General Information

I. Study

The main objective of the Department of English Language and Literature at the Faculty of Education, Charles University, Prague is to prepare teachers of English for all types of lower and higher secondary schools.  The courses offered therefore cover the major fields in the study of present-day English (ranging from morphology to pragmatics), as well as British, American and Post-colonial Literature, Cultural Studies and TEFL Methodology.

Since the 2006/2007 academic year, as following the European Union’s Bologna Agreement, studies have been divided into a two-tier study programme: a 3-year B.A. programme and a 2-year M.A. programme. (A remaining few of the full-time current students of the department still take the 5-year joint-degree course in English in combination with another Humanities, Sciences or Arts subject.)

The new B.A. programme is designed to prepare those graduates who perhaps do not wish to continue with full-teacher education by enrolling in the follow-up M.A. study, for a range of careers where an in-depth knowledge of the English language, cultural studies and communication is essential (e.g., the civil service, European institutions).

The new 2-year M.A. programme will first be available to candidates in the academic year 2009/2010 to enable the first graduates of the B.A. programme to achieve fully-qualified status as teachers.

II. Research

The research interests of the department’s academic staff feed into the individual areas of the B.A. and M.A. study programmes and combine theory and practical application. The main focus of the Linguistics research of the department is in the study of language in use mainly pragmatics and sociolinguistics (individual monographs and articles in scholarly journals, as well as presentations at conferences, and organizing conferences).

Literary Studies research focus on 20th-century British and American Literature, mainly British Modernism, the diversity of the contemporary British novel, and African-American fiction (articles in scholarly journals, a book on D.H. Lawrence’s short fiction, organization of conferences). In 2009 the current Head of Department (Petr Chalupský) published a monograph The Postmodern City of Dreadful Night: the image of the city in the works of Martin Amis and Ian McEwan. The former Head of Department (Anna Grmelová) is also involved in the project the Reception of British Writers in Europe coordinated by the University College London and the University of Bamberg (cf. The Reception of D.H. Lawrence in Europe to be published by the international academic publishing house Continuum.)

The department has had a key role in the development of TEFL Methodology in this country. In 1998, it organized The Third Central European English Teacher Education Conference (ELTECS) to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the founding of Charles University which was fully sponsored by the British Council. TEFL methodology specialists at the department focus on research into influencing the cognitive processes of future teachers, the role of mentors in pre-service education and research into the better integration of both content and language learning, especially at secondary level.

Staff members of this department have been coordinators of international teams in Council of Europe education projects.  One staff member (Radka Perclová) is the creator and coordinator of the Language Portfolio project (initiated by the Council of Europe) in the Czech Republic and created a model of the European Language Portfolio for learners aged 11 to 15 used in the Czech Republic. She is further disseminating the project by means of lectures and workshops in a number of other European countries.  The book-length guidelines to the portfolio, which she compiled in collaboration with David Little (Trinity College Doublin), has been published by the Council of Europe and translated into several languages. Another important EU and GAČR (Grant Agency of the Czech Republic) project in which a member of staff (Marie Hofmannová) has been involved is the development of Content and Language Integrated Learning: an interdisciplinary endeavour focusing on teaching individual disciplines at lower and higher secondary schools in English. Apart from the important international book publications this project has brought, the outcome has helped create (in collaboration with the Department of Mathematics) an optional M.A. seminar at this department to train future teachers of English to conduct the other discipline of their joint degree (so far, this means mostly Mathematics) in English. As of 2006/2007 this department has been chosen to participate in another prestigious EU-wide project that will see 12 universities deploy language courses through interactive e-learning programmes. The project entitled “Europodians” involves working with other universities to create and distribute a series of language training courses (for 11 European languages taught on the basis of English) to be implemented by state-of-the art mobile devices. Member of staff Marie Bojarová will be its national coordinator.)

III. International Cooperation

International cooperation at the department includes two major areas:

1) Research cooperation as mentioned when discussing international research projects above (see section II Research) has included: University College London, the University of Bamberg, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Pisa, the University of Luxembourg and the University of Castilla La Mancha, Spain.

This area also includes receiving visiting professors and creative writers at this department as well as academic staff from this department giving lectures and seminars at partner universities.

2) Student exchange
The department has developed links with 17 English Studies departments and TEFL Methodology departments in 12 countries within the framework of the LLP ERASMUS programme.

The department has been cooperating with the University of Surrey, Roehampton (London) in organizing short cultural study stays (including the visiting of schools) for students sponsored by the Saint Pierre International Youth Trust.  Our students have so far taken part in brief study stays at the University of Poznan (Poland), the conference centre at the Chateau de Klingenthal (France), Whitelands College (London) andLady Doak College (Tamilnadu, India). Nominations for these stays are not based on student academic achievement only but are conceived as rewards for their work for the department (assisting visiting professors, organization of conferences, etc.)  Reciprocally, this department (in collaboration with the Faculty of Protestant Theology, Charles University) periodically organizes short study stays for British undergraduates.

Currently, negotiations are being conducted in order to involve more universities in English-speaking countries in our student exchange programmes, as well as to enrol more full-time international students in both the B.A. and M.A. study programmes.