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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 years 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.
Heres what the judges thought of Toms 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.
Claudias 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.
Jeremys 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 childrens 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.