Part time 24 Month(s)
Lancaster has a world-wide reputation for excellence in language teaching and research into second language acquisition, and is consistently ranked in the top 20 linguistics departments in the world (QS world rankings). This part-time, web-based course provides flexibility so that you can access Lancaster’s expertise and it is possible to take the course alongside your existing work and personal commitments.
We aim to equip teachers with up-to-date knowledge and skills that will enable them to work in a variety of language teaching contexts. The course is designed for English language teachers who have at least two years’ experience in the field.
You will be able to choose module assignments and dissertation topics that relate to your academic interests and benefit your work. We use the latest pedagogical principles in distance education and web-based learning and teaching, and you will find that we employ a wide variety of technological tools to enhance your learning experience.
The course has three main areas of focus:
The course begins in late September with an online orientation session. You will meet your tutors and fellow students in our virtual learning environment and become familiar with this form of web-based learning. We will provide more information about how the course will work and how you will engage with the learning materials, tutors and other students.
The following five modules make up the course and you can find more details about each of them on the Course Structure page.
Each module is completed within a 10-week period. The modules are either assessed by a 5000-word assignment or a combination of a shorter assignment of 2500 words and a recorded presentation. The final component of the course (from April, Year 2 - September, Year 2) involves a dissertation of 15,000 words, on an area of research relevant to your own teaching context or specific interests. Throughout all of the modules and the dissertation component you will have one-to-one access to our team of teaching staff for individual academic supervision, guidance and feedback, as well as taking part in web-based seminars.
Taught by senior academic staff
From day one you will engage with our experienced team of senior academic staff. All have led and contributed to numerous national and international projects in the field of foreign and second language teaching and learning. They have authored a number of well-known and popular books and articles on language teaching methodology and the study of second language acquisition. The Director of Studies is Dr Judit Kormos who was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship from the UK’s Higher Education Academy in 2013 for her ground-breaking work in distance teaching and learning.
Enhancing your career
The quality of Lancaster’s TESOL courses is widely recognised by employers world-wide and former students have taken up prestigious teaching positions in Ministries of Education, Curriculum Development Centres and Research Centres in countries around the world.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
The aim of this course is to give students a thorough overview of second language acquisition research. Students will become familiar with contemporary theory, methodology and empirical research in the field of second language acquisition.
This course provides a general introduction to theories and approaches in second language acquisition (SLA). Questions we will ask include “how languages are learned”, “what influences language learning outcomes”, and ”what are the contexts of second language acquisition”. In answering these questions, students will consider various theories such as the cognitive-interactionist, sociocultural, and frequency-based perspectives of SLA. In the course we discuss the role of learner-internal differences such as age, first language, motivation and language learning aptitude. Students will also learn about how processes of language learning interact with the environment in which learning takes place. For each of the themes of the module, the applications of SLA theory and research to aspects of second language teaching are also explored.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, teaching language was teaching grammar, and a particular understanding of grammar at that. Students conjugated verbs. They memorized the new language’s case markers. They listed roots or stems along with all possible word forms. Perhaps students might translate a bit of text. And they wrote a test. That was learning a language, and the issues associated with its teaching and learning were relatively limited.
Of course, historically speaking, people learned languages through contact with neighbours. In order to trade, manage territorial boundaries, or find a mate, peoples had to find ways of communicating with each other. To the extent it existed, teaching occurred among people who desired to interact. The concerns with which these individuals grappled were quite different from students and teachers studying grammar.
But when you look at today’s landscape of teaching and learning languages, there is a veritable explosion of topics, issues and concerns. Questions of what to teach and how to teach are complicated by the multiple purposes for which people learn English; by the politics and social make-up of the teaching context; by transnational flows of people and ideas; by questions of who ‘owns’ a language. This course is a sampling of the issues and trends which occupy the minds of practitioners and researchers in our profession. It aims to familiarize you with a range of topics so that you will be able to draw connections between research and your classroom; to participate in professional discussions in your workplace and organization; and to contribute to the knowledge base of our profession. Most of all, it aims to support you in reflecting on language teaching from multiple angles, thus broadening your capacity as a professional educator and researcher.
This module focuses on two main areas of language teaching professional practice: curriculum development (involving the evaluation and design of teaching materials, syllabuses and courses), and the related concern of how the learning of new teaching approaches by language teachers can best be facilitated. Both areas of work are informed by the study of concepts concerning the context of English language education and the innovation implementation process, as well as their practical implications. The overall aim of the module is to provide an introduction to the theory, research and practice involved in designing and implementing effective systems for student and teacher learning.
This module aims to develop students’ ability to interpret, evaluate and apply methods for investigating instructed L2 language learning, This includes ways to collect, transcribe, describe, code, analyze and discuss data, preparing students to carry out empirical investigations for their dissertation. The following topics are covered:
· Identify research problems and questions
· Decide on appropriate and feasible methods of answering research questions
· Choose, design, and/or adapt data elicitation measures, and pilot-test them effectively
· Ensure that research is valid and reliable
· Address ethical concerns involved in conducting research with human participants
· Collect, transcribe, describe, code, and analyze data
· Understand mixed-methods classroom research, triangulating different perspectives
· Use a variety of tools for data collection and analysis
· Analyze and critique research designs in the published literature
The focus of this course is on the theoretical concepts and practical techniques needed for designing effective classroom language tests. Other modules in MA in TESOL Distance programme are concerned with trying to answer the question: How can I teach as effectively as possible? This question cannot be answered properly, however, unless the teacher also knows how to answer the related question: How can I assess my students’ learning?
Of particular importance in this course will be a consideration of the interconnections between classroom assessment on the one hand and classroom teaching on the other. Techniques for assessing student performance in communication activities will also be given high priority. Concepts will be illustrated by reference to course participants’ home teaching situations whenever possible.
Required reading for the course:
Brown, H.D. & Abeywickrama, P. (2010). Language assessment: Principles and classroom practices. New York: Pearson Education.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Duration: 24 months, part-time
Entry requirements: An upper second class honours degree, or its equivalent, plus two years full-time teaching experience
IELTS: 6.5 (with at least 6.0 in listening and speaking and at least 6.5 in reading and writing) or equivalent
Assessment: Coursework and dissertation
Funding: All applicants should consult our information on fees and funding.
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