1st Edition

Studying for a Masters in TESOL or Applied Linguistics A Student Reference and Practical Guide

By Douglas E. Bell Copyright 2023
    286 Pages 84 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    286 Pages 84 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Studying for a Masters in TESOL or Applied Linguistics provides the definitive go-to text for all students studying an MA in TESOL or Applied Linguistics, as well as closely related degrees such as an MA in English Language Teaching. Written in a clear and user-friendly format and drawing on authentic and highly relevant source materials with the inclusion of practical tasks and answer keys for self-correction throughout, this book demystifies each stage of the MA TESOL/MA Applied Linguistics journey.

    Covering practical programme components, such as lesson observation and teaching practice, this book helps the reader to develop the key skills required to successfully complete an MA including:

    • How to effectively manage your time

    • How to get the most out of your lectures

    • How to develop effective reading skills

    • How to become a better academic writer

    • How to deal with various types of assessments

    • How to deliver effective oral presentations

    Guiding students step by step through the process of how to choose, research and then write a successful dissertation, the book closes with guidance and tips for students on how to proceed after completing an MA in TESOL/Applied Linguistics. This book is therefore essential reading for those contemplating or undertaking an MA in either of these areas.


    Why this Book?

    1 Being an Effective Student in the Context of MA TESOL/Applied Linguistics


    1.1 What should I expect? What will others expect of me?

    1.2 Developing Effective Reading Strategies

    1.3 Planning Your Time

    1.4 Accessing Resources and Learning to Work Smart

    1.5 Identifying Sources of Support

    Additional Resources for Further Reading

    Chapter References


    2 Academic Speaking and Listening


    2.1 Contexts Involving Academic Speaking

    2.1.1 Academic Speaking in Groups and Seminars

    2.1.2 Academic Speaking in Oral Presentations

    2.2 Contexts Involving Academic Listening

    Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

    Resources for Further Reading


    3 Using Academic Sources


    3.1 Why Do I Need Academic Sources?

    3.2 Plagiarism and How to Avoid It

    3.3 Avoiding Other Common Forms of Academic Misconduct

    3.4 Paraphrasing

    3.5 Making Citations

    3.6 Direct Quotations

    3.6.1 A Few More Things to Be Aware Of and Pay Particular Attention To

    3.7 Bringing It All Together

    3.8 Compiling A Reference List or Bibliography

    3.9 Different Academic Style Conventions

    Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

    Resources for Further Reading


    4  Becoming A More Confident and Proficient Academic Writer


    4.1 Fundamental Features of Effective Academic Writing

    4.1.1 The Importance of Clear Structuring

    4.1.2 Use of the First Person

    4.1.3 Hedging and the Avoidance of Sweeping Generalisations

    4.1.4 Use of Appropriate Academic Lexis

    4.1.5 Supporting All Claims with Evidence

    4.2 Building A Coherent Academic Argument

    Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

    Resources for Further Reading


    5 Dealing with Different Types of Written Coursework Assignments


    5.1 Dealing with Academic Essays

    5.1.1 ‘Compare and Contrast’ Type Essays

    5.1.2 ‘Discussing a Quotation’ Type Essays

    5.1.3 ‘Critically Evaluate’ Type Essays

    5.2 Dealing with Linguistic Analysis Tasks

    5.2.1 Which Dimensions of a Task Should I Analyze?

    5.2.2 What Form Should a Textual Analysis Take?

    5.3 Dealing with Reflective Writing Tasks

    5.3.1 The Difference Between Description and Critical Reflection

    5.4 Marking Criteria

    Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

    Resources for Further Reading


    6 Teaching Observation and Practice


    6.1 The Relationship Between Theory and Practice

    6.2 Teaching Observation

    6.2.1 Observation Tools and Mechanisms

    6.2.2 The Observation Cycle

    6.3 Lesson Planning

    6.3.1 Different Conceptualizations of Lessons

    6.3.2 Different ‘Ingredients’ in Lessons

    6.3.3 Approaches to Writing Lesson Plans

    6.4 Teaching Practice

    6.4.1 Peer Micro-Teaching

    6.4.2 Team Teaching/Teaching Your Own Class

    6.5 The Importance of Critical Reflection

    Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

    Resources for Further Reading


    7 Planning Your Dissertation


    7.1 Choosing A Suitable Topic

    7.1.1 Where Do I Begin?

    7.1.2 How Should I Manage My Time?

    7.2 Deciding on an Appropriate Research Paradigm

    7.2.1 Understanding Ontology and Epistomology

    7.2.2 Quantitative or Qualitative?

    7.2.3 Mixed Methods

    7.3 Completing a Formal Proposal

    7.4 What to Expect from your Supervisor

    7.4.1 Some Tips for Getting the Most out of the Supervisor-Supervisee Relationship

    Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

    Resources for Further Reading


    8 Writing Up Your Dissertation Part I


    8.1 Dissertation Structure and Length

    8.1.1 Rhetorical Purpose

    8.1.2 The Importance of Effective Signposting

    8.2 Writing Chapter 1: The Introduction

    8.3 Writing Chapter 2: The Literature Review

    8.4 Writing Chapter 3: The Methodology

    8.4.1 Quantitative Forms of Research Methodology

    8.4.2 Qualitative Forms of Research Methodology

    8.4.3 Approaches to Data Coding

    8.4.4 Ethical Considerations

    8.4.5 Reflexivity

    8.4.6 Some Closing Reminders

    Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

    Resources for Further Reading


    9 Writing Up Your Dissertation Part II


    9.1 Writing Chapter 4: Results

    9.1.1 Presenting Quantitative Results

    9.1.2 Presenting Qualitative Results

    9.2 Writing Chapter 5: Discussion

    9.3 Writing Chapter 6: Conclusion

    9.3.1 A Note on Summarising

    9.3.2 Acknowledging Strengths and Limitations

    9.3.3 Recommendations for Future Action

    9.4 Beginnings: Acknowledgements and Abstracts

    9.5 Endings: Appendices

    9.6 Final Considerations

    9.7 Proofreading

    Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

    Resources for Further Reading


    10 Life Beyond Your Masters


    10.1 Going on to Further Study

    10.1.1 Doing a PhD or an EdD

    10.1.2 Doing Other Qualifications

    10.2 Going Back to Work

    10.2.1 Updating Your CV

    10.2.2 Jobs Using TESOL and Applied Linguistics

    10.2.3 The Traditional Job Search vs The Creative Job Search

    10.2.4 Working in the Higher Education Sector

    10.3 Continuing Professional Development

    10.3.1 Publishing Your Dissertation

    10.3.2 Presenting at Conferences

    10.3.3 Finding Your Professional Niche

    10.4 Closing Thoughts

    Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

    Resources for Further Reading

    A List of Common Journals for TESOL and Applied Linguistics

    A List of Useful Organisations



    Douglas E. Bell is currently Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) where he also directs and teaches on the MA TESOL. He has been involved in English and Modern Foreign Language teaching since the late 1980s and has a particular professional interest in TESOL, ESP and EAP.

    This book will be extremely useful for students embarking on a TESOL or Applied Linguistics master’s degree. It discusses areas and expectations which new students may not be familiar with and, importantly, gives sound advice on how to deal with them. I will be recommending it to my students!

    Brian Paltridge, Professor of TESOL, University of Sydney, Australia