Taught course

English Language Teaching

University of Northampton · Northampton Business School

Entry requirements

Min. 2.2 Hons UK degree or equivalent. IELTS at 7.0 (with 6.5 in all bands) or equivalent - Non-native English speaker’s preferred, English speakers reviewed on an individual basis.

Months of entry


Course content

English is a global language used daily in business, education and the media by many people for whom it is a second rather than a ‘native’ language. This programme, based in the Business School, has been designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills to be an effective teacher of the language. Applying the insights of linguistic research into how English is learned and used in a wide variety of situations, the programme with its practical focus (including guided teaching practice) will help you become a resourceful, reflective and confident professional in the field of English language teaching.

Your career in the English language teaching profession could lead to working in state or private schools, helping young children or mature adults develop their language skills; you may teach one student or classes of fifty or more. This programme will encourage you to develop your own views about what will work practically in different situations, based on a critical understanding of well-tried and more novel approaches to English language teaching. In the first two terms, you will be given the chance to try out your ideas and hone your skills in structured teaching practice.

Two strands run throughout the programme. You will analyse the social and psychological factors which affect language use and learn to identify specific features and structures which characterise the use of English in different modes, for example in conversation, in different written genres, in public discourse. You will critically consider how this body of knowledge about the way the language works has influenced and transformed approaches and methodologies in English language teaching over the past few decades.

Throughout the programme there is an emphasis on preparing you to become an effective practitioner. You will explore a range of influential approaches to language teaching such as Communicative Language Teaching, The Lexical Approach and The Natural Way, reflecting on the typical classroom activities and management issues associated with each approach and examining the theories and research findings that underpin them. Understanding the processes involved in language learning excites considerable controversy among researchers and you will be introduced to the ideas of key figures in these debates, including Chomsky, Halliday, Langacker and Tomasello. As English language teaching is constantly evolving, it is essential that you are able to adapt to new learning environments, technologies and changing learner needs. You will evaluate existing learning materials as well as designing and developing your own which you can pilot with your colleagues and in your teaching sessions.

An important aspect of teaching is assessing and testing your students. You will be introduced to a variety of assessment methodologies, focusing on the purpose and function of testing in different contexts, before going on to create, pilot and reflect on your own tests.

An effective practitioner will continually reflect on all aspects of their teaching. You will learn about research methods in preparation for engaging in your own research project. Your project will have a practical application, perhaps involving a case study of learner development or an investigation of lesson delivery. This programme will equip you with skills as a researcher as well as an active participant in the academic community sharing good practice.

Semester 1

From the beginning of the programme, you will be introduced to some of the main themes in linguistics and their application to approaches and methodologies in English language teaching. Whilst gaining an understanding of the social factors – including class, locality, networks, gender – that influence variation in language use and language change, you will also study the work of psycholinguists into the mental processes underlying language use and learning. In considering how linguists have sought to uncover and describe regularities and patterns in discourse, you will develop your own capacity for language analysis and be able to exploit those skills in critiquing materials, in planning and delivering lessons. You will put into practice the skills you have acquired by teaching two lessons to local groups of students learning English as a foreign language.

Semester 2

You will examine how different theoretical approaches both to learning and the description of language inform explicitly or implicitly current teaching materials in a variety of media and consider how you can most effectively utilise those resources. You will be able to participate in the long-running debate about the role of assessment and testing in language learning and measuring language competence. There will be a very practical focus; as well as creating a portfolio of your own learning materials, you will devise and pilot targeted assessments or tests.

Semester 2 and 3

As the culmination of your learning experience, you will conduct a research project. With the support of your tutors, you will select an appropriate focus and methodology to carry out a piece of primary or secondary research in an area of personal and professional interest.

Throughout the programme, you will have opportunities to present your ideas, work and research to others, in formal and informal contexts so that you will be a confident and skilled teacher and professional fully prepared to engage in the academic discussions that enliven the world of English language teaching.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Study at Northampton
01604 735500