Intensive Delta Module 2: Weeks 3 & 4 round-up

Seville sky
Not quite a sunset, but the nearest I’ve seen so far

Here’s the very belated round-up of the middle two weeks of my intensive Delta Module 2 in Seville. You can read about Week 1 here and Week 2 here.

  1. What was your lightbulb moment or what blew your mind this week?
  2. What has stressed you out most this week?
    Pressure to make up in LSA3 for LSA2 where I planned too much for a 55 minute lesson, causing a lot of problems and a disappointing result.
  3. What do you wish you could have done this week?
    Complained to reception about the internet in my accommodation sooner. Raising things with the landlady didn’t get very far.
  4. What’s the best activity you observed, learned about or used this week?
    While I’ve gone through classroom language with lower level learners, I’m not sure I’ve done it with higher levels. I saw a coursemate doing classroom language with upper intermediate learners. Eg. “You don’t know how to spell a word, what should you ask?”
    Not only does this reinforce the idea that English should be spoken in the classroom, provides the language to do so, but also offers a chance to “upgrade” students’ language, especially question forms which learners tend to struggle with at most levels. Although the students came up with a way to phrase each of the questions, most of time they had mistakes or were unnatural. Stealing this!
  5. Which area have you improved on?
    I thought I knew quite a lot about teaching listening (rather than testing it), and for quite some time have been teaching connected speech to help with bottom-up processing. But I knew I was still missing something. My listening LSA has been a pleasure to research, I’ve enjoyed discussing it with my tutor, deepened my knowledge and taken my classroom practice a step further. Can’t wait to keep working on this after the Delta!
  6. What is the best or most useful tip you’ve gained this week?
    The Experimental Practice doesn’t have to be an approach you haven’t tried before, it can be anything you haven’t tried before. I was worried about this lesson before the course I’ve tried a lot of the common choices like Task-Based Learning (TBL). Once I found this out and heard some more possibilities, Lexical Notebooks was the natural choice.
  7. What have you done to relax this week?
    I had to switch my day off to Sunday one week because my yoga class moved, but I appreciate taking a (almost whole) day off more than having time off little and often throughout the week. But that might just be me!
  8. What’s your new favourite word or terminology?
    Anything by Cauldwell! My essay is littered with references to the “sound substance” which is a way of looking at “utterances” (Thornbury) with phonology in mind. Specifically, what changes to words are there in fast, natural speech? The words “smush” in the sound substance which learners have a hard time understanding.
  9. What have you disagreed with this week?
  10. What book have you added to your wishlist (or wish you’d already read)?
    I’m going to work my way through more of Cauldwell’s Phonology for Listening after the course, and have quite a few other listening related books and articles earmarked. Hancock & MacDonald’s Authentic Listening (2015) looks really interesting for the classroom.
  11. What would you change about this week?
    I’d done some reading about listening before and during the course but it was the hardest background essay to write. In my background essay, my analysis was so full of quotes I couldn’t find a way to work my own voice in. I feel like it was easier to write essays when I started with a structure then looked for quotes or references to back it up rather than the other way round. However, my bibliographies were shorter for those essays. It feels like I can’t win!
  12. What’s your main priority for next week?
    Start working on LSA4!

Week 4 in particular has been a hump week, so I’m glad to wrap up Weeks 3 & 4.

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