The TESOL pathway includes six taught modules, which combine one compulsory research module, three core TESOL modules, one TESOL professional option, and one option selected from any option within the wider MA in Education pool.
In addition, the MA includes a dissertation which is equivalent to three taught modules.
Compulsory Research modules:
Researching Education, Childhood and Language enables you to develop knowledge of a range of research approaches, methods and techniques in education more broadly, and language more specifically. You will also have an opportunity to prepare a small-scale research project of your own, and trial research instruments, in preparation for the dissertation.
The dissertation gives you the opportunity to specialise in a topic of your choice. It is supported by dissertation workshops and individual supervision, and leads to an extended piece of work which includes primary research on a focus of your choice, and critical engagement with the research literature. An assessed research proposal forms part of the 'gateway' to the dissertation process, and leads to the allocation of a research supervisor to support you in the study process.
Three Compulsory TESOL modules:
Language Acquisition and Development – Principles and Practice aims to provide you with a thorough grounding in the theoretical models of both first and second/foreign language acquisition and with psycholinguistic theories of learning and skills acquisition. By the end of this module, you will have reflected on the relevance of different kinds of theoretical knowledge of language learning to your own perceptions of teaching and learning in the classroom, and explored how these theories might have practical impact on learner focused classroom practice.
Descriptions of English explores the linguistic description of English with a focus on ‘language in use’. The module looks at how our understanding of the English language relates to how we apply this knowledge in the classroom: what the teacher should ‘know’ about language, what the learner should ‘know’, and how classroom materials such as pedagogic grammars and course books approach this.
For the third, TESOL students should choose one of the following:
ELT Changing Methodologies is designed to give the TESOL practitioner an engagement with some of the key debates current in the profession, such as World Englishes, the impact of corpus on language teaching, and current understandings of the learning process.
Language Teaching: Learning and Creativity is designed to give the TESOL practitioner a foundation in core principles for the language learning classroom, such as the teaching of grammar, vocabulary, social and cultural pragmatics, and the four language skills.
Optional modules - students need to select two option modules of which at least one needs to be one of the following three 'TESOL options': A selection of the modules listed below will be offered each year:
Teaching English for Specific Purposes - (academic and occupational). This module builds on your knowledge of ELT, with a more specific focus on accommodating the needs of learners working in specific contexts (English for Specific Purposes - ESP), such as learning for academic or occupational purposes. The module covers the techniques commonly used in ESP for analysing and matching learner needs to the requirements of their target language context. A variety of ESP approaches to syllabus design, materials development and teaching skills are discussed, with reflection on how such approaches would best inform the needs of learners in specific contexts.
Multilingual Learners - The module focuses on children in English-speaking schools whose first language and culture is not English. It draws on current practice, research and case studies of schools and learners, and examples of current policy and practice in EMI and EAL contexts. The module is designed for the teacher aiming to enhance the learning experience and environment of the multilingual child, and make a difference to policy and practice.
ELT Materials Development - This module explores different modes in which materials are generated for learners, and engages with professional dialogue about the value and effectiveness of teaching resources. You will engage in small-scale market research and materials design projects and will connect with real-world projects in the ELT publishing industry.
One Option module can also be taken from the main MA in Education programme - these modules may include:
- Developing MA Literacies
- Learning and Development in Childhood
- Diversity and Achievement
As our courses are reviewed regularly, the list of modules you choose from may vary from the ones shown here.
Teaching and learning
Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, student and staff-led seminars, and project work. Teaching, learning and assessment draw on the different backgrounds, experience and knowledge of participants, and encourage critical reflection.
Teaching style is highly participatory, and engages you in workshop activities, online discussion, peer evaluation, presentations and research projects, with students drawing on their professional experience, home culture and language.
Campus students are encouraged to meet fortnightly in self-run sessions to follow up class readings and tasks and involve their online peers in these discussions through Skype, Facebook or online discussion.
The programme is supported by a full online ‘virtual learning environment’ which includes readings, discussions, session materials, peer support for assignments, and opportunities for students on campus and online to share professional concerns and debates.
Approach to assessment
All assessment tasks are designed to connect with the teaching contexts of students, so you can draw on your own classrooms and learners, and use your work to improve your practice.
Assessments are supported by online question and answer discussions; presentations of work in progress with tutor and peer feedback; and/or formative tasks with detailed feedback.
Each course module is assessed separately and is based on coursework such as individual essays, seminar presentations, reports, portfolios, investigative research and group work.
There is a resource Developing MA Literacies, designed to support your transition to MA teacher: researcher. This can be taken either as a fully credited module option, or audited as a support resource alongside your academic studies.
The School of Education has a research group in Applied Linguistics to which all TESOL students are invited. This includes talks from MA former students, as well as practitioners and researchers of interest in the TESOL field.
You will have the opportunity to volunteer as English language mentors for Oxford-based asylum seekers.
For international students there is a support service to help you with your academic writing.
There is also support for students with special needs such as dyslexia or visual impairment.
There is the option of a one-week self-funded study visit to the Gambia in June of the study year. This trip can be included as a case study for one of the optional modules.
Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, each module involving approximately 200 hours of student input and approximately 24 hours of staff contact as follows:
- Campus modules are taught on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays depending on your choice of options and the specific semester. Part-time and full-time TESOL students study together and sessions combine staff and student led seminars, group work, shared online dialogue with distance students, reading circles and private study time.
- Distance modules are taught in one week study blocks with tasks, discussions, readings and assessments all conducted online, including dialogue with campus based MA students and tutors.
- Semesters for both campus and online students are usually 12 weeks long, and in two blocks: September to December, and January to May. For full time students, the period between May and August is generally dedicated to dissertation supervision and study.
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published
on the website. For more information, please visit our
Changes to programmes