Focussed Teaching Portfolio

The TESOL Focussed Teaching Portfolio enables you to focus on an area of particular interest to you and to explore it from multiple perspectives. Example areas of study are CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), CMC (Computer Mediated Communication), Young Learners, Discourse Analysis and ESP (English for Specific Purposes).

Unlike a dissertation, where you are expected to focus on a very specific topic and carry out a research project, the Focussed Teaching Portfolio takes a broader approach. You will be expected to view a topic from a variety of angles which might include classroom practice, learner perspectives, materials design or linguistic analysis. You will submit a variety of smaller pieces of work to the Portfolio which will be drawn together by a commentary. The advantage of the Portfolio is that it is built around your specific interests and enables you to combine theory, research and teaching practice.

Unique features

While academically rigorous, the MSc in TESOL is aimed at producing informed and well-practised teachers of English rather than academics. Other TESOL Masters degrees expect you to produce a lengthy dissertation as the completion of your studies. Uniquely, the Aberdeen TESOL MSc instead expects you to produce a Focussed Teaching Portfolio. The Portfolio develops your abilities by encouraging teaching planning, observation and reflection.

Work-based projects

You will have the opportunity both to observe and take part in language teaching in the University’s Language Centre. This will give you experience and a greater understanding of the diversity of language teaching methods and styles found within the profession.

Teaching staff

Professor Robert McColl Millar convenes the MSc in TESOL. He has several years’ experience of teaching English as a Second Language to university level students. He is Deputy Head of, and Director of Teaching and Learning for, the School of Language & Literature.

Dr Agni Connor has extensive experience of training TESOL teachers. Prior to coming to Aberdeen, she contributed to TESOL teacher training programmes at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Limerick and the Silesian University. Apart from her expertise in teacher training, she specialises in Second Language Acquisition, and more specifically in learning English as a second language in the classroom and in a naturalistic setting.

Julie Bray is Director of the University Language Centre. She has over 25 years’ experience in TESOL, having held positions in both the public and private sector. This experience encompasses ESP and EAP course design, testing and assessment methods as well as academic management. She is particularly interested in teacher training and has been involved in a number of international training programmes, including programmes for Bangladeshi primary school teachers and Catalan CLIL teachers. She is currently involved in a programme working with university lecturers from the western provinces in China and to date has worked with over 160 Chinese lecturers. She sees these programmes as a mutual exchange of ideas based on a rationale that although good teaching is principled, those principles are determined by personal beliefs and the demands of local contexts.