The Delta, also referred to as DELTA, is a professional qualification in English language teaching consisting of three modules awarded by Cambridge English Language Assessment, formerly UCLES, a part of the University of Cambridge. The diploma is often seen as a follow-up to the certificate known as the CELTA, once the individual has done at least two years of teaching and has decided on a more long-term and serious commitment to the teaching of English. The diploma may include related non-teaching responsibilities (administration, training of teachers, and so on) if candidates decide to complete the diploma's Module Three English Language Teaching Management (ELTM) option.
The diploma is awarded upon passing three modules covering a range of skills and topics:
- Module 1 is a written examination on language and methodology
- Module 2 involves supervised teaching practice, observation of other teachers, and completion of a range of written assignments
- Module 3 involves in-depth research and an extended written assignment
Although candidates are required to have experience and to demonstrate aptitude before beginning the course, a substantial minority of candidates (about 30%) fail module 1. For each of modules 2 and 3, less than 2% of candidates' performances are actually graded as a "fail" but about one sixth of candidates are given a "referral" and cannot pass unless they successfully reattempt the evaluation.
The Delta is available in many different countries throughout the world. The course can be taken part-time over a year or more, or full-time over a period of two to three months. Distance learning is also available. These intensive courses provide input for Modules 1 and 2 but Module 3 cannot be taken within this timeframe. It is widely recognized around the world, as is the CELTA. The Delta is accredited in England by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority at Level 7 on the UK National Qualifications Framework as are master’s degrees in related subject areas. The Delta is also integrated into some MA programs.
In 2008, the Delta replaced the DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults), which was introduced in 1999. It, in turn, replaced the DTEFLA, the Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults, which was administered jointly by the RSA and UCLES. The earlier two qualifications were equivalent in level but the DELTA was more narrowly focused on teaching English as a foreign language; that is, the old qualification focussed on teaching English to those who need it for exams, study, work or travel, whereas the new qualification includes the needs of immigrants settling in anglophone countries.
Accreditation in the United Kingdom
The Delta is accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority as a Diploma in Teaching ESOL at NQF level 7 on the National Qualifications Framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Following government restructuring of Further Education (FE) the Delta alone will be insufficient to teach ESOL/EFL in FE from 2010. An extension module has been created to help teachers and lecturers currently in employment and who already hold the Delta to upgrade their qualification to the required Level 4 certificate of subject specialism. However, teachers and lecturers employed from September 2010 onwards will be required to have completed a specialised Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at NQF Level 7, as well as the Level 4 certificate, regardless of Delta certification. Unlike the Delta, the PGCE confers professional teacher status (QTS/QTLS). That said, to be eligible to apply for a Delta course, applicants must have at least two years' full-time (1,200 hours) experience of teaching English to adults in a variety of different contexts and at different levels, within the five years prior to enrolment and have an initial teaching qualification, such as the Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) or the Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CertTESOL), whereas a preliminary teaching qualification and previous teaching experience is not a formal requirement for entry on to a PGCE programme.
- LTCL DipTESOL - An equivalent qualification provided by Trinity College London
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) for a discussion of travel-teaching
- Cambridge English Language Assessment
- DELTA - Official DELTA site