Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module LANG42715: Fundamentals of ELT

Department: English Language Centre

LANG42715: Fundamentals of ELT

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Module Cap
Tied to Q3K207


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • at the end of this module students will:
  • be able to critically evaluate the merits of various language syllabus types
  • be able to analyse and critically evaluate published ELT materials in terms of their likely theoretical underpinnings
  • have a full understanding of how personal theories of language and teaching translate materials into classroom practice
  • have a working understanding of the influence of linguistic theory on language curriculum design and implementation
  • be able to apply relevant methods of enquiry to investigate issues in ELT syllabus design and methodology within the framework of current linguistic theories
  • have a full understanding of the influence of context on the use (and usefulness) of given theoretical, curriculum and methodological options/practices


  • language teaching can be viewed at three principal levels: classroom, curriculum and theory. This module takes a grounded look at the relationship between these three areas
  • fundamentals of ELT classes will be rooted in the examination of materials and tasks of various kinds at the 'middle level' of curriculum, using these to explore the principles that can inform their implementation for teaching and learning, and the principles upon which they were conceived and designed
  • students will therefore gain a practically oriented introduction to core notions and approaches to methodology, curriculum design and theories of second language learning.
  • this awareness is intended to provide students with the background they need to succeed on more specialised term 2 optional modules

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in curriculum design, methodology and second language acquisition
  • understanding of current approaches to language learning as they relate to different approaches to language analysis
  • knowledge of the differences between different approaches to language analysis
Subject-specific Skills:
  • ability to analyse and critique an existing language teaching syllabus
  • ability to assess the merits of the most influential linguistic theories informing ELT syllabus design and materials implementation
  • ability to critically assess the relationship between ELT theory and practice
Key Skills:
  • ability to read and understand primary text in curriculum theory, methodology and second language acquisition
  • ability to respond appropriately to a given pedagogical context
  • 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 lecture-based elements of this module will introduce students to principles underlying language curriculum design and, through these, to a range of linguistic theories and arising issues in language teaching and learning
  • workshop-oriented elements will provide students with hands-on opportunities to analyse materials and language learning tasks, in order to see theoretical concepts in action. In this way students will develop a good command of relevant theoretical background and be able to apply this knowledge to actual or envisaged teaching practice - particularly with regard to critical selection and implementation of pedagogical materials
  • all sessions will provide an open forum for discussion based around weekly readings, as well as from the analysis tasks and emerging conversations
  • the tutorials will provide support for the course assessment such that students demonstrate adequate ability to research and organise complex material

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 weekly during term 1 2 hours 20
Tutorials 2 twice 1 hour 2
Preparation and Reading 128

Summative Assessment

Component: Analysis and Critique Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Analysis and critique of a course overview and sample lessons 2,500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

There will be some class time dedicated to the writing of this assignment. Students will receive advice on how to approach both the analysis and the wider reading aspects of the task.

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