Finding a focus

It is hard to guide people to effective focuses for Delta LSAs. Should they start from the reading ? Or from the learners ? Or from the list of focuses that ‘work’ (in that most centres provide lists of suggestions to try and show teachers the kind of things they could think about, though there is no such thing as a definitive list as people occasionally do great things with unlikely sounding focuses and occasionally truly do not ‘get’ what is usually a safe focus). Continue reading Finding a focus


word counts and limits

In a forum recently a teacher expressed deep indignation about the limits on the number of words in Delta assignments. Not that they were hard work to keep to (that is often grumbled about), but that they were there at all and to my surprise others piped up and there ensued a mini consensus (mini in that the Brits were not joining in) that said in non-UK academia, word count limits were rarely to be found. Continue reading word counts and limits

no such thing

In the detective novel I was reading last week, someone said ‘this might be a stupid question’ and the lead detective said ‘the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask’, and of course it turned out to be an investigation breakingly important question. I spend a lot of time encouraging people to ask questions in forums. People who are not used to working in this way in  forums often preface questions with apologies or with ‘this might be a stupid question’, but I don’t think I have ever read a question that made me think ‘yes, it is’. Continue reading no such thing

Flips, cartwheels and not just rolling over

I like to think that in our Delta Modules we are getting teachers to find things out, think things through and generally reach supported conclusions, not just telling them things, but how far are we really going with that and could it be further ? In the summer, Tom asked why we didn’t flip more of the input and in a Module Two session recently, as the discussion bounced across MOOCs and flips, one of the teachers in the session said why didn’t we do more of it ? So I’m trying to work out whether we currently do it at all, how far we could and if we should.

Continue reading Flips, cartwheels and not just rolling over

A slow (but steady) learner

I came across heads and tails (here or here if you scroll down the page slightly) in Materials Development in Language Teaching when I was reading for a Masters assignment and liked them on sight (with that same jolt of recognition and delight I’d had when reading about some and any and how the choice wasn’t actually a matter of questions and negatives, but of expectations and limits). How could I have used something all these years and just not noticed they were there in my speech ? At that time I was still teaching the big university classes, it was the beginning of the year so they were low level and I thought I might introduce heads and tails later when they got to a point where they could cope and were looking for shiny new things. Then as the year rolled on I forgot.

Continue reading A slow (but steady) learner