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Ranking of Korean Universities for Terms and Conditions
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I'm With You



Joined: 01 Sep 2011

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PRagic wrote:
Do you want a lawyer who never went to law school? When you did your undergrad, did your professors have Ph.D.s? Even for the intro courses? Would you want to take a Master's in a program taught with faculty composed of only MA holders?

Not that I disagree with what you've written, but as foreigners teaching English in Korea, none of the above is important. We're nothing more than actors or extras in the odd production or racket that is university English education in Korea. We're merely window dressing for the the big push for "internationalization".

We pretend to be professors, pretend to teach, and the students pretend to learn English. After all, where else in this world can a 23 year old Canadian fresh out of university and with a non-TESOL related B.A. degree land a university teaching position as a "Professor"?


Last edited by I'm With You on Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But that doesn't even happen in Korea anymore. In 2006 and prior, sure, it was a common occurrence...but this is 2013. I guess the really sad thing is that some of the "professors" who got their foot in the door back when hiring standards were almost non existent (for example, you) don't care about teaching well and aren't good teachers, yet still have their plum jobs (due to initially being in the right place at the right time) and with years of verifiable university teaching experience will always be ahead in the game.
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earthquakez



Joined: 10 Nov 2010

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swampfox10mm wrote:
Depends... personally, if the Brit male we interviewed had such a chip on their shoulder, and were so overly-confident, I'd probably hire the American with no experience.

We just don't need the baggage, nor would we want someone talking down to the rest of the staff.

You'd probably be unhappy, and it would show in your work, or create a bad vibe.
Rolling Eyes

World Traveller's comment nailed it re the mentality of some of those who slipped into university jobs THEN got the experience, degrees etc.

Your sniping at me doesn't in any way make my comments or those of others here untrue, sunshine. I've worked in France, taught at a college, taught at uni in Taiwan, did similar in other countries. Experience was golden there, evidence of getting degrees learning how to teach etc was cool but as other staff from those institutions said to me, I knew how to teach at that level because I had the experience.

I got the experience from applying my skills and then when doing my jobs, using my experience to get selected over people with pieces of paper who couldn't demonstrate much in the way of supposedly being superior to those who actually did the hard yards and developed their skills in the practical way.

Korea's a strange place - too many positions are filled on a who you know, how the Korean staff who open the application letters/download em from the email inbox etc are feeling on the day.

There are posters here obviously like Pragic who have logic to what they're saying - tho I disagree respectfully with the idea that getting more degrees shows somebody's a better applicant than the person who was good enough at teaching to keep getting jobs at that level.

The argument about lawyers is about as relevant as saying that Arsenal need to play at Real Madrid's home stadium to win the English Premier league title. Lawyers are absolutely required to have a level of education that will qualify them for the bar - English teaching in the English industry which is broad, not at all unified in its requirements, is a completely different barrow o fish.

Especially when it comes to English teaching in Korea which still does not require NETS in the compulsory school system to have any kind of work experience - the basic degree and being a native English speaker is enough tho we all know it depends on the school.

Throw in non compulsory schooling like hagwons and university/college, and the big differences in quality among hagwons, unis and colleges, and Korea's a dog's breakfast.

My point which is also the point of others here who are outnumbered by the 'I've got an MA or Phd (even if that was done AFTER some of them were lucky to get a uni/college job in the first place) and that qualifies me to teach uni/college students successfully', is that there are some of us who have done it successfully, more than those who are already in the uni/college system.

That work history shouldn't count for nothing especially in Korea where getting a job can be a real lottery. Take the case of the nice lady who posted here, forget her name - she was an unemployed graduate from Canada who had just about zilch English related job experience and a basic degree.

She ended up working at a university here and she's not the only one who looks good in a photo and got a job through it with nothing to show she could do it. Shocked

As for the whole MA, Phd thing - I didn't go to Oxbridge but I went to the university that's close for its history and track record. One of my tutors there came from an academic family who have been teaching at university since the 19th century and he said it's a relatively new thing for expectations of Phds etc.

