There is no denying that the Trinity Dip TESOL requires a LOT of hard work and dedication but you can definitely make it easier on yourself by taking these 10 tips into consideration.
1. Don’t panic!
Yes it sounds easier said than done, but save your energies for being organised and not fretting and being overwhelmed by all the information you are required to learn.
Trinity expect you to support your ideas in the written exam (Unit 1) and phonology interview (Unit 3) with evidence from your reading, so make a note of any useful quotes as you go along because it will save you time later.
3. Keep to the point
In the written exam stick to what is asked of you. Get to the point and be concise. Firstly you won’t have time to do much else and more importantly Trinity are looking for critical awareness; a balance of theory and practice in your answers.
4. Time keeping
You only have 3 hours for the written exam so it is a good idea to do a few practice runs beforehand with past papers. You probably haven’t sat an exam or written by hand for 3 hours for a very long time and it is amazing how quickly time can pass when you are focused. I recommend sticking to 5 minutes planning, 50 minutes writing and 5 minutes to check over for each of the 3 questions. I actually read the entire paper through and made notes as I went, and then approached the questions. I found this worked well for me because by the time 2 hours had passed my brain was definitely tired, so my notes helped my greatly and provided me with the necessary impetus to finish the last question.
5. Connected speech
Make sure you are well informed about the key features of connected speech: intrusive consonants, assimilation, elision, schwa: both for the phonology interview and the phonetic transcription (Unit 3).
Practise transcribing short conversations including the features of connected speech above, and tonic syllables to prepare you for the phonetic transcription in Unit 3.
7. Keep it simple
For the teaching practice (Unit 4), you will have so much to think about with writing detailed lesson plans, delivering assessed lessons, and keeping up to date with your teaching journal, that thinking of ‘new ideas’ for your lessons will take up your last drop of brain power. So keep your ideas simple and fun, and maybe adapt a lesson that you have tried before that you know works well.
8. Keep up to date
You can demonstrate that you are familiar with current thinking in the field by reading recent journals. It will also be useful for the coursework portfolios in unit 2.
The intention of the coursework portfolios is for you to explore different areas of interest to you, so take the opportunity to do just this and you will reap the rewards ten-fold.
Yes, it sounds like common sense, but make sure you take time out to engage with other activities and people that have nothing to do with the Dip. It is an intense ride, rewarding but challenging, so you need to rest in between in order to give yourself time to absorb, digest and reflect.
Kat Robb completed the Trinity Dip. TESOL in 2014. She has used some of her new skills to set up her own blog, English and Tech. She started to engage with technology as a tool for learning just over a year ago when she became a distance learner for the DipTESOL. She went on to write a paper about the use of new technologies in the classroom and she is now studying an MA in TESOL & Educational Technology. With her blog she hopes to share and develop her knowledge and ideas about the use of technology in language learning.