module specification

LN7063 - Understanding the Language Classroom (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Understanding the Language Classroom
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
 
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
10 hours Placement / study abroad
154 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Journal and Analysis
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon
Spring semester LMET Distance Learning Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module is an investigation into the language classroom and into learner and teacher roles and interactions. It develops themes relating to how languages are learned, what motivates people to learn other languages and how best to support and develop learning in the classroom. It draws on students' own experiences of language learning or teaching and encourages them to reflect on the implications in developing their own practice as language teachers.

Distance learners

This module is an investigation into the language classroom and into learner and teacher roles and interactions. It develops themes relating to how languages are learned, what motivates people to learn other languages and how best to support and develop learning in the classroom. It draws on students' own experiences of language learning or teaching and encourages them to reflect on the implications in developing their own practice as language teachers.

Prior learning requirements

None

Module aims

This module aims to give students a deeper understanding of the processes involved in classroom language teaching and learning.  Students are encouraged to explore the nature of learning and to consider different factors that affect the teaching and learning processes.  They will learn to become reflective practitioners, to evaluate language learners’ needs critically, and to manage the classroom environment to maximise learners' language learning potential. Through a series of classroom observations, they will have an opportunity to observe and research language learning and teaching in actual foreign language classrooms.

The module aims to:

- introduce students to theoretical debates that stretch their critical analysis of language learning and teaching processes.
- Encourage them to investigate what practical implications these debates have on classroom teaching and learning
- provide them with an opportunity to evaluate and analyse learners' needs and find classroom solutions
- identify and account for the diverse range of techniques for promoting learning in the classroom
- understand how different social, cultural and psychological factors might influence learning situation 

Distance Learning Students

Through a number of language classroom observations students can become familiar with common practices in language teaching and learning and have the opportunity to develop a teacher-researcher’s perspective. The module introduces the participants to a range of theoretical consideration and practical implications of the recent developments in language teaching: theoretical debates that stretch their critical analysis of language learning and teaching processes; investigate what practical implications these debates have on classroom teaching and learning; provide them with an opportunity to evaluate and analyse learners' needs and find classroom solutions; identify and account for the diverse range of techniques for promoting learning in the classroom; identify how different social, cultural and psychological factors might influence learning situations.

Students are required to find an institution where they can observe 4 hours of English language tuition (not consecutive) at any level.

Syllabus

The module will cover areas such as

Sessions Lectures Seminars
1 Introduction to the module, Motivation in language classroom 1 Seminar tasks
2 Motivation in language classroom 2 Seminar tasks
3 Classroom Interaction and Learning a Second Language Preparation for observations
4 Classroom Discourse Preparation for observations
5 Tasks and Task-based language learning Seminar tasks
6 Task complexity and Task Difficulty Classroom observations
7 Learning styles & Learning strategies 1 Classroom observations
8 Learning styles & Learning strategies 2 Seminar tasks
9 Material Design for Language Teachers & Specialists Seminar tasks
10 Aptitude, attitudes & Achievement in language learning Seminar tasks
11 50 years of TESOL Seminar tasks
12 Review of the module Preparation for assessment task

 

Learning and teaching

The module uses a combination of face to face lectures, seminars, tutorials, interactive tasks and classroom observations to achieve the module aims. Individual classroom observations and a range of individual, pair and group activities are used to engage students with the different topics introduced in the lectures and seminars.

The lectures all include elements of blended learning, are interactive in nature and students are encouraged to contribute to the discussions. The seminars are mainly student-centred incorporating their reading, teaching and learning and more importantly their observation findings and evidence.

Use of technology is an inherent characteristic of this module. Active use of WebLearn for lectures, seminars, readings, seminar tasks, important links to resources, and discussion board is consistently and continually practiced. Working with the available teacher resources is central to the purpose of the module.
Learning occurs in dependent, guided and independent modes as students receive guidance and advice both face-to-face and via emails and/or WebLearn.

Distance Learning Students

Students will have access to a dedicated module site where they will find learning activities and online forums They will have access to the university library website and make use of electronic journals, ebooks, databases and full text journals. Support for developing and improving IT skills as well as information on other web based study support, is available on the library website and on the MA Induction Module site. Students will have a nominated tutor who will support and guide them through the module and who they can consult by email or telephone.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. deepen their knowledge of how it is possible to respond appropriately and at a specialist level to the varied needs of learners in language classroom
2. develop advanced knowledge of classroom factors that affect language learning and teaching
3. account for and reflect critically upon the central role of factors such as motivation, interaction and achievement in foreign language classroom
4.  engage at a sophisticated level with research evidence in the field and reflect on their own learning and teaching practices in relation to it
5. Engage with the disciplinary debates to discuss the learning and teaching processes that they have observed in their observations

Distance Learning Students

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

• deepen their knowledge of the varied needs of learners in language classroom
• identify classroom factors that affect language learning and teaching
• account for and reflect critically upon motivation, interaction and achievement in  language classrooms
•  engage with research evidence in the field and reflect on their own learning and teaching practices in relation to it
• debate the learning and teaching processes that they have observed

Assessment strategy

A written assignment titled ‘Reflective observation journal and analysis of a learner’ of 5,000  words:  100% . This written assignment is informed by the student's classroom observations and the case study of how a learner learns a second language. Students carry out their classroom observations drawing on the theoretical aspects introduced in the module (motivation, language learning strategies, classroom discourse, etc.), giving priority to one chosen aspect. There will be a formative assessment   in week 6-7 when students receive feedback on the first reflective journal entry that they have written on their first observation. Based on the feedback, they are then asked to develop their other journal entries and the analysis of a learner. Both the journal of four entries and the analysis of a learner are submitted as one  assessment with two parts.

