Credit-bearing modules

Develop your spoken and written communication skills as part of your degree.

The Writing and Language Skills Centre offers three credit-bearing modules:

  • Speaking and Interaction - identity, audience and power
  • Writing for Diverse Audiences - theory and practice
  • Transcultural Communication

Modules are of interest to visiting or exchange students (credit transfer to a home university should be possible in most cases) and 3rd year undergraduate students who wish to take this module as an elective outside of their programme.

Speaking and Interaction

Speaking and Interaction: identity, audience and power - (CED00002H)

TimetableSpring term, day and time to be confirmed

Hours per week: 3 hours x 8 weeks

Entry level: IELTS 6.5 and above (3rd year UG)

Credits: 10 credits (5 ECTS points for Erasmus students)

Apply to register

Module Aims

This module aims to deepen your knowledge of how sociocultural factors influence spoken discourse and the impact of spoken interventions in society. During the module you will explore Aristotle’s ideas of rhetoric and the Rhetorical Triangle, analyse paralinguistic features of communication and interaction, and critique different speech acts. As a result, the module will enhance your ability to speak out and interact successfully in different contexts, particularly when speaking in front of an unfamiliar audience or in a diverse group. With an emphasis on experiential learning, the module offers you multiple opportunities to connect theory with personal observations and to practise and critically reflect on your learning.

Module learning outcomes

Successful participants will be able to:

  • identify skills and strategies used by successful speakers by critically analysing spoken discourse and group interactions
  • adopt rhetorical strategies and paralinguistic features to fit the purpose of specific speech acts, audiences and contexts
  • participate confidently in group discussions and debates by handling challenges and disagreements with respect
  • present to an audience showing clear purpose and awareness of audience needs and by handling questions and challenges with skill and spontaneity
  • reflect critically on their own speaking and interactions and set personal development challenges.

Module content

The module runs for 8 weeks and consists of two face-to-face 90 minute sessions per week involving speaking activities and critical discussion based on texts, video clips and other materials sourced by you and your tutor. You will analyse different speech acts, paying particular attention to purpose, style and rhetoric. You will also reflect on this critical process and your own speaking performances and interactions in a weekly reflective journal. In addition to the practical sessions, you are expected to research independently; source material to discuss with your peers; share and critique exemplars of public speaking and interactions and prepare mini-presentations to give in class.

Assessment

Two oral assessment tasks + one written assessment task:

Assessment 1: Oral: timed group discussion, 20% of overall module mark
Submission (non-anonymous) Week 6

Assessment 2: Oral: 20 minute individual presentation, 40% of overall mark
Submission (non-anonymous) Week 10

Assessment 3: Written: 1500 word reflection, 40% of overall mark
Submission (anonymous) Week 1 of the following term


Formative support

  • Group discussions: peer and tutor feedback
  • Mini-presentations: peer and tutor feedback
  • Weekly reflective journal: ongoing written feedback by tutor

Suggested Reading

Andrew, D. T. (1996). Popular Culture and Public Debate. The Historical Journal, 39(2), 405-423.

Baxter, J. (ed.) (2006). Speaking Out: The Female Voice in Public Contexts. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bell, V. and Butler, J. (1999). On Speech, Race, and Melancholia: An Interview with Judith Butler. Theory, Culture and Society, 16(2), 163-174.

Fox, A. and Woolf, D. (2003). The Spoken Word: Oral Culture in Britain, 1500-1850. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Glenn, C. (1997). Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition from Antiquity Through the Renaissance. Carbondale, USA: Southern Illinois Press.

Glenn, C. (2004). Unspoken: A Rhetoric of Silence. Carbondale, USA: Southern Illinois Press.

Herrick, J. A. (2012). History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction. London: Routledge.

Hillis Miller, J. (2007). Performativity as Performance / Performativity as Speech Act: Derrida’s Special Theory of Performativity. South Atlantic Quarterly, 106(2), 219 – 235.

Jones, R. (2016). Spoken Discourse. London: Bloomsbury.

Writing for Diverse Audiences

Writing for Diverse Audiences - (CED00001H)

Timetable: Autumn term, Mondays 16.00- 17.30 and Wednesdays 16.00 - 17.30

Hours per week: 3 hours x 8 weeks (starting Week 3)

Entry level: IELTS 6.5 and above (3rd year UG)

Credits: 10 credits (5 ECTS points for Erasmus students)

Want to take the course but can't do it for credit? Eligible 3rd year UG and Erasmus students can take this module not-for-credit. Please email writing-skills-centre@york.ac.uk for more information.

Apply to register

Module Aims

This module will enhance your ability to present carefully constructed, focused writing appropriate to diverse audiences. During the module you will engage in analysis of genre and style for a range of contexts, examine rhetorical and linguistic devices and explore the use of English as an international lingua-franca. You will develop the skills necessary to identify effective writing and to employ effective writing strategies. This will provide a strong basis for you to reflect on your own academic writing process and contribute to your personal development as a highly-skilled writer.

Module learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  • recognise rhetorical devices and make appropriate rhetorical choices in writing to fit the purpose of the text and the target audience;
  • evaluate the role of English as a Lingua-franca in communicating effectively to diverse groups
  • analyse texts for ‘readability’ and identify possible areas for improvement to ensure texts are fit for purpose and audience;
  • critically analyse and select sources and data to use in written work and incorporate such sources into writing smoothly and accurately;
  • reflect on their writing practice, process and progress and set suitable self-development challenges
  • produce well-crafted, persuasive writing for diverse audiences.

