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Award for ELT Masters Dissertation

The British Council is pleased to announce the new British Council ELT Masters Dissertation Award for work with the best potential for impact on ELT practice. This award recognises and promotes the achievements of Masters students on UK universities Masters programmes. The scheme is an opportunity for institutions to promote their programmes and for recent graduates to establish themselves in the field.

About the award

British Council Master Dissertation Award with Best Potential for Impact on ELT 2013 / 2014

Introduction

For the last two years, the British Council has partnered with UK universities to find the best ELT Masters' dissertations. The scheme, where universities submit the best dissertation from their ELT Masters' programmes and then judge them along with a panel of British Council experts, is designed to recognise and celebrate the brightest minds in ELT at Master's level. By publishing the dissertations on the British Council website, the high quality dissertations become additions to the canon of research in ELT and accessible to practitioners around the world, thereby raising the profile of the authors and universities alike. This year’s entrants to the competition have been extremely impressive with  research into ELT themes such as online listening; collocation acquisition; writing for preschool children; and covering a wide range of contexts such as Korea, Japan, Spain and Tanzania.

The Judging Process

The judging process was collaborative and included the lecturers from the institutions. First, each institution submitted a dissertation marked at distinction level.

There were two rounds of judging. In Round One, the institutions were divided up into three groups of three. Each group was sent three papers which they ranked according to the potential of the research to change the attitudes, practices or policies of individuals, classrooms or institutions. The best dissertation from each group then went forward to the final round to be judged by a British Council panel.

The Results

The winner of the 2013 British Council Master Dissertation Award with Best Potential for Impact on ELT is Tom Jameson from Edinburgh University, whose paper was entitled: Attitudes Towards English in Relation to English as a Lingua Franca in the Tanzanian Context.

Here’s what the judges thought of Tom’s research:

The investigation of Tanzania is novel and breaks new ground of analysis for Africa and has potential reach to all children studying English language and studying in English in public education systems.

A fascinating look at English Medium Instruction (EMI) policy in Tanzania and in particular the attitudes of teachers towards the policy.

A sound and convincing piece of work… I feel this is a dissertation with strong potential for impact on the policy level and at the level of individual teachers, not just in the Tanzanian context but also more widely in Africa and beyond.

This is a timely topic. The author has produced interesting and well-structured dissertation. This project has strong implications for teaching and learning, especially in teaching methodology.

The runner-up entries are Claudia Spataro of Leeds University and Jeremy Scott from Exeter University.

Claudia’s research is entitled: Using Moodle 2.3 to improve perception skills in EFL listening: does it work?. The judges said:

This is a well-written piece of action research. I think it provides a credible attempt to see whether ICT (in the shape of Moodle) can be harnessed to aid the teaching and support of teaching.

I liked the way the student used mixed methods (personal journal, student record, questionnaire, and listening test) to provide a richer description of the participants’ experience with the ICT treatment and their improvement from it. ...Overall, a very good example of small-scale Action Research.

Jeremy’s work is entitled: Foreign Territory: An Ethnographic Study of an “English Village” within a Japanese University". The judges said:

A detailed and thorough work which is well-referenced and has potential to stimulate further research.

A fascinating and very well-written investigation of a type of ‘out-of-class’ learning resource which is becoming popular throughout the wealthier Asian countries.

Please find the complete list of finalists below (in alphabetical order):

  • Adam Turner, Aston University:  Participant observation of the interaction in an engineering lab to improve materials design and writing support for graduate students and faculty publishing in English at a research university in Korea
  • Thomas Michael Jameson, Edinburgh: Attitudes Towards English in Relation to English as a Lingua Franca in the Tanzanian Context
  • Jeremy Scott, Exeter: Foreign Territory: An Ethnographic Study of an “English Village” within a Japanese University
  • Laura Patsko, Kings College London:  Using the Lingua Franca Core to promote students’ mutual intelligibility in the multilingual classroom: Five teachers’ experiences
  • Samantha Meehan, Lancashire: An Investigation into the Structural Errors of Arabic Learners’ Written Persuasive Discourse in English
  • Claudia Spataro, Leeds: Using Moodle 2.3 to improve perception skills in EFL listening: does it work?
  • Rhona Cole, Sheffield Hallam: An investigation into the use of a theme based on children’s literature to support the development of speaking skills and early writing skills in a bilingual preschool environment.
  • Samira Hazari, Warwick: Equipping young learners with learning to learn strategies by developing their meta-cognitive skills through reflection 

You can read their dissertations in full by clicking on the tab above.

