logo  ELT Concourse teacher training for Delta
Concourse 2

Module Three: choosing your topic


What are the choices?

Before you set out on the Delta Module Three, you need to consider how you will choose the topic.
Here are the options according to Cambridge's Handbook for Module Three

  • Business English (BE)
  • Teaching young learners/young adults (specified age group required within a 5-year range e.g. 8–13, 14–19) (YL)
  • English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
  • English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
  • Teaching examination classes (EX)
  • Teaching one-to-one (1to1)
  • ESOL learners with literacy needs (ESOLLIT)
  • CLIL/Embedded ESOL (teaching English through subject/work‑based learning) (CLIL)
  • Teaching monolingual classes (MON)
  • Teaching multilingual classes (MUL)
  • Teaching in an English-speaking environment (ESE)
  • Teaching in a non-English-speaking environment (NESE)
  • Teaching learners online/through distance/blended learning (DL)
  • Teaching English to learners with special requirements, e.g. visual/hearing impairment, dyslexia, ASD (SR)
  • Language development for teachers (LDT)
  • Language support (e.g. on mainstream teaching programmes, specialist skills support, such as supporting writing needs) (LS).

These are large areas in themselves so within your choice, you will need to narrow the scope to something manageable.  For example, within Teaching Examination Classes, you should focus on a particular examination and designing a course to prepare people for it.  Within English for Specific Purposes, of course, the range of possible specialisms is very wide.

In addition, you may choose to focus on ELT management for Module Three.  For this, you will have to select from four areas:

  1. Academic management
  2. Human resource management (HRM)
  3. Customer service
  4. Marketing

Here, too, the advice is to narrow down the area to something like, e.g., Introducing a new course management system or Enhancing in-house development programmes etc.
If Academic management is your first choice, you may find some ideas in that section of this site.


How do I decide?

That's a very wide choice so, to narrow it down, look at the things you are going to need to do for Module Three and ask yourself whether you have enough background knowledge and experience already to know what you need to research and read.  Now is not a good time to be considering something wholly outside your teaching experience (unless you have a lot of time on your hands).

In outline, again from the handbook, you must do five things:

  1. research a chosen specialism
  2. understand and use appropriate methods of needs analysis/diagnostic assessment for a specific group of learners
  3. understand and apply key principles underpinning syllabus design and course planning
  4. consider learner assessment and course evaluation
  5. synthesise all your learning into a project which can be coherently presented to a third party


One at a time

research a chosen specialism

For this part of the Module, you will be assessed on your grasp of the topic area.  This includes:

Review of the relevant literature in the topic area
This means you have to have access to a range of resources, of course.  For certain topics, such as CLIL, there really isn't much available.  For others, such as Business English, there's a wealth of data.  Choose something practical to research.
Understanding of key issues in the topic area
Note the words 'key' and 'in the topic area'.  Points here have to be relevant and prioritised by importance.
Application of knowledge to practice and identification of key issues
If you have little or no experience of teaching in your topic area, you will find this very difficult to do.  You need to refer to classroom practice here.

understand and use appropriate methods of needs analysis/diagnostic assessment for a specific group of learners

For this part of the module you will be assessed on your understanding of testing and needs analysis and your ability to examine the results and justify priorities for the learner(s).  There is a key guide on this site to testing, evaluation and assessment but you will need to apply this to your chosen topic.

  1. You will need to understand how diagnostic testing works, how it can be made valid and reliable and what sorts of tests are appropriate to the learners.
  2. Then you will have to analyse the results of the test(s) and needs analysis and discuss the outcomes and implications.

understand and apply key principles underpinning syllabus design and course planning

Here, you have to show that you understand the key principles of syllabus and course design.  There's a guide to syllabus types on this site to get you started.
Then you will have to set out a justification for the learning aims that emerged from the testing and needs analysis.
Finally, you need to design the course.

consider learner assessment and course evaluation

Again you will need to draw on your knowledge of achievement testing (and making it reliable) and also on a range of other ways to evaluate how successful the course has been.

synthesise all their learning into a project which can be coherently presented to a third party

If you have followed the guide to writing Delta background essays you will be aware of the ways to make sure you maintain relevance and reference acceptably.
The genre of Module Three is fundamentally an information report but it's a long document so there will be embedded sections which follow the staging and structure of a discussion, setting out arguments on either side of an issue.
For a little more on this review the guide to genre in English for Academic Purposes.

Clearly, no site like this can cover all the specialisms so only general structuring advice can be given.  That's the topic of the next guide.  Click here to go to it.