MEd English Course Description
Language and Literature Education
Analyzing Literature and Language
Materials Design and Development
Teaching Oral Communication: Current Theories and Approaches
Historically, literature and language have not been dichotomous terms. “Literature” as a concept emerged in the fourteenth century and its latin root is littera denoting a letter of the alphabet. In this sense literature was tied to literacy or, more specifically, the ability to read. It was only later that literature became connected to the concept of taste involving the ability to read particular kinds of text and the discipline emerged in distinction from fields of language and linguistics. In this course, we seek to examine historically the disciplinary schism between English language and English literature and explore socio-cultural, linguistic and textual theories advocating an integrated approach to English language teaching. In the process, we aim to problematize the dichotomies between reading and writing, literacy and “literariness”, the functional and the aesthetic. This course introduces participants to the study and analysis of styles in canonical and non-canonical literary texts, as well as other similarly creative texts such as advertisements, using fundamental linguistic and literary tools. It is an interdisciplinary course spanning the borders of English language and English literature, which are presently framed in the school curriculum as two subjects even though they are mutually constitutive fields of inquiry. As education expands globally and exponentially, it is imperative that both language teachers and literature teachers promote learners who are able to systematically identify and critically evaluate or appreciate the qualities of language used for particular effects in a plethora of creative texts which exist around them. Participants in this course will have opportunities to examine and describe the forms of texts, interpret their communicative functions and offer evaluations of the textual effects created, supported by language-based evidence. The course will deal with principles and techniques in the evaluation, adaptation and development of English language teaching-learning materials for school-age learners. It will prepare students to understand the principles of materials design and think about the place of materials in course planning and teachers’ role in evaluating and adapting published materials, and selecting and designing supplementary materials. Systematic procedures for materials evaluation will be introduced and students will source, analyse and consider how to exploit supplementary materials that fulfill curricular objectives. Finally, since it is essential that teachers know how to design materials, students will be guided to develop their own materials for the teaching of language systems and skills, and for the promotion of higher-order thinking skills. Concepts such as differentiation, interdisciplinarity and learner involvement in materials selection and creation will be discussed. The aim of the course is to introduce contemporary theoretical notions and pedagogical frameworks and approaches related to teaching listening and speaking such as the metacognitive, cognitive and social processes involved in oral communication, the principles and procedures for evaluating listening and oral competence, and the incorporation of multimodal and literary texts. You will explore how to apply the ideas covered and discussed in this course in your own teaching context, which are also relevant to, and can be adapted for, the teaching of other languages in both first and second language contexts.
MEd English Course Description
Language Assessment in the Classroom and Beyond
Teaching Grammar and Writing
Reading in a Multimodal Age
Creative Writing in the Classroom
Literature, Culture and Education
This module aims to teach theories and applications of language assessment in classrooms and beyond. Students will be introduced to (1) fundamental concepts, principles, and issues in language assessment; (2) approaches to and procedures for designing and constructing language tests, and (3) fundamental concepts in quantitative data analysis with specific focus on classroom applications. The module presents language assessment and data analysis in a pragmatic and easy-to-understand way and addresses some of the perpetuating misconceptions concerning language assessment. This course introduces participants to contemporary approaches to teaching writing and contextualised functional models for teaching grammar. Participants will also develop principles and procedures for evaluating current practices in the teaching of grammar and writing. This course aims to introduce participants to various theories in the teaching of reading from early to adolescent literacy. Students will explore skills-based instruction and constructivist approaches, cognitive and sociocultural theories of reading, and discuss the implications of these ways of thinking for their classroom teaching and assessment. Furthermore, students will explore what it means to read in a multimodal age, and examine the reading and viewing of visual and other multimodal texts. In this course students will be required to interrogate how “the contemporary” is informed by the dilution of distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘mass’ culture, and how popular texts are highly political signifiers of the cultural conditions in which they are formulated. It will focus on topics such as narrative, genre, representation, globalization, new media and advertising, branding and celebrity culture. Creative writing, whether in “fiction” or “non-fiction,” is part and parcel of the English language curriculum in Singapore and around the world. The course will engage teachers of English language and literature in the very processes of creative writing that they would have their own students engage in. Practical experience in, along with theoretical and research knowledge of, the craft of writing, can help teachers reflect critically on their own pedagogical approaches in the composition classroom. This course attends to the theory and practice of English education in relation to literary studies, raising questions that resist simple answers: How are the aims and objectives of English studies bound up with the processes and practices of a given culture? How are English Literature curricula and pedagogy implicated in the ideological structures of formal schooling? To what extent should traditional notions of literature education change amid the realities of globalization in the digital age? How do English curricula valorize and/or marginalize students’ and teachers’ cultural identities on the basis of language, race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality? Are English teachers complicit in privileging the cultural paradigms of a “western” literary education? How can literature education become a vehicle of cultural and political critique? These questions will be addressed in relation to the challenges of critically performing and conforming to the Literature Education curricula in Singapore schools.
