If you've just done the Delta Module One exam, you may now be thinking about going on to module two. Here's some guidance to help you choose the centre and the course format which is right for you...
When people apply for our Delta Module Two Course, I'm always surprised at how few questions they ask about how the course is run. Yes, every centre has to cover the same syllabus content (click on the link and see pp. 4-8) and conform to the Cambridge regulations (which you can find in the Handbook for Tutors and Candidates, pp. 50-67). But within these boundaries, there's a wide range of possible variations.
Obviously the first thing you need to decide is whether to do an intensive course or a non-intensive course spread over a longer period. And here would be the first question I'd ask:
- Whichever format the centre uses, why did they choose it? What do they consider to be its advantages and disadvantages?
- How often will you have to attend in person, and how far in advance are the dates set? What time are the course sessions (and will these give you time to arrive and get home at a reasonable hour). What happens in case of a transport strike on a day you're scheduled to attend, particularly if you're scheduled to teach on that day?
The last question relates to something I'd ask any centre, regardless of the course type i'd chosen but particularly on non-intensive courses:
- What happens if I'm ill on a day when I'm supposed to submit an assignment (which includes teaching)? Or if I'm simply not ready by that date, possibly because I've been ill previously or have had other problems previously. Can it be rescheduled? And if I miss any other sessions, how can I catch up on the content? For example, are they filmed and put online or are recorded versions of the presentations etc put online, or have i just missed them?
And then there's the coursework itself - and here there's scope for a plethora of questions:
- The coursework must include at least 65 contact hours. How many of these are taken up by seminars and what do the seminars cover? What about individual tutorials - how many and when : before assignments, after assignments? Is the contact all face to face or is anything done on-line. If so what platform is used and what are the technical details?
- What order are the assignments done in? Do I have a choice or is it set? What about the topics of the LSAs and EPs - within the boundaries set by Cambridge, do I have a choice of which systems/skills to teach or does the centre decide? How much guidance is given?
- How much time do I have between assignments and what else will I have to do in that time? On intensive courses, how much of that time is taken up eg by seminars, observations of other teaching, non-assessed teaching etc?
- Apart from the seminars and assignments, the compulsory coursework also includes 35 hours of Guided Reading and Tasks and 10 hours of Guided Observations and Tasks. How are these built into the course?
- What help do I get with the assignments? Are the titles set by the centre or (again within the boundaries set by Cambridge) do I have a free choice? Can I get written tutor feedback or have a tutorial at the planning stage? Can I submit a first draft for comment and then rewrite it before the final submission? How much time is left between one assignment and the next?
- What about the classes I use for the assignments? Is this a group or groups provided by the centre or, if I'm doing a local course, can I use my own groups who I know better? In any case, can I use my own groups for the Experimental Practice assignment and the External Assessment if I want to?
- Presuming it's a group provided by the centre - will there be just one group to get to know or will the learners change? How many and which levels are involved? Will I have to teach them on days other than those when I'm presenting an assignment (remember this will involve more preparation work and take time away from the assignments themselves) ? If not, do I have the option of doing so if i want to get to know the learners better and/or pre-teach something relevant to my assignment lesson? Will they be following a set syllabus/coursebook that the assignments have to mesh with, or not?
- What help do I get evaluating my own teaching? Do other course participants observe and can they give feedback? Are the lessons filmed so that I can watch through them and see for myself? How long after the assignment is feedback and the result given? What written feedback is provided? Just the observer's notes - in which case am I told the grades the assignment received? Or will I also see the Delta 5A assessment forms which are sent to Cambridge?
- Similarly, for the Professional Development Assignment, can I write a first draft of each section and then rewrite it after seeing the tutor's comments, and will I see the Delta 5B assessment form which is sent to Cambridge?
- To pass the coursework you must pass one internal assignment. What happens if, by LSA3 I haven't reached pass standard? Will I have a chance to repeat one of my assignments and try again before the external?
- What if something goes wrong during the course - if I'm ill or something - and can't complete it. Can I transfer to the next course? Will this cost extra?
- What are the centre's average results for a course in terms of referred candidates, pass, merit, and distinction grade - or if they're not sure, what were the results of the last course? What's the drop out rate?
There are not necessarily any "right answers" to these questions. All the possible choices have pros and cons, and some participants will perform better with one type of organisation and others with another. But the centre should be able to answer them all, to justify their choices, and to explain the advantages and disadvantages of whatever they have decided. And if you have a choice of centres, I recommend contacting several and seeing whose answers you feel will suit you best. All Module Two centres must be approved by Cambridge, and you'll find the full list, and their contact details, here