Distance Learning Students

In their summative assessment students write an essay on a topic agreed with their tutor of 5,000 words.This essay is informed by the student's observations and notes.
Formative assessment is provided by their allocated tutor and is based on their preparation for the observation sessions,and the notes which they take on completion.

Bibliography

Allwright, D (1988) Observation in the Second Language Classroom. London: Longman
Bygate, M, Skehan, P, et al. (2001). Researching pedagogic tasks: Second language learning, teaching and testing. London: Longman
Canagarajah, S (2006). TESOL at forty. TESOL Quarterly. 40(1). 9-28
Dörneyi, Z (2001) Teaching and Researching Motivation. Longman
Dörneyi, Z (2001) Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge University Press
Dörnyei,Z, Csizér, K & Németh, N (2006) Motivation, Language Attitudes and Globalisation: A Hungarian Perspective. Multilingual Matters
Ellis, R (2009) Task-based language teaching. Sorting out the misunderstanding. International Journal of Applied Linguistics. 19(3): 222-240.
Ellis, R (2003) Task-based language teaching and learning. Oxford: OUP
Ellis, R (2005) Planning and Task Performance in a Second Language. Benjamins
Ellis, R & Barkhuizen, G (2005) Analysing Learner Language. Oxford: OUP
Gardner, R (1985) Social Psychology and second language learning: the role of attitudes and motivation. London: Edward Arnold
Gardner, R (1972) Attitudes and Motivation in Second Language Learning. Rowley, Mass: Newbury House
Garrett, P and Shortall, T (2002) ‘Learners’ Evaluation of Teacher-fronted and student-centered classroom activities.’ Language Teaching Research 6:1 (pp 25-57)
Hunston, S, Oakey, D (eds.) (2010) Introducing Applied Linguistics. Concepts and Skills. London/New York: Routledge.
Krashen, S (1981) Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. Oxford: Pergamon 4
Kumaravadivelu, B (2003). Beyond methods. New Haven: Yale University Press
Kumaravadivelu, B (2006). TESOL methods: Changing tracks, challenging trends. TESOL Quarterly. 40(1): 59-81
Lantolf, J (2000). Sociocultural theory and second language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Lightbown, P. & Spada, N. (1999) How Languages are Learned.(2nd edition) Oxford: OUP
Littlewood, W (2004). The task-based approach: Some questions and suggestions. ELT J. 58(4). 319-326
Mitchell, R, Myles, F and Marsden, E (2013) Second Language Learning Theories. 3rd ed. London: Routledge
Mochizuki, N and Ortega, L (2008). Balancing communication and grammar in beginning-level foreign language classroom. Language Teaching Research. 12(1): 11-37
Ortega, L (2009). Understanding second language acquisition. London: Hodder Education.
Oxford, R (1990) Language Learning Strategies. Mass: Heinle & Heinle
Robinson, P (2007). Task complexity, theory of mind, and intentional reasoning: Effects of L2 speech production, interaction, uptake and perceptions of task difficulty. IRAL.(45): 193-213.
Samuda, V and Bygate, M (2008). Tasks in second language learning. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Seedhouse, P (1996). Classroom interaction: possibilities and impossibilities. ELT J. 50(1). 16-25
Seedhouse, P (1999). Task-based interaction. ELT J. 53(3). 149-156
Skehan, P (1998) A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. Oxford: OUP
Skehan, P (1989) Individual Differences in Second-Language Learning. London: Edward Arnold.
Skehan, P (2003). Task-based instruction. Language Teaching. 36(1). 1-14
Tavakoli, P (2009). Learner and teacher perceptions of task difficulty. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 19(1): 1-25
Tavakoli, P. & Foster, P. (2008). Task design and second language performance: The effect of narrative type on learner output. Language Learning. 58(2): 439-473
Walsh, S. (2006). Investigating Classroom Discourse. London: Routledge
Williams, M & Burden, R (1997) Psychology for Language Teachers. Cambridge: CUP

Online Resources:
Selected E-Books
Burns, A. (2009): Doing Action Research in English Language Teaching
Long, M. & Doughty, C. (2009). The handbook of Language teaching
Macaro, E. (2010). Continuum companion to second language teaching

Selected Journals
TESOL Quarterly
ELT Journal
Language Teaching
Language Learning
Language Teaching Research
Essential Teacher