LN7P08 - Teaching Languages Dissertation (2023/24)
|Module specification||Module approved to run in 2023/24|
|Module title||Teaching Languages Dissertation|
|Module level||Masters (07)|
|Credit rating for module||60|
|School||Guildhall School of Business and Law|
|Total study hours||600|
|Running in 2023/24(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)||
This module combines a taught module and a supervised research project. During the spring term, the module explores the range of approaches, methods and traditions in research in Applied Linguistics. You will explore competing and complementary research paradigms found in the field and their corresponding approaches to research design. You will examine the opportunities and challenges that quantitative approaches offer as well as issues of validity, reliability, and sampling. Similarly, you will be introduced to a wide range of qualitative approaches to research in language and language teaching.
You will discuss issues surrounding the use of questionnaires as research tools and the uses of interviewing and observations. You will also investigate current approaches, issues and debates in classroom research, with a particular focus on Action Research.
In this module you will also be encouraged to explore issues and current approaches to collecting and analysing naturalistic language data as well as, more broadly, communication research.
Each session will consist of a 2-hour session using English as a medium of instruction and a 1-hour class discussion in the language of the students’ corresponding pathway (English or Arabic).
The ultimate aim of this module is to prepare you for the Dissertation project that follows by giving you a solid grounding in both current research methodology in language teaching and Applied Linguistics and the theoretical paradigms from which they arise and to understand, identify and evaluate different research methodologies.
The second part of the module involves a supervised but independent research study leading to a 12,000 dissertation. You will have the chance to explore a disciplinary topic that is of your particular interest or relevance to your context. You will be able to conduct classroom research on aspects of English or Arabic language teaching and learning, or can choose other relevant themes such as sociolinguistics, linguistics, language testing, or intercultural communication, among others. You will be encouraged to draw on different data collection methodologies and use relevant paradigms in analysing your data.
In this module, you will:
- pursue an area of personal disciplinary interest in a way that demands rigorous analytical and critical thinking and encourages you to push your own personal and professional boundaries
- formulate relevant and original questions, undertake research that addresses them, and provide persuasive and academically sustainable arguments to support them
- develop your ability to critically review and make use of an extensive and appropriate bibliography in your own work
- expand your understanding of the relationship between research, theory, practice and ‘real world’ problems
- develop your independence as a self-directed and self-motivated professional in problem-posing and problem-solving through designing, undertaking, and writing about your own research.
Prior learning requirements
All other core modules for the MA English Language Teaching
All other core modules for the MA Arabic Language Teaching
The module introduces the main research paradigms in applied linguistics and invites students to explore their epistemological and ontological differences. Quantitative, qualitative and mixed approaches to research are studied in detail with particular focus on the exploration of research questions that address issues related to language, language learning and language teaching (LO1, LO2).
Students will study a range of data collection techniques and their suitability for different approaches, including questionnaires, interviews, focus, groups, and observations. Ethical considerations in the design of research projects will also be discussed. Students will explore a range of data analysis strategies and will also be trained on the use of computer-assisted data analysis software (SPSS and NVivo) (LO3, LO4).
After students submit their research proposals, they are assigned a supervisor who will guide them throughout the dissertation process. Students are entitled to a minimum of 6 hours of supervisory contact time and are expected to engage actively with their supervisors, agreeing times and attending meetings, remaining in contact, and responding to correspondence (LO5).
Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity
Students enrolled in this module will be encouraged to engage with recommended readings in preparation for each session. As the module adopts a blended-learning approach, students will have access to a dedicated module site (Weblearn) where they will find learning activities, writing guidelines, supporting documents, and online forums where they can interact with peers and tutors in synchronous and asynchronous ways.
Our students will have access to the university library website and make use of electronic journals, e-books, 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 in person, by email, or via a designated video-conference software.
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
- suggest, design and undertake future research in the field (LO1)
- describe, analyse and evaluate theory in applied linguistics and education and use this in professional and personal decision making (LO2)
- write extensively and persuasively about debates and issues in the field of language learning, language teaching, and applied linguistics, demonstrating the interface between practice, research, and theory (LO3)
- make useful contributions to local and global developments, debates and practices in language and language education issues in their own context and elsewhere (LO4)
- continue to advance their knowledge and understanding and develop their research skills to match the demands of their professional life (LO5)
As part of the assessment strategy, students are required to engage in formative and summative instances of assessment that will allow them to receive early feedback on their research projects.
The first formal piece of formative assessment takes the form of a poster presentation through which students share their initial research project including key aspects of the proposed study and provide justifications for their choices (Week 9 – Spring term).
The second formal instance of assessment is a summative 2,500-word research proposal which is expected to provide evidence of the students’ understanding of research methods and issues explored in the module. The proposal should also consider the tutor and student feedback received in the poster presentation task.
Once students complete and successfully pass the research proposal assignment (minimum 50%), they can start working with an appointed supervisor in the elaboration of a written dissertation (12,000). The dissertation, based on the research proposal, should explore a particular issue of language (English or Arabic), language learning, language teaching or applied linguistics in general.