MEd English Course Description
Literary Theory and Teaching
This is a graduate course on acquiring knowledge and understanding of as well as how to teach the works attributed to the poet and dramatist William Shakespeare and a number of his contemporaries. Students will be introduced to a representative but also canon challenging range of Shakespeare texts complemented by a range of scholarly and pedagogical texts with the goals of making teachers more informed, better readers and teachers of Shakespeare texts. Each week each Shakespeare text will be taught through the lens of a particular literary theory. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to choose appropriate texts to teach their students, as well as choosing and planning appropriate strategies for introducing local students of any level to Shakespeare. Teaching involves teacher guided but active student lead seminars, each week by a different student, culminating in a symposium concerning new ideas for teaching Shakespeare in new and inspiring ways in the local context. Students will have a range of opportunities to think critically, share and debate ideas, and pedagogical strategies, through class discussion, group work, pair work and online activities. Central to this course are questions of power and identity in relation to the aims and outcomes of education. How are different critical approaches to literary criticism implicated in the ethics and politics of schooling? What ideological orientations underpin different “modern” and “postmodern” approaches to literary criticism? What kinds of subjectivities are privileged and/or marginalized in each of these approaches? How might critical engagements with the theory and practice of literature education inform and even reform teachers’ pedagogical practices in the classroom? To what extent might an understanding of critical theory call for a redefinition of the “desired outcomes” of literature education in Singapore? This is a graduate course on World Literature. The module surveys world literature from Homer to Azar Nafisi with an emphasis on different writing traditions and literary culture. Students will be introduced to a range of literature with the goal of acquiring skills in close reading of narrative prose and poetry, to compare literature from different historical periods and social contexts, and to increase understanding of other literary cultures besides their own. The focus of the course is on texts rather than theory, giving students an opportunity to enhance their critical engagement with literature. Upon successful completion of the course, students should know something about the major authors and forms of Western and world literature from the beginnings until the twentieth century. Teaching involves a mixture of lectures on key authors and texts, and seminar that will include discussion, analysis of texts, student presentations and reading and writing exercises geared to developing practical understanding of literary techniques and issues relevant to literature in the period. Students are encouraged to think critically and to share their ideas with their peers in class, weekly short writings (online discussions), and group work.
MEd English Course Description
Literature and Film
Young Adult Literature in the English Classroom
Aims and Approaches to Designing Literature Curriculum and Assessment
This course seeks to examine the interface between film and literature. Multimodality is a daily reality for our students and is becoming increasingly more prevalent. The present curriculum does not prepare our students sufficiently on how to study and analyse multimodal texts. Visual and Media Literacies are also key aspects of 21st Century Skills and Literacies. Although Viewing and Representing have been included in the English Language syllabus, there is little emphasis on these two skills in terms of pedagogy and assessment. Film is the most popular medium today and the closest visual representation of literary works. The course is structured to develop from pictures to graphic novels to film. The movies selected have a literary slant including adaptations or the use of literary texts. Students will work in collaborative groups as well as complete individual assignments. Towards the late twentieth century, the boundaries of the Literature curriculum have increasingly expanded and challenged the dominance of the Western Canon. The democratization of Literature education has meant that it is no longer possible to organize the curriculum around a narrow range of literary texts without considering new, emergent concepts and genres encapsulated by terms such as postmodern, multicultural, transnational, and cosmopolitan. The focus of this course is on Young Adult (YA) Literature and ways of reading and teaching such texts in the English Language and Literature classroom. This course explores traditional and contemporary philosophies that guide curriculum and assessment approaches in the Literature classroom. We will explore the principles behind curriculum and assessment practices that contribute to learning in the literature classroom. Topics that will be covered include inquiry-based learning, discussion-based learning, text choice, portfolio assessment, writing in the literature classroom, and formative learning.