I’ve finally decided to post about my DELTA M1 experience.
I passed M1 in December 2018 and got a Pass with Merit. I am quite satisfied with my results considering that I was working full-time 6 days a week at that time.
1) So what kind of exam is that? What does it test?
As a graduate of a British university, I felt that this exam was quite like any kind of university exam I had in the past.
DELTA M1 exam consists of 2 parts and lasts for 3 hours with a 30-minute break in between.
Paper 1 tests your knowledge of terminology and language analysis skills.
Paper 2 tests your knowledge of methodology and coursebook materials analysis skills.
2) So how do I prepare? Should I take a course or not?
Continue reading “So you wanna take DELTA Module 1 Exam?” →
So today I’d like to talk about teacher autonomy.
A quick glance at the results of Google search, and you get to know that the concept of teacher autonomy ‘refers to the professional independence of teachers in schools, especially the degree to which they can make autonomous decisions about what they teach to students and how they teach it’ (c). However, it’s not the teacher autonomy I’m going to talk about.
When I started at my current workplace I felt like I had spent more time teaching while being observed than teaching on my own.
When I first entered the room to teach 8 university students I felt so unprepared. To be honest with you, I was really tempted to run back to my programme manager and ask him ‘hey, are you sure it’s a good idea to leave me alone with them?’
When I was planning my lessons, I always sought for an approval from someone more experienced than me.
I felt I lack teachers autonomy, or the ability to make my own professional decisions, even minor ones, without being approved.
I still feel I lack it sometimes. And I’m sure I’m not the only one, and there’re other teachers who have a similar experience (or had it at some point).
It was a couple of weeks ago when I realised that I should be persistent and shouldn’t give up on my ideas.
We were in the middle of planning Lesson 6 about advantages and disadvantages. I had a wonderful idea of presenting this topic by using ‘2 Kinds of People’ cards (I’ve already mentioned them here). It seemed perfect. I could write a long and thorough rationale justifying my choice if anyone asked for it. However, I still didn’t feel 100% sure, and I showed it to my programme manager first in order to hear what he says. He said it seemed cool, and I felt relieved.
When I think about it, I ask myself why I did it. Why couldn’t I go on with this activity if I was sure it’d be successful (and it was)? Simply because I think of myself as someone not experienced enough yet? Why? The performance of my students proves that most of my teaching decisions were good. What is there inside of me that says I’m not good enough?
Also, for this lesson, I made a dialogue comparison activity. I wrote the dialogues myself and felt really proud of my work. However, some people said it might be a bit too difficult for lower levels, so I ended up borrowing another dialogue comparison activity from my colleague. I didn’t quite like the dialogues and what they were focusing on so I tried to change it several times but somehow failed – they would always become as difficult as my dialogues were while I wanted something very simple! At the end, I just tried using the dialogues as they were. After three lessons I realised I just couldn’t continue using them. They didn’t introduce the function the way I wanted to introduce them. And I finally did what I should’ve done from the very beginning: I started using my dialogues for all levels. I gave it to one of my lowest levels. It was challenging, but I just asked them more questions and guided them more carefully to the understanding of the function, and it worked!! They totally nailed it. So I underestimated them and myself – well done!
Why couldn’t I do it from the very beginning? I still don’t quite get it, but it taught me to defend my teaching ideas – not from other people but from myself.
Sometimes it’s better to rely less on others and rely more on yourself.
Sometimes it’s better to make your own mistakes because from them you learn. After all, it’s always easier to remember the right way of doing things if it was you who messed up, not someone else.
It’s important to get detached and obtain teacher autonomy which, for me, is the ability to make your own teaching decisions without seeking a compulsory approval from your seniors.
This moment when you find out that the presenters of the TEFLology Podcast are your colleagues. Oh well…
Anyway, this is the post (which I promised to write like half a month ago) on my first ever Reflection Practice meeting. Let’s go!
The RP group I joined has been holding meetings for quite a while now but it didn’t take long to adjust myself (which is good because there is nothing weirder than that feeling you get when you join a group as a newbie and feel like an alien – you know what I mean?).
The agenda was ‘Reflection tools, methods, and techniques’, and that’s what we discussed:
- Experiential Learning Cycle (which I have been using for quite a while without even realising)
- Hand-y reflection tool (more about it in Ann Loseva’s post here)
- Emotions and their connection to the needs being met (or not)
- Your own ways you engaged in reflective practice (I could come up with quite many, yay!)
- Zhenya Polosatova’s worksheet “How do you reflect on your teaching?”
- Your PD (professional development) goals for the months (mine is to manage my bad-attitude class)
Zhenya’s worksheet is something I’d like to tell more about. It actually blew my mind with the variety of different ways in which you can reflect on your teaching. My ultimate favourites are:
a. Invite a colleague to observe your class, then talk about ideas
(I love observations, you can even say that I’m an observation freak
b. Write 2-3 (nice!) things you noticed about your challenging student today
(I must admit I have some challenging students so it’d be a good way to make myself like them I guess)
c. Free-talking about your ‘burning’ question
(I’m always up for a chat! Anyone else?)
d. Ask students about their favourite topics/activities in your lessons
(It’s always nice to hear what they think)
And just think about these two: 1) write a post-it Thank You note to one of your students and 2) draw your challenging student! Isn’t it amazing?! The latter one is an art therapy and reflection combined!
Overall, I found this meeting extremely useful and enjoyable and am definitely attending the next one. Can’t wait for it!
And how do you reflect on your teaching? Don’t hesitate to stop and share your experience 🙂