You will be involved in: lectures, tutorials, seminars, e-seminars, small-group work, project work and independent study. Many of your modules will be in workshop format, alternating theoretical input with practical analysis, and allowing you to test out your understanding in discussion with other students and your tutor. There are also opportunities for group and collaborative work. Students undertake a major piece of independent research in final year.
You will be allocated a Personal Tutor when you join us and you will be encouraged to make regular contact with them throughout your studies. Personal Tutors are there to help discuss academic and, in some cases, personal issues. Personal Tutors can also often offer support by writing references for placement/graduate employment and academic research.
Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, translation tasks, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year. Exams take place in January and May/June.
“In my five years at Aston possibly the most flattering praise I received came from a student who said ‘This module messes with my head’. ‘Messing with students’ heads’ is not necessarily what the official course description promises but in my teaching I try and challenge students’ perceptions of what language is and what it can – and cannot – do for them. The key message I try to get across is that understanding the linguistic phenomena we encounter, but rarely notice, on an every-day basis is crucial for understanding and shaping the world around us. We all acquire knowledge in essentially two ways – either through direct experience or from others. For most of our knowledge we have to rely on other people’s perceptions, which, before reaching us, are encoded into language. Language then carries knowledge; once we realise the importance of this simple notion, we can make fully informed and conscious choices as to how we can use language as a powerful tool to achieve certain aims. At Aston our focus is on language use rather than structure. We do make sure our students acquire the relevant theoretical concepts, but our ultimate aim is to show how language works in actual interactions. We focus on the practical applications of English Language studies. We are passionate about teaching and, importantly, use our own research to inform it. As a result our students often have access to the latest research findings even before they are published in academic journals or the media.''
“I became interested in politics because, when I was younger, I realised everything was political in some way – whether you could afford to go to university, for example – or whether you could afford not to! I became particularly interested in how leaders persuaded us of what we should do about injustices in the world, and how to make things better. All my teaching and research are about leadership and persuasion and how the world works politically. One really fascinating thing to do is to compare different countries to see similarities and differences between their histories and political cultures. My favourite place (outside the UK!) is France, and I often appear on British and French TV and radio, and I blog, and write in letters to The Guardian and do opinion pieces for New Statesman, Cnn.opinion, huffington post etc to try and persuade people I am right!”