About 20 yrs ago an MA was often the highest degree for English lecturers etc, some didn't have that. What mattered was their ability, how they applied it in communicating ideas and how they got their students interested in what they were teaching.

These days MAs and Phds are important, yeah, I don't disagree. But to tell people who have taught at university/college level that no, they're not qualified and then in some cases to get graduates with no experience to teach at Korean universities and colleges tells us a lot about the contrariness and irrationality of getting a job in Korea.

And yeah, I do think that some of you feel threatened by people who have done it without your contacts and your MAs and Phds. But this is Korea which is so damned inconsistent and that's the point some of us are making.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do understand your position and your insights. And I do agree that proven, documented experience is necessary. Too true, also, that hiring in Korea in the ESL industry all along the food chain has historically been haphazard at best.

The same could be said for academe in the U.S. only one generation ago, however. Many taught at university with just the MA/MS, people taught across disciplines, contacts were king, and simply finding experienced teachers proved a bit of a challenge. If you had your Ph.D., you could literally work your way around N. America. Not any more, as is well known.

In much the same way, things have moved forward in Korean academe, largely in step with economic development and political progress. Newer markets like China and modernizing markets such as Thailand will continue to offer possibilities for university employment to those with an undergraduate degree and some experience under their belts. In Korea, however, these positions are, and should continue to, dwindle.

I'm from a blue collar family. We were raised to view education as a key that opens doors to higher levels of opportunity. Pay to play or get out of the game. Complaining won't change the games of the rule. My dad didn't want us working in factories, and even if that's what we chose, he didn't want to see us denied opportunities at the plant because we didn't have a degree. Times had changes over the course of his career and he saw that coming down the pike. Schmucks with a 2 or 4 year piece of paper were getting kicked up the chain over guys with 10-20 years of experience.

We were also raised to believe that the world owes you squat. Unless you work for yourself, you need to continually show your employer that, yes, you should have your job instead of the next person in line, and, yes, you have done something other than tread water to get that promotion, pay raise, or contract renewal.

So if market conditions have changed, if there are more and more people with targeted grad degrees looking to make a stab at university level ESL teaching as a career, then it's time to up your game, go private, go where the opportunities for your skill set stll exist, or change careers. This may sound brutal, but IMHO it is simply realistic. The merits of these changes are indeed open to debate, but the fact they are coming about is a foregone conclusion.

And just as an interesting aside, only a generation ago, plenty of people took the bar and became successful attorneys without going to law school. A four year degree sufficed. That changed, too.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am totally for people attempting to earn advanced degrees. Personally, I can't imagine an educator that doesn't. But, I do have a few problems with some of the ideas that seem to be associated with it:

1. You cannot keep up with a field without advancing your education. Complete rubbish. The whole point of being "educated" is an ability to learn outside the education system. Educated people do not stop learning after they graduate. And, an educated person is capable of learning something without a teacher.

2. Doing an advanced degree is not the only way to keep up with their field. In fact, it is a pretty small way compared to reading the latest articles, attending conferences, doing research and interacting with colleagues in the field.

3. Experience means little. Book learning only gets you so far. If you are not actually doing it, you don't really know what you are doing. If someone has a track record of success, then an educated person would want to know why. That is one of the reasons doing a teaching demonstration can be more important than your credentials because credentials, sadly, don't mean you can actually teach, teach well or teach better than anyone else. Teaching is a performed skill that can only be honed by doing it, not by reading about it or listening to lectures about it. Schools and universities who cannot understand this will be sorry when they find that all their credentialed employees don't really teach well or worse not appreciated by their students.

4. Experience is just doing the same bad things over and over again. Just plain narrow minded. For some people, this may be the case, for others, it is just plain wrong and to pre-judged someone that way is the anti-thesis of an intelligent, educated person. And, worse, the same can be true for anyone regardless of their degree.

