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The University of Southampton

LANG1005 Introduction to British Life and Institutions

Module Overview

The module will provide an introduction to the methods of studying, and an entrance to cultural and social 'background knowledge' that British students take for granted and that forms an implicit starting point for many 'introductory' units relating to Britain in other disciplines.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Awareness of the nature of major British institutions and their effect on English attitudes and assumptions; • knowledge of the way that British institutions work and affect the British population • an understanding of background and evolution of British institutions • an understanding of features of British life which have been shaped by institutions.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the nature and working of different British institutions.
  • behaviour of British people in discussing or accessing these institutions
  • economic and social effects of British Institutions
  • differences between British institutions and those of some other European countries.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of different cultural groups that can be applied to different countries
  • team work in working on group presentations and other projects, collaborating with partners, exchanging ideas, presenting findings, and engaging in self-evaluation;
  • present ideas in a structured, coherent manner.
  • present ideas in English in a clear, well organised way.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • access a range of critical materials;
  • show greater appreciation of prevailing attitudes to British Life by benefiting from an informed opinion;
  • be more aware when interacting with British people and following current affairs of the social meanings underlying them.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse cause and effect in social terms of legal institutions
  • analyse the interaction of tradition, law and public opinion in Britain in attitudes to situations and events, such as the rise in prison populations.
  • organise and present information in an academic way.


This module deals with: • The main British Institutions, their nature, origin and effects • British attitudes towards their institutions • The shaping of attitudes and public opinions by these institutions, and conversely the way the institutions themselves are shaped by public opinion • The differences and similarities of British Institutions compared with some other European countries. • Aspects of British life that are affected by British Institutions

Special Features

This course accepts students from all levels of English language ability and from all disciplines, although the majority are Socrates students studying English as their main subject.. Therefore the lectures are delivered not only with some visual support from Powerpoint or OHT visuals, but also with outline handouts which students whose English is weak can use and revise later, while stronger students should be able to listen to the full lecture. The course includes factual information but also includes some discussion of implications to interest students who have already worked on social and political history of Britain. Students gain knowledge of British life and some of the influences that make it similar or different from their own countries. During the seminars students are asked to prepare material in small groups, and explain this to the rest of the class, putting their own questions to the class for discussion. This requires them to analyse and formulate the key issues in the material. They are also asked to research a subject area set by the tutor and make a group presentation on their area. This will include the use of the library and electronic resources. Students will be required to write two 1,500 word essays, choosing from a list given by the tutor, or on some other topic by negotiation, again researching for themselves by use of the library and electronic media. These essays are expected to be in correct academic style and format, and some discussion and guidance material is provided, as many students are not familiar with academic conventions. Students are advised that critical thinking should be evident throughout their essays.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • 1 lecture and 1 seminar per week. Learning activities include • Reading printed materials, articles etc. provided • Research for projects • Non-assessed group presentation

Independent Study128
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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