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MA in TESOL
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Confused Canadian



Joined: 21 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bish wrote:
I think the terrible English on the MA TESOL at Sookmyung's site says it all, really. You might be able to wangle a job at a third rate Korean University with one of those but go anywhere else and I doubt it would be worth much at all.

The OP is doing a good course if he's studying at Nottingham, only heard good things about that course...


"Terrible English"? I know it's easy to pick on Korean unis, but I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

Quite frankly, I think most MA programs are quite similar, in that you get out of it what you put into it. Can you coast by and do the bare minimum? Sure. But I think that's true of most programs. Yes, you have a certain number of assignments, reading, and papers to complete, but you can do the bare minimum, or put forth your best effort. However, if you're going to invest +2 years of your life in something, I'd think by now you'd decide to get your money's worth and actually take something from the course.

I'm finishing the course now, and I can assure you that I've worked my butt off for the past 2 1/2 years. My thesis is ready for submission, and I certainly won't be embarrassed to have my name on it. I won't be embarrassed that my thesis will also bear the name of Sookmyung either.

As for questioning the usefulness of the degree, I have a friend that completed the program a few years ago, and he got a job (unassisted - i.e. no connections at the school) at a uni considered one of the top 10 schools in Seoul. Sookmyung's TESOL program is one of the oldest in Korea, and it's reputation is quite well known, in Korea. I'm not sure how this degree will be received if I try to find employment abroad. However, as I see my future in Korea (for at least the next 5 years), I'll have to wait to find out.
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Highwayman



Joined: 22 May 2011

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Confused Canadian wrote:
Quite frankly, I think most MA programs are quite similar, in that you get out of it what you put into it. Can you coast by and do the bare minimum? Sure. But I think that's true of most programs.

Totally true. And there are dumb-as-hell people with rich, well-connected parents who have BAs from Yale and Princeton. It's a shame that Korea is so elitist when it comes to worshiping name-brand Ivy league schools.
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bish



Joined: 09 Jun 2007

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Canadian, I didn't know you were doing the course but from what I see I can't see the appeal as I doubt it would match up to a distance course from somehwere like Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester or Nottingham.

I wasn't disputing that you have worked hard, I'm sure you have but I wouldn't be as interested in doing that course I am in doing one from a University in the US or Aus. Have you taken time off work to do it or have you done it whilst in employment?
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Confused Canadian



Joined: 21 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bish wrote:
Hello Canadian, I didn't know you were doing the course but from what I see I can't see the appeal as I doubt it would match up to a distance course from somehwere like Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester or Nottingham.

I wasn't disputing that you have worked hard, I'm sure you have but I wouldn't be as interested in doing that course I am in doing one from a University in the US or Aus. Have you taken time off work to do it or have you done it whilst in employment?


Doesn't match up how, exactly? I know those schools have good reputations, but where exactly do you see fault in the Sookmyung program? I actually heard comments from one person in the program that had also partially completed a TESOL course in the states. He claimed that the course load at Sookmyung was much more difficult.

In my case, I chose to do an in country degree for two reasons.

1) I know myself, and I know that it would've been much harder to stay on track in a distance course. It's too easy to ask for extensions. I also know that I learn better in a classroom environment. I'm not saying one is better than the other. I'm simply saying that doing my degree at a bricks and mortar school better suited me.

2) Cost. When I started the program, foreigners were entitled to a 70% scholarship for maintaining an "A" average. Part way through, it changed to 100%. I got straight A+'s because I worked hard (and I wanted that scholarship!). Being a foreigner doesn't entitle you to the scholarship. I saw a few cases of fellow classmates not doing the work expected of them, and consequently, not getting the grades they wanted for the scholarship (though they did get a partial scholarship).

I did my degree while working full time at a uni, but the students (Korean & foreign) come from hagwons, public schools, universities, and other fields. It was difficult, and almost all of my free time went into my weekly readings, assignments, and midterm & final papers. However, taking time off, with a family to support, simply wasn't an option.

I don't think it's possible to say that a distance degree is better or worse than another. There are too many factors. However, it does bother me when people bash programs in Korea simply because they're Korean. Sure, there were probably a number of students who didn't work as hard as me (and I'm sure some that worked harder), but that doesn't diminish the education I received.
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bish



Joined: 09 Jun 2007

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair play, I never doubted you worked hard and I'm glad you did. , Well done.
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Carbon



Joined: 28 Jan 2011

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Louis VI wrote:

You would, I wouldn't. I'm not looking at getting a MA TESOL to teach back home but to teach in Asia, South America and maybe the Middle East. I can easily show a potential employer the benefits of doing my graduate degree research project in an Asian country teaching EFL students, because THAT is what I do. I don't want to teach adults, and I don't want to teach in an English speaking country. So the best place to be in terms of classroom opportunities to teach and research methods of teaching non-native English students in the target range of 8-13 years old is... in an English-as-a-2nd-language country.

