Delta Module 3 – Extending Practice and ELT Specialism.

So, Module 1 is language and methodology, and Module 2 is professional practice and being assessed on your teaching – what is Module 3? In a nutshell, Module 3 is designing a course for a particular group of learners (sounds fairly straightforward, right?). The aim of this blog post is to give you guys an overview of the major components of Module 3, tell you about my experience, and, hopefully, give you some useful advice. If you have stumbled across this and have no idea what Delta is, check out my introductory Delta post. If you are interested in reading about the other modules, check out my posts on Module 1 and Module 2.

An overview

So let’s cover the basics of what Module 3 is. To quote from the Cambridge Delta Syllabus:

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

In other words, you need to chose a specialism (we will get to these momentarily), conduct investigatory research into said specialism, choose a particular group of learners that match the specialism and design a course, including testing and assessment. And all of this is shown in the format of a 4,500-word dissertation.

The specialisms

Below is a list of the possible specialisms that you can choose from:

  • Business English
  • Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) / Embedded ESOL
  • English for Academic Purposes
  • English for Specific Purposes
  • ESOL learners with literacy needs
  • Language development for teachers
  • Language support (e.g. on mainstream teaching programmes, specialist skills support)
  • Teaching English to learners with special requirements, e.g. visual/hearing impairment, dyslexia, autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)
  • Teaching examination classes
  • Teaching in a non-English-speaking environment
  • Teaching in an English-speaking environment
  • Teaching learners online, or through distance/blended learning
  • Teaching monolingual classes
  • Teaching multilingual classes
  • Teaching one-to-one
  • Teaching young learners or young adults (specified age group required, within a 5-year range e.g. 8–13, 14–19).

There is also the option to choose the ELT Management specialism which is aimed at DoSs or teachers looking at moving into management within ELT.

Now, when it comes to choosing a specialism, you need to choose something that you are actually able to work with; for example, if you only work with young learners, it might not be best to choose the Business English specialism. Also, it might be wise to choose a specialism in ELT that you have at least some experience in – there is such a large amount of information that you have to deal with, learn, synthesize etc., and I don’t think it would be wise to have to be learning about a new area of teaching as well. That being said, this is only my opinion and I’m sure there are some candidates who have chosen a specialism with which they had very little experience.

Starting points?

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

So, some people say that the first step to Module 3 is choosing a specialism. I, personally, think that this might not suit every candidate and so I have tried to think of some different starting points.

  1. Specialism – This, as alluded to previously, is the starting point for most people. It gives them a clear view of which learners to choose whilst also providing them with a good understanding of what to start reading first.
  2. Learners – It might sound odd, but instead of immediately going to the specialism, it might be worthwhile to have a look at all of the learners at your ‘disposal’. At any given time, most teachers are working with a myriad of different learner types, levels and ages. Is there a specific learner you would like to work with? Maybe one of them is online? Or maybe you have some young learners that you have worked with for some time?
  3. Experience – Module 3 is fairly research heavy and, for the most part, the onus is on you to ensure that everything is on its way, done correctly, and so on. So, working with a type of learner that you have a lot of experience with will reduce some of that pressure. Maybe you have done a YL extension course and already have a lot of background information – this is most definitely going to alleviate some of the hard work that comes with Module 3.
  4. Interest – The last starting point is the interest of the candidate. What specialism interests you the most? Do you have some experience with teaching adults, really enjoy it but want to strengthen your theoretical understanding? As I said before, I wouldn’t recommend choosing something you have no experience with, but don’t let me tell you what to do!

Remember that at any stage throughout Module 3 you are able to change the title of your specialism – obviously, it would be foolish to choose something completely different in the final months, but you could do it, hypothetically. I guess the point that I am trying to make here is that you don’t need to feel trapped by the specialism.

Hit the books

As you can imagine, there is a large amount of research completed in Module 3. In fact, I would say that Module 3 is the most research-heavy module of them all. And, again, there are different starting points for research. I won’t tell you where to start, however I will give you some areas which you will need to research.

