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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Durham Centre for Academic Development


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to Q3K807 Applied Linguistics for TESOL


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • at the end of the module, students will:
  • have full working knowledge of current mainstream linguistic theories
  • have full understanding of the influence of linguistic theory on language teaching/learning
  • be able to critically evaluate new proposals in linguistic theory in terms of their applicability to language teaching
  • be able to apply relevant methods of enquiry to investigate issues in language teaching within the framework of current linguistic theory


  • in this module we will consider how insights from theoretical and empirical work in second language acquisition, development and (applied) linguistics might inform classroom language teaching practice
  • the module begins with the traditional, cognitivist view of second language development 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 language pedagogy and classroom practice

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • full understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in language acquisition and language learning
  • understanding of current approaches to language teaching as they relate to different approaches to language analysis
  • knowledge of the differences between different approaches to language analysis
  • understanding of the theoretical foundation underlying the debate between applied linguistics and linguistics applied
Subject-specific Skills:
  • to be able to critically assess the historical relationship between theory and practice
  • to assess the merits of the most influential linguistic theories that currently exist, including, eg, structuralist, sociocultural and more functional cognitive approaches
  • mastery of skills in critical teaching, drawing on current theory where possible
Key Skills:
  • ability to read and understand primary texts
  • ability to connect theoretical issues to an applied context

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • the lectures will be interactively based, introducing students to a range of linguistic theories and concepts underpinning second language development.
  • these conversations will be closely connected to the challenges and opportunities that such perspectives suggest for language teaching/learning
  • this will furnish students with a good command of relevant theoretical background and enable them to apply this knowledge to actual or envisaged teaching practice
  • the seminars will provide a forum for open discussion and extension of student learning, structured around the weekly readings and lecture input
  • the tutorial will provide support for the course assessment so that the student adequately demonstrates an ability to research and organise complex material

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 weekly in term 1 2 hours 20
Seminars 5 fortnightly in term 1 1 hour 5
Tutorials 1 weekly (except when seminars) 1 hour 1
Preparation and Reading 124
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Reflective Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Reflective Essay 3,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University