Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)


Department: English Language Centre


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to Q3K307, Q3K807


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • at the end of this module, students will:
  • have acquired an up-to-date understanding of the principles currently considered relevant to (English) language teaching methodology
  • have developed a principled, theoretically supportable rationale to guide decisions about syllabus design, materials development and language teaching practice
  • be able to evaluate critically and, where appropriate, rethink existing practice and methodological stance


  • the content of this module is designed to raise awareness of major issues in language teaching and learning, including how practice is informed by theory, 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.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a developed understanding of the major issues of debate in language teaching methodology and the implications of these for language teachers and learners, leading to a developed understanding of the principles guiding current approaches to language teaching and an assessment of their relevance to the students' future professional practice and teaching context (specific)
Subject-specific Skills:
  • the ability to design appropriate syllabuses, select and develop relevant materials and take principled decisions about (English) language teaching practice
  • the ability to identify new trends as they emerge in the future and to evaluate their relevance to English language teaching
Key Skills:
  • ability to read, understand and evaluate primary texts in language teaching methodology
  • ability to contribute to debate in areas relevant to professional practice and the rationale on which it draws

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

  • the teaching modes may include pre-class study of recorded powerpoint-based tutor presentations, tutor-fronted sessions, student-led seminars, discussions, debates, workshops, mini-conferences and experiential activities designed to raise awareness of methodological issues in ELT
  • as well as engaging actively with the reading required for the classes, the students will be expected to formulate positions and argue over them in class. There will be advance reading and study for some classes and follow up reading for others, much of it drawn from research and professional journals
  • the assessment will be 'continuous' in the sense that the students will have tasks whose relevance will be increasingly clear as their learning progresses and which will therefore require ongoing revision as a calculated part of the writing task

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures/seminars/workshops 10 weekly 2 hours 20
Preparation and Reading 130
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Discussion Forum Commentary Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Discussion Forum Commentary 400 words 100%
Component: Essay Equivalent Component Weighting: 75%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay Equivalent 2,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Summary presentations of teaching 'styles' (Cook, 2008).

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