Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)


Department: Language Centre


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap None.
Tied to


  • 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


  • This module bridges the gap between linguistic theory and classroom teaching. It begins with a survey of the range of theories that currently exist and then addresses issues in language learning/teaching that arise when applying theory to the classroom. For instance, attention will be given to the theoretical basis of Krashen’s Monitor Model when it was proposed and more currently. The generative perspective on language will be contrasted with a functional perspective in terms of its usefulness in the classroom. And empirical work supporting trends in language teaching, such as the lexical approach, will be explored.

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 that currently exist, including both generative linguistics 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 introduce students to a range of linguistic theories and the issue in language teaching/learning that arise from them such that students will have a good command of relevant theoretical background and be able to apply this knowledge to actual or envisaged teaching practice. The seminars will provide a forum for discussion, structured around weekly readings. The tutorials 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 19 weekly in terms 1 and 2 1 hour 19
Tutorials 2 twice in term 2 1 hour 2
Seminars 7 bi-weekly (except when tutorials) 1 hour 7
Preparation and Reading 122
Total 150

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

Discussion questions based on Seminar Readings Draft of the Final Essay.

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