Primary Education with Teaching Qualification (Dumfries Campus) MA

Literacy 1 DUMF1012

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The course aims to develop students' knowledge of theories relating to literacy and language development, After introducing language acquisition as a theoretical issue, the course will concentrate on empirical evidence of the nature and effects of input to children, and the nature of children's language production and comprehension at different stages, including discussion of the processes by which language is acquired.


There are substantial links and preparation to the early years placement


3 hours per week (typically 2 hours per week lecture, 1 hour workshop)

Requirements of Entry

Entry to programme

Excluded Courses





Article critique 20%

Participation in classroom exercises and discussion     5%

Project/term paper 55%

Final Exam 20%

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

■ To acquire an understanding of the major factors which influence the acquisition and development of language.

■ To gain a detailed knowledge of child language development including the major milestones in the development of: speech perception, speech production, word learning, morphology, syntax, pragmatic and social language skills.

■ To gain an understanding of the various methods used in studying child language acquisition and to become acquainted with the types of results these methods have uncovered.

■ To become familiar with the major theories of language development and some of the major debates in field.

■ To understand the biological capacities that make language acquisition possible, as well as the role that social factors play in this process.

■ To enhance students' awareness of the implications of linguistic theory on early years literacy teaching.

■ To link closely with early years placement

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Describe of the basic "stages" of language development from infancy through the early school years.

■ Describe cross-linguistic and cross-cultural differences in language acquisition and attitudes toward language development.

■ Describe the characteristic features of children's language, explain and illustrate how these features develop over time, for the following areas of language: phonology (sound system), semantics (meaning), morphology (word building), syntax (sentence structure), pragmatics (conversations, register), sociolinguistics (social language, variation), narrative (story-telling), and literacy.

■ understand what research methods are commonly used in the study of language development to an advanced standard

■ Compare and contrast different theories of child language acquisition.

■ Understand The Critical Period Hypothesis and how it applies to language instruction

■ Develop lesson plans and activities to help support the development of early years language within the home and classroom

■ critically read of some of the primary literature on language acquisition, including:

  • describing where articles fit in the general literature

  • summarizing major data for a paper

  • summarizing the major arguments of a paper

  • evaluating the data and arguments presented

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Normally, attempted completion of 75% of formative and summative assessments and attendance of 80% of compulsory classes.