  1. Specialism – you will need to be very, very informed with regard to the specialism you choose. This information will be used in every aspect of your decision-making process throughout the module.
  2. Course and syllabus design – This area is crazy big but luckily there are lots of good books and articles available to help you through Module 3.
  3. Testing and assessment – This area is an absolute necessity – it is also the area that is going to cause you the most headaches.
  4. Materials development – You will need to ensure that your materials are valid and reflect the aims of your course. To that end, doing a bit of research into how to ‘piece the puzzle together with materials’ is extremely worthwhile.

I could keep breaking each of these areas into sub-areas, but we would be here all day. So, I will leave you with these and hope that they give you some inspiration with regard to research starting points.

Write. Edit. Submit draft. Rewrite. Edit. Submit draft.

“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway.

So you’ve done some research, know your learners, and have an idea of where to start your course design. Now, you need to start writing all of this down whilst adhering to the why-on-earth-is-it-so-small, Cambridge-I-hate-you word limit. The first thing to do is START. You are going to edit an uncountable number of times, so just write what comes to you (whilst also thinking about the research you have done). I haven’t mentioned tutors yet, however with regard to what you are writing, your tutor can help you a lot. USE THE TUTOR. LISTEN TO YOUR TUTOR. Take on board what they say and then rewrite the parts that need rewriting. Nothing is perfect the first time.


Generally, Module 3 assignments go a little something like this:

  1. Topic area (chosen specialism) (1000 – 1100 words)
  2. Needs analysis and commentary (900 – 1000 words)
  3. Course proposal (1000 – 1100 words)
  4. Assessment and course evaluation (900 – 1000 words)
  5. Conclusion (350 – 400 words)
  6. Appendices

These areas are obviously broken down into further sub-sections filled with data and relevant research, but hopefully you can use this as the ‘blueprint’ for a Module 3 assignment.

A note on the appendices. The appendices are the saving grace of the word limit. You are assessed on what you write in the 4,500 words you present in the assignment, however all of your data from your needs analysis, your materials, lesson plan, etc. are all presented in the appendices. You will make note of where these are and reference these within your 4,500 words. My appendices included 170 pages worth of data and materials, so in the end, your 4,500-word assignment really does turn into a dissertation of sorts.

To tutor or to not tutor? That is the question.

Do you get a tutor or do you not get a tutor? I would highly recommend getting one, and there are a number of reasons for this:

  1. The tutors are experienced – One does not get into the world of Delta tutoring without having a hell of a lot of experience.
  2. You need someone to check your work – Even if you are extremely experienced with writing Module 3 assignments, you need someone to check your work. To make sure that the ideas you are putting on paper match the requirements and the relevant research. The tutors are very knowledgeable with regard to the specialism and will be able to guide you.
  3. Money and time – The Module 3 submission fee is not too expensive (about £100 from memory), however the time you invest into the Module (which is enormous) is worth a phenomenal amount. Why risk submitting a sub-standard assignment?

My experience

So I thought I would write some questions that I think some of you might have regarding Module 3. I have then tried to answer these as briefly as possible whilst trying to give as much insight as needed!

When did you do Module 3? I did Module 3 straight after Module 1 – course timings and the fact that I was moving to Spain heavily influenced my decision to do so. This was at the end of December 2016, and I finished in June 2017.

What final grade did you receive? I received a Pass with Distinction.

Did you have a tutor? As I had benefitted greatly from having a tutor for Module 1, I decided to get a tutor for Module 3. I went with International House Rome, and was assigned Luca, who turned out to be a phenomenal tutor – highly recommended!

What was your specialism? The title of my assignment was Teaching Monolingual Learners in Italy. So, you can see that you choose your specialism, but then you also make that specialism relevant to your teaching context.

What were your ‘starting points’? Initially, I wanted to do the Language Development for teachers specialism because I wanted to move into teacher training but then realised that I didn’t have any teachers that I could use as part of the assignment. Furthermore, I had relatively little experience in teacher training. So, I looked at what I did have and went from there. With regard to reading, I began with my specialism and then went back and forth between the other areas.

What did you find most difficult about Module 3? The needs analysis. This is such an important process, yet it is very difficult to realise effectively. It took me many days of research, trial and error, editing, etc. to get the right needs analysis for the level of learners. Then, I had to analyse the data and make that data understandable to someone who had no connection to my learners whatsoever. A lot of time was spent on this.

