MA Education (Masters of Arts in Education)

Language and Literacy specialism

Specialism leader: Professor Debbie Myhill 

Delivery: blended learning or distance learning

Duration: two to three years part-time

The ability to read and write well is fundamental to a learner’s prospects and ultimate career ambitions. This specialism will help you better understand the requirements of your students and to develop strategies to improve their language and literacy skills and assessment outcomes.

The syllabus may include:

  • Context and issues  - research in reading and writing; learning to read and write; the role of phonics in decoding text; the role of comprehension; international reading standards; writing in the language curriculum; developing as a writer

  • Children’s literature - the place of picture books in reading development; the history of literature written for children; classic children’s literature; fiction for the primary school; teen fiction; non-fiction texts; contemporary authors; reading for pleasure

  • Comprehension - comprehension strategies; analysing students’ comprehension levels; developing comprehension skills

  • Reluctant readers - reading and motivation; understanding readers’ perspectives; gender differences in attitudes to reading; and supporting reluctant readers

  • The writing process - theories of writing; students’ composing processes; the writing process in the curriculum; re-thinking classroom processes

  • Creative writing - defining creative writing; professional writers’ perspectives; the creative writing workshop; developing students’ critical responses to writing; assessment

  • The grammar-writing relationship - the historical grammar debate; prescriptive and descriptive grammar; functionally-oriented grammar; teaching grammar to support writing development

  • Writing conversations - the importance of talk in the teaching of writing; generation, formulation, revision; managing effective classroom talk about writing; supporting meta-linguistic conversations.

You must take 180 credits in total to qualify with an MA qualification.

To qualify with the degree title MA Education: Language and Literacy, you will need to take a minimum of 60 credits in the specialist area, usually chosen from the taught modules below, and write a dissertation on a topic relating to this specialism.

 Compulsory dissertation module

Taught modules

CodeModulesDelivery  Credits 
EFPM321 Reading the world Distance learning or blended learning  30
EFPM318 Writing the future Distance learning or blended learning  30

Other modules

A further 60 credits can be chosen from our full range of modules

Prior learning and experience

If you are registering for the MA Education, you may be able to accredit a maximum of 90 credits as a result of the learning you have achieved through your certificated qualifications and/or experience. Find out more.

Flexible design

If you don’t wish to complete a full Masters programme, you can study modules individually with the option of building up credits towards a postgraduate qualification. Visit the Professional Development in Education pages for more information. 

Delivery: blended learning or distance learning

Duration: two to three years part-time

You can choose to be taught either through a combination of face-to-face teaching and tutoring, supported by online activities and resources, or entirely via distance learning. You will also engage in fieldwork to observe practice in reading and writing.

Assessment methods vary depending on the modules you choose and may include research reports, written assignments, project work, presentations and a portfolio of creative writing.

Facilities and support

Our blended learning modules include seminars held at St Luke’s Campus, which offers you an excellent range of specialist facilities including the UK’s largest Education library. You’ll be assigned a personal tutor and have access to module tutors via email and/or webinar or face-to-face tutorials. You’ll also have access to a range of support including lecture notes, presentations and reading materials through our online learning environment.

Research-led teaching

The specialism is aligned with the Centre for Research in Writing which brings together academic staff, students and practitioners with aim of generating new understandings about writing and the teaching of writing. 

This specialism is aimed principally at students with a BA/BEd/PGCE in Primary Education, a PGCE in Secondary English, or a PGCE in any secondary subject with high literacy demands. You will also normally need to be currently in a teaching post, or have access to an appropriate classroom setting for the school-based elements.