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Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Course overview

(MA) Master of Arts
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Full-time or part-time
MA QX1312

A 2.2 degree (or international equivalent) in the following disciplines: English Language Studies, English Language and Literature, Teaching(English), Linguistics, Modern Languages.

We will accept applicants with a degree in an unrelated area but which contains a substantial element of education, Linguistics, Language Studies and Teaching.

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.0 in writing

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

External Examiners

Mr Mark Almond
Canterbury Christ Church University
Senior Lecturer

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 LG981-7-FY MA Dissertation Core 60 Compulsory Optional
02 LG575-7-AU Research Methods I Compulsory 15 Compulsory Optional
03 LG521-7-AU Teaching Practice I Compulsory 15 Compulsory Optional
04 LG522-7-AU or LG503-7-AU Compulsory with Options 15 Compulsory with Options Optional
05 Option from list Optional 15 Optional Optional
06 LG675-7-SP Research Methods II Compulsory 15 Compulsory Optional
07 LG655-7-SP or LG656-7-SP Compulsory with Options 15 Compulsory with Options Optional
08 LG428-7-SP or LG438-7-SP or LG636-7-SP Compulsory with Options 30 Compulsory with Options Optional
09 LG512-7-AU LG512-7-AU and LG592-7-AP Compulsory 0 Compulsory Optional
09 LG592-7-AP LG512-7-AU and LG592-7-AP Compulsory 0 Compulsory Optional

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

The course aims to:

Attract an international cross-section of candidates with a first degree, who are either teachers of English with a minimum of two years’ experience of teaching full-time, or who are intending to be professional teachers of English, but with little or no prior teaching experience.

The pathway for teachers will little or no prior teaching experience will provide a rich experience, led by staff involved in active research and/or professional English language teaching, delivering vocationally relevant training for the teacher through teaching practice, providing the opportunity to plan, execute and reflect on real teaching.

The pathway for teachers with a minimum of two years’ full-time teaching experience will deliver vocationally relevant training for the teacher who intends to return to the classroom with enhanced qualifications.

Both pathways offer a wide range of obligatory and elective taught and assessed modules, plus unassessed instructional provision and self-study together with a supervised independent dissertation, to enable takers to:

Gain a systematic understanding of recent theory, research findings and issues in language teaching, applied linguistics, second language acquisition, and related fields.

Evaluate the above critically and relate them to practical concerns of English as a Foreign
Language teachers, especially in relation to their own incipient teaching experience.

Understand and gain practical expertise in the key teaching methods of the field.

Develop and exploit a range of key thinking, working, communication and computer skills both ELT-related and generic.
Receive ESRC-accredited research training for the teacher who wishes to progress to a PhD on English Language Teaching or Applied Linguistics.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Familiarity with approaches to the contemporary study of the English language
A2 Knowledge of the styles of argumentation, research methodologies and evaluation criteria used in contemporary research and discussion in English Language Teaching and related areas (e.g. education, language acquisition, psychology)
A3 A broad acquaintance with current concepts, research findings and theories related to teaching and learning English as a foreign language, and learner behaviour and language use, in fields such as ELT, Applied Linguistics, SLA, Testing, Education, Socio- and Psycholinguistics
A4 An in depth knowledge of the theories, issues and research findings and teacher implications thereof in at least four specialist areas within the domain of teaching English as a foreign language and language learning and use by non-native speakers, or relevant specialist areas of linguistics more generally (The exact range of options available varies from year to year but typically includes: syllabus design, materials evaluation, teaching ESP, EAP, teaching young learners, the teaching of specific skills and areas of language, learners in classrooms, language testing and evaluation)
A5 An understanding of how the above may be applied to particular teaching situations, and the candidate's own teaching performance, in the context of accepted contemporary professional practice.
Learning Methods: 1-4 are taught initially through staff-led modules, using a variety of means of delivery (formal lecture, seminar, question-answer discussion session, group-work task-based session, computer lab session, student oral reports, workshop).

Staff feedback to students on coursework is a connected important feature enhancing learning.

Learning is expected to be deepened through directed and independent self-access library study and use of web material both put up by staff and generally available on the internet.

5 is delivered through the teaching practice module in which the student prepares, teaches and reflects on TEFL classes with real learners.

Later, the dissertation research deepens understanding of 1-5 via a real integrated project supported by staff supervision and group tutorials.

At any time support is available in the form of advice from staff in their consulting hours, and staff replies to student email queries.
Assessment Methods: Initially 1-4 are assessed through a 3000 word written assignment for each module, either of the essay type (e.g.
Literature review, or argumentative) or practical exercises.

5 is assessed through the assessment of performance in teaching practice (including the lesson plans, classroom delivery and diary record of experiences).