5. Everyone should get an advanced degree. That just turns an institution into a degree mill and inflates educational requirements without any necessary improvement in outcome for a particular field of work. An advanced degree should be rare, for highly intelligent, highly educated, highly academic minded, highly motivated individuals. Sadly, especially with the plethora of on-line degrees, advanced degrees have turned into a question of do you have the money and are you willing to put in a little time and we will throw some paper at you. This idea that if you just put in the time and pay the price is diluting the value of a degree and inflating the necessity of higher degrees in professions that don't really require them. It may be good for schools and universities but it hurts everyone else, especially people with debts and those who grew up poor (for lack of a better term off the top of my head). The slippery slope is that soon all jobs, even cleaners, will need Ph.D.s. It is just silly. Going to university is going to university. Experience and training should be able to fill in the rest. This idea that people should spend the rest of their lives going to university while working is just silly and only benefits universities.

6. University ESL positions are the same as Professorships in other fields. No, you are hired to be a teacher. You just happen to teach students who are attending a university. You can even find people with BAs and MAs teaching ESL in the U.S. and probably Canada for all I know. Yes, there are real academic positions for English, Applied Linguistics, Education, etc... but there are also positions which hire people just to teach. We should not confuse the two seperate positions and we should look at their requirements differently.

Again, if you want to work toward an advanced degree, please do so. I think there are great benefits to a formal education. I just hope we can examine the issues and needs of the ESL field in a more open and fair manner.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like I said, the merits of these canges are open to debate, but the fact tha things are changing isn't. As a tenure track professor who has served on search and hiring commit ties, let me address your points one at a time.

1. Partially true, but this largely depends on the discipline. Advanced degrees teac you how to keep up, how to process the vast amount of information out there, and in many cases, how to understand at a deeper level. Can you do all this without taking an advanced degree? Sure, but when I'm looking through a pile of CVs, it helps to be able to quickly discern which applicants are best equipped to do so.

2. I referee several top SSCI publications and serve on two editorial boards. And I still see some crap come across my desk! In all i have never seen work done by an undergrad or 4 year degree holder that would make it through the publishing process of a peer reviewed, ranked journal and contribute something new to the field. Most pros know that the difference between a Master's and a Doctoral student is that the Doctoral student has read enough to know that the dont know enough, but grad students have a million great ideas after reading a few books and 50 articles. Keeping up with recent publications and attending conferences are great. But, again, most agree that advanced degrees bring you to a level from which you can do so more effectively.

3. Experience means so very much. In academe, however, the experience that officially counts comes after the highest degree completed. So if I were reviewing applicants and two people had an equal amount of experience, I'd have to take into consideration who finished their degree first. In what I do, you can't get an interview without the PhD, two publications, and a minimum of post doc teaching experience. From that point on, you are under review until you make Associate Prof. ANY hiring process includes risk, and these are mitigated by, as you suggest, demo lectures and a review of documented feedback. But it must be understood that it simply doesn't jive or a college or university to employ a 4 year degree holder in the first place. Part of this comes down to faculty student ratios, some to outside funding, and some to student preference. In general, college students, or their parents more specifically, simply don't want to be educated by someone who has the same degree to be granted. This changes by the doctoral level, but by then there is a different focus and level of training that extends beyond coursework.

4. Absolutely, but, again, we are sifting through a great deal of applications. We also know that higher degrees are the first litmus test. Again, true that there is an associated risk no matter the degree level, but that is reduced as much as possible during interviews and demos, and the option to boot a bad apple is always there.

5. This is a serious debate in academe. Good grad programs limit the number of students accepted and raise the bar for successful completion, but there are indeed degree mills out there. We know this, so where you did your grad work can have an impact on your chances. We also solicit letters of recommendation from profs and people familiar with your professional performance. All on line programs are not equal, and the degree mills are relatively well known. The best ESL programs at Korean universities distinguish, and others will increasingly be doing so in the future as that option becomes viable. Again, however, it will 'look better' for them to have MA holders as opposed to BA holders, and this will be impacting their bottom lines, too.