Is there anything you would change about the way you went about Module 3? What about anything in your assignment? Yes. I would revise how I wrote some of my lessons, as I went into a little bit too much detail in some parts and not enough in others. I would also change the formatting of my assignment. After having completed Delta, I have now become a guru with Word, and I would use this knowledge that I have of Word to make my assignment look more professional and read more easily.

Do you have any tips? Lots!

  1. Choose a specialism that is viable.
  2. Get ready to do lots and lots of research. This means clearing your schedule for six months, preparing family and friends for your ‘absence’, etc.
  3. Get your hands on second-hand books (Alibris is good) or a membership to an online library (Scribd).
  4. Reference as you write. My references took up almost four pages, so make sure that you write them down as you write.
  5. Get your hands on old assignments for inspiration. Starting off is the hardest thing, so find inspiration with regard to formatting and topics from past assignments. DO NOT PLAGIARISE though.
  6. Read the numerous blogs about Delta as they have a wealth of information. My recommendations are:
    • Sandy Millin’s blog – Massive amounts of info related to all Delta modules. Also includes reflections from other candidates.
    • Lizzie Pinard’s blog – Lizzie goes into detail about each of the parts of the Module and gives some really sound advice. I relied on her advice a lot whilst completing Module 3.
    • ELT Concourse – This place is the one-stop for all your Delta needs. Massive amounts of detail. Clear. And up-to-date.
  7. Get writing as soon as you can so that you can make the most of the feedback you get from your drafts.
  8. You are left to your own devices a lot during Module 3, so make sure you check in with your tutor often.
  9. Ensure that you have a little bit of time each week that is Delta-free. You do need to relax a little.

What books do you recommend that I read? There are literally hundreds of books that you could read for Module 3, however I will provide you with my reference list and point out a few major players. Please bear in mind that my reading list will mainly benefit those of you who chose the Teaching Monolingual Learners specialism.

So here is my complete reference list:

Abrar-ul-Hassan, S (2009). Learner motivation in Language teaching. Essential Teacher, volume 6, issue 1.

Alfonzetti, G. (2005). Intergenerational variation in code-switching. Some remarks. Italian journal of linguistics, 17(1), 93.

Atkinson, D (1993) Teaching Monolingual Classes. Longman.

Auerbach, E (1993). Re-examining English Only in the ESL Classroom. TESOL QUARTERLY Vol. 27, No. 1, 9-32.

Bachman, L & Palmer, A (1996). Language Testing in Practice: Designing and developing useful language tests. Oxford University Press: Oxford

Bhootha, A & Azmanb H & Ismailc K (2014). The role of the L1 as a scaffolding tool in the EFL reading classroom. SoLLs.INTEC.13: International Conference on Knowledge-Innovation-Excellence: Synergy in Language Research and Practice, 76-84.

Berruto, G (1989) Main topics and findings in Italian sociolinguistics. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 76, 7–30

Boston, J (2009). Pre-task syntactic priming and focused task design. ELT Journal Volume 64/2, 165 – 183. Oxford University Press.

Brown, H. D. (2004). Language assessment: principles and classroom practices. New York: Pearson/Longman.

Brown, J. D. (1996). Testing in Language Programs. Prentice Hall Regents: New Jersey

Cheng, H & Dörnyei, Z (2007). The Use of Motivational Strategies in Language Instruction: The Case of EFL Teaching in Taiwan. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching Vol. 1, No. 1, 153-174.

Cook, V (2001). Using the First Language in the Classroom. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 57, 3, 402-423

Coelho, E. (2012). Language and Learning in Multilingual Classrooms. A Practical Approach. Toronto: Multilingual Matters.

Cummins, J (2007) Rethinking monolingual instructional strategies in multilingual classrooms. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Volume 10, No.2, 221-240.

Dal Negro, S & Vietti, A (2011). Italian and Italo-romance dialects. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 210, 71-92

Dörnyei, Z (1998). Motivation in second and foreign language learning. Language Teaching, 31, 117-135

Dörnyei, Z & Ottó, I (1998). Motivation in action: A process model of L2 motivation. Working Papers in Applied Linguistics, Vol. 4, 43-69

Dörnyei, Z & Muir, C (2013). Directed Motivational Currents: Using vision to create effective motivational pathways. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching 3, 357 375.