Module content

The module runs for 8 weeks and consists of two face-to-face 90 minute sessions per week involving reading, critical discussion and writing based on texts and materials sourced by you and your tutor. You will analyse different texts paying particular attention to genre, purpose, style and rhetorical devices. You will then experiment with different strategies for writing yourself in order to build a ‘writing toolbox’. You will also reflect on this critical process and your approach to writing texts in a weekly reflective journal. In addition to the practical sessions, you are expected to research independently, source material to discuss with your peers, and write, share and critique exemplars of your own writing and the writing of others through peer feedback.

Assessment

Summative: two written summative assessment tasks:

Assessment 1: 1500 word reflection (50% final mark)
Submission (non-anonymous) Week 10

Assessment 2: 2000 word essay (50% final mark)
Submission (anonymous) Week 1 of the following term

Formative Support

  • Weekly reflective journal: ongoing written feedback by tutor
  • 500 word essay: verbal peer feedback in Week 6 + verbal and written feedback by tutor in Week 6 and 7

Suggested Reading

Cutts, M (2013) The Oxford Guide to Plain English, Oxford, OUP

Glenn, C. (1997). Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition from Antiquity Through the Renaissance. Carbondale, USA: Southern Illinois Press.

Herrick, J. A. (2012). History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction. London: Routledge.

Leith, S. (2012). You Talkin' to Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama. London: Profile Books.

Ramage, J.D., Bean, J.C., Johnson, J. (2016). Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings. USA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Risse, T. (2000) “Let’s Argue!”: Communicative Action in World Politics. International Organization, 54(1), 1-39.

Seidlhofer, B (2011), Understanding English as a Lingua-Franca, Oxford, OUP.

Toye (2013) Rhetoric: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Transcultural Communication

Transcultural Communication - (CED00003H)

Timetable: Autumn term, Mondays 13.00-15.00 and Thursdays 15.00 -17.00

Hours per week: 4 hours x 9 weeks (starting Week 2)

Entry level: IELTS 6.5 and above (3rd year UG)

Credits: 20 credits (10 ECTS points for Erasmus students)

Apply to register

Module aims

This module aims to develop your ability to work collaboratively with people from diverse national, cultural and linguistic backgrounds through developing a theoretical and practical understanding of transcultural communication. This will be achieved by exploring research related to aspects of culture, identity, and the use of English in transcultural contexts; the psychological impact of globalisation; and factors related to personality. This knowledge will then be applied in group activities to develop an understanding of what effective transcultural communication is and to create criteria to evaluate your own and others performance in transcultural communication tasks.

Module learning outcomes

Successful graduates will be able to:

  • recognise and understand the impact of cultural norms on communication in diverse groups whilst being aware of cultural stereotyping and essentialised culture
  • evaluate the impact of the use of different varieties of English and the status of the speakers of these varieties
  • engage effectively and sensitively with peers from other cultural backgrounds in collaborative socially constructed learning
  • critically evaluate key transcultural communication theory and research through the lens of personal experience as participants in internationlising higher education
  • critically and collaboratively evaluate transcultural communication assessment systems and design assessment criteria to evaluate communication in culturally diverse groups
  • reflect on personal performance and participation to autonomously manage the development of their own transcultural communication skills
  • critically and sensitively evaluate the communication skills of others in a transcultural context in written and spoken forms
  • offer constructive, evidence and theory based support towards the skills development of others engaging in transcultural communication
  • use theoretical knowledge of key concepts to write evidence based reports evaluating transcultural communication events

Module content

The module runs for 9 weeks and consists of two face-to-face 120 minute sessions per week. In these sessions you will work with students from diverse cultural, national and linguistic backgrounds to learn collaboratively about transcultural communication theory whilst engaging in practice. You will be expected to research and share knowledge gained from source material with peers in group learning sessions. You will engage in self reflection to evaluate your own performance and manage your development as a transcultural communicator and will also be able to support others in developing their skills in this area. It is hoped and expected that participation in this module will bring about cultural and identity shifts, as well as changes in perceptions of culture and language.


Assessment

Tasks

Length

% of module mark

1.Essay/coursework
Analysis & reflection of group discussion
1750 words 34
2. Essay/coursework
Self evaluation & reflection
1750 words 33
3. Oral presentation/seminar
Group Discussion Task
n/a 33

Formative Support

  • On-going self evaluation and group evaluation with feedback and suggestions throughout the module.
  • Participation in formative group discussion with peer feedback. 

Suggested Reading

Arnett, J. J. (2002) “The Psychology of Globalization” American Psychologist 57, 10. pp774-783

Baker, W. (2015). Culture and identity through English as a Lingua Franca: rethinking concepts and goals in intercultural communication. (Developments in English as a Lingua Franca [DELF]; No. 8). Berlin, DE: De Gruyter Mouton.

Baker, W (2017) Jenkins, J., Baker, W., & Dewey, M. (Eds.) (2018). The Routledge Handbook of English as a Lingua Franca. Routledge

Graddol, D., (2006), English Next, British Council

Kirkpatrick, A. (2010). English as a lingua franca in ASEAN: A multilingual model (Vol. 1). Hong Kong University Press.

Neuliep, J.W., (2012), Intercultural Communication : A Contextual Approach, London: Sage.

Tomlinson, J., (1999) Globalisation and Culture, Chicago:University of Chicago Press. pgs 269-276