What is a DELTA course and who is it for?

The DELTA course is provided by the University of Cambridge English Language Assessment via authorised Cambridge English Teaching Qualification centres and can be taken either full-time or part-time. DELTA is an advanced qualification of theory and practice and candidates will normally already have completed an initial qualification such as a TEFL course or the CELTA course before taking the DELTA course.

The DELTA course teaches you techniques that are suitable for teaching any age group, and in essence you could say it is like an advanced version of a TEFL course or CELTA course. This is because it has the aim of enhancing your existing knowledge and skills as an English teacher to non-native English speakers, whilst also enabling you to progress to new career opportunities.

Indeed, Cambridge themselves identify the following people who would benefit from undertaking DELTA:

 

  • English language teachers who have been teaching for at least one year
  • English language teachers who want to progress into more senior roles such as head of English and teacher training
  • Experienced teachers who want to extend their expertise in a specialist area
  • First-language English speakers and non-first language speakers who have a CEFR Level of high C1 or above.

 

What does DELTA mean?

DELTA stands for the Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults, but it is worth noting that in 2011 the qualification title was updated on the Ofqual register to the Cambridge English Level 7 Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (namely Delta). This was done to encompass the wider range of students that English teachers might have, including younger learners. However, even though the name has been amended, you’ll find that many course providers and employers still refer to it as DELTA rather than Delta. To keep things simple, we’ll refer to it as DELTA here, but just remember that anywhere else where you see it called Delta it is the same thing.

 

Are there any entry requirements to do the DELTA course?

DELTA candidates should have English language skills equivalent to at least level C1 (on the CEFR standard of English), and according to the Cambridge English Teaching Framework DELTA is suitable for teachers who fall under the ‘Developing’ or ‘Proficient’ level, whereas the CELTA course is considered as ‘Foundation’ level. The DELTA course is therefore mainly for people with previous English language teaching experience (usually at least 1 year) who are looking to develop further as a teacher.

 

How can you study for a DELTA course?

DELTA courses are predominantly classroom based and can be studied full-time or part-time, though you are also able to do modules through distance learning programmes, which encompass both face-to-face and online learning.

Within the DELTA course there are 3 main modules:

 

  • Module One: Understanding language, methodology and resources
    for teaching
  • Module Two: Developing professional practice
  • Module Three:
    • Option 1: Extending practice and English language teaching
      specialism or
    • Option 2: English language teaching management.

These modules are complementary to each other, but you do not have to take them all at the same time and can select and apply for a combination of modules according to your needs. Nevertheless, in terms of your career when most employers ask for DELTA qualified applicants, they will probably expect you to have completed all of the modules and have the full qualification.

 

Where can I take a DELTA course?

DELTA courses can be taken through authorised Cambridge English Language Assessment examination or teaching qualification centres in many different countries all over the world, and if you wish to take Module Two you’ll need to do so at an authorised DELTA centre. However, for Modules One and Three there is no requirement to take a course at a recognised DELTA centre, although most candidates do and this is generally advisable.

If you do not have access to a local Cambridge English Teaching Qualifications centre you can also take DELTA courses through distance learning programmes, which combine both face-to-face and online learning as mentioned before.

When it comes to taking the DELTA exams, you can find a list of where you can take them here.

 

What is covered in a typical DELTA course?

The DELTA course is for teachers to refresh and review their existing teaching knowledge and also extend their expertise, and as per Cambridge English it covers subject matter with the following aims under each module:

Module One: Understanding language, methodology and resources for teaching

 

  1. To develop candidates’ knowledge of historical
    and current theories of first and second language acquisition
  2. To increase candidates’ critical awareness of
    approaches and methodologies and the principles underpinning these used in a
    range of ELT contexts
  3. To extend candidates’ knowledge of language
    systems and skills in their contexts of use
  4. To increase candidates’ knowledge of learners’
    problems in developing language and skills proficiency
  5. To enable candidates to critically evaluate
    teaching and reference materials and resources in a range of ELT contexts
  6. To increase candidates’ knowledge of the role
    and methods of assessment

Module Two: Developing professional practice

 

