DELTA Module 2 – Lexis

Delta module 2 was both my favourite and least favourite module to take. On the one hand, I loved being observed and receiving feedback on my lessons. On the other hand, it was the longest module and the weekend after weekend of reading and writing took its toll on me.

Out of the five lessons I taught during module 2 (1 diagnostic lesson plus 4 LSAs), I think the best was LSA4, which is externally assessed. I chose to work with lexis, as it is the topic I feel most comfortable with. We don’t receive specific marks for LSA4, but overall I got a Merit for Module 2. Below you can find the lesson I taught and the rationale behind it.

I knew I wanted to work with phrasal verbs with a group of adolescent students (all of them around B2+). The tricky part, however, was deciding how many phrasal verbs to use and which ones to use. It’s important to strike a balance between phrasal verbs that challenging for students of this level but that are also useful and frequent. You don’t want to pick a phrasal verb (or whatever other lexis you are working with) that is difficult for the sake of being difficult, as these kinds of words may not prove useful for students.

In the end I opted to work with 10 phrasal verbs. As I handpicked the ones I wanted to use, I would need to come up with a way to present them to students without using a coursebook. I decided to use a technique I picked up from Seth Lindstromberg back when I took a course at Hilderstone College. You create a text using all of the target language you want to work with. Where the target language should be, however, you leave only the first letter of each word. The text, which will be given to students, should look like this:


I thought my students, most of whom were about finish high school and go to university, would be interested in the story of how I decided what to study at university (History) and how I became an English teacher. To carry this out, you can either have the text on the board (using a projector or an interactive whiteboard), or give a copy to each student.

You are going to read the text in full and students should pay attention to the words that have been abbreviated. They can’t take notes while you are telling the story, though. The theory is that the few seconds they will hold each phrasal verb in their minds trying to keep it in their memories will make it more likely for the phrasal verbs to be remembered later. This is the full version of the text:


So, I tell the story once and ask students to try to remember the words that are missing in pairs. Then I read it again and elicit answers from students. I then asked my students to tell their partners if their experience deciding what to study at university was at all similar to mine.

What follows is work with meaning, form and pronunciation, as well as practice of the target items. If you have read my other posts, you will have noticed that personalized questions are the bread and butter of my lessons. I used them here as well:

There is another activity that I’d like to highlight, however, which I consider a Cambridge favourite. Put students in pairs and give each student a card with some of the expressions they have been working with. Set a time limit (around 3′ to 5′ depending on the level) and tell students they should try to use as many as their expressions as possible in a conversation with their partners. In addition, they should write down any of the pieces of language from the lesson their partners use. To start them off, you can give students a simple question like ‘What are your plans for the weekend?’

Not only does this activity allow students to use the target language freely, but also gives them a reason to pay attention to what their partners are saying. It’s a win-win. These are the cards as I used them:


Finally, if you are interested in sitting for the Delta, I’d highly encourage you to buy a copy of Damian Williams’ book (How to Pass Delta) and visit Sandy Millin’s blog.

Thanks for reading.


13 thoughts on “DELTA Module 2 – Lexis

    • That is quite something, Mura. They even have video evidence of some of the phrasal verbs. Thanks for sharing.
      I also liked your post on the skylight sub-query searches. Using coprpora is something I want to make a bigger part of my day-to-day teaching.


  1. Hi Ricardo,
    Thanks a lot for the link to my blog. I did phrasal verbs for my LSA 4 too, although mine were in the context of travelling (set off, pick up, take off etc). 🙂


  2. Pingback: Useful links for Delta | Sandy Millin

  3. Pingback: DELTA Module 2 – Listening | ricardo barros elt

  4. Hi Ricardo,

    I wonder how early on did you start reading for your DELTA module 2? I am planning to do an intensive course somewhere around March…would be helpful to know if I am on time to start my preparation or is it too late?


    • Hi Munira,

      I finished module 1 in December and started module 2 in February of the following year, so I don’t think you are too late. Having read and studied for module 1 definitely helped me, though. Have you done that already?

      What I think you can do in advance of the intensive course is start thinking about the skills and systems you are more likely to work with and look into the bibliography for those. You can also start reading on the area you are going to work with for your experimental lesson (I chose to work with dogme/teaching unplugged).

      I hope this helps.



  5. Hi Ricardo, I’m in the middle of my DELTA Module 2 (3 weeks before the external LSA to be precise) and your blog gives me HOPE 😀 I’m actually doing my LSA4 on Lexis.
    I was wondering – this activity that you mention in this post with students holding cards and using as many lexical items as possible from there – did you use it as controlled practice or less controlled? Could you please give me some tips here? Any other details that I might find useful before even beginning to write my essay? Perhaps you could share some better positions from your bibliography? That would be awesome. If not here, perhaps directly to my e-mail address or on FB? Thank you! Take care!


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