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English Language Centre

MA TESOL

Students must complete 4 core modules, 4 optional modules and 15,000 word dissertation.

For academic year 2014/2015 a new core module has been developed for the MA TESOL programme. Fundamentals in ELT has been designed to introduce students to the core notions of language teaching which they need to succeed on more specialised term 2 optional modules.

Core Modules:

  • Fundamentals of ELT
  • Language for Teachers
  • Language Teaching Methods and Practice
  • Basic Research Methods (non credit bearing)

Optional Modules:

  • Advanced Research Methods
  • ELT Materials Development and Evaluation
  • English for Specific Purposes
  • Evaluation and Assessment
  • Discourse, Texts & TESOL
  • Language Teaching Methodology
  • Pragmatics and the Language Classroom
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Teaching Young Learners
  • World Englishes

Core Module Descriptions

Fundamentals of ELT

Language teaching can be viewed at three principal levels: classroom, curriculum and theory. This module takes a grounded look at the relationship between these three areas. Classes will be rooted in examination of materials and tasks of various kinds at the 'middle level' of curriculum, using these to explore the principles that can inform their implementation for teaching and learning, and the principles upon which they were conceived and designed. Students will therefore gain a practically oriented introduction to core notions and approaches in methodology, curriculum design ans theories of second language learning.

Language for Teachers

This course provides the foundation for the core areas in language description. The course will cover syntax, morphology and phonology (particularly with respect to English) within the context of language teaching. The topics covered include: articulatory phonetics, the International Phonetic Alphabet, phonemic analysis, distinctive feature theory; word classes, constituent structure, diagnostics tests for constituency, an introduction to syntactic rules; morphemes and allomorphs, morphological analysis, levels of morphology. The data are from English and other languages.

Language Teaching Methods and Practice

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to practical classroom techniques for English language teaching, for students who have little or no previous language teaching experience or training. This module primarily focuses on issues surrounding the practice of English language teaching, paying particular attention to the specific context in which lessons are planned and realised in terms of methodology. It serves as an interface between the more theoretical components of the MA programme, drawing on current methods and approaches in ELT with the aim of informing the student's future practice, showing their relevance to the classroom. The focus of this course is on practical language teaching, therefore, students will be introduced to a range of practical classroom management and teaching techniques appropriate to the language classroom. This will include general classroom management, lesson planning, methods, principles and approaches to teaching all four skills and language, teacher and learner roles and context, drawing on existing pedagogical literature and language teaching materials. During the course students are expected to fully participate in a variety of workshop-style ‘lectures’ (sessions) discussing and practising key elements of classroom practice, for example giving instructions, presenting vocabulary, staging a reading lesson and reflecting on mini lessons. Students will be encourage to reflect on issues discussed in the classroom can be adapted to best suit their own teaching context. 

Basic Research Methods

This core and non credit bearing course is included within the dissertation module and provides students with the tools and ability to undertake an empirical research dissertation, should they choose too.

Optional Module Descriptions

Adanced Research Methods

The aim of this module is to develop and extend the understanding, range and application of research methods covered in the first term of the dissertation module. This extension will include qualitative approaches such as ethnographic research, a focus on experimental research as well as presentation of key statistical methods in analysis of experimental and other data, enabling interpretation of the statistical reports most frequently identified in language teaching and learning research. This extended knowledge of research methods allows for critical evaluation of experimental and interpretive studies in applied language studies research. Participants will apply lecture theory through design and implementation of their own research study. The module will also explore issues in the evaluation of language teaching and learning programmes.

ELT Materials Development and Evaluation

This module is focused on developing a theoretical and practical approach to materials design, evaluation and development. It involves students developing a practical understanding of the principles and procedures of the design, implementation and evaluation of language teaching materials. Through familiarisation with current approaches and methods in coursebook and materials design students will work with and adapt a range of published teaching materials for a variety of specific contexts. It will pay particular attention to issues of cultural linguistics appropriacy, age and level of learners adn current teaching methodology.

