IF1NUC-English for Chemists

Module Provider: International Study and Language Institute
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Mr Aaron Woodcock

Email: a.e.w.woodcock@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will equip you with the lexical knowledge and communication skills you need to learn Applied Chemistry at university level. It will also equip you with tools and techniques you can use to develop your linguistic knowledge and competence throughout your university career.

This module is intended for students with an entry level of CEF (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) in general English of B2/C1, but an entry level of CEF B1/B2 when communicating specifically within or about their field of specialisation.  On successful completion of the course, you will have achieved CEF B2/C1 when communicating within or about your field of specialisation. Any students with entry levels that fall outside these parameters will be identified and supported so that they can achieve their best on this module.


The aims of this module are to develop your:

  • productive knowledge of chemistry vocabulary

  • ability to communicate chemistry ideas in English, both orally and in writing

  • ability to use chemistry information from written, visual and oral sources appropriately

In addition, this module hopes to develop your:

  • knowledge of tools and techniques for developing linguistic knowledge independently

  • ability to understand chemistry texts, both spoken and written

  • ability to interact effectively in pairs and small groups

  • intercultural awareness, understanding and competence

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completing this module, you should be able to:

  • use a broader range of chemistry vocabulary (both orally and in writing) more fluently and accurately

  • communicate familiar chemistry ideas in a clear and detailed manner (both orally and in writing)

  • communicate more effectively (both orally and in writing) to non-expert audiences for a variety of purposes

  • write and speak about familiar chemistry ideas in English in your own words

  • use written, visual and oral sources of information more appropriately and effectively in your writing

Additional outcomes:

On completing this module, you should also be able to:

  • continue to develop your chemistry linguistic knowledge independently

  • understand chemistry texts (spoken and written) more easily and fluently

  • communicate more effectively (both orally and in writing) to expert audiences for a variety of purposes

  • interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity in familiar chemistry contexts

  • understand, function and engage with other cultures, and appreciate and evaluate your own culture

Outline content:

You will be given tasks to develop your productive skills and lexical knowledge within the field of chemistry so that you have a sufficient range of language to be able to give clear descriptions, express viewpoints and develop arguments within your field without much conspicuous searching for words. These tasks will also develop your mediation and sociolinguistic competences so that you can communicate effectively with non-expert audiences.

These tasks include:

  • learning the spelling, pronunciation and grammar of core chemical lexis

  • explaining concepts, processes or data related to chemistry without needing the help of a dictionary or other reference

    • (e.g. giving an explanatory oral presentation on the use of quantum ideas in chemistry or an oral description of a reaction mechanism)

  • presenting and responding to lines of argument

    • (e.g. giving a persuasive oral presentation on the applications of chemistry at a University Open Day)

  • evaluating different ideas or solutions to a problem

    • (e.g. writing an evaluative paragraph on the importance of the development of the periodic table)

  • summarising the main content of complex, technical texts on subjects related to chemistry for an audience with no specialist knowledge

    • (e.g. writing an explanatory poster for a University Open Day)

  • identifying and reflecting on similarities and differences between cultural, educational or linguistic contexts and discussing their significance

    • (e.g. writing reflectively on the transition between secondary school and university chemistry)

Global context:

This module develops your ability to communicate in English in a variety of contexts specific to Applied Chemistry and the UK context, helping you adapt to different work and study contexts and developing your intercultural competence.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching and learning is facilitated through a combination of Task-Based Learning (TBL), independent language study, guided analysis of texts and feedback on assessment tasks.

A Task-Based Learning approach is used to develop communication skills (including ability to communicate in your own words) and productive vocabulary knowledge.  In class, you participate in task cycles in which you: (1) study target vocabulary within a spoken or written text; (2) use the target vocabulary in a writing or speaking task; (3) reflect on/review your performance; (4) repeat the writing task/speaking task.

This task cycle is complemented by guided independent language learning outside class to improve range and accuracy of chemistry vocabulary and language, and by guided analysis of model texts in class to develop knowledge of register, genre, structure and cohesion.

The feedback cycle on formative and summative oral and written assessment tasks is used to bring these strands together and to develop the ability to use information from outside sources appropriately.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Practicals classes and workshops 56
Guided independent study:      
    Preparation for presentations 11
    Revision and preparation 22
    Essay preparation 11
Total hours by term 100 0 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 25
Practical skills assessment 25
Class test administered by School 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Semester 1

Written Assignment 1



Oral Assessment 1



Vocabulary and Writing Test 1



All summative assessments will be submitted and/or take place during Weeks 15 to 20 of Semester 1.

Formative assessment methods:

Formative assessment will include:

  • A practice vocabulary and writing test in the middle of the semester

  • A first draft of the written assignment to be submitted for formative feedback from your peers and/or your tutor in the middle of the semester

  • An opportunity for formative feedback on your oral assessment task from your peers and/or your tutor towards the end of the semester

In addition:

The TBL nature of classroom activities will provide multiple opportunities for formative feedback, and there will be both draft feedback on written assignments and rehearsal feedback on oral assessments. In order to consolidate and develop your language learning, you are encouraged to complete regular tasks in class and outside.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-sit on the basis of examination only (relative percentages: oral examination 25%, written paper 75%)

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 8 April 2019


    Things to do now