Learning with us

An exterior photo of the Ella Armitage Building viewed from Brook Hill
Our approach

The MLTC has over 30 years of expertise providing language tuition to students and staff of the University of Sheffield as well as members of the local community. We welcome the diversity of our learners, pride ourselves in meeting their specific needs, and strongly believe that this very diversity makes our strength as teachers and learners.

As a language learner, you will be part of a community sharing your interests in becoming an active and proficient practitioner of the language, and expanding your self-awareness as a global citizen, whether you are an undergraduate starting or continuing the language as part of your degree, a PhD student needing the language skills for their research, a professional planning a relocation abroad, or a fan of Italian opera. We will support you in your individual and collective endeavors.

Our teaching approach combines the progressive acquisition of all communicative skills (speaking, listening, writing, reading, and mediation/translation) in functional, culturally significant situations, along with some theory (e.g. grammar, phonetics). As facilitators of you personal trajectory, we also put great emphasis on helping you become independent language learners and practitioners. You can't stay with us forever... but languages are for life!

Last but not least, we want to learn from you and continue improving our provision, for you and future generations. We look forward too your feedback and contribution, and you will have plenty of opportunities to do so in class or online.

Your learning

For most courses, teaching is delivered through a 2-hour seminar, in groups of 20 students or so, and a one-hour tutorial, in smaller groups of 10 to 15 students. Courses at Beginner level may include more contact hours, or specialised courses fewer, as per individual module descriptions. 

During the seminar, new vocabulary and grammar topics are introduced and practised through mini-lectures and small-group communicative activities involving all language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing and mediation/translation).

The tutorial consolidates and expands on what has been covered in the seminar through supervised computer-based exercises (at lower levels) or small-group activities, offering an opportunity for more interaction, individual support, and feedback.

At all levels, but even more so at higher levels, teaching is predominantly delivered in the target language, and you will be using it yourself as much as possible when taking part in class activities. Your participation to these activities will be key to your success.

Regular attendance is essential where language learning is concerned as you may otherwise quickly fall behind. As a strict minimum (and possibly as a requirement depending on the scheme as part of which you are taking the course), we would recommend that you attend at least 70% of your taught sessions. Should you miss a session, the scheme of work and learning material for that session will be available on the online platform for your course, and you will also be able to book an appointment with your tutor during their office hours to go through any additional query you may have.

In addition to contact hours, you will be given homework every week, either as a follow-up on the previous session or in preparation for the next one, and expected to study the language and culture independently, using resources available on the dedicated online platform for your course, or others that you find appropriate to your needs and interests. As a guide, most MLTC courses are worth 10 University credits, which represents 100 hours of learning, and therefore a minimum of 4 to 5 weekly hours of independent study over the semester in addition to time spent in the classroom. 

Formal assessment, whether a source of stress or a motivation, is key to measuring one's achievements and receiving feedback to progress further. Please ensure that you understand whether it is optional or mandatory for you depending on the scheme under which you take your MLTC course. You will also regularly receive informal feedback, whether individual or collective, through weekly in-class and homework tasks. 

Additional resources

All MLTC courses have their own dedicated virtual learning environment (Blackboard) on which you will find a wealth of online resources to catch up with a missed class, to consolidate a lesson, or for independent learning:

  • course material (assessment information and samples, a week-by-week scheme of work summarising activities done in class and homework, etc.)
  • grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation exercises
  • films with subtitles
  • skill-specific learning guides
  • useful websites or phone apps, etc.

In addition, you may need to purchase textbooks as listed in individual module descriptions:

  • 'Set textbooks': You will need to have your own copy and bring it to class. If you are taking the course for credits, as part of the Doctoral Development Programme, or as part of the Languages for All fee-waiver scheme, these ‘set textbooks’ will be provided by the MLTC and you do not need to purchase them.
  • 'Recommended textbooks': Your course tutor will advise you as to the usefulness of purchasing these, but these are usually available in the University library.

You are also welcome to join one of the language-specific student societies: Le Cercle FrançaisDeutscher VereinLa Sociedad HispánicaLusoSocThe Italian Society.

When enrolling as a member of the public, you are issued with a University of Sheffield student card giving you access to all of the above facilities and many more: Libraries, Student Union clubs and activities, student support and discounts.

IT Skills:

You will need to be competent in basic IT skills (using the Internet, reading and writing emails, word-processing) in order to join an MLTC course. Developing your IT skills is part of the transferable skills you will learn while studying a language with the MLTC:

  • Any piece of written coursework that you submit will have to be word-processed.
  • You may also be asked to learn how to record audio or video documents for assessment purposes and will receive guidance and training on how to do this.
Validation & Assessment

MLTC courses can be validated in different ways, depending on the scheme they are taken under, and assessment and/or attendance criteria will vary. The table below provides a summary of the different schemes and the minimum validation criteria to be met for most general language modules, but please refer to the individual descriptions of each module for exact criteria.

Scheme Available to Attendance (70% minimum) Coursework Oral Assignment / Exam Written Exam
Modularised Accreditation Credited UGs & PGs Yes Yes Yes Yes
Doctoral Development Programme
Research Training Programme
PhD students Yes Yes Yes No / Optional
Higher Education Achievement Report Non-credited UGs Yes Yes Yes No  / Optional
Languages for All fee-waiver (Continuation criteria)
(PDF, 400KB)
Eligible non-credited UGs Yes Yes Yes No  / Optional
MLTC Certificate of Completion All learners Yes Yes Yes Yes
MLTC Certificate of Attendance All learners Yes No  / Optional No  / Optional No  / Optional

In addition to the above validation schemes, students may also include their language learning on MySkills if they registered during the 2021/22 academic session onwards.

Please note:

Students who have been granted fee waivers under the Languages for All programme or the Doctoral Development Programme must meet the above requirements in order to remain eligible for future fee waivers. In order to get your language module added to your HEAR, you will need to apply online by the end of Week 12 of the semester during which you took the course. We will not be able to add the module to your HEAR past this deadline. Certificates of Attendance or Completion will be automatically emailed to you once you have completed the course and results have been validated, You do not need to request these. If you are taking the module for credits, please note that your personal tutor and/or home department will be contacted if you miss 2 consecutive weeks or if your attendance is generally unsatisfactory. If you have valid reasons for failing to meet the above criteria, you should apply for Extenuating Circumstances to be taken in to account.

Educational needs

If you have an impairment or condition that can make it difficult for you to undertake study-related tasks like sitting exams, reading, planning and writing assignments, attending classes and taking notes in them or delivering presentations, then you are likely to be eligible for disability support.

The University's Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) can put a specifically tailored learning support plan in place for you. The pages on how to set up support for current students and for prospective students explain how you can get in touch to discuss what support would work for you.

More information on the services provided by the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service can be found on their webpages.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International Merit Scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students including 75 undergraduate scholarships worth £10,000 towards the annual tuition fee and 125 postgraduate taught scholarships worth £5,000 towards the tuition fee. Applications are now open for existing offer holders.