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M.A. in TESOL or Applied Linguistics
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alistaircandlin



Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:44 pm    Post subject: M.A. in TESOL or Applied Linguistics Reply with quote

First of all, my apologies: I know this question has been posted before but the search facility is not so good here, and I can't find the old thread.

I want to ask those of you with either of the above qualifications - what is the benefit of each?

I'm considering doing an M.Ed. in TESOL with a British University, probably Birmingham. I noticed though, that Liverpool University specify that their TESOL Master's course is only for teachers with less than two year's experience. They recommend that more experienced teachers should do the Applied Linguistics course instead.

This implies that, at Liverpool at least, the Applied Linguistics course goes to a deeper level and the TESOL course aims to develop the skills of new teachers. I am looking for a course with a strong practical application; I don't want to get into something that knots you up in theories with no benefits for your own teaching practice. My initial thought is that the TESOL is what I'm looking for, but the Liverpool website made me think twice:

http://www.liv.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught_courses/tesol_ma.htm

I'm not even sure what an Applied Linguistics course would involve, so perhaps someone could outline the sort of areas you focused on.

Finally, I already have a Master's in English Lit.. Do you think that that doing an MA TESOL is actually necessary, would it be beneficial in terms of career progression? I know the answer is largely based on my own goals, but I'm just exploring possibilities at the moment and would welcome your opinions.

My other option is focusing on writing professionally, and aiming to eventually teach writing at Uni. level. I've pretty much decided I don't want to take Literature any further academically: I find that Literary Theory just takes you into increasingly abtruse realms that are relevant to only a few obscure academics. After a lifetime spent reading, then being disillusioned with the way University Literature programmes spoil one's pleasure of books by their insistence n viewing everything through political or theoretical frameworks, I've finally read a book that explains why: I prefer to read as a writer; I'm more interested in the rhythms, words and sentences than any kind of feminist, deconstructive, post-colonialist, marxist or shmarxist bunk.
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Xylox



Joined: 09 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the research that I've done, I think applied linguistics opens more doors in the middle east, if your interested in heading down there.
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livinginkorea



Joined: 11 Jun 2004
Location: Korea, South of the border

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a tutor and former student of Birmingham (Bham). I went the TESOL route back in 2006. I suggest you think about where you hope to end up in a few years time. If you hope to go the research road then Applied Linguistics would be apt whereas TESOL would be more helpful for teaching or to go into teacher education. To be honest, sometimes I regret not going down the Applied Linguistics road but I do prefer the practical side of teaching and it seems my TESOL students do to. Applied Linguistics can be very theoretical sometimes and not everyone can do it, although there is a nice bunch of assignment questions (4,000 words for you to write) to choose from for each module. In my experience the TESOL students use a lot more experimental methods and conduct research in their classrooms or with their students, obtaining ‘real results’ to support their arguments. In contrast, the Applied Linguistics students take a more debate style with little to no classroom applications to their writing with he said / she said to support their arguments (naturally depending on the topic and question). I am over-generalizing of course but it is generally accepted that Applied Linguistics is considered more theoretical and academic. It depends on the style of student you are.

Both TESOL and Applied Linguistics have Written Discourse Analysis and Lexis which would be good for you since you have a MA in English Litt. and would have good knowledge about some of the core concepts already.

The next 'batch' of students starts in April 2011 and you have to apply 8 weeks in advance. You still have some time left to look around and decide.

Let me know if you have any questions. Best of luck!
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alistaircandlin



Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to you both for your replies.

Livinginkorea: without meaning to pry, what would you say the benefits have been, for you and for your students, in terms of pay, improving your practice and career progression?
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liveinkorea316



Joined: 20 Aug 2010
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MA TESOL and MA Applied Linguistics are essentially the same thing.
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olsanairbase



Joined: 30 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applied Linguistics is considered a more in-depth MA than a MA in TESOL.

That comparison is like an EdD to a PhD. EdD is more hands-on and doesn't involve complex statistical classes to earn whereas the PhD does.


Also, if you do go on to get Doctoral Degree a PhD in Applied Linguistics will open alot more doors in terms of teaching opportunities at least in the states.
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livinginkorea



Joined: 11 Jun 2004
Location: Korea, South of the border

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

alistaircandlin wrote:
Thanks to you both for your replies.

Livinginkorea: without meaning to pry, what would you say the benefits have been, for you and for your students, in terms of pay, improving your practice and career progression?


For me - moved up the ladder a lot in terms of my career. Got the last two jobs because I was currently doing a MA at the time (1st year English conversational classes) and then the current one because I had finished my MA (teacher education). My pay has jumped a lot, from around the 2.5 mark to 3.2 to 4.3 but the work load has increased a lot. Instead of teaching the same chapter 3 or 4 times a week every class I teach is new. The teaching hours have gone down - 25 to 15 to 12. Also, I have got out of actually teaching English and found my true calling - teaching teachers how to teach English. In terms of improving my practice, the MA and studies during the MA have given me more confidence especially in the theory, terminology and concepts. I know more about what I am talking about and why something is so and can guide others in the right direction. I have an area that I am a 'specialist' in. However, I realize more and more that the field itself is absolutely huge. I find myself drawn towards articles and textbooks related to various areas of interest and have spent a couple thousand dollars on books over the last 12 months.