1-5 are also assessed later in an integrative way when the learner has to draw on this knowledge selectively for the dissertation.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Critical skills needed to evaluate disparate sources of information, both academic (e.g. lectures, books) and experiential, and collate, select, and apply the information to a specific teaching issue or situation
B2 Ability to apply ideas and research from the TEFL field in evaluating and preparing teaching materials and delivering teaching to particular learners, and to reflect independently on own teaching experience in this light.
B3 Ability to identify a pedagogical research question or hypothesis, choose appropriate research methods, and interpret own and others' data and see the implications for a hypothesis or question
B4 Ability to think like a linguist about language data (not at a high level of sophistication)
Learning Methods: 1-3 are fostered repeatedly by all the means of teaching/learning described in (A) above.

4 mainly by one taught module on Foundations of Language.
Assessment Methods: 1-3 are assessed primarily via those modules whose 3000 word written assignment is of the literature review or argumentative type, the oral presentation, and finally collectively in the dissertation research project.

2 is also specially assessed by the Teaching Practice. 4 is assessed mainly through exercises.

C: Practical skills

C1 Ability to seek and retrieve relevant information from a variety of sources (e.g. library, journals, WWW)
C2 Ability to communicate lucidly in speech and writing about teaching and learning issues and own experience, in appropriate style
C3 Basic practical skills in language analysis (e.g. syntactic, phonemic)
C4 Basic skills in conducting and reporting empirical research (e.g. use of data gathering instruments like observation, tests or questionnaires, simple data analysis)
C5 Ability to propose, plan, execute and write up an original, complete but limited ELT-related study with due treatment of appropriate prior research and theory, generation of research aims, application of relevant methods (e.g. empirical data gathering, or syllabus/materials design or evaluation) and management and presentation of the whole project with due attention to proper professional practice and ethics
C6 Practical TEFL teaching skills, including planning classes, class management, delivery of teaching content, assessment of learners, and self-awareness
Learning Methods: 1 is promoted by library staff guidance and by the IT induction course, as well as being guided by staff teaching particular modules, and giving advice.

2 is promoted by the oral and written tasks associated with the taught modules, and feedback on them, and by guidance in course booklet.

3 and 4 have modules dedicated to them with practical tasks 5 is promoted by supervision of the obligatory dissertation.

6 is promoted by the experience of the supervised Teaching Practice.

1-6 are further supported by advice from staff in consultation hours or by email, and by web-based self-access material.
Assessment Methods: 1 and 2 are assessed indirectly via the written or oral assessments for the taught modules generally.

3 and 4 are assessed specifically in the modules dedicated to them, by exercises and essay.

5 is assessed primarily via the dissertation, along with 1-4 again.

6 is assessed by the Teaching Practice performance.

D: Key skills

D1 a. Oral class presentation b. Oral participation in group discussion c. Academic writing, both in the form of argumentative academic papers and research reports, in appropriate style d. Critical reading: researching and utilising information, including scanning, recognising opinion and bias, detecting relevant points, collating different sources.
D2 Using advanced computational tools and software packages to obtain, store and process information stored in electronic form (e.g. from the Library, WWW or CD-rom), and (where appropriate) to analyse data and results
D3 a. Use of simple descriptive and inferential statistics b. Making and interpreting graphs and tables
D4 a. Analysis of tasks and identification of objectives b. Identification and use of relevant information sources c. Establishing main features of a complex problem d. Planning and selection of approach to reach a solution
D5 Participation in pair/group class tasks (including organising and evaluating own and others' contributions)
D6 a. Use of independent time management skills, initiative, and different approaches to working autonomously to meet assignment and dissertation targets b. Use of feedback and support from peers, lecturers and supervisor to meet targets and improve over the year
Learning Methods: 1 and 5 are promoted by many taught modules, and involves listening and notetaking in lectures. They are also facilitated by feedback.

2 is promoted mainly by the practical tasks of the IT induction course, and specific modules which introduce SPSS or other specialist software through practical tasks, as well as self access material on WWW.

Students will be expected to become familiar with basic PC management and the word processing of academic documents.

In their research for assignments and towards their dissertations students will gain familiarity with internet searching and electronic library and bibliographical databases.

They may require skills in specific software packages (e.g. for Phonetic, corpus or qualitative analysis).

3 is promoted specifically by several modules dealing with research methods.

4 and 6 are promoted via the teaching practice, assignments and dissertation which impose requirements for students to apply these skills.

1-6 are all further practised for the dissertation, and aided when necessary by staff advice by email or consultation.
Assessment Methods: 1-6 are assessed interactively with other skills/knowledge in the module assessed work and the dissertation, apart from 2e which has targeted hand-in tasks.


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Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: