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Unit information: Analysing Language for TESOL in 2015/16

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Unit name Analysing Language for TESOL
Unit code EDUCM5901
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Woodfield
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The unit sets out approaches to the description of language in the discourse analysis tradition, looking both at the technical ways of representing discourse, and also at the cultural and contextual aspects of language use: the ways in which discourse achieves coherence. The approach to language therefore, is essentially a discourse one. This approach has two key features: 1. Texts (instances of language in use, both spoken and written) are viewed as fulfilling certain functions in social and cultural contexts of language learning and teaching; and 2. Those communicative functions are realised in language forms which are part of grammatical, lexical and phonological systemns of the language. The unit engages with the different traditions in language description which underpin processes in TESOL and in language education more generally such as syllabus and task design, learning materials, and language assessment.

The unit aims to:

  • develop an understanding of language description and discourse analysis which facilitates a critical appraisal of approaches to language in the TESOL curriculum;
  • introduce frameworks for researching TESOL; and
  • provide opportunities for problem-solving and innovation in TESOL pedagogy and assessment

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will have developed an understanding of:

a)The nature of discourse and the different traditions of analysing it

b)The components of discourse, such as culture and pragmatics, grammar, lexis and phonology

c)The ways in which approaches to discourse inform the TESOL curriculum

d The role of social context in determining discourse forms and choices in spoken and written English

e)The nature and challenges of intercultural communication as an implicit aspect of TESOL, and as an aspect of personal development as a language user in the context of the MSc TESOL

By the end of this unit, students will have developed skills in:

a) Using discourse analysis and language description frameworks as a tool for TESOL in the following ways: Identification of functional and formal features of texts (instances of language in use) used in TESOL and the relationships between these; Selecting and evaluating texts and tasks for learning and assessment; Determining the facility or difficulty of texts in learning contexts

b) Using discourse analysis and language description frameworks as a research tool in the TESOL field in the following ways: Researching classrooms and other interactional contexts; Analysing the content and form of documents and texts; Development of discourse skills appropriate for language use in an academic context

Teaching details

Lecture input

Online learning support (Blackboard)

Data Projects (online resources, using data from Tutors’ Research Projects)


Small group work,

Seminars or workshops,

Action research,


Individual tutorials and supported self study.

Individualised and supervised studies to include on-line discussion, supervision and directed reading.

Assessment Details

Summative assessment:

A 4000 word assignment which reflects skills of language description and discourse analysis, to include a reflective conclusion on process and impact of learning.

The assignment will focus on language analysis which seeks to incorporate:

  • Understanding of approaches to discourse analysis
  • Links between discourse and textual analysis and development of pedagogical
  • practice in TESOL
  • Construction and analysis of linguistic and textual data
  • Reflective use of own capacity as a language user

Reading and References

  • Bloomer, A., P. Griffiths & A.J. Merrison 2005 Introducing Language in Use: A Coursebook. London:Routledge
  • Paltridge, B. 2006 Discourse Analysis. London: Continuum
  • Jenkins, J. 2000 The Phonology of English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • McCarthy, M. 1991 Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Cutting, J. 2015 Pragmatics: A Resource Book for Students. London: Routledge
  • Page, R.; D. Barton, J.W. Unger & M. Zappavigna 2014. Researching Language & Social Media