This module looks at major theories of young learners’ cognitive, social and emotional development. You will see how theories of mother tongue acquisition inform understanding of how young learners acquire foreign languages. You will look at the relationship between curriculum and classroom, develop a range of teaching, assessment and observation procedures for young learners and consider their effects on teacher/ learner relationships.

This module carries 30 credits

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" (The tutor) deftly handled my and other participants' responses to draw out our contexts, experiences, and to add to our learning. This happened through all the units, and for the tutorials and assignments too. "

Student, 2020

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Location: Norwich
Experience: Degree. Language teaching experience
Language Level: B2/C1 or higher
Course dates:
Available online only in 2024
Go to online module
Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or MA awarded by University of Chichester
Course Length: 2 weeks
Course fees: £1210
Accommodation (2 weeks):
Homestay (half-board): £546
Residential (half-board): £616
Residential (self-catering): £546
Minimum age: 18
Max class size: 16
Free social and cultural programme
Cross-curricular and cultural workshops
Specialist ELT Library
Complementary eLearning platform

Course content

Major theories of the last 80 years relating to young learners’ cognitive, social and emotional development, and to their acquisition of the mother tongue
How pedagogical foreign language teaching movements of the last 50 years inform understanding of how young learners acquire a foreign language
A range of approaches and methods for teaching English as a foreign language to young learners
The inter-relationship between curriculum and classroom, with reference to broad educational objectives, language syllabus, methodology, materials and assessment
A range of classroom procedures and their effects on teacher/ learner relationships including the development of learning strategies
Assessment procedures relevant for a range of young learner contexts
Techniques and procedures for carrying out limited classroom observation

Assessment (written after completion of the course and supervised at distance by tutors):

A portfolio (50%) containing TWO of the following three options:

  1. A report on a limited classroom observation task, complete with lesson transcript extracts, lesson plan and materials (1,500 words or equivalent)
  2. Analysis of a self-designed lesson plan, to include lesson plan, materials, and explanation of how the teacher would provide support and challenge in the lesson (1,500 words or equivalent)
  3. Explanation and analysis of a tool designed for classroom-based assessment, to include rationale, assessment procedure, and assessment materials (1,500 words or equivalent)

A written assignment of 3,000 words (50%) or equivalent on an aspect of teaching languages to young learners chosen for its relevance to your teaching context and experience. You should provide evidence in this assignment of your ability to relate theory to practice.


Assessment (written after completion of the course and supervised at distance by tutors):

Assessment will be based on three pieces of work, weighted as follows:

Assignment 1 (50%):

The production of a unit of materials together with a theoretical rationale justifying the principles and procedures of the materials.

Assignment 2 (50%):

A portfolio containing the following:

a) A criterion-referenced evaluation of two units of materials in relation to a specified context

b) A criterion-referenced adaptation of a unit of materials for a specified context

Sample Timetable

Further Information

Specific course content comes from feedback you and other participants give us through pre-course questionnaires, identifying your needs and priorities.

Time will be built into the course for reflection and for you to consider how to adapt ideas from the course to your classroom in your own professional contexts.

NILE offers homestay accommodation with carefully selected hosts and residential accommodation at the University of East Anglia. NILE’s dedicated student welfare team can be reached 24 hours a day.

All NILE courses involve a significant element of English language improvement and/or the development of language awareness.

MA Module Leader: Małgosia Tetiurka

Małgosia TetiurkaMałgosia is a lecturer and teacher trainer at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. She has been teaching English for nearly thirty years. She has taught every age and level, but has always particularly enjoyed teaching children.

For the last fifteen years, Malgosia has also been sharing her experience as an in-service teacher trainer, materials writer and conference presenter. She has worked with teachers in many countries including Croatia, Lithuania, Russia, Estonia and Ireland. She is also a Cambridge ESOL Oral Examiner for all proficiency levels.