Distance students are expected to study for 12-15 hours per week. They communicate with staff and each other online, through e-mail and Blackboard (our Virtual Learning Environment). Assessment is by assignment and two examinations, which students arrange to take in their country of residence. All materials needed to pass the course (Taught Track) are provided in the form of specially written module materials (with tasks for students to complete), core textbooks and Module Readers. Dissertation Track students need access to a good English language teaching library at this stage of their study.
Students are given an up-to-date knowledge of principles and issues in areas of importance to language learning and assessment, and investigate their practical implications. In addition, for those who opt for the Dissertation Track, the dissertation (with its Research Methods module) provides them with the opportunity to pursue a particular topic of interest at a greater depth, and to gain research skills which will benefit them if they go on to doctoral studies or in professional investigations.Thus students receive a thorough grounding that will help them to develop their career as a teacher, trainer, researcher or manager.
The MAELT course allows students some freedom to suit their own needs, but with a shared foundation of compulsory core modules. The latter combine with option modules which may be selected from a range of available subjects within the School. A special feature of the course is that it has two tracks: one with dissertation (referred to as the 'Dissertation Track'), and the other with modules in place of the dissertation (the 'Taught Track'). In addition, there is a campus-based version of the Taught Track and Dissertation Track permitting study entirely away from Reading, or a combination of distance and campus-based study. A separate course specification is available for the campus-based course.
The compulsory modules are divided into three areas: English language description, language teaching/learning, and (for Dissertation Track) research. The English language description modules comprise the first three modules studied, followed by two language learning and teaching modules. The research area comprises a research design and basic statistical methods module and the dissertation, of 15,000 words, on a topic in the field of English language teaching, broadly defined. Research for, and the writing of, the dissertation take place in one year, typically, at the end of the course. Students need access to a good English language teaching library in order to complete the dissertation.
The option modules cover a wide range of pure and applied areas (with an emphasis on the latter) and, together with the dissertation, provide flexibility and the opportunity for specialisation in the greater part of the course.
Students must choose 3 option modules (each of 20 credits) if following the Dissertation Track, and 6 option modules (each of 20 credits) if following the Taught Track, to make a total of 180 credits when combined with the other course modules and the dissertation (where relevant).
Modules are listed in the sequence on which they are studied in the first year:
-English in context
-Pedagogic phonetics and phonology
-Second language learning principles
-Language curriculum design
-Research design & dissertation (Dissertation Track only)
-Dissertation Track - 3 modules from the following list; Taught Track - 6 modules from the following list:
-English for specific purposes
-Management in English language teaching
-Spoken language (listening & speaking)
-Teaching English to young learners
-The teaching and learning of vocabulary
-Written language (reading & writing)