Double comparatives and sharing thinking processes

I’m writing this on the grounds of sharing (my) learning experience and the message that I keep trying to promote to trainees that it isn’t that one person ‘knows’ and another doesn’t, it is that all of us are in this Delta thing together and look stuff up and learn about it as and when we need it  …

A Delta course participant asked today in the forums if double comparatives would be a feasible focus for a first unassessed LSA. Last summer we brainstormed a list of things that a person could do as grammar focuses in the hope of widening the spectrum of what people looked at (on intensive courses the free class students have ‘done’ some common focuses so many times they often know the likely concept check questions better than the teacher delivering the lesson, which makes it neither engaging nor useful for anyone). 

Continue reading Double comparatives and sharing thinking processes

How vocabulary is learned, lexis lessons and Delta LSAs

We have been running an inhouse book club at ITI for anyone who is interested. It has meant I have read three books so far this year that would otherwise still be on the list of ‘must read’ (Thinking Fast and Slow, Why don’t students like school and this last was How Vocabulary is Learned) and sometimes led to some interesting dialogues about bits of the books. I have also realised it makes me process the book at quite a different level. Trying to come up with something to say about it stops you skipping or skimming in a way you otherwise might. Mostly I think a good thing as I remember it rather better and end up with some searchable notes in a Gdoc somewhere, though some chapters in some of those books would perhaps have been better skimmed. Continue reading How vocabulary is learned, lexis lessons and Delta LSAs

How you could study for Delta Module One

Making a study plan – time

How much time do you have to work on Module One each week ?
When can you study and where (no TV, no music and preferably no media alerts, not even mail) ? No, you are not the exception that can multi task. If you think that then you are just fooling yourself because switching tasks makes you slower in and worse at all the tasks (Kirschner & De Bruyckere : 2017).
Think about this proactively. If you just wait till you have free time it won’t happen (other stuff will always be more urgent). Actually block time off in your diary that you are going to use for studying. If you don’t use a diary, start a study diary from now on. Block out work hours, lesson prep hours and other time you have already booked up for different  things, then think about where you are going to fit in at least ten hours a week. Continue reading How you could study for Delta Module One

Meaning and use

A perennial Delta Module One forum post …
‘I don’t get the difference between meaning and use’

The short answer (for paper one task five in the exam)
If they ask you to comment on form, you should name / label things (it is a preposition, the past participle, made negative by adding the prefix un- etc etc).
If they ask you to comment on use, you should talk about how and why it is used (e.g. it’s informal, it qualifies the adjective, it specifies which type of book, it makes the text more concise).
If they ask you to comment on meaning, you should say the kinds of things you would say to a student who asked what a word meant in class (dictionary definition style and don’t use the word itself in that)

Having said that
1 … all of those three things get blurry at the edges sometimes (so where does form end and use begin, or use end and meaning begin ?) and that is acknowledged in a range of ELT literature and as such
2 … you don’t have to separate them out with headings and the markers are looking for things that are correct that they can tick – if you write that it is the past participle and the question was about form and use they will tick it (if it really is the past participle) whether it is written under form or use or no heading at all.
In fact, in some of the questions they say comment on form and meaning / use, so they aren’t asking you to separate those things (and are acknowledging there would be overlap), so if you see that don’t try to separate them, just make points you think are relevant.
Continue reading Meaning and use

the circle of doing and reading

Sometimes you say something (or in this case write something) quickly and glibly and only afterwards think, hang on, there is something important in there.

… the more I read about management (which happens more as a result of marking drafts than of actually managing – there is an irony in there somewhere, or perhaps just a realistic take on how reactive a person can become when pushed for time) the more I think it is exactly in parallel with teaching, that when it is done well it can be very useful, but …

The mantra of Delta (my mantra) is that you have to start doing it to understand what you need to know. Then you go back to the knowledge and toggle between the two – the practice and the things that will help you make that practice more effective.  You have to try one of the exam practices to know better what to go back to and study, 

Continue reading the circle of doing and reading

Doing and being

I have been sending mails to other organisations to set up distance entry for our Module One candidates. I find signing off those mails hard (I very rarely send unsolicited mail, so this doesn’t often come up). The centres need to see easily that what I am saying is legitimate, so just signing off Sally (as I usually would) doesn’t seem enough. After some faffing around with combinations of Delta … Modules … ITI … and responsibility job title words, I remembered there was an academic staff section on the web site and realised I should probably check what ITI calls me. Continue reading Doing and being