Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)


Department: English Language Centre


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.
Tied to Q3K207
Tied to Q3K307


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Ability to apply knowledge of discourse phenomena to language teaching.
  • Ability to synthesise concepts in discourse with issues of language acquisition.
  • Ability to apply relevant methods of enquiry to investigate issues in language teaching within the broad framework of discourse analysis.


  • This module considers the potential impact on second language learning, teaching and materials design of a text-level, socially-embedded view of language. Drawing on insights and tools from (eg) genre theory and Systemic Functional Linguistics, the module will re-examine the traditional realms of language teaching (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.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of key theoretical tenets from a range of approaches relating to a discourse-based view of language.
  • Understanding of how discourse-based views of language relate to language acquisition.
  • Understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in the application of discourse analysis to language teaching.
  • Understanding of how a discourse-based view is/can be implemented within current approaches to language teaching and activity design.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to apply core concepts in Discourse Analysis to the examination and interpretation of authentic texts.
  • To be able to critically assess the relevance of theoretical notions in Discourse Analysis to language learning and teaching practices.
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 and analytical notions relating to the examination and interpretation of texts in their co-textual and greater social contextual environments, such that students will have a good command of relevant theoretical background and be able to apply this knowledge to actual or envisaged discourse-based materials selection, activity design and teaching practice.
  • Seminars will provide a forum for discussion, structured around regular readings, in addition to providing a platform for the presentation of student-anlaysed texts/teaching materials.
  • 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 9 weekly during term 2 2 hours 18
Seminars 8 bi-weekly during term 2 except when tutorials 1 hour 8
Tutorials 2 twice during term 2 1 hour 2
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. Presentation/discussion of student-analysed texts.

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