EL7003 - TESOL Syllabus and Materials Design

What will I learn on this module?

This module will introduce you to the principles of both TESOL materials and syllabus design, and give you practical experience of developing materials and courses for TESOL students. The experience that you gain through participating in the course and completing the assignments will be of both practical and theoretical use for career development, through further training and potential employment in the TESOL field.

You will consider a variety of learning materials and course designs, tying these in with pedagogic and methodological approaches as far as possible. You will also look at how courses and materials have developed historically, and how linguistic and pedagogic elements are accounted for.

Throughout the module, you will be encouraged to develop a working knowledge of the principles behind designing classroom materials and course syllabuses, and a critical stance towards the examples presented to you. You will also develop the skills necessary to design and critically evaluate a set of language learning materials, and a short course for TESOL learners.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be delivered through a combination of participative lectures and seminars. Key themes and concepts will be introduced in lectures, supported by seminars that allow further group working, discussion and investigation of relevant topics, ideas and practical skills. All subject areas and theoretical debates within the module will be supported by reference to relevant literature, which you will read outside of class to further develop your knowledge and understanding of the field.

In addition to learning during taught hours with the module tutor, you will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning will generally take the form of suggested weekly readings (relevant to that week’s lecture topic) and preparation for seminars where you will be expected to contribute to group work and full class discussion. Seminars will also contribute to the development of intellectual, transferable and practical skills. Independent learning will generally take the form of further reading and investigation, the consolidation of lecture and seminar notes, and revision/preparation for the assessment of the module.

All learning materials, tasks and readings will be posted on the eLP (e-learning portal) to facilitate full participation in the module. Additionally, you will receive formative feedback on your ideas and understandings throughout the module. The module’s final, three-part summative assessment will also provide an opportunity for learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module aims to introduce you to the principles of both materials and course design, and to give you practical experience of developing materials and courses for TESOL students. Lectures and seminars will therefore develop both your academic knowledge (through engagement with language-learning theory and material and syllabus design theory) as well as practical experience of looking at materials and syllabuses and appreciating the methods of design that have produced the final, published product. Your academic development is also facilitated through engagement with the weekly readings, and also discussing theoretical and practical design concerns with your tutor and peers.

The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture materials are made available on the eLP (see above). The module tutor will be available in lectures and seminars, as well as in ‘Feedback and consultation hours’ (i.e. ‘office hours’) and on email, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module. Formative feedback will be on-going throughout seminar activities.

In addition, you have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes monitoring your ongoing academic progress, helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development, and directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. the Library’s Skills Plus). You are advised to see your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. A thorough working knowledge of the principles behind designing classroom materials and course syllabuses, and a critical stance towards real world examples.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

2. The skills necessary to design and critically evaluate a set of language learning materials.
3. The skills necessary to design and critically evaluate a short course for language learners

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. Demonstrate intellectual openness to contemporary and historical academic and professional/practical perspectives on the design and use of TESOL syllabuses and materials.
5. Enhanced skills of conforming to relevant standards of good academic practice

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment
You will present your ideas during seminars and will receive formative feedback from the module tutor and peers on any perspectives and practical ideas that you choose to share. Such formative feedback will enable you to test and form your own understanding the principles and practicalities of materials and syllabus design.
Formative assessment addresses MLOs 1,2,3 and 4

Summative (graded) Assessments

There are three integrated parts to the assessment for this module (you submit them as one item), for which you will receive a combined mark.

1. Production of a set of ORIGINAL language learning materials for a specified group of language learners, covering 1 hour of classroom/study time. The materials could be intended for classroom use, private study or CD-ROM/Internet-based work. (approx. 1,500 words)
2. Planning a 15 hour course for a specified group of learners. (The same group of learners as the previous part of the assessment, and including the provision to teach the materials that you have designed). You will submit a breakdown of the syllabus. (approx. 1,500 words)
3. Write an essay which outlines and explains the design criteria, practicalities and theoretical background to the materials and syllabus design tasks (approx. 2,000 words) The essay should outline the choices you have made and your reasons for making them. In explaining the rationale behind your decisions and planning, you will refer to relevant academic literature where appropriate.

The design and essay assessments will be part of the learning process, and address all five MLOS.
Feedback will be provided using the Programme template and comments on the script.





Module abstract

TESOL Syllabus and Materials Design will help you consolidate what you learn on your other TESOL modules, as well as learning a valuable set of skills which you can take forward to future employment. Learning how to design materials, and how to put together a coherent course will stand you in good stead for furthering your career, and they are certainly skills that any potential employer will look for.
If you’re interested in designing for online learning, or in having your materials published, these areas are covered too. The module makes academic demands on you too, giving you the opportunity to support your design work with reference to learning and teaching theory. The suggested reading and engagement with texts, your investigations of the design process, and your developing abilities to criticise designs, will engage you fully with research led learning . (140 words)

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 28 months part-time
1 other options available

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.


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