6. Very true, but I highly doubt the ESL programs at the best or even the biggest state schools look to hire anyone without their MA. Besides, if you're doing the conferences and keeping up with developments in the field via ranked publications, why not just knock out the degree? The issues are being weighed fairly IMHO, and though I'm not involved in ESL, other more knowledgeable posters may be able to fill in any blanks. I mean absolutely no offense in saying this as it seems that you are a dedicated educator, but it seems that you're trying to rationalize long term employment in the field without having to do another degree. That's all well and good, and it would be great if things rolled your way. Experience tells me, however, that you're going to beat your head against the wall over inevitable changes that are already well underway in Korea.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and I submit that I suck at typing on an iPad!
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't want to beat a dead horse but I would like to say two things:

1. I am not trying to rationalize anything. IMHO, this is your problem; you assume too much and don't deal with the actual issues at hand. If you did, you might be more academic about the questions. My only interest here is the interest of the field of ESL/EFL, primarily as it is done in Korea.

2. While it was 20 years ago, I know that a number of highly ranked American universities hired people with BAs to teach foreign language. Admittedly, I don't know what is going on now. I assume (and it is just my assumption) it was because they wanted a "teacher" and not a "professor."
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I guess we cipould simplify it, then. I'm not sure what assumptions I was making, but pests put hat aside.

I'll go with input from some of my good friends who do teach at the university level, and we can look at three perspectives in this way.

1. People who initially taught at university with just their MA, who then subsequently decided to make Teaching English at that level a career. These friends then went on to do their MAs, and in most cases their CELTA and DELTA. Some did their degrees at B&M universities and some on line. Not one single person of this fairly large group believes that they were a better teacher prior to further study, and all attribute their professional improvement to what they learned, the constructive feedback hat was a significant part of their degrees and certs, and then their follow up application in the classroom. None would argue that the could have done it on their own, and all are dubious of people teaching at the university level without similar qualifications now. It's not because the now have the papers, it's because the recognize the value of the training.

2. People who came over with their MAs in hand, paid their dues at crapwons for a year or two, and then moved over to university jobs. These people came over trained, some with TESOL experience in their home countries, and couldn't believe what passed for curricula and teaching, both at hakwons and at lower tier universities where they started out.

In cases one and two, these friends have worked their way up the ladder
and now hold the teaching slots at the very top of the university ESL food chain. They don't want to ever work again at a university that employs BAs, particularly if the undergrad work was not in a related discipline. There are several reasons, but for brevities sake we can leave it at that.

3. I have two friends who are University TESOL program directors in N. America, one in Canada and one in the US. Their programs will only hire experienced MA holders, and as I alluded to in my previous post, the only experience that counts is post MA. One reason for this is that they can afford to be choosy as there are a number of professionals with the degrees and experience. There are tutors that work through the program, but not instructors.

So what is the issue at hand? Seems to be whether Korean universities should hire, or continue to employ, people without their MA when there is a budding supply of people with MAs. From the university admin and professional academic perspective as outlined in my previous post, the answer is no, and the demands of students and their folks are wrapped up in there as well. From the perspective of some of the best university ESL teachers here in Seoul, the answer is also no. That seems a pretty 'academic' way to approach the question.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, but I do hate typing on this thin.

Should have read...

....best put that aside...

.....with just their BA, who then subsequently...

Going to have to switch to a real keyboard lol...

Good discussion.
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earthquakez



Joined: 10 Nov 2010

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PRagic wrote:
Well, I guess we cipould simplify it, then. I'm not sure what assumptions I was making, but pests put hat aside.

