Today I’m going to tell you about my school and program of study. My school is the School of Education and the program is MA TESOL & ICT.
There are about 100 PG students in the School of Education, with some of the programs of study being MA in TESOL, TESOL & ICT, ICT & Education, TESOL for Young Learner, TESOL Teacher Education (if interested, you can have a look at these and other programs offered by the School of Education by following the link provided below):
There are 3 compulsory modules in the program:
a) Critical Study
b) Learning and Teaching in TESOL
c) Investigating language for TESOL
and a choice of optional ones (all offered in the 2nd semester):
-Design and Evaluation of Web-based Learning Environments
-e-Learning: Principles and Practices
-Investigating Practice in the English Language Classroom
-Issues in English for Academic Purposes
-Corpora in TESP
-Language Learning and Teaching with ICT - Online
You can study any of these closer by accessing the program catalogue; what I’d like to do today is to share with you some of my impressions about what these courses are like and what is expected from the students.
Both Learning and Teaching in TESOL and Investigating language for TESOL are lecture courses taught by a number of different professors. The first one gives an overview of different methods that have been practised in ELT over the last century (e.g., Natural Approach, Audio-lingualism, CLT, TBL etc). Parts of this course are quite familiar to you from your programs of study at Russian universities and colleges. However, all of them are discussed in the context of current research in the corresponding fields. The second one discusses different aspects of the language, such as pragmatics, discourse, grammar, lexis, register and genre etc. What makes this course interesting for me is that again it is grounded in their discussion in research journals, giving you a sense of currency.
In addition, the university offers Academic Skills classes which focus on different aspects of writing in the academic environment. So far, we have covered such topics as product and process approaches to writing, how to interpret the title of your assignment, how to structure it, what criteria are used to assess it, how to deal with references and examples and how to find your own voice in your work. These might seem simple, but I believe that these are essential for successful study.
Have you thought about that back home we often ask students to do things without giving them enough support for it? Make a presentation, write a report or prepare a book review are good examples. Some people say that university education presupposes you becoming more independent and doing things on your own. Yes, I fully agree but first students need to receive some help to acquire the necessary level of autonomy. I’d very much welcome your opinions and comments about this. Really, how should we approach these issues to make the process of study more beneficial for our learners?