Cambridge Delta: all that Module 2/3 feedback, all that reading…

In February this year, I revisited Leeds (was Metropolitan now) Beckett University (where I did my Delta and M.A. in the one crazy yet incredibly awesome year that was academic year 2012-2013) to deliver a workshop on Blogging to teach and to learn for the Multimedia and Independent Learning component of the M.A. in ELT. (This post is not about that but if you want to know more, you can read about it here.) This visit and workshop gave me the opportunity to meet this year’s cohort. During the practical element, when I was moving around the room helping students to set up their blogs, one of them asked me why I didn’t upload samples of my work e.g. LSA essays, lesson plans, module 3 sections and the like, as everyone is always desperate to see “a model” to make it clearer what they are aiming towards. The truth is, as I explained to that student, for better or worse, the Cambridge view is that this creates the potential for plagiarism issues to arise and so is best avoided.

In accordance with the Cambridge stance, Sandy Millin has offered a very useful alternative: on her ever-popular Delta page she shares a summary of the feedback she received for each essay and lesson plan of her 4 LSAs, together with the grades she got. I recommend having a look. Upon hearing my explanation of the Cambridge stance, the student I talked to at Leeds Beckett suggested that in that case it could still be very useful for Delta people if I shared my reference lists for each LSA and my Module 3 essay. I can’t see a problem with doing that as the same sources can be used to build up support for any number of arguments – and truth be told, it won’t narrow things down *that* much as I had access to a fabulous university library so was able to get my hands on a lot of resources!

Since that visit to Leeds Beckett, the conversation with that student has been in the back of my mind and finally I am going to do something about it – bit by bit!  I thought perhaps a good plan would be to use both the above alternatives combined into one: share my reference list and a summary of feedback I received for each of my assignments. This will hopefully complement Sandy’s post as I got a smattering of passes, merits and distinctions across 4 LSAs, coming out with a distinction overall. I was thinking of doing one post per LSA to make for four less cumbersome/lengthy posts rather than one ridiculously long one, and link to them from my M.A. ELT/Delta page, for ease of access. I might try to do one for the Module 2 PDA/Experimental Practice and Module 3 post as well, if it turns out to be useful. All in good time.

I hope this will be helpful to people, though I would still emphasise the importance of making full use of whatever drafting/feedback process you have in your institute (for example, I found it useful to go through the Delta 5a form and highlight all the suggestions made for the essay/plan/teaching components so that I could refer back to them as I worked on my next LSA., as well as using the in-text comments in my draft essays and lesson plans, and asking a million questions during tutorials) – this is where the real learning takes place and everybody’s trajectory is different.

The benefit for me, meanwhile, the way I see it, is that in doing these posts a few years down the line (time flies!!!), I get to re-visit all that learning (yay!), which is never a bad thing. (What a deeply influential learning journey it was, especially in combination with the M.A…) – Of course, I *am* working full-time so it won’t all happen at once… Watch this space!

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