by Barbara Chamberlin (Course Leader, Diploma in TESOL, University of Brighton)
You’re an English language teacher. You may have been teaching for years, you may have only started a couple of years ago. You may have decided long ago that teaching was the path for you, or you may have fallen into it by accident after working in different industries or professions. You may have taught abroad, you may have taught solely in the UK, maybe even just one place, like Brighton. Whatever route you have taken, you now work in a job you really enjoy. The job is interesting and allows you to be both creative and practical. You meet people from all over the world with different stories to share and different ways of seeing and responding to the world. Language interests you as do ways of engaging and enabling others to express themselves in new ways. You work with and for interesting people. All this and so much more is why people come to and often stay in English language teaching.
However, there are still questions that niggle you. How can I deal with those tricky language questions thrown at me by my advanced students? Why is it that some students still don’t understand this grammar point even after we have covered it several times? How can I help my students struggling with writing? What technologies can I easily bring in to my teaching? There is a sense that you know you are doing okay, but you are aware that you want to do better, to understand more about not just what you are doing in the classroom, but why. To open up the options available to you. In short, to develop yourself professionally.
It is around this point in a teacher’s career that attention might turn to ways of achieving professional development and there are a number of ways of doing this. Most schools offer teacher development workshops and talks, and may even send staff to conferences like IATEFL and there is ample opportunities for webinars on a range of topics. This is a fantastic way of keeping interest and innovation in your teaching (stagnation being many teachers’ worst fear…). However, you may want something more sustained, more long-term and more recognised. This is where doing a Diploma or a TESOL-related Masters degree comes in.
The University of Brighton offers pathways through a postgraduate English Language Teacher Development Programme (ELTEP) which includes the Diploma in TESOL (DELTA and DipTESOL equivalent) and the MA TESOL. To choose which one is most appropriate for you, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions. Do you specifically want a qualification that tells current and future employers about the quality of your teaching as well as to deepen your understanding of the tools of your trade such as language, methodologies, materials and how your students learn? In which case, the Diploma is probably the best route for you now. Or in addition to these key areas, are you looking to explore TESOL-related questions that allow to develop specialisms in areas such as digital technologies, global Englishes or teacher training and learn how to plan and research classroom practices? If so, you may wish to consider the MA TESOL more.
If you would like more information, please get in touch. You can email the course leaders directly: Dr Angela Pickering (MA TESOL) – A.Pickering@brighton.ac.uk or Barbara Chamberlin (Diploma in TESOL) – B.J.Chamberlin@brighton.ac.uk or for more general enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org.