module specification

LN7063 - Understanding the Language Classroom (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
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
4 hours Placement / study abroad
196 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Journal and Analysis
Running in 2020/21
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester LMET Distance Learning Not applicable -
Spring semester North 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.
Through 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.

Students are required to find an institution where they can observe 4 hours of English language tuition at any level.


The module will cover areas such as
motivation in language teaching, interaction in the classroom, discourse in the language classroom, tasks & task-based language teaching, mediation & ZPD, learning styles & strategies, aptitude, attitudes & achievement. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

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. Students will have a nominated tutor who will support and guide them through the module and who they can consult by email, telephone or Skype.

Learning outcomes

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

The summative assessment has two parts: students write 1. an observation journal based on their classroom observations (ca. 3,000 words) and 2. an analysis of a learner under a particular aspect introduced in the module (such as motivation, classroom interaction, learner type or learning strategies) (ca. 2,000 words).
Formative assessment is provided by their allocated tutor and is based on their preparation for the observation sessions, a draft entry to the observation journal and the notes which they take on completion.


Allwright, D (1988) Observation in the Second Language Classroom. London: Longman
Benson, P. & Nunan, D. (eds) 2005, Learners' Stories: difference and diversity on language learning, Cambridge
Bygate, M, Skehan, P, et al. (2001). Researching pedagogic tasks: Second language learning, teaching and testing. London: 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.
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
Lantolf, J (2000). Sociocultural theory and second language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Ortega, L (2009). Understanding second language acquisition. London: Hodder Education.
Oxford, R (1990) Language Learning Strategies. Mass: Heinle & Heinle
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
Tavakoli, P (2009). Learner and teacher perceptions of task difficulty. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 19(1): 1-25
Walsh, S. (2006). Investigating Classroom Discourse. London: Routledge
Williams, M & Burden, R (1997) Psychology for Language Teachers. Cambridge: CUP

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

TESOL Quarterly
ELT Journal
Language Teaching
Language Learning
Language Teaching Research
Essential Teacher
ELT Journal
Journal of Applied Linguistics
Journal of Language Teaching and Research
Language Learning Journal
TESOL Journal
Research in Education