English for Specific Purposes

This module explores language teaching and learning in particular environments. Issues in teaching English for Specific Purposes are explored both in terms of theoretical questions and appropriate methodology as well as more practical questions of needs analysis and syllabus design. Students will create a needs analysis tool from which they will then design a specialised programme in English for Specific Purposes.

Evaluation and Assessment

The module explore issues in assessment and evaluation in language teaching. Learners will examine the principles behind different forms of assessment and the effective design of assessments, encountering language assessment procedures, both formative and summative, in a range of contexts. The links between testing and assessment and the goals and objectives of language teaching will be considered.

Discourse, Texts and TESOL

This module considers the potential impact on second language learning, teaching and materials design of a text-level, socially-embedded viewof langauge. Drawing on insights and tools from (eg) genre theory and Systematic Functional Linguistics, the module will re-examine the traditional realms of language (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and skills development) in terms of how they shape and are shaped by the larger linguistic, social and cultural contexts in which they occur. The module then examines the implications of such a view for the language classroom.

Language Teaching Methodology

The content of this module is designed to raise awareness of major issues in language teaching and learning, including how practice is informed by thoery, thereby determining the methods/approaches as well as the materials teachers use and their impact in language classrooms. This will involve revisiting established methods/syllabus principles and re-analysing their appropriateness in view of new knowledge about language and the changing role of English in the world, as well as considering radical alternatives such as the postmethod hypothesis. It will also involve considering the extent to which both cognitively and affectively motivated contemporary mainstream approaches and instruction procedures are theoretically supportable and whether current pedagogy has found the right balance between learning language and learning to learn.

Pragmatics and the Language Classroom

Speech acts aside, there is surprisingly little literature on the implications of most pragmatic phenomena for L2 pedagogy. Accordingly, this module will consider a range of phenomena which are often overlooked despite their significant implications for L2 pedagogy and classroom practice, especially in the ELF context. These include indexicality (how language encodes context), the relationship between words and mental representation, presumptive meaning (the degree to which the implied meaning of an utterance is predictable from its form), implicature (the inferences that a hearer must make in order to understand a speaker), the metapragmatic dimension of language (how speakers direct hearers in the interpretation of utterances by means of intonation, discourse markers, etc), propositional attitude (the stance speakers take in relation to what they say), pragmatic accommodation (how speakers in intercultural encounters converge) and language evolution seen from a pragmatic perspective.

Second Language Acquisition: Perspectives for Teachers

In this module we will consider how insights from second language acquisition (SLA) theory and research might inform classroom language teaching practice. The module begins with the traditional, cognitivist view of SLA and then moves to more recent sociocultural and emergentist perspectives. Themes that weave throughout the term will include the influence and value (or not) of a student's first language, the place of grammar teaching, errors (and how we might deal with them) and student interaction. Towards the end of the module, we explore briefly an embodied view of language and the notion of conceptual fluency. We use these to revisit and rethink aspects of communicative language teaching.

Teaching Young Learners

This module focuses on key issues facing teachers in any context involving the teaching of English (as a foreign, not second, language) to young learners. Broadly speaking, these issues relate to syllabus-planning, materials selection, methodology and the wider psycho-social and technological environment of teaching young learners. A particularly important aspect of the course will be to familiarise participants with resources and methods available to them both in the UK and abroad.

World Englishes

This module provides an examination of the development of the English language and geographically-based linguistic variation (accents and dialects), and differentiation and classification of regional varieties of English speaking world. The module also provides an overview of the main theories that seek to explain the poltical, social and pedagogical impact of English as a Lingua Franca. These theories are applied to case studies of language planning and policy making in a range of inner and outer circle contexts which include – the place of African American Vernacular English in contemporary America; English as a medium of Instruction in: Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vanuatu and Malta; the Native versus non Native speaker debate.