Language Learning and Teaching

The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
05 October 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA QX1312 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL),
MA QX13JS Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Module description

This module introduces students to key theories of second language learning, including both classic and current views, concepts and explanations. It further introduces the dominant approaches and methods in English language teaching (ELT) and explores the different theoretical and historical contexts out of which approaches develop. The module looks at how different approaches and methods have shaped pedagogy, practice and course design.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:
• To introduce students to the main theories that have been put forward to explain second language learning;
• To familiarise students with the main approaches and methods in language teaching, with a focus on ELT;
• To clarify the conceptual differences between an approach and a method;
• To prepare teachers for an analysis of their students’ needs;
• To help students understand the links between theories of learning and approaches to teaching, as well as the fact that such links are not always direct or obvious.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:
• Understand the claims and assumptions of key theories of second language learning;
• Understand the differences between teaching approaches and methods;
• Understand prevalent language teaching approaches and main contexts of teaching and learning;
• Analyse students’ needs;
• Appreciate the relationship between theories of learning and approaches to teaching.

Module information

The first part of the module (Weeks 2-6) focuses on language learning, the second part (Weeks 7-11) on language teaching, especially ELT.

Week 2: Early theories of second language learning
Week 3: Linguistic approaches: Universal Grammar and Krashen's Monitor Model
Week 4: Cognitive approaches (1): The usage-based approach
Week 5: Cognitive approaches (2): Skill acquisition theory
Week 6: Social approaches: Sociocultural theory
Week 7: Approaches and methods and ELT (1)
Week 8: Approaches and methods and ELT (2)
Week 9: The post-methods era
Week 10: Teaching and learning contexts in ELT
Week 11: Teacher training and teacher autonomy in ELT

Learning and teaching methods

We will have one 2-hour class each week for 10 weeks. Approximately one hour will be taught as a lecture and the other hour as a seminar. Lectures provide an overview of key insights; seminars are based on student-centred tasks such as follow-up exercises and discussion of issues brought up in the lectures and associated module readings. Discussion and questions are encouraged throughout. The nature of the content is such that it allows for students to bring their own experiences to the topics and discussions.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Assignment 1 (1500 Words)    50% 
Coursework   Assignment 2 (1500 Words)    50% 

Additional coursework information


Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Nasser Jabbari, email: n.jabbari@essex.ac.uk.
Nasser Jabbari
n.jabbari@essex.ac.uk; 4.342



External examiner

Dr Petra Schoofs
University of Birmingham
Dr Troy McConachy
University of Warwick
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 18 (90%) hours available to students:
2 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Language and Linguistics

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