Updated: Jan 13
1. What’s Cambridge Delta?
This is a teaching-oriented certificate designed for experienced teachers (in-service) who want to take their career to the next level. It is divided into three modules:
Module 1 – Understanding language, methodology and resources for teaching (theory of ELTL). It is assessed through a two-part written exam, 90 minutes each part.
Module 2 – Developing professional practice (practical component). This is assessed through coursework and the teaching of four lessons (LSAs), one of each assessed externally. Your portfolio will include a PDA (professional development assignment), the essays written in support to the lessons taught (background essays), and post-lesson evaluation.
Module 3 – Extending practice and English language teaching specialism OR English Language Teaching management (extension). This is assessed through an extended assignment of 4000-4500 words.
2. Is Delta recognized outside the UK?
This certification is placed at level 7 (Masters) of the Regulated Qualifications Framework of the UK Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). Legally speaking, however, some countries may call for a validation procedure for this qualification to be officially regarded as part of a teacher’s portfolio. In Brazil, for instance, this is somehow a challenging and long process, which does not mean much in the general acceptance of the qualification, given the fact that it is a celebrated teaching certificate among professionals working in both the ELT and the K12 areas.
3. Is this award for me?
This is a difficult question, whose answer depends on a number of things, as follows:
Official requirements: in order to do modules 1 and 3 you should have some teaching experience (at least a year in ELT), which is a must if you intend to do module 2. Qualification-wise, for all three modules teachers should have an initial teaching qualification like CELTA, and a level of language between C1 and C2. But bear in mind that no language certificate can be required by centres, which need to make other instruments available to certify the level of language of Delta candidates who have no language certificates.
From our experience: the gap between initial training qualifications and Delta can be wide. Ideally, teachers who hold an initial qualification should go for a course that helps them dive deeper in theory before they face Delta. This would probably cause teachers to have gathered enough knowledge to make the most of the course.
4. Is Delta designed for people who want to teach adult ESL learners only?
No. The course incorporates teaching ESL in a variety of contexts, such as Younger Learners, Business English and Academic English (depending on the Module you take). However, it is important to note that the Teaching Practice component on the course is based around teaching English to adults.
5. Do I have to respect the order of the modules?
No. Delta can be taken in any order. However, if you are thinking about adopting a modular approach to it, from my experience, teachers who do module 1 first and then go to module 2 tend to benefit more from all the theoretical basis they need to go through, which generally helps them with the essays they need to write in module 2. This remains true when modules 1 and 2 are done together.
6. Do I need to follow a course in order to sit the exam for Module 1?
Not really. You can prepare for the exam in module 1 (or even for the extended assignment in Module 3) independently. However, it is recommended that, at least for Module 1, you attend a course that helps you understand not only the concepts, but also exam strategies.
7. When and how do I get the results?
For each of the modules, you will receive a statement of results first, which is generally issued two months after the exam date of the submission of the coursework/assignment. Possible grades are Distinction, Pass or Fail, and will be confirmed approximately 6 weeks after you receive the statement of results. You will, then, receive a certificate for each module. When all modules are successfully completed, you can request an over-arching certificate.
The pass rate for the examination (Module 1) and for Module 3 was approximately 70% in 2013 worldwide. Module two has a 90% success rate.
8. What would happen if I failed any of the Modules?
The exam is Module 1 of the qualification, and can be retaken at your own time, either at the same or a different centre. It is permissible to fail an internally assessed lesson, as long as Module 2 as a whole satisfies the criteria for a pass. In case you fail the externally assessed lesson, it is possible to retake it within 12 months. The course proposal you submit in Module 3 of the qualification can be resubmitted. You can ask for feedback on your proposal and this will help you improve your work so that you can resubmit the improved version.
9. Should I do the Delta or a Masters?
This depends very much on your personal career objectives. Delta is a much more practical teaching qualification than most Masters courses, but if you are thinking of doing Delta first and then going on to do a Masters, it is worth noting that a Pass in all three Delta modules can be accepted by different university worldwide giving you exemption from some core modules.
Many universities which run MA (or M.Ed.) courses in TESOL or Applied Linguistics accept Delta as equivalent to between 1/4 and 1/3 of the total course modules. Some, especially in the UK and Australia, will give credits for MA candidates in applied linguistics or TESOL for their Delta qualification. You can see a list of some of those institutions here.
10. What kind of jobs can I expect to be qualified for after completing Delta?
As you gain experience as a Delta-qualified teacher, you might think about moving into teacher support, in the role of senior teacher. You could develop in-service training for teachers in your school via talks and professional development sessions. Conducting observation and giving feedback is also useful for many teachers for professional development purposes.
Typically, Delta-qualified teachers can expect to have access to job postings for more senior positions such as senior teacher, academic coordinator and director of studies. A good source to look for Delta-qualified jobs specifically would be www.tefl.com.
You could also explore giving seminars and webinars, as well as writing blogs and materials. Course book and curriculum development are also interesting areas to explore.
We hope this has been of help. Feel free to use the forum below to ask any further questions.
Article written with Orlando Delgado Mata, the Director of Teacher Training at International House Mexico.
Would like to know more about Delta at UP? Click here.