Dörnyei, Z (2016). Motivating learners and teachers through vision. Better Learning Conference 2016, 3 – 5 August, Homerton College, Cambridge, UK

Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation (2017). Multiple Intelligences Self-Assessment Test. Accessed January 15, 2017.

Edwards, J (2004a). “Foundations of bilingualism”.

Fink, L. Dee (2003). A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Gardner, H (1993). Frames of Mind. The theory of Multiple Intelligences. Basic Books: New York.

Gardner, R (1985). Social psychology and second language learning: the role of attitudes and motivation. London: Edward Arnold.

Gardner, R & Lambert, W (1972). Attitudes and Motivation in Second Language Learning. Rowley, Mass: Newbury House Publishers.

Harbord, J. 1992. The use of the mother tongue in the classroom. ELT Journal, 46/4, 350-355.

Harmer, J (2001). The practice of English Language teaching. Pearson Education Limited: Longman.

Heitler, D (2005). Teaching with Authentic Materials.  Pearson Education Limited. (Accessed 30 APR 17 from

Hutchinson, T & Waters, A (1987). English for Specific Purposes. Cambridge: CUP.

Kinoshita, C (2003). Integrating Language Learning Strategy Instruction into ESL/EFL Lessons. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IX, No. 4. (Accessed 30 APR 17)

Knutson, S (2003). Experiential learning in Second-Language classrooms. TESL CANADA JOURNAUREVUE TESL DU CANADA VOL. 20, NO.2, SPRING 2003, 52-64.

Krashen, S. D. (1982). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.

Lee, W & Ng S (2009). Reducing student reticence through teacher interaction strategy. ELT Journal Volume 64/3, 302 – 313. Oxford University Press.

Littlewood, W (1984). Foreign and Second Language Learning: Language Acquisition Research and Its Implications for the Classroom. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge Language Teaching Library.

Littlewood, W (1981). Communicative Language Teaching – An Introduction. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Malakoff, M. & Hakuta, K. (1991). Translation skills and metalinguistic awareness in bilinguals. In Bialystok, E. (ed.), Language Processing in Bilingual Children, 141–166. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

McKay, S (1992). Teaching English Overseas: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Murray, N (2009). Pragmatics, awareness raising and the Cooperative Principle. ELT Journal Volume 64/3, 293 – 301. Oxford University Press.

Nunan, D (1988). Syllabus Design. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Prodromou, L (1992). Mixed Ability Classes. London: MEP Macmillan.

Pulcini, V (2014). A NEW PHASE FOR ENGLISH TEACHER EDUCATION IN ITALY. Testing and training for Tirocinio Formativo Attivo (TFA). RiCOGNIZIONI. Rivista di lingue, letterature e culture moderne, 1 • 2014 (1), pp. 95-106

Richards, J.C (1990). The Language Teaching Matrix. Cambridge: CUP.

Richards, J.C (2010). Curriculum Approaches in Language Teaching: Forward, Central, and Backward Design. RELC Journal 44(1) 5–33

Richards, J.C & Platt, J & Platt, H (1993). Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics second edition. Longman.

Richardson, S (2016). The Native Factor – The haves and have-nots. Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition, 14 April 2016, Birmingham, UK.

Shearer, B (1996). The MIDAS: A Professional Manual. Kent, OH: MI research and consulting.

Stern, H. H., Allen, P., & Harley, B. (1992). Issues and options in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Schumann, J (1986). Research on the acculturation model for second language acquisition. Journal of multilingual and multicultural development Volume 7, No. 5, 371–392.

Tudor, I (2001). The Dynamics of the Language Classroom. Cambridge: CUP.

Tze-Ming Chou, P (2010). Advantages and Disadvantages of ESL Course Books. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. XVI, No. 11. (Accessed 30 APR 17)

Underhill, N (1987). Testing Spoken Language. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge

Ur, P (2012). English as an international language: implications for classroom teaching and teaching materials. March 5-6, Université Bar-Ilan, Israel.