For my students, one of them has gone off to do a PhD now and got a lecturership on the strength of her MA. Some have gotten better paying jobs, most to be honest have been in Korea for a few years, already have a university position and start an MA to keep their job. Most are very interested in learning. A couple want to do PhDs and one student dropped as he got the opportunity to take a MA in Australia.
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Whistleblower



Joined: 03 Feb 2007

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would recommend students to apply and do the MA route before the hike in tuition fees in 2012. It is expected that British Universities will charge around 9000 quid a year for undergraduate degrees. Not sure what the fees will be like for post-graduate courses.
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zappadelta



Joined: 31 Aug 2004

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

olsanairbase wrote:
Applied Linguistics is considered a more in-depth MA than a MA in TESOL.

That comparison is like an EdD to a PhD. EdD is more hands-on and doesn't involve complex statistical classes to earn whereas the PhD does.


Also, if you do go on to get Doctoral Degree a PhD in Applied Linguistics will open alot more doors in terms of teaching opportunities at least in the states.


I don't necessarily agree with this. It could be like this, but it depends a lot on where you study.

OP, why don't you look into the program at University of Leicester, which offers an MA in TESOL and Applied Linguistics.

http://www.educaedu.co.uk/ma-in-tesol-and-applied-linguistics-masters-22287.html

A colleague of mine completed this program a year or two ago and was very satisfied with it.
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CtotheB



Joined: 03 Sep 2010

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are there any online courses in MA TESOL that can be done from Korea? I'm a little confused as to whether or not you have to be there or if some can be done purely online.
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Hotpants



Joined: 27 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TESOL should imply more of the practical aspect of teaching, while 'Applied Linguistics' should be more about the assessment of how applied theories work. However, most courses have an overlap.

In Korea, many unis, for example, won't care whether your MA is titled TESOL or Applied Linguistics - both will do for the purpose of climbing the ranks here.

As I'm assuming you are from the UK (you mention UK unis), I would also recommend looking into the Open University - The cheapest MA option if you claim yourself 'resident' in the UK. There, you have a choice of combinations of the MA - Applied Linguistics OR Education OR both. An MA in Education can have broader application, although again, there is in actuality often a merge between the disciplines contained within.

The problem with any distance MA related to TESOL is that it's all about theory, and doesn't push your own teaching skills. If your aim is to improve your EFL classroom teaching skills, there is nothing better than the DELTA. If you do an MA, look into getting observed teaching practice as part of the course, as a certain number of hours of observation by a qualified observer can count as the equivalent of a DELTA (cf. British Council regs - they don't actually recognize a distance MA without observed teaching practice). The observed teaching practice can also be done post-hoc the MA.

If you plan on sticking in this industry in Korea for more than a few years, an MA in anything linguistically related is definitely worth it in the long run.
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bobbybigfoot



Joined: 05 May 2007
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dude, you have a Master's already. Why waste your time getting another one?

Go to Teacher's College. This would certainly be advantageous.

Maybe get a CELTA.
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alistaircandlin



Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll check out Leceister and the OU; thanks for the advice on those.

LivinginKorea - thanks for the info. re. pay and career progression. I'd probably do the TESOL rather than the Applied Linguistics if I was to choose one of these.

Bobbybigfoot - I do want to think about whether it will be beneficial for me or whether, as you said, it would be a waste of time. Sometimes experience counts for a lot more than just piling up qualifications. As I said in my original post I'm just looking at options and thinking about where to go from here at the moment. I already have QTS and a CELTA certificate though: I did my CELTA back in 2004 and went back to the UK later to do my PGCE in Secondary English at Bath. I taught English at a comprehensive school in Cambrdgeshire for a couple of years before returning to Seoul this summer.

I can't see myself going back to secondary school teaching in England though, so I'm considering whether to try and develop my skills as an EFL teacher more or just keep teaching as a day job and put a lot more effort into writing. I know this is something I need to decide for myself but I was just asking for thoughts about the TEFL MAs really.

I appreciate your thoughts guys; it's all very helpful.

All the best,

Alistair
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bobbybigfoot



Joined: 05 May 2007
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd go for a PhD before I'd do a second MA.

G'luck to you.
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olsanairbase



Joined: 30 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bobbybigfoot wrote:
I'd go for a PhD before I'd do a second MA.

G'luck to you.


I'd have to agree with that.

I never understood why people did otherwise. I had a friend who had a PhD in Nuerology who just went back to get an MA in Chemistry. I asked him why he did that and he said that the program covered areas not addressed in his 1st MA.

There is also the debt game. As long as you are in school taking so many classes you can use an in-school deferment on paying back any loans that you owe.
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