way to make the appendices document that’s much quicker than what I did.
You submit your module 3 in two documents. The first one must be in Word and contains your essay and two appendices: the course map and the collated Needs Analysis and Diagnostic Testing results. The second one can be in Word or PDF, and contains all the other appendices: NA and DT tools, Materials, Assessment tools and Evaluation tools. The size of each file must be under 10MB.
I couldn’t work out how to insert a multi-page PDF into a Word document so I ended up converting all the PDFs to Word or JPEGs and sticking them in a Word document, which I could then number (obligatory), and then converted the whole lot to a PDF. I used smallpdf.com to do all of that. (It’s ace.) Email couldn’t handle such a large PDF, so I had to share it through Dropbox.
5. What is the best tip you’ve got this week?
I “discovered” something cool in Word – the headings in Word help you make a Table of Contents! OK, OK, I know this is nothing new. But it was for me!
6. What have you done to relax?
Oh, I have watched a LOT of TV whilst very busy not doing my extended assignment. And had lots of visitors to explore Madrid with – hooray!
8. What book have you added to your wishlist?
I really enjoyed a book by H. Douglas Brown called Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. It’s general but it goes into a decent amount of depth, and includes a section on theories about what happens in the different parts of the brain when we learn, and made me want to read more Lakoff.
11. What resource (teaching, learning or other) would you like to share?
TIPS AND OVERVIEW:
- Lizzie Pinard’s pages on the DELTA are very detailed and informative.
- Sandy Millin also has some valuable tips on using Word (or whichever open version you use) effectively for essay writing.
- There are two classics about exams, How To Teach For Exams by S. Burgess and K. Head, and Exam Classes by P. May.
- For syllabus design, I liked D. Nunan’s not-confusingly-named Syllabus Design, and Designing Language Courses by K. Graves.
- Two books on assessment I used were Testing For Language Teachers by A. Hughes and Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices by H. Douglas Brown.
(All these links go to Amazon and I earn up to 10% if you buy after clicking them. Other online bookshops are available!)
ARTICLES: A couple of good ones for exams (useful for part 1) are
- Prodromou, L. (1995) The backwash effect: From testing to teaching. ELT Journal 49 (1) 13-25. Oxford University Press.
- Spratt, M. (2005) Washback and the classroom: The implications for teaching and learning of studies of washback from exams. Language Teaching Research 9 (1) 5-29.
APPENDICES: As well as smallpdf.com, I also used splitpdf to extract a page or two from a longer PDF, e.g. the FCE marking criteria from the handbook. (Why does Cambridge make the handbooks so difficult to find online?). Again, the document camera mode in Evernote makes “scanning” a piece of cake.
Here ends my series of posts on the DELTA. (Unless I fail module 3…) I’m about to move again and start a couple of different jobs over the summer, but I hope I’ll have time to write up some of the ideas I’ve had.