I am certain that a MA TESOL from Thailand will not hurt my chances to be hired in Vietnam, a location I'm very interested in. For Buenos Aires and elsewhere I'm considering, my cover letter can explain why after a CELTA and a decade of teaching in South Korea I chose to do my MA in Thailand to hone teaching strategies for young learners in a foreign language context. I am NOT thinking of doing a PhD. I am entirely thinking of the value of an MA to increase my skills firstly and solidify my job prospects in my chosen subfield and region!

For what I want to learn and where I want to be afterwards, an MA TESOL by distance or from the U.K. just doesn't cut it.


Doesn't cut it? Seems like it doesn't cut it for you, but for everyone /everything else, it certainly does! You cannot be saying that an MA from the UK will actually hurt your chances! No, there are other forces at work, I suspect. Maybe money, time...who knows besides you, but don't try to convince me or anyone else that an MA from Thailand will do something that another will not because that just ain't so.

I say don't waste your time. You don't know the future and to invest in a grad school degree from some university in Thailand is a waste. Do it right; get your degree from a reputable institution. IT will come back to haunt you, without a doubt.
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fromtheuk



Joined: 31 Mar 2007

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's interesting to read your views on where to do an MA TESOL.

I think if you get an MA from anywhere in the world, it is still an MA.

Practically, the same level of work/effort is probably required wherever you study.

Sadly, on planet reality there is a pecking order in the shallow world of employment.

If you have an MA from America, Britain, Australia i.e. native speaking countries, I'd say most employers around the world would hold that in higher esteem than an MA from Asia.

Is that justified? Probably not. Is it fair? Probably not.

So, if somebody wants to give themselves the best chance of finding a top job anywhere in the world, in my view it'd be best to get an MA from a native English speaking country.

As regards distance v face-to-face, I've chosen the face-to-face course. Some employers look down on distance learning certificates, even though the course content is identical to the face-to-face version.

Is that fair? Probably not. Is this justified? Probably not.

Sadly, it's planet reality.

In short, in an ideal world it would be good if any qualification was recognized purely on merit. In actuality, employers around the world tend to prefer qualifications from the western hemisphere.

As a shallow individual, intent on furthering my career I've chosen what I feel is the best option. An MA from England, face-to-face.

In Korea and other parts of the world North American English is most popular.

However, I prefer the original version of the language. I'm not from Korea or other parts of the world and I know which version of English is the best. Laughing

Lastly, I will study in my home city, Robin Hood county, I don't know of any other place in this world that can say that!

fromtheuk made some valid points, a pity he ruined it from the paragraph 'In Korea' onwards. Cool
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Highwayman



Joined: 22 May 2011

PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fromtheuk wrote:
I think if you get an MA from anywhere in the world, it is still an MA.

Practically, the same level of work/effort is probably required wherever you study.

I doubt it.

For one, standards are simply higher in some parts of the world and at different universities.

For another thing, and correct me if I'm wrong, but to get an MA in the US, you normally need 2 years after a 4-year BA (6 years post-secondary total). In the UK, you can often get one after just 4-5 years of post-secondary study.
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fromtheuk



Joined: 31 Mar 2007

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't say it explicity, but your comments suggest an MA is better from the US because it is longer in duration.

I don't mean to rain on your parade, but I've actually studied at university level in the UK and the US.

In the UK, degrees get straight to to the point, they don't go on and on for the sake of it. Many UK degrees are 3 years.

I don't remember any seminars at university in the US. Just lectures and lots of multiple choice/short answer exams.

Lastly, please answer the following question. Where does the English language come from? Not the US, but England.

The original version of the English language is from England and if it wasn't for the English you'd probably be a native speaker of Portuguese, Spanish or Mexican. Laughing

Therefore, in my humble opinion, an MA in TESOL from Britain is the best qualification on planet earth. This is not an issue of which country has the most global clout. It's an issue based on merit. An MA TESOL certificate from the land of Shakespeare will do me fine. Laughing

Did I tell you I'm 'fromtheuk.'

To be serious for a second, I think an MA in TESOL from some US universities are better than the MA I'm going to study for.

I feel some US courses are too much for the sake of it. However, some of them are clearly top notch.

The thing is education in America costs way too much. Education in the UK is still relatively affordable and high quality.

Also, because English comes from England, I feel it is best to have a qualification from England. Cool
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Highwayman



Joined: 22 May 2011

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fromtheuk wrote:
You don't say it explicity (sic), but your comments suggest an MA is better from the US because it is longer in duration.

No, I was simply pointing out that not all MAs are the same in terms of work/duration.

I don't think a lot of people in Korea realize that most MAs in the UK are the equivalent to a good honors degree in the US in terms of length of study.

I'm not from the US or the UK. I'm just pointing out the facts.
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TECO



Joined: 20 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Highwayman wrote:
fromtheuk wrote:
You don't say it explicity (sic), but your comments suggest an MA is better from the US because it is longer in duration.


No, I was simply pointing out that not all MAs are the same in terms of work/duration.

I don't think a lot of people in Korea realize that most MAs in the UK are the equivalent to a good honors degree in the US in terms of length of study.

I'm not from the US or the UK. I'm just pointing out the facts.