I'll go with input from some of my good friends who do teach at the university level, and we can look at three perspectives in this way.

1. People who initially taught at university with just their MA, who then subsequently decided to make Teaching English at that level a career. These friends then went on to do their MAs, and in most cases their CELTA and DELTA. Some did their degrees at B&M universities and some on line. Not one single person of this fairly large group believes that they were a better teacher prior to further study, and all attribute their professional improvement to what they learned, the constructive feedback hat was a significant part of their degrees and certs, and then their follow up application in the classroom. None would argue that the could have done it on their own, and all are dubious of people teaching at the university level without similar qualifications now. It's not because the now have the papers, it's because the recognize the value of the training.

2. People who came over with their MAs in hand, paid their dues at crapwons for a year or two, and then moved over to university jobs. These people came over trained, some with TESOL experience in their home countries, and couldn't believe what passed for curricula and teaching, both at hakwons and at lower tier universities where they started out.

In cases one and two, these friends have worked their way up the ladder
and now hold the teaching slots at the very top of the university ESL food chain. They don't want to ever work again at a university that employs BAs, particularly if the undergrad work was not in a related discipline. There are several reasons, but for brevities sake we can leave it at that.

3. I have two friends who are University TESOL program directors in N. America, one in Canada and one in the US. Their programs will only hire experienced MA holders, and as I alluded to in my previous post, the only experience that counts is post MA. One reason for this is that they can afford to be choosy as there are a number of professionals with the degrees and experience. There are tutors that work through the program, but not instructors.

So what is the issue at hand? Seems to be whether Korean universities should hire, or continue to employ, people without their MA when there is a budding supply of people with MAs. From the university admin and professional academic perspective as outlined in my previous post, the answer is no, and the demands of students and their folks are wrapped up in there as well. From the perspective of some of the best university ESL teachers here in Seoul, the answer is also no. That seems a pretty 'academic' way to approach the question.


While your points have relevance to the specific cases you talk about, the fact is in Korea it wasn't usual to have people 'with MAs in hand' working at unis until the last few years.

Your friends did a while ago according to what you've told us, but as unposter and others have pointed out Korea's been notable for foreigner university 'professors' who snuck into the jobs with little else but ordinary degrees. Little or zero college/university teaching experience.

It's their good luck that they were around when the bar was so low but now it's gone to the other extreme. The same foreigners who had little else but hagwon experience, etc, and got their MAs later were lucky to have the cart before the horse experience.

Many of them are now rejecting those teachers that unposter and I both know who have had real and I should add successful experience in post compulsory educational institutes. I'm not disagreeing with your friends stopping anybody but somebody with a Master's etc from working in those TESOL programs you're referring to. That is specialised work needing a specialised focus.

You can't argue with real credibility that most of the foreigner 'professors' and 'instructors' at Korean universities taught at other unis/colleges in other countries, accumulating valuable experience and being successful enough to keep getting employed in those kinds of jobs.

Yet it's exactly these teachers with real life experience at unis/colleges, often for a no. of years, that are being told they're somehow not fit or serious for a Korean university job without an MA. At the same time I'd guess most MA holders working in Korean unis don't have any or significant years of teaching at unis/colleges before they got the Korean jobs.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bingo, and finally! This is indeed a before and after discussion. Before, K universities needed to hire people without their MAs to teach English. After? Increasingly, they no longer need to do so.

And, again, the key point is that we are discussing university employment, where the currency of the trade is degree level like it or not.

You're asking why experienced teachers without ther MAs are being shown the door, but the reason is in the question itself. It is simply because they don't have their MAs!

I raised the point several times that this is a natural and justifiable transition for any number of reasons. It is astonishing that those who have not done an MA in TESOL, AL, or at least Education can so staunchly argue that a four year degree plus experience makes for an equally viable teacher over the long run of a persons career in the field. And even argue this point against those with the degrees and the experience.

