This course serves as a pre-requisite for the writing of the dissertation and as such covers a number of key issues related to critical reading, writing and research. The course is practical in orientation, covering subjects such as writing a literature review, managing materials, and using sources to forward one’s argument. There is a strong emphasis on critical reading, and a critical and purposeful approach to the literature review, as opposed to citing ‘slavishly’ and writing without purpose / direction. Various research strategies are considered, and the strengths and weaknesses of different research tools are considered for different research questions. Practical advice is given on the construction and use of questionnaires, interviews, case studies, classroom observation, action research, ethnographic research, experimental methods, corpus-based research, comparative studies, psychological tests, etc., with all students (regardless of stream) being introduced to basic quantitative social science statistical analyses. The course also looks at data analysis, interpretation and reporting research findings.
This course focuses on the nature and scope of pragmatics and its place within semantics, language teaching, translation, literature and other disciplines. The theoretical topics in pragmatics include implicature, presupposition, deixis, speech acts, politeness theories, Austin’s Theory of Pragmatics and Grice’s Theory of Conversational Implicature. In the practical part of the course the interaction of diverse factors that are involved in communication will be examined: conversation analysis, interactional sociolinguistics and cross-cultural contexts. The students’ understanding of their own culture and knowledge of other cultures is a critical source of input for discussion and debate.
This course aims to expose students to a variety of text types and provide a grounding in basic theories of how text as an academic subject has been approached or studied. Different theories of genre are considered – those which have focused on the dynamic role of genre and its relation to context, in addition to schools which have focused more on textual characteristics (texture and structure), and others which have sought to combine both of these approaches (e.g Bhatia). Students are challenged to consider how these different approaches have added to our understanding of how language is used in different contexts, whether these be professional, academic or institutional. A considerable part of the course focuses on the generic features of certain texts: rhetorical, lexicogrammatical, and intertextual, and how writers mix genres and the impact this has on the characteristics of discourse communities.
This course has a theoretical and practical component. In the theoretical section an overview of corpus linguistics is provided, comprising discussion of the value of corpora, types of corpora, different types of corpus enquiry and the implications of corpus studies for linguistic enquiry generally, and specifically for the specialisms of the students: TESOL (data-driven learning and corpus based materials); literature (a recent corpus-based study of Dickens, and how this adds to our understanding of such a writer and his work); and translation (the use of parallel corpora). In the practical part of the course students are familarised with the BNC and SARA, and Wordsmith tools, and will be given the opportunity to conduct a small research study relevant to their specialisms.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of all courses including ENGL 590.
MALA 695 is not a course, but the writing of the thesis.
A student will have one-to-one consultations with their supervisors in order to help with guidance in the writing of the thesis. All consultation meetings will be documented. The student will be expected to demonstrate appropriate progress based upon the outcome of each consultation with their supervisor.
Syllabus, Materials Design and Cirricula Development
After introducing terminological issues, the main part of this course is concerned with a detailed examination and analysis of the main syllabus types, in addition to providing an overview of materials design. Structural approaches which put grammar at their heart are evaluated (e.g. Murphy’s Grammar in Use), as are notional / functional approaches as exemplified by Wilkins (1976). In addition more recent developments including product versus process approaches are examined – with a careful overview of process approaches as evidenced in specific instantiations, including the task-based syllabus (e.g. Skehan 1996), Prabhu’s procedural syllabus, and the lexical syllabus (e.g. Willis 1990, Lewis 1993). Finally, the issue of introducing a new syllabus is considered and the roles of learners and teachers in successfully introducing change. In addition to examining and critically evaluating these approaches, students are encouraged to evaluate published materials and consider their underpinnings, and appropriacy in different learning contexts. Students will also produce their own materials, justify the design and comment on the rationale and presuppositions.
This course reviews historical trends in language teaching, and critically reviews a variety of methodologies, and their suppositions. In addition to discussing historical shifts, the main focus of the course is the consideration of contemporary methods and their use today, in particular: multiple intelligences, neurolinguistic programming, content-based instruction and task-based learning. As the students are from the same language and cultural background a key focus of this course is to consider the cultural relevance (and relativity) of different methodologies and also to consider what the meaning of the post-method era means for teachers in the Oman context.
This course introduces students to issues involved in assessing English language learners’ competency levels in the four skills, grammar and vocabulary in contexts such as secondary schools and Foundation Institutes. It explains key concepts and issues in language testing and ongoing assessment and provides students with principles and techniques for designing and evaluating language tests and assessment tasks. The different forms of assessment undertaken at particular points of a language course will be discussed, in addition to issues such as the reliability and validity of assessment tasks.
This course covers a number of key areas for current teachers of children, or students who will teach English to children in the future. The course traces the development of ELT in schools and considers some of the key issues in teaching English to children as a second language, including classroom management and organisation, what children bring with them to the classroom, general child development issues, age considerations and the use of the L1 and the L2. Implications of how children learn languages are considered and a rationale for story-based approaches is considered. Typical child classroom activities are discussed (e.g. songs, language games, and the use of various visual aids), and approaches to phonics and introducing script are also critically evaluated. Case studies of bilingual education from different parts of the world are considered and compared to the student context in Oman.
The course is directed at beginner and intermediate computer/ internet users who are interested in learning how to harness the potential of digital media in foreign language teaching. This course has theoretical and practical components, though the focus is on practical sessions conducted in a computer lab, with the view to helping the participants to become confident integrators of digital content in their classes. The students will develop both ICT (Information and Communication Technology) skills and relevant language teaching methodologies. Students will collaboratively create an e-learning portfolio containing digital exercises for use in their subsequent pedagogical practice.
This is a teacher-learner focused course. It is designed to meet the needs of both ESL/EFL teachers, who either are, or plan to be English teachers, and who, at the same time, realize their need to improve their command of English grammar. The course provides an overview of descriptive and prescriptive grammars, and the different reasons forwarded for teaching and learning grammar. In addition to examining formal rules of English syntax, authentic language is examined – including spoken and written language, and differences in grammar use in different registers. Regarding pedagogical issues, deductive and inductive presentations of grammar are considered, and ways in which grammar teaching can be incorporated into teaching speaking, reading and writing activities. Grammatical tasks as presented in integrated course books are critically reviewed, as are grammar course books. Comparisons are made between different treatments of specific grammar points in different materials, and students are encouraged to design their own contextualisaed grammar exercises, tasks and assessment accordingly.