Natalie Tomlinson 0

Petition against the removal of module choices for English students

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We are writing to express our great distress and disappointment regarding the third year module choices that have been offered to English Language students this year. As conscientious students who researched the course thoroughly prior to applying to Edge Hill, the advertised third year modules were a significant contributory factor in choosing this university. The majority of students were extremely disappointed not to be offered Child Language Acquisition in their second year, particularly as no satisfactory explanation for the module's withdrawal was given. Furthermore, our appetites for the subject were whetted during a taster lecture that was given as part of our first year module LNG1009, which actively promoted the merits of this field and its usefulness for our studies. Many students who were unhappy about this module not being offered consoled themselves with expectant thoughts of a better choice for the third year. Unfortunately, this proved to be far from the case. It is felt that there is a study imbalance with too great a focus on sociolinguistics. The modules appear to reflect the interests and research of the staff rather than the subject areas which are of greater usefulness and interest to the students. To add further frustration, two of the more sought after modules which allow increased learning diversity (Forensic Linguistics and English In Contact) have been scheduled at the same time and therefore cannot both be taken. The two modules which are missing from the third year selection, and have caused the most discussion among students who had wanted to choose them, are Bilingualism and Language & Education. Both were considered to be core modules by the majority of students. Staffing changes and salary costs have been cited as the reasons for not running these courses. This is particularly confusing for us since the Bilingualism module did go ahead this year even after the previous course leader had left. So why can it not run next year? Frankly, students are not interested in budgeting or financial reasoning, especially since the introduction of increased tuition fees. The university seems to have an abundance of money for building projects and development in certain areas and departments. It is frustrating for English students to be told that a module cannot run because of salary funding, when Geography students are provided all-expenses paid trips to Majorca and Amsterdam. The government and university persistently reference the importance of transferable skills and the need to equip students for future employability. However, it is felt that the combination of modules withdrawn and some of those now offered work against these principles. Many students are now feeling 'forced' into a dissertation due to the lack of desirable modules, while some students are looking into the possibility of transferring to another university for their final year. The rest are having to 'make do' with the available modules. We just know that we did not choose to come to Edge Hill for a 'make do' education. Student dissatisfaction will most certainly be reflected in The National Student Survey. However, we do believe in airing complaints in the appropriate direction and giving opportunity for response and appropriate resolution. Unfortunately, our concerns could not be raised at a meeting for module choices since no such meeting took place, apparently due to a lack of available rooms.

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