An annotated transcript of my Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics coursework:
33000 The Nature of Language We were introduced to language and linguistics, including concepts such as phonetics, phonology, morphology, pragmatics, semantics, and syntax. We studied Halliday’s Functional Grammar, which seems quite prominent in Australian Applied Linguistics programs but less so in other countries. We also explored the role of languages and language varieties in society, and the relationships between cultures and languages. This course also provided my first introduction to the concept of World Englishes.
33001 Principles of Second Language Learning This course made us conscious of the distinctions between language acquisition and language learning, as well as between learning processes for native language and additional languages. We learned about theories regarding how additional languages are learned or acquired, including Krashen’s ideas about comprehensible input. We delved more deeply into language analysis using phonology, morphology, syntax, discourse and pragmatics. We also examined variability in learning through factors such as learner age, strategy use, affect, and so on.
33002 Methodology in Teaching a Second Language Here we got an overview of the development of second language instructional methodology. We learned about methods such as grammar translation, audiolingual, communicative approaches, and other less-common methods. We then examined the constructs listening, speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary, and grammar as well as evaluating and designing approaches and tasks for teaching each. As someone who already had a few years experience teaching, this course helped me understand how many of the techniques I already used were situated within the theoretical background.
33003 Syllabus Design and Materials Writing This class looked at how to define what a syllabus is, at what kinds of bases or frameworks can be used to build syllabi, and at specific design examples. We learned about curriculum theory, and investigated how concepts such as proficiency, learner needs, and program goals influence syllabi. We examined some model syllabi and made the distinction between process and product oriented syllabi. Finally, we briefly studied language proficiency assessment as an element of course design.
33004 Bilingualism and Multiculturalism The concepts of bilingualism (or multilingualism) and multiculturalism were explored, including the difficulties in clearly defining either of them and also how they are linked. We also looked at features of bilingual speech and measurements, patterns for becoming bilingual, and cognitive aspects. In addition, we discussed social issues related to the promotion or discouragement of bilingualism and patterns of bilingual education. Finally, we considered multiculturalism and public policy, particularly as manifested in Australian Education and languages policies.
33006 Computer-Assisted Language Learning This class acquainted us with Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) methodology and research. It also delved into how computer technology was influencing communication and information processing. We spent considerable time examining and evaluating examples of, and learned about the design and development of, CALL materials. Additionally, we looked at how computers might be used in assessment, an area that was just beginning to develop.
33007 Language Testing Principles and techniques in testing language proficiency were introduced in this class. We examined different types language tests and purposes for language testing. We also learned about methods for, and issues in, scoring and interpreting testing data. Key concepts such as reliability and validity were explained. Then we spent time developing and trialing instruments for testing reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, and vocabulary, as well as a short questionnaire.
33008 Directed Study in Teaching Second Language This course was an individualized project-based course. My project was a review of literature related to gender differences in language learning styles and language learning strategy use. This review ultimately resulted in a published paper in which I concluded that research is suggested into why gender-based differences in strategy use are observed, to what extent observed differences are physiological, to what extent they are socio-cultural, and what sorts of strategy training would be useful for most learners.
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