4 Ways DELTA Module 2 Made me a Better Academic Manager
by Geoffrey Adamson
Words like ‘management’ and ‘human resources’ do not come up often in conversations in or about DELTA Module 2. Terms like these, it seems, are relegated to Module 3 and its ELT Management option.
Clearly, the ELTM option provides academic managers with the opportunity of a dive deep into aspects of ELT management, but the benefits to managers of the learning gained in Module 2 should not be overlooked. Future, current and past Delta candidates should view the teaching module as a powerful way to inform their leadership.
As I anxiously await my own Module 2 results, I wanted to share 4 ways in which my fully online Module 2 course with CELT Athens helped me upskill my own leadership practices.
#1: Giving feedback
I observe lessons. A lot. Most weeks, I’m in someone else’s classroom more than my own.
My team of twenty teachers works with English language young learners of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. I could start the day with a phonics lesson for four-year-olds, jump into a modal verb presentation with fourth graders and finish off with a reading skills lesson with middle schoolers.
This challenge means I have to give actionable and supportive feedback on lessons throughout the school quickly and consistently.
Delta Module 2 has helped me focus in on key issues and articulate feedback succinctly.
Feedback from my course tutors as well as comments made by my peers on my course who were invited to observe me were great examples. Whether written or verbal, their feedback showed me how to pinpoint the cause of lesson problems without being demoralizing.
#2: Setting expectations
What does a good lesson look like?
What does an effective teacher do?
What’s the best way to support learning?
Answers will vary, but each school, manager and teacher must eventually decide on their own expectations.
My Module 2 course gave me clarity. Weekly sessions focused on the practical application of evidence-based theory. These sessions showed me what I – and my entire team – should be doing in the classroom. These sessions have directly informed how teachers in my school teach reading, writing and lexis.
Enter the 5a*. Hate it or tolerate it, the DELTA teaching standards in Form 5a are an attempt to make teaching expectations clear. They are not easy. At times, they are maddening. But they help focus the teacher on making every second of a lesson count.
Any tool or standard that helps improve teaching and learning at my school is valued. After a lengthy team discussion, we decided to integrate some parts of the 5a into our teaching standards to formalize what we see as good teaching. The team appreciates the clear expectations and relishes the added challenge.
#3: Evidence Based Teacher Support
LSAs** are tough. They demand hours of research, reading and writing. In the thick of it, they can seem pointless, but time spent on them and ideas gained while researching them, generates a rich knowledge base which I have found extremely valuable and applicable to my work as a teacher mentor and observer.
As you trudge through the LSA badlands, you collect a number of high-quality reference materials. Your lists slowly fill with countless titles covering every possible issue.
Without Module 2, I don’t think I would have taken the time to go through all these resources. If someone asks for advice, I now have real experts (not just my own feelings) that I can reference and recommend. This has been particularly useful following observations.
Recommendations to relevant texts extend one-off feedback into more long-term professional development.
#4: Encouraging improvement
Module 2 doesn’t magically make you the perfect leader. Nor the perfect teacher. That would be a hyperbole. But in a very real way, it does help you set an example for your team. You show those around you that you want to constantly improve. You are constantly looking for ways to bring learners success in every lesson.
Module 2 gives you the skillset necessary to help your team start down this path, too. It can help you create an environment that is professional, challenging and ultimately more rewarding. My team has already started benefiting from more actionable feedback. They understand what is expected from them in the classroom (and why). They know I am here to support them as best I can.
Teaching is Module 2’s main draw, but it doesn’t have to stop there. It can promote real growth for leaders – current and future.
*The 5a being referred to is the form used by tutors and external assessors on a DELTA course to provide written feedback after observing a teacher in class. If you are curious, you can download a copy here. The form contains all the criteria (standards in Geoffrey’s post) to be used in assessing background assignments and lessons.
** LSA is short for Language & Systems or Skills Assignment. This describes the four assessed assignments on the DELTA which include a background essay researching a particular language area/system or language skill and the lesson plan and teaching which is associated with that research.