New Year, New Goals: DELTA for English Teachers
So, you have decided that you want to take your English teaching career to the next level. You’d like to make a change for the better, push yourself outside your comfort zone and focus on new professional strategies, goals and opportunities. Whoa! This is fantastic!
Now, wait a moment... What should you do? Well, DELTA (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) could be a good choice. Let's see if it's worth your attention!
🔻 DELTA: What's that?
DELTA is a certificate designed for experienced English teachers. It is made up of 3 modules (which you can take in any order), it includes teaching practice and it can be taken as a face-to-face, online, blended or distance course.
tip 💡 There is no time limit for taking the DELTA, so you can take the three modules at your convenience. Doing one module at a time is usually a better choice for most candidates as they can focus on it without feeling stressed-out.
🔻 OK, but do I really need it?
So, is DELTA a worthwhile step in your career? Well, first of all, DELTA can help you to review and update your teaching practice. What can make a lesson much more effective? How can you prepare lessons that will actively engage learners and support their development? What are your strengths and your weaknesses as an English teacher? Are you ready to put your teaching style and methods under the microscope?
Moreover, DELTA prepares you for more senior teaching roles. Many English teachers see this certificate as a necessary stepping stone to better positions (think of senior teachers, examiners, academic coordinators, directors of studies and ELT materials writers).
In addition, DELTA can help you to extend your expertise in a specialist area and it facilitates progression to other qualifications, such as MAs in Linguistics and Language Teaching.
🔻 Hmm, is it suitable for me?
Most DELTA candidates have an initial ELT qualification, for example CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), but you are not required to have taken any English language examinations in order to take DELTA. However, having at least a year's ELT experience is highly recommended.
tip 💡 Even if you have an initial ELT qualification, you should do lots of reading in advance.
🔻 Will I need guidance?
Start with the handbook for candidates in order to understand how each module is assessed. Module 2 requires course attendance, but you can prepare for modules 1 and 3 independently.
However, doing module 1 (assessment: written examination) and module 3 (assessment: written assignment) can be a challenge if you have no guidance and really have no idea what you should be doing.
No, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you just need to find a mentor who already knows the road to success! A good tutor that will be by your side can offer useful advice on what Delta examiners expect from you (Yes, you should follow it to the letter!).
Taking lots of past papers for module 1 and having some help for module 2 as well can really help. You should also take advantage of free online resources and practical advice from people who have already taken DELTA.
tip 💡 If possible, take DELTA with some English teachers you already know. Having someone to help you organise a study session, support you and understand your struggles is more important than you think! And a bit of healthy competition will help motivate you! You could also join a Facebook group for DELTA candidates or a similar online community in order to have someone to encourage you or answer your questions whenever you need help. Well, that sense of relief when someone says 'I get it’ is amazing!
🔻 There have to be some downsides, right?
Well, before taking the first step, you should make sure that you don't feel exhausted. It takes a long time to complete all the modules and pulling an all-nighter on a daily basis can be really wearing. You should also consider doing the three modules separately; that’s the advice most English teachers who have taken DELTA usually give.
It’s not easy to deal with a course more fainthearted teachers would stay away from. If you decide to take the plunge, the word 'organisation' should become your new favourite English word! Meeting strict deadlines, completing assignments and dealing with heavy workloads is hard (unless you have a fetish for challenges and exhausting tasks!). So, try to improve your time management skills before starting to study for DELTA.
Finally, we should mention that obtaining a DELTA certification is a bit pricey. However, it's worth remembering that it will probably help you find work in more lucrative positions.
🔻 Any other tips?
Most candidates usually refer to the importance of some key features of a word processing software. Well, if you take DELTA, you are certainly going to spend hours in front of a computer, so each timesaver you know can make a big difference! For example, knowing how to quickly create a table of contents, add footers and insert hyperlinks can help you save much-needed time. It will also make your documents easier to mark.
And try to do as much reading as possible beforehand. Yes, you will certainly have to read some of the books again and again after you start the course; but if you’ve read them once, it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.
So, taking DELTA may be hard, but it is doable. As with any course or certification, there are going to be some bumps in the road. But everything new will reignite your passion for teaching!