Willing, K (1988). Learning styles in Adult Migrant Education. Adelaide: National Curriculum Resource Centre.

Now the major players:

Graves, K. (2000) Designing Language Courses: a Guide for Teachers
Richards, J.C. (1990) The Language Teaching Matrix
Richards, J.C. (2001) Curriculum Development in Language Teaching
Brown, H. D. (2004). Language assessment: principles and classroom practices.
Harmer, J (2001). The practice of English Language teaching.
Dörnyei, Z (1998). Motivation in second and foreign language learning.
Nunan, D (1988). Syllabus Design

Each of the books in this section helped me extensively throughout Module 3. These books will help any of you taking Module 3, however for those of you taking Teaching Monolingual Learners, I would recommend Atkinson, D (1993) Teaching Monolingual Classes.

You can also find a lot of really, really useful information in the Cambridge Delta Handbook.

A final note

Module 3, like the other modules, is about developing you as a teacher and course planner. There are going to be ups and downs and I can 100% tell you now that you will not get everything correct the first time, so don’t expect to. Enjoy the Module for what it is, ask for help when you need and reflect on the process afterwards!

If any of you would like to see my Module 3 assignment, you are more than welcome to get in contact with me via the contact page, and I will share it with you. As always, though, please do not plagiarise my work as Cambridge will be on you like Liam Nesson and the bad guys in Taken.

taken plagiarism meme

I hope this gives you an insight into Module 3 and some useful tips. To all of you have already done Module 3, if I have left anything out, please tell me!

Thanks for reading!



  1. Mohamed says:

    Thank you man

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problems, Mohamed!


  2. MrMike ELT says:

    I’m about to or at least contemplating on starting module 3 on ELT Management. Your blog article has really helped shape a positive vote for me doing so!!! Will send you a request for your work if I think it’s needed later… Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mike! Thank you for your feedback! And best of luck with M3 if you take it on. My DoS is completing the ELT management specialism at the moment – very different in some aspects,but also quite similar in others. I would love to know how you find it!


      1. MrMike ELT says:

        Sure, I’ll let you know how it all unfolds!!!


  3. Didem says:

    Hi Jim 🙂 Thanks for your useful suggestions. This is the very last module to complete and I am struggling with myself and my procrastination. 2 and 1 were perfect but this one is quite demanding. I will be submitting in June probably but latest December 2019. I am working with ITI and unlike Rome we have various tutors and randomly they give feedback to online submissions. I am doing online but If I lived in Istanbul maybe we had a specific tutor I don’t know.
    Anyway, hope I can find my motivation and pace again.
    Thanks for those tips once again.


    1. Hi Didem! Thank you for your feedback – glad to know that the post has some information that you found useful. The tutors at ITI are exceptional and I have no doubt that they will get your through the (sometimes painful) process of Module 3. Whilst I’m not sure of what specialism you have undertaken, if you ever want someone to speak with about your ideas, feel free to email me 🙂
      Best of luck with writing and remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel!


  4. Iona says:

    Hi Jim, thanks for providing your blog, I really enjoyed reading it and you provide some very useful advice! I am currently undertaking module 3 but finding it a real struggle. I’ve been looking for someone who can provide some support with it. Do you have any suggestions?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Iona!

      Sorry for the delayed reply – I’ve been away on holidays and ha to disconnect for a while!

      Are you taking Mod 3 through a recognised centre? Many of the centres provide you with a personal tutor that can guide you through the Mod 3 roller coaster (I found them extremely helpful).


  5. Amira Taha says:

    I want to start Module 3 without having Module 1 nor 2 ,do u think I can manage this ,it will be about teaching online and blended learning


    1. Hi Amira,

      Thank you for your question. I would definitely recommend doing Module 1 first as this really encourages you to focus on all the things you will need for both Modules 2 and 3 (just my opinion). I think Module 3 will be hard to do without this knowledge. That being said, perhaps you are a very proficient teacher and have a wide understanding of methodology, etc. In this case, perhaps it is doable.

      If you do decide to give it a go, let me know how it goes! I would love to hear about your progress. All the best!


      1. Iona Burnell says:

        Hi, can you remove me from your mailing list please.


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