Universities in good standing the world over seek to employ those with advanced qualifications to the extent possible whenever possible, much as any other professional or trade skill organization. Why should K universities
be any different?

Why all the fuss? Why beat your head against the wall? Why not just do the degree? It might make you an even better teacher. And as one poster mentioned, a motivation for this discussion has been an interest in the field of teaching and teaching quality. MA programs would give the highly experienced BA holder a chance to contribute and to share their lessons from experience with other professionals. For the serious boots on the ground teacher, then adding the CELTA/DELTA would really let you know where you stand as far as classroom management skills are concerned.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While this is Dave's and not a more formal setting, I find your circumstantial arguments based upon your friends, who I don't know from Adam, experiences to be unconvincing.

Personally, I think these issues need to be researched better and schools and universities should make decisions based on better information.

I went to one presentation at the International KOTESOL conference where an Instructor at Woosung interviewed and surveyed Korean university students and came up with these results: stduents want NES Instructors that explain things clearly, manage class time well and bring "energy" to the classroom. Educational attainment and publications were pretty close to the least of their concerns.

I have also read articles that education and degree have little impact on teaching ability in American schools. Things like motivation and concern for students have a higher correlation to outcome.

Personally, I think a lot more research is required before we reach any conclusions on the topic.
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zpeanut



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Location: Pohang, Korea

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
While this is Dave's and not a more formal setting, I find your circumstantial arguments based upon your friends, who I don't know from Adam, experiences to be unconvincing.

Personally, I think these issues need to be researched better and schools and universities should make decisions based on better information.

I went to one presentation at the International KOTESOL conference where an Instructor at Woosung interviewed and surveyed Korean university students and came up with these results: stduents want NES Instructors that explain things clearly, manage class time well and bring "energy" to the classroom. Educational attainment and publications were pretty close to the least of their concerns.

I have also read articles that education and degree have little impact on teaching ability in American schools. Things like motivation and concern for students have a higher correlation to outcome.

Personally, I think a lot more research is required before we reach any conclusions on the topic.


I agree. I remember reading papers in uni about what students look for in teachers and what kind of teachers promoted the most growth from students. There was little relation to nationality, gender or academic background. Even appearance was included, which turned out not to be that important either. As mentioned, motivation and real concern for the student's academic progress and personal well-being were at the top. This research was done with an international sample of students.

~

On a slightly different note, still regarding university employment.. I felt quite bitter after not hearing from a university that I applied for in Seoul. I did wonder for awhile what exactly they were after as I satisfied all the criteria listed. I've got a Masters and 5 years of teaching experience, not university mind you, but reputable experience at a private school and vocational college back home - plus evidence of continued professional training and volunteer work.

I don't understand why I wasn't even called for an interview. Who is filtering applicants? It was a real downer.. I felt sh*tty for quite a while. I really enjoyed my job before coming to korea and was looking forward to doing something similar here - but not at a hagwon - they scare me.. and kids are sometimes scary too.

Sad
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, yes, yes, and yes! But the point is STTLL whether more advanced degrees should be required to teach English, or by logical extension any foreign language, at the university level if there is indeed an adequate supply of MA holders.

I'd be interested to see the survey instrument deployed be that researcher. More importantly, it would be good to know if the sample was representative. How many student at how many universities at what years? Is there a difference across university levels? Across years? Were these questions and challenges even raised at the conference? Intuitively, though, the results you describe make sence. Students, undergrad at least, say the as much about tenure track and tenured profs, too.

This could become pretty regressive. Why require a degree to teach a foreign language at university at all in the first place? A lot of the BA holders teaching English, after all, don't have degrees in education, AL, or TESOL. English Lit surely can't count. And there must be a load of native speakers who would love to have the job, would really get into it, and would probably then rack up documentable years of experience. Students might recognize their passion and innate teaching ability. Ah, but then someone might suggest that if they want to keep their jobs, theyd best take a Bachelor's degree.
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