A huge thank you to everyone who took part this year and we look forward to continuing this successful programme into the future.

2013 winners

British Council Master Dissertation Award with Best Potential for Impact on ELT - 2013 / 2014

Winning dissertation

Thomas Michael Jameson, Edinburgh: Attitudes Towards English in Relation to English as a Lingua Franca in the Tanzanian Context.

Runner-up entries

Claudia Spataro, Leeds: Using Moodle 2.3 to improve perception skills in EFL listening: does it work?

Jeremy Scott, Exeter: Foreign Territory: An Ethnographic Study of an “English Village” within a Japanese University.

The complete list of finalists

In alphabetical order. Click on the attachment title to read the dissertation paper.

  • Adam Turner, Aston University:  Participant observation of the interaction in an engineering lab to improve materials design and writing support for graduate students and faculty publishing in English at a research university in Korea.
  • Thomas Michael Jameson, Edinburgh: Attitudes Towards English in Relation to English as a Lingua Franca in the Tanzanian Context.
  • Jeremy Scott, Exeter: Foreign Territory: An Ethnographic Study of an “English Village” within a Japanese University.
  • Laura Patsko, Kings College London:  Using the Lingua Franca Core to promote students’ mutual intelligibility in the multilingual classroom: Five teachers’ experiences.
  • Samantha Meehan, Lancashire: An Investigation into the Structural Errors of Arabic Learners’ Written Persuasive Discourse in English.
  • Claudia Spataro, Leeds: Using Moodle 2.3 to improve perception skills in EFL listening: does it work?
  • Rhona Cole, Sheffield Hallam: An investigation into the use of a theme based on children’s literature to support the development of speaking skills and early writing skills in a bilingual preschool environment.
  • Samira Hazari, Warwick: Equipping young learners with learning to learn strategies by developing their meta-cognitive skills through reflection.

Previous awards

2012 / 2013

Winning dissertation

Michelle Vyncke, King’s College: The Concept and Practice of Critical Thinking in Academic Writing: An Investigation of International Students’ Perceptions and Writing Experiences

Summary statement

Runner-up entry

Jo Gakonga, Warwick: Collaboration or Bust? An Inquiry into the Use of Differing On-line Models of Delivery for a Pre-service Grammar Course for English Teachers.

Summary statement

Finalists' summary statements

Tanya Cotter, Leeds Metropolitan: Pre-departure Beginner Level English Course for Bangladeshi Female Migrant Domestic Workers

Tojiniso Olimnazarova, Birmingham: Using Students’ Linguistic Repertoires for Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Tajikistan

Tetsuya Onishi, Edinburgh: Pilot Cooperative Learning in Japanese Secondary School EFL Contexts: What are the Students’ Perceptions?

Stephen Deane, Exeter: An Exploration into Learner Perceptions of Speaking Skills in English for Academic Purposes

Scott J. Shelton-Strong, Nottingham: Exploration, Analysis and Evaluation of Literature Circles in EFL: A Case Study of Higher Intermediate Young Adults in Vietnam

Phyllida Furse, Birmingham City: “Are You Speaking Comfortably?” A Consideration of the Risk Factors, Implications and Prevention of Muscle Tension Dysphonia in Teachers

Phuong Le Hoang Ngo, Southampton: An Investigation into Vietnamese Teachers’ and Students’ Perception of English as a Lingua Franca

Martha Moreno Navarro, University College Plymouth St Mark and St John: Towards the Adoption of Inclusive Strategies for a Non-sighted Undergraduate Student in an EFL Classroom

