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Applied Linguistics - TESOL MA

Other Courses:

The following courses also include this module in their teaching programme:-

Module EL0717 - TESOL Syllabus and Materials Design

(30.00 Credits)


Quintessential to any ELT professional’s practice is the ability to critique, select, adapt, create, evaluate and refine learning materials within specific courses. This module aims to introduce students to the theoretical perspectives and practical considerations relating to the above particularly with regard to authenticity and socio cultural aspects of language learning.
In doing so, it enables students to consolidate their understanding of how learning theories translate into pedagogic approaches through exploration and design of materials using a discourse analytical approach.

Teaching takes place in the form of lectures and seminars. Classes are task based, revolving around activities and discussion relating to the learning outcomes. The course will begin by reviewing the notion of Communicative Competence, and language learning theories and approaches, e.g task based learning. Students will critique a range of materials (published and online); considerations such as semiotic features, cultural suitability of topics presented and theories reflected will be discussed. Learning affordances offered by the materials will then be examined, e.g. opportunities offered for feedback.

Assessment constitutes one 6000 word written assignment in which students will need to clearly demonstrate the ability to relate relevant aspects of theory to practical choices in materials and syllabus design.


Core texts

Cook, G. (2003) Applied Linguistics. Oxford: OUP.

McDonough, J & C. Shaw. (2003) Materials and Methods in ELT: A Teacher's Guide (2nd Edition). Oxford: Blackwell.

Nunan, D. (1988) The Learner-Centred Curriculum: A Study in Second Language Teaching. Cambridge: CUP.

Kramsch, C. (1998) Language and Culture. Oxford: OUP.

Tomlinson, B. (ed) (1998) Materials Development in Language Teaching. London: Continuum.

Key texts
Block, D. (2003) The Social Turn in Second Language Acquisition. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Graves, K., Heine & Heinle (1999) Designing Language Courses.

Harmer, J. (2001) The Practice of English Language Teaching. Longman.

Harwood, N. (ed) (2010) ELT Materials: Theory and Practice. Cambridge: CUP.

Hutchinson and Waters (1987) English for Specific Purposes. Cambridge: CUP.

Kramsch, C. (1993) Context and Culture in Language Teaching. Oxford: OUP.

Nunan, D. (1989) Designing tasks for the Communicative Classroom. Cambridge: CUP.

Richards, J.C. (2001) Curriculum Development in Language Teaching. Cambridge: CUP.

Tomlinson, B & H. Masuhara (2010) Research for Materials Development in Language Learning: Evidence for Best Practice. London: Continuum.

Tomlinson, B. (2008) (ed) English Language Learning Materials: A critical review. London: Continuum.

Tomlinson, B. (ed) (2003) Developing Materials for Language Teaching. London: Continuum.

White, R.V. (1990) The ELT Curriculum. Oxford: Blackwell.


• Communicative Competence and approaches to language learning
• Syllabus, Methods, Activities & Techniques in Language Learning
• The Structural Approach
• The Communicative Approach
• Task based Learning & THE Lexical Approach
• Critical assessment of coursebook materials
• The role of culture in language learning: three perspectives
• Reading & Listening: Issues in the design of materials
• Speaking & Writing: Issues in the design of materials
• Authenticity & Socio cultural issues in materials design
• The practicalities of writing, editing & evaluating materials


The module introduces the principles of materials and course design and gives them practical experience of developing both materials and courses for TESOL students. It aims to:
1. Develop the ability to critique, select, adapt and create learning materials and courses in the light of theoretical perspectives and practical considerations.
2. Enable students to evaluate, edit and revise the above.
3. Create an awareness of the economic and socio-political landscape of the TESOL market.


At the completion of the unit, students will:

1. Understand considerations key to ELT materials and course design, such as authenticity and the role of culture.
2. Critically evaluate learning materials (textbooks, computer based materials) and identify which learning theories they are underpinned by and which approaches they reflect.
3. Undertake needs analysis for materials for a specific context and provide a rationale for these.
4. Design learning materials to meet specific needs in a specific context, e.g. to assess formatively.
5. Evaluate and refine learning materials in the light of learner feedback.








Students will be expected to develop:
• Familiarity with a variety of language learning materials.
• Awareness of the issues involved in the design of materials
• Practical experience of writing a set of language-learning materials.
• Familiarity with a variety of course syllabi/curricula
• Awareness of the issues involved in course design
• Practical experience of designing a course for language learners.
Teaching will take the form of:
• Seminars in which students develop factual, practical and theoretical bases for further study


Formative assessment and rationale for tasks
Formative assessment:
Students will submit a draft of the assignment prior to tutorial, during which they will receive feedback from the tutor on their progress.

Summative assessment:
One 6000 word written assignment in which students will need to clearly demonstrate the ability to relate relevant aspects of theory to practical choices in materials and syllabus design.

Feedback strategy
Students will receive:
• oral formative feedback on their progress in tutorials
• written formative feedback on essay drafts
• written summative feedback on the MA Applied Linguistics feedback template




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