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Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Cambridge DELTA - the next step after a CELTA

DELTA is an in-service qualification in teaching English – this means that it’s aimed at experienced teachers. The standard recommendation is that someone should have two years of teaching experience before they do a DELTA course. It’s important that this experience is varied, i.e. if you’ve taught for two years, but only in one school, at one level, with one age group, you’re probably not ready for a DELTA course, as during the course you’ll be asked to reflect on teaching and language drawing on experience of a variety of teaching scenarios.

People usually do a DELTA course because it offers them career progression opportunities. Most schools will require a DELTA before you can be an academic manager or senior teacher. In the UK, a Director of Studies must have a DELTA-level qualification if the school is accredited by the British Council. You also need a DELTA in order to be a teacher trainer. Many schools will also offer a higher rate of pay to teachers who have a DELTA qualification.

Of course, career progression isn’t the only reason to take a qualification. Many teachers want to learn about more methodologies and will want to explore the reasoning behind the methods they already use. A DELTA course is longer than a CELTA course and so it allows for a depth of exploration of issues that can only be briefly covered on a CELTA.

DELTA is made up of 3 modules. The modules can be done in any order, but starting with the first one is logical. Module 1 is the theoretical basis for the rest of the course. During Module 1, you’ll look at some linguistics and investigate how humans acquire a second language. You’ll review some different teaching methods and materials, and explore the thinking behind their design and use. You’ll also examine how language can be analysed for teaching purposes, as well as reviewing the why and how of assessment. The module is assessed by means of an exam, which takes place in centres around the world twice a year on the first Wednesday of December and of June.

Module 2 is a more practical course, similar to CELTA. Part of the Module 2 involves a developmental assignment, which includes investigating a teaching method that you haven’t used before. The other part is made up of teaching practice and assignments – you’ll complete four lessons, each accompanied by a background assignment exploring the language skill or system that your lesson focuses on. Module 2 takes about 6 to 8 weeks to complete full-time, but can be taken part-time over the course of a year. There’s no final assessment, it’s assessed continuously, but one of your lessons will be externally assessed.

Module 3 is a specialist project that involves learning more about a specific type of teaching, like teaching young learners or teaching Business English. You research the topic and then you diagnose/analyse the needs of a group of students and design a course for them. A module 3 assignment typically takes about 10-12 weeks to prepare, but different people can take different amounts of time to complete it.

Overall, a DELTA course will take a time commitment. Most people do it part-time over a year to eighteen months. At DC Teacher Training, we offer DELTA Module 1 courses online over three months. You can find out more information and apply here.

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