Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: English Language Centre


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2010/11 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. The Generative perspective on language will be contrasted with Emergentist and Cognitive-Linguistic views in terms of their applicability to the language classroom. The latter then forms the basis for much of the focus on classroom applications of insights from linguistics

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 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

  • Lectures will introduce students to a range of linguistic theories and the issues 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
  • Seminars will provide a forum for discussion, structured around weekly readings
  • 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 8 bi-weekly in terms 1 and 2 1.5 hours 12
Tutorials 3 once in term 1, twice in term 2 .75 hours 2.25
Seminars 9 bi-weekly (except when tutorials) 1.5 hours 13.5
Preparation and Reading 122.25
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Concept Map plus Commentary Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Concept Map + Commentary 1,000 words 100%
Component: Blog plus Meta-discussion Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Blog + Mata-discussion 2,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Concept Map plus 500 word summary at end of Term 1

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