  1. To develop candidates’ awareness of the effects
    of different contexts on the learning and teaching of English and factors
    affecting individuals’ learning in a range of ELT contexts
  2. To develop candidates’ critical awareness of the
    different roles of teachers, and the principles underpinning these, as
    performed in a range of ELT contexts
  3. To develop candidates’ expertise in the planning
    of inclusive lessons at different levels
  4. To extend candidates’ effective use and critical
    evaluation of a range of appropriate approaches, methodologies and techniques
    to support learning in a range of contexts
  5. To apply candidates’ knowledge of language and
    skills to lesson planning and teaching
  6. To extend candidates’ use and critical
    evaluation of a wide range of appropriate materials and resources for teaching
    and their own professional development
  7. To develop candidates’ ability to reflect
    critically on their own beliefs about teaching and learning, and to evaluate
    their practice in order to prepare and teach more successfully in future
  8. To develop candidates’ ability to observe and
    reflect on teaching and provide constructive feedback to other teachers
  9. To broaden candidates’ understanding of the
    standards of professional practice
  10. To increase candidates’ expertise in spoken and
    written communication in their own professional roles

Module Three: Developing professional practice:

Candidates can choose from two options for Delta Module 3:

 

  1. Extending Practice and ELT Specialism

Focus: The module focuses on
broadening the candidates’ knowledge of a chosen specialism and developing
their understanding of syllabus design, testing and assessment.

 

  • English Language Teaching Management (ELTM).

Focus: On broadening candidates’
knowledge and developing their understanding of management in one of the
following four specialisms: academic management, marketing, customer service or
human resources management (HRM). Candidates are required to apply knowledge of
managing change and project management to a proposal in their chosen specialism
related to a specified language teaching operation (LTO).

The aims of each option are set out in more detail below:

Extending Practice and ELT Specialism

 

  1. To enable candidates to develop their knowledge
    in relation to a selected ELT specialism
  2. To develop candidates’ knowledge of ELT
    curriculum and syllabus design principles and apply this knowledge to a context
    and an actual learner or group of learners to whom they have access
  3. To develop candidates’ critical awareness of
    syllabuses and courses, and implications for the selected specialism
  4. To develop candidates’ skills in the design and
    implementation of syllabuses and courses in relation to the selected specialism
  5. To develop candidates’ critical awareness of
    types and methods of assessment in relation to the selected specialism
  6. To apply candidates’ knowledge and understanding
    of assessment to the production of a form of assessment for the selected
    specialism
  7. To enable candidates to synthesise all of the
    above and present a coherent account of the project to a third-party readership

English Language Teaching Management (ELTM)

 

  1. To enable candidates to develop their knowledge
    in relation to a chosen management specialism
  2. To develop candidates’ knowledge and critical
    awareness of management principles and procedures
  3. To develop candidates’ skills in the application
    of management knowledge and procedures in the context concerned
  4. To develop candidates’ awareness of the
    interdependence of management areas
  5. To enable candidates to apply knowledge and
    understanding of management to a proposal for implementing a change in the
    chosen management specialism
  6. To enable candidates to synthesise all of the
    above and present a coherent account of the project to a third-party readership

For a detailed breakdown of the content within each module and its related assessment, you can read more about it in the syllabus here.

If you wish to do any preparation for the DELTA course or want to see what you can expect from the tests, materials are available on the the Cambridge English Language Assessment here.

 

How long is a DELTA course?

The typical duration of a DELTA course is between 7 to 12 weeks for full-time courses, which are conducted face-to-face in an authorised centre. Part-time courses can last anything from a few months to up to 18 months.

 

What do you get at the end of a DELTA course?

After completion of each module of the DELTA course with a passing grade you’ll receive a certificate. For each module there are three passing grades: Pass with Distinction; Pass with Merit; and Pass. Once you have successfully completed and passed all three modules you can receive an overall certificate on request. This is proof that you have passed the full DELTA course and met the assessment criteria for all written and practical assignments, and once awarded shows that you have obtained the full DELTA qualification / diploma.

 

Should you do a DELTA course?

If you want to further your career in TEFL the DELTA course offers you an opportunity for real professional development and ranks as a level 7 qualification, which is the same level as a Masters in the UK. It is an internationally recognised Diploma in English Language Teaching and once you have passed and completed the full DELTA course it will open the door from classroom teaching to career, allowing you to teach more specialist subjects and progress into more senior roles such as director of studies, head of English and teacher training.

Cost can be a factor and in comparison to the CELTA course the DELTA is generally more expensive, as completing all three modules could cost anywhere between £1,500 to £3,000. However, this is still lower than the cost of a Master’s in TESOL, which in the UK could set you back from £5,000 to £14,000.

Once you obtain the DELTA you can expect a pay rise as more senior positions to open up, so like with many careers although there may be an initial investment in the qualification you should see the benefits in the long run. These won’t just be limited to your pocket either.

Taking the DELTA course will significantly enhance your teaching knowledge and capabilities and help you stand out from the crowd when looking to take on new career challenges, which is always worthwhile. So, if this fits with your aims and objectives and you view English teaching as a longer-term career, then the DELTA course could certainly be the way to go.