Good point, Highwayman, and I'd agree with that. I've seen some ridiculously easy M.A. TESOL programs in Australia. For example, I think it was Monash University back in 2003 or 2004 that was offering a Master's degree in TESOL that required only 6 courses (Three 3 credit courses per-semester). Also, there was no thesis requirement for the degree. Strictly a coursework affair.

You mentioned that the U.K. Master's degrees are no more than B.A. degrees at the Honours Level. Well, to put that into further perspective, a one-year college certificate in the U.S. or Canada requires that students complete 8 courses (4 courses per-semester). Now, in Australia, students are earning Master's degrees in less than a year (if they do the summer semester)! Very few people are actually doing research for their M.A. degrees. Now argue that there's not something wrong with that. Why do you think Australian and U.K. M.A. programs are so popular among EFL teachers in Korea?

Come to think of it, the Asian students have fallen in love with these programs also. It's a heck of a lot easier for them to go and do a coursework Master's degree in English or Business in Australia than it would for them to do an M.A. in Korea, Taiwan, Japan or China. The requirements for them to complete their grad degrees here are much more stringent.
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Highwayman



Joined: 22 May 2011

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TECO wrote:
You mentioned that the U.K. Master's degrees are no more than B.A. degrees at the Honours Level.

No, I didn't say anything about "level" (whatever that means). I said "in terms of length of study" (at a post-secondary institution).
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TECO



Joined: 20 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fromtheuk wrote:
I think if you get an MA from anywhere in the world, it is still an MA. Practically, the same level of work/effort is probably required wherever you study.


This is not true. See my post above. Not all M.A. programs are equal, just like all schools are not equal. There's big money involved, and Australia and the U.K. in particular have been really aggressive about going after it. In Australia alone, it's worth roughly $4 Billion.

Quote:
Degrees are being awarded to overseas students who speak almost no English, claims a whistleblowing academic. The academic, at a world-famous UK university, says postgraduate degrees are awarded to students lacking in the most basic language skills.

There are concerns that financial pressures to recruit overseas students for cash rather than quality could threaten the credibility of degrees.


Link: Rigorous Checks Needed for U.K. Graduate Degrees

There have been allegations in recent years regarding corruption at Australian universities. This is a billion dollar industry in Australia. Universities there are willing to dummy down their degrees, requirements and turn a blind eye to English proficiency scores in exchange for the heaps of cash they get from foreign students.

Another article on this topic regarding Australia.
Link: Australian Universities: A Tarnished Reputation
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TECO



Joined: 20 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Highwayman wrote:
TECO wrote:
You mentioned that the U.K. Master's degrees are no more than B.A. degrees at the Honours Level.

No, I didn't say anything about "level" (whatever that means). I said "in terms of length of study" (at a post-secondary institution).


It doesn't matter, I'm arguing that not all programs are equal and that there has been a lot of corruption at these universities with respect to how they admit foreign students and also the dummying down of the Master's degree. The universities are greedy for the cash, so the Master's programs in many of these universities are not as rigorous as those in the U.S. or Canada.
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fromtheuk



Joined: 31 Mar 2007

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I went to study in the US, I saw a British doctor for a medical. There was a form he had to fill in for American immigration. This was back in the 90s.

My doctor went through the form and laughed. He ticked various boxes, looked at me, chuckled and said, 'Typical Americans. Over the top.'

He meant the form was too long and much of it asked for non-essential information. It was a waste of space.

I am aware that study in America takes longer thank in the UK, but I don't think that proves it is any better at all. It's just long.

I disagree, I feel degrees from the UK are the best in the world, regardless of duration. I think they are better than degrees from America and Canada, unless you get a degree from one of the top ranked universities in North America.

It's sad North Americans can't spell the word colour properly. I also think it's sad to see many North Americans often to tend to use the word 'awesome' for anything they think is good. They never use marvellous, brilliant etc. Laughing

You honestly think North American universities aren't in it for the money? It costs bucket loads of money to get a degree in the US. Why? Because of it's great quality? My eye! It's all about making money. Of course many US universities are of great quality, but the cost of getting a degree there is outrageous.

I digress, but I've seen some ESL jobs in the US. The job description tends to give extreme detail about the responsibilities of the job, it looks like hard work, and then they offer chump change as a salary.

They have a naseating, pathetic tone in such job adverts, it gives the impression 'you'll be grateful for working for our American/Canadian organization, while in return you'll get a kick in the teeth and you'll be thankful for the privilege.'

I have chosen to do an MA in the UK because it is the best place in the world to study. My career is ESL and I want a qualification from those who invented the language. The cost is also a factor and that's why I'd never study for a degree in North America, unless I was a millionaire. Laughing

I think MA programmes in the UK are popular with international students because they don't charge exorbitant fees. They realize it's important for their course to be affordable. The quality of MA TESOL programmes in the UK are very high. I cannot speak about Australia.

Lastly, I will attend the University of Nottingham in England. It is ranked in the top 1% of all universities, worldwide. So, I don't know which universities you're referring to when you say they are better than a course in the UK/Australia, but the university I'm going to is independently ranked in the top 100 universities of the world.

I think it's pretty clear an MA TESOL from the University of Nottingham is one of the best in the world, the same world North Americans inhabit! Laughing
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