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Reflection on the School Subject: Teaching and Learning English Language Arts


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the MA Language and Culture Education: English programme.


Students in this course explore the school subject English from varying socioculturally situated perspectives. The course centres on the questions: How is English taught in different international contexts, and how are approaches to teaching English informed by varying socio-cultural understandings of what it means to learn English? What is the role of English education in Dutch society, and how do recent changes to the English curriculum in the Netherlands reflect evolving understandings of this role? Students reflect on these broad questions by focussing on how one of four major domains of the English curriculum (literature; rhetoric and composition; literacy; language acquisition) is implemented in Dutch secondary schools. In this way, the course integrates communicative and linguistic perspectives, so that students learn to interweave relevant literary and cultural content with language education theories. Students not only work on expanding their theoretical knowledge and pedagogical repertoire, but also further develop their own language skills. By also investigating how relevant content (literature, culture, linguistics) in the school subject could be addressed through varying curricular designs, this course provides opportunities for teachers to reflect on innovative, and integrated, approaches to English language arts instruction.

Course objectives

In this course, students will:
1. Reflect upon the goals and purposes of English education in international contexts, focusing on how these relate to English curricula in the Netherlands;
2. Analyse theories in literature, literacy and language learning, including the development of writing ability in English as an L2;
3. Reflect on how their objectives for teaching English, as well as how their experiences learning English, are informed by larger understandings of English as a school subject as it has been theorised historically and internationally.


The timetables are available through My Timetable. Questions? Please contact the teachers and/or ICLON education administration.

Mode of instruction

Weekly seminars (2 hours per week) werkcolleges.

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Weekly written responses to readings 40%
3,000-word reflective essay 60%


The essay can be retaken if it is insufficient.

Reading list

Assigned texts are available via Brightspace link to Leiden University Library resources.


See information Aanmelden/inschrijven studieonderdelen under tab 'Over deze master' to see more information about the tweejarige Educatieve master.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.