ILMAPIRN-Academic Skills and Language for Politics, Economics, and International Relations (Postgraduate)

Module Provider: International Study and Language Institute
Number of credits: 0 [0 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Mr Daniel Devane

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module focuses on the discipline-specific language and communication skills needed to perform effectively at postgraduate level in Politics, Economics, and International Relations in the UK academic context. 

It is primarily designed for postgraduate students whose first language is not English, in the School of Politics, Economics, and International Relations (SPEIR). The module principally focuses on the key SPEIR written coursework genre, the Essay, but also includes work on other written genres and skills for oral presentations.

The module is non-credit-bearing and designed to support students’ disciplinary study, the expectation being that students will apply the skills they have learnt on ILMAPIRN in their credit-bearing work. Therefore, for the module itself there is no assessment or expectation of independent study hours.


This module aims to support PGT SPEIR students with their transition to the UK HE context and academic culture. It focuses on developing the key academic language and skills needed to successfully complete Master’s level (Level 7) coursework assignments and exams, primarily in the Essay and Presentation genre. This developmental enhancement has been designed to be transferrable to other modules, both concurrent and future, and aims to enhance students' academic English self-confidence.

On completing this module, students should be better able to: 

  1. Recognise and respond to the expectations of the key written coursework assignment genre in postgraduate Politics, Economics, and International Relations, the Essay. 

  2. Accurately interpret coursework assignment instructions/briefs.

  3. Employ task-appropriate organisational patterns at paragraph, section and whole-text level.

  4. Use a variety of task-appropriate techniques to incorporate and comment on the views of others in their writing.

  5. Accurately apply the referencing conventions for their discipline.

  6. Employ task-appropriate language (grammar and lexis). 

  7. Critically evaluate their own and others’ writing.

  8. Use a variety of techniques to appropriately incorporate their voice into their writing. 

  9. Understand the expectations of Presentation assignment tasks in SPEIR. 

  10. Utilise appropriate oracy skills to accomplish spoken language academic tasks. 

Assessable learning outcomes:


Additional outcomes:


Outline content:

Classes will have the following foci:

  1. The key written coursework assignment genre in SPEIR, the Essay, including:

    1. Expected structural & argumentation patterns and how these differ according to question type. 

    2. Reading-to-write processes and the centrality of source use and synthesis to successful Essay writing.

    3. How ‘voice’ and ‘stance’ are realised linguistically within Essay texts.

  2. Key skills useful for all academic writing within SPEIR:

    1. Incorporating sources using paraphrasing, summarising and direct quotation.

    2. ‘Information flow’ in English-language texts.

    3. Employing linguistic features of textual cohesion to clearly signal relationships between parts of atext.

  3. Grammar for academic communication, including verb tense and form, nominalisation, and clause and sentence structure. 

  4. Speaking and Oracy Skills, and strategies for dealing with SPEIR presentations, including: 

    1. ‘Physical’ oracy skills, including, but not limited to, fluency, pace, tonal variation, clarity, voice projection, and body language.

    2. ‘Linguistic’ oracy skills, including, but not limited to, vocabulary choice, register, grammar, structure and organisation. 

    3. ‘Cognitive’ oracy skills, including, but not limited to, critical examination of concepts, reasoned support for arguments, and consideration of audience level/type.

    4. ‘Social and emotional’ oracy skills, including, but not limited to, speaking confidence (self-assurance, liveliness, and flair).

Global context:

This module supports internationalisation at Reading by facilitating successful and equal inclusion of students whose first language is not English in UK degree programme study.  

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will adopt an overall ‘genre’ approach, taking the social purpose of texts as the starting point to explicate organisation/structure and key discourse and language features.

It takes a discipline-specific approach to language and literacy development using example student texts and published SPEIR-specific sources in classroom tasks. 

Teaching will be learner-centred, taking a task-based approach, via a combination of reflect ive and productive activities, to:

  1. Analysis of example texts from the target genres.

  2. Guided ‘noticing’ of key organisational, argumentative, and linguistic features in context.

  3. Exercises practicing use of relevant lexical/grammatical items.

  4. Scaffolded reading-to-write and interactive communicative exercises and tasks.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 16
Guided independent study: 0 0 0
Total hours by term 16 0 0
Total hours for module 16

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage

Summative assessment- Examinations:

This module is not assessed.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

This module is not assessed.

Formative assessment methods:

This module is not assessed.

Penalties for late submission:

This module is not assessed.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

This module is not assessed.

Reassessment arrangements:

This module is not assessed.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: N/A

2) Specialist equipment or materials: N/A

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: N/A

4) Printing and binding: N/A

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: N/A

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: N/A

Last updated: 22 September 2022


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