It’s been a long few week recently. You might have noticed that I went from posting 3 times a week to …not posting. This was partially to promote Leo Selvian’s #Oldeltpost but also because I hadn’t had time to read blog posts and write a “weekly summary”. However, the biggest factor was mental tiredness and so I took some time before I published my final Delta Diary for units 7 and 8 in module one.
This course has been slowly wearing me down, there is just so much to read and studying part time really isn’t easy. After a day of working the last thing I want to do is have to read something. If I can choose to read something then it’s completely different but when it is something you have to do, you have to focus on and you have to remember the important information, it becomes a chore. Add on my small staffroom and it really hasn’t helped me to discuss and reflect on some of the ideas. Basically, I’ve felt behind and under pressure almost all the time and I finally just gave up trying to do any writing at the same time as studying.
But hey! That’s the way it goes sometimes. Without further ado here is my round up from the last three weeks.
Unit 7 had three parts. Lexis, Writing and Phonology 3 as well as another exam training that looked again at paper one tasks five and paper two tasks two and three.
I feel that paper one task five might actually be the most useful and practical task of the whole exam. In task five you are given a task and a students answer. You have to identify three strengths and three weaknesses and then, in part b, you pick one of the weaknesses which you would work on with the student. It’s incredibly practical because it’s the sort of thing you have to do day in day out and it has really forced me to stop thinking “This student makes this mistake a lot so we should work on it!” but instead “this error hinder their completion of the task” or “this error will help them in the future…” etc.
I’ve actually seen the difference this has made in my classroom teaching where I’m less likely to pick up on “annoyances” (he go to the school) and more on those which inhibit communication.
Unlike the previous Lexis session this one looked at how students learn Lexis and theories about how it is stored in the brain (though it seems like there is little research into how L2 language is stored and even in L1 there’s a fair amount of “we think/it seems”).
The second writing part was rather shorter and looked more at helping students to realise what they need to focus on in different writing tasks. This also brought up the criteria and skills that are needed within task 3 in the Delta assessing students production of a task and anticipating problems students will have with a text.
This time it was focused on intonation. This was another unit of where it ended with some very unclear conclusions. Which can perhaps best be summarised as “There are some trends but lots of speech cultures don’t follow these trends. In addition students generally don’t focus on intonation and don’t learn it very well, so maybe we shouldn’t focus on it, but we don’t usually focus on intonation in the classroom so maybe that is the reason why students don’t pick up these trends… OH but we should focus on a few thing, the tonic stress, widening students pitch range and focusing on stress and rhythm” [This is an unfair reduction of the text but still]
Unit 8 had a round up of the previous units and some very interesting articles on of prepositions and a very interesting and useful section on Self access.
Preposition can be a neglected area of teaching and I don’t remember many blog posts on it (feel free to share one in the comments if you know a good one). Some of the interesting parts include the difficulties of prepositions with their multiple meanings and large number in English. It made some good teaching suggestions for grouping prepositions into broad groups and thinking about the levels that these types of prepositions are taught at. Finally there was a look at multi-word verbs and phrasal verbs. This was only a brief look though.
This section was really interesting and very practically. I really enjoyed the practical ideas for setting up a self-access system (and ideas of how to set up a self-access on a budget too). Perhaps the most interesting part of this section was…I can’t really see any application for this unit in the exam! However, it is certainly useful for my job, school and possibly for the other modules.
So all that’s left now is to revise and prepare for the exam. Honestly I’ve been putting off doing revision for some reason. I used the classic procrastination trick “I’ll just plan my revision first…” Finally today I managed to review the parts of the test that I found difficult and work out a revision plan based on that.
So for the next week and a half it’s going to be fingers/head to the grindstone, lots of reading. note making and practice answer…ing.
I’m not sure how well I’ll do and certainly don’t expect to have a high score but I’m going to do all I can to finish well. After I finish I’ll post my thoughts about Module one. I probably won’t post a lot over the next few weeks but you might get the odd quote here or there.