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Getting a Master's while teaching.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3591
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rtm wrote:
I think it might be more accurate to say that a degree from an inner-circle country is preferred. To an extent, it's a bit disheartening, but it does reflect real-life hiring practices.

Nomad soul, you say that employers expect a "native speaker" to hold a degree "from an Anglophone university". I'll remind you that there are Anglophone universities all over the world, including some that the previous poster mentioned.

I would also argue that the last statement ("a degree program from an English-speaking country takes into account learners of diverse languages and cultures representative of the country's demographic refugee and emigrant makeup") would be accurate about almost any grad TESOL program in any country -- i.e., a program would take into account the needs of populations in the country that the program is located. That would also mean that a TESOL program that focuses on TESOL/TESD for aborigines in Australia wouldn't necessarily help one to teach Saudi students at an IEP in South Carolina any more than a TEFL MA from Malaysia would. Nonetheless, the MA from the Australian university would be more valuable when looking for a job. Likewise, an MA from an American university that focuses on hetero-lingual classes wouldn't necessarily prepare one to teach a homo-lingual group of students in Japan, yet it would be preferred over, say, an MA from HKU.


We're basically on the same page, rtm. But this is why I gave my example of the (ESL) students I taught in the US; it's typical of multilingual/multicultural classrooms in Anglophone countries that have a high emigrant and refugee population. You won't see Somalis, Mexicans, Bosnians, Hmongs, Guatamalans, Thais, Iraqis, Mongolians, etc., sitting in similar classrooms in China, Hong Kong, or other countries in Asia hoping to greatly improve their English. I also agree that even within English-speaking countries, some MA English language programs focus on a specific monolingual/homogeneous population (e.g., Aborigines in Australia, Spanish/bilingual ed in the US, Inuit in Canada...). Those teachers who pursue these academic paths don't intend to head abroad to teach English and generally teach in public school systems in their home country. Ditto for the nationals enrolled in MA TESOL programs in Asian universities.

But yes, employers expect native speakers to hold a relevant degree from Anglophone universities presumably from their home country or from a university that carries specific accreditation and touts a native-speaking faculty (per my original comment). Obviously, that would include universities in English-speaking countries as well as those that are similarly accredited but are located in other countries. For example, both the American University in Cairo, Egypt (AUC) and the American University of Sharjah (AUS) in the UAE are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Both also offer an MA TESOL program that is accepted by employers worldwide. Understandably, other countries send their citizens abroad to universities in the US, Canada, etc. for a TESOL-related grad degree and not to universities in Asia.
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rtm



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 518
Location: US

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
We're basically on the same page, rtm. But this is why I gave my example of the (ESL) students I taught in the US; it's typical of multilingual/multicultural classrooms in Anglophone countries that have a high emigrant and refugee population. You won't see Somalis, Mexicans, Bosnians, Hmongs, Guatamalans, Thais, Iraqis, Mongolians, etc., sitting in similar classrooms in China, Hong Kong, or other countries in Asia hoping to greatly improve their English.

You won't see them in university classrooms in, e.g., UAE, either. So, I don't see how such a teaching context would necessarily prepare one for teaching in, e.g., UAE. Although such a context does give a small amount of experience with a variety of learners, it also gets one used to a classroom with students who don't speak the same language or have shared or similar cultural heritage/experiences. So, there are positives and negatives.

Quote:
For example, both the American University in Cairo, Egypt (AUC) and the American University of Sharjah (AUS) in the UAE are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Both also offer an MA TESOL program that is accepted by employers worldwide.

Right, but why should these be accepted by employers worldwide, and not those from, say, Hong Kong University or the other universities that were mentioned. I don't believe that US accreditation of the entire university or the presence of native-speaking faculty ensures the quality of the TESOL training.

I agree that employers generally prefer an MA TESOL from an accredited university in an inner-circle country. However, I think that this preference is misguided and unfortunate, as there are many very strong programs in outer- and expanding-circle countries, including ones that have non-native speaking faculty. Thus, advice to people to take their MA TESOL in the US, Canada, etc. should be made out of practicality, without trying to justify it by saying that the quality of education is higher, because that is not necessarily true.

Quote:
Understandably, other countries send their citizens abroad to universities in the US, Canada, etc. for a TESOL-related grad degree and not to universities in Asia.

Obviously more go to the US, Canada, etc., but I have known graduate TESOL students at universities in Japan who came from other countries (from Pakistan, China, and Malaysia). It does happen, and those students can still learn a lot and become very good teachers.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3591
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the record, not once in my comments did I state nor imply that I personally believe MA TESOL programs from Asian universities are low quality. I also never stated that non-native teachers with degrees from Asian countries aren't effective teachers. I've learned from talented colleagues and friends, non-native speakers who hold MAs and PhDs from a variety of countries, just as I've shared my knowledge with them. In fact, I spent most of my childhood abroad and not all of my teachers were Americans. So I certainly don't hold such biases or stereotypes and need to be very clear about that.

