by Andrew Blair, Course Convenor, MA and PG Diploma in ELT, University of Sussex
“Having classmates from all over the world with experience of different classroom settings
gave me a great perspective on English language teaching in other countries.”
(HJ, ELT professional, South Korea)
An MA in English Language Teaching (ELT) is for you if you are an experienced teacher or have a language- and linguistics-based degree but little or no teaching experience. It draws on the practical application of theory and research to enhance your career prospects in ELT (EFL/TESOL) and related fields. It allows you to develop your knowledge and critical understanding of current theories and research, and relate these to the practice of English language education in areas that are relevant and stimulating to you personally.
The global roles of English, ELT and multilingualism are explored and applied to specific social contexts, and your critical understanding of contemporary issues in language education is developed.
An MA in ELT would include academic and experiential learning, involving lecture/seminar sessions, teaching practice options and observation of language classes. Theory and practice are linked closely together, for example by studying a new language (such as Chinese, Spanish, Arabic or British Sign Language) alongside the module on Second Language Acquisition.
This kind of course may be attractive if you aim to work in English teaching in schools or colleges, at university or in private language institutes; educational management as a senior teacher, principal or owner/manager; teacher training or research; language-related publishing or media; materials design, course book writing or language examining.
The MA and PG Diploma in ELT at the University of Sussex can be studied full-time over one year, or part-time over two years, starting in September. Sessions are usually arranged in the afternoons to make it easier for working teachers (and others) to manage their studies alongside jobs or other commitments.
Options, seminars and teaching practice are tailored to reflect your previous experience and interests. In essence, each student creates their own individualised programme of study, based on the choices they make in terms of options, assessment topics and (for the MA) dissertation project focus.
If you have appropriate previous teaching qualifications and experience, and successfully complete the Advanced Practical Teaching option, you can be deemed TEFL-qualified at UK Diploma level, as defined by the British Council Accreditation Scheme. If you already have an approved EFL/TESOL Diploma, you can receive an exemption from that component of the courses.
As Socrates apparently said: “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think”. At Sussex, we hope to be able to help our postgraduate students think in new ways about the principles of language learning and the practice of language teaching.
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