Lukasz Materowski, Hull: The Influence of the Second Language on First Language Writing: A Case Study of a Polish-English Bilingual Child

Lesley Keast, Sheffield Hallam: The Nature of Praise and Positive Feedback in the Young Learner ELT Classroom

Keli Ramos, Aston: Learning from Our Mistakes: Making Students Notice

Karolina Kowalczyk, Central Lancashire: Research into the Level of Support Offered to Dyslexic EFL Learners in Polish Lower-Secondary Schools in Mainstream Education

Jiemin Wen, Lancaster: A Study of Learners' Perceptions and Uptake of Corrective Feedback in Text-chat Dyadic Interaction

Carrie Anne Thomas, Oxford: Living in L1, Learning in L2: Language ideologies and practices of English immersion students

Bernhard Rychetsky, Norwich Institute for Language Education: 'She teaches ill, who teaches all' - Assessing the Effects of a Discovery-based Language Awareness Approach on Learners Aged 16 to 17 at an Austrian Upper-level Secondary Academic School (Gymnasium) Through the Use of Popular Sitcoms

Ben Smart, Birkbeck: Exploring Pedagogical Reasoning Skills: How Native English Speaking Teachers and Non-native English Speaking Teachers Approach a Reading Lesson

Adam Deaner, The Open University: An Investigation into the Impact of Collaborative Practices on the Opportunities for Learning and Participation in an EFL Classroom

FAQs

Award for Masters Dissertation with best potential for impact on ELT: FAQs

 

What is the purpose of the scheme?

To recognise the potential for impact on ELT of Masters dissertation research. By impact we mean the potential of the research to change attitudes or priorities of individuals or institutions with regard to the development of policies and practices at local or regional or national levels. The scheme may also encourage students to focus on areas of research that will have impact. Publication of Masters dissertations will raise the profile of ELT related Masters courses from UK universities worldwide.
 

Who is eligible?

To be considered for the award the dissertation must have been completed in the 2011-12 academic year at a tertiary level institution in the UK recognised as an accredited degree-awarding body. Any submission will have been marked at distinction (70+) level. The dissertation can be completed in any mode (e.g. full-time, part-time or distance learning). 
 

Does eligibility depend on nationality or residence?

No, the scheme is open to all Masters students at UK universities. The nationality and residence of the student are not relevant. 
 

What is the application process?

The institution submits one dissertation that it judges to have high potential for impact along with a 2 page summary of the dissertation. This summary includes a statement of the practical potential of the ideas presented in the dissertation. The application should also include a commitment from the institution to participate in the evaluation process and permission from the author to publish the dissertation or summary online. 
 

What form should the summary take?

The summary should be written in Arial 12 and single-spaced. One side should summarise the dissertation. The other should outline the potential for impact. 
 

What is the evaluation process?

Every institution submitting an abstract will form part of the evaluation panel. The first ranking round will be based on the two page summary. The evaluators will be asked to read about ten summaries. The second round will be based on the full dissertation. The evaluators will be asked to read up to five dissertations. There will be a minimum of two raters per paper.
 

Who will make up the evaluation panel? 

The participating institutions will nominate one person to sit on the evaluation panel. The evaluators should have experience of supervising Masters dissertations on ELT related topics. The British Council will advise participating institutions on the suitability of the nominated evaluators.  
 

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline is 12/11/2012. 
 

What about copyright?

The author agrees to the papers being used for educational purposes globally, and retains rights to publish in other formats. The British Council owns the copyright of the compilation, and the author retains the copyright of their dissertation. 
 

What will happen with the dissertations judged to be the best?

The dissertations will be published online by the British Council. 
 

Does the dissertation and summary have to be written in English?

Yes, all submitted documentation should be written in English.
 

Are dissertations which focus on English Literature eligible for the scheme?

No, this scheme focuses on English language teaching.
 

Who can I contact for more information?

Queries should be sent to ELTMasters@britishcouncil.org