My point is that, like it not, this is an employer preference---a business decision, so to speak, or maybe even the employer's personal bias. Some ministries of higher ed may also dictate what requirements teachers should hold (e.g., the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia presently do not accept MA degrees studied online from accredited Anglophone universities). Therefore, a native English speaker considering an MA TESOL program from an Asian university needs to be aware that the degree may not be accepted by every employer outside of Asia for whatever the reason. Frankly, the same can be said about a degree from the University of Phoenix. That's the reality regardless of our personal opinions.
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rtm



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 518
Location: US

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
For the record, not once in my comments did I state nor imply that I personally believe MA TESOL programs from Asian universities are low quality.

I'm very glad to hear that. I was responding more to Spiral's statement:

"nomadsoul is correct; I have been on hiring committees in North America and Europe for a decade and an MA from an Asian university would not be regarded as anywhere near par with one from an Anglophone country."

That seems to indicate a judgment about the quality, not the emphasis, of the training by hiring committees of which Spiral was part.

Quote:
I also never stated that non-native teachers with degrees from Asian countries aren't effective teachers. I've learned from talented colleagues and friends, non-native speakers who hold MAs and PhDs from a variety of countries, just as I've shared my knowledge with them. In fact, I spent most of my childhood abroad and not all of my teachers were Americans. So I certainly don't hold such biases or stereotypes and need to be very clear about that.

I didn't mean to insinuate that you have such a bias or stereotype. I was responding to your statement that employers expect candidates to have a degree from a university "that carries specific accreditation and touts a native-speaking faculty". I was responding that university accreditation and native-speaking faculty do not necessarily indicate the quality of a program.

Quote:
My point is that, like it not, this is an employer preference---a business decision, so to speak, or maybe even the employer's personal bias.

Yes, and we agree on this, as I have stated in my posts as well. I was simply saying that this preference is misguided and unfortunate, which is a perspective that I felt hadn't been brought up enough in this thread. However, I realize that such discussion won't change employer preferences -- at least not right away.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9302
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I was responding more to Spiral's statement:

"nomadsoul is correct; I have been on hiring committees in North America and Europe for a decade and an MA from an Asian university would not be regarded as anywhere near par with one from an Anglophone country."

That seems to indicate a judgment about the quality, not the emphasis, of the training by hiring committees of which Spiral was part.



Actually, for us it's more about the cultural expectations of learners in different parts of the world. Perhaps I and my colleagues have been unlucky or we have worked with teachers whose approaches and methods would be outdated in Asia today. But those teachers in our context whose prior experience and degrees are Asia-based have difficulty (and are often unsuccessful) transferring their skills and experience to European classrooms.
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 206

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
"There is still a lot of planet left to choose from outside of the ME."

OK, Europe's out, the America's are out, the Middle East is out, so what's left? Well, some of Africa, maybe, and China, Anyplace else?

Regards,
John


Strange... I had no problem landing a job at at Canadian Uni... although the UofA isn't the UofT or UBC.

I guess the America's (other than perhaps IN the good 'ol US of A) aren't necessarily "out".

.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12296
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear suphanburi,

And that university would be . . . .?

Not that I am skeptical, but after all, this is the Net, and there's nothing to stop me from claiming that I have a Ph.D from Harvard. Very Happy

Regards,
John
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9302
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

University of Alberta, I presume.
Last I was aware (and admittedly that was a few years back now), contracts at UofAlberta for ESL instructors were semester long only, renewable at the discretion of the department manager. At that time, the manager placed very high value on student feedback on the teacher, making the job very much a popularity contest.
Never worked there myself but had friends who did (for a while).
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12296
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, are you taking about a part-time ESL instructor job? Good heavens, there are plenty of places you can get such a job without even a Masters degree. Some places will hire even if the applicant has only a "related BA."

In other words - a warm, native-speaker with a BA/BS, body.

Regards,
John
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9302
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Johnslat:

UofAlb jobs were often full-time - and some teachers got almost indefinite numbers of semester-long contracts. BUT, no job security, no perks (insurance, pension, etc). So full-time, but totally insecure.

best,
spiral
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looseleaf



Joined: 20 Oct 2013
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out of curiosity, is there an issue of British English vs American English when studying for a master's degree and wanting to work in other countries?

For example, if I got an MA from an English university and wanted to teach in the US, would they look down on that because it was taught in British English?

Would there be any difference for other, non-native English speaking countries? Would it be harder to get a job in the Middle East or Asia with one or the other?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3591
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

looseleaf wrote:
For example, if I got an MA from an English university and wanted to teach in the US, would they look down on that because it was taught in British English?

Would there be any difference for other, non-native English speaking countries? Would it be harder to get a job in the Middle East or Asia with one or the other?

No, it wouldn't be an issue if the degree was from an accredited US or UK university.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12296
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But individual employers can have "partialities."

I ran into a few Saudis who had control of who got hired in the Middle East who had a prejudice against British teachers for "historical reasons."

Regards,
John
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