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An MA TESOL, what will it get me?
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adam34235



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 3:49 am    Post subject: An MA TESOL, what will it get me? Reply with quote

Hi, I am currently on my second year here in Korea. I am interested in teaching at the university level and have been told the way to go is an MA TESOL. Is this true? If so, what are the salary differences?

Thank you for your response.
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Lexicon



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 153
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're really weak degrees -- not much content, very little more than you could get out of a good book or two. Maybe there is some sort of special significance in Korea, but most places it won't do much for you. At the university level in most countries they just want you to be able to teach and to be a native speaker.

Now if you get your PhD/DPhil that's different.
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bgngranada



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:56 am    Post subject: MA TESOL Reply with quote

A MA TESOL is a weak degree? And you would be better off with just a certification? I'm not sure I understand???
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adam34235



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:20 am    Post subject: weak degree Reply with quote

I kind of agree, I would not say it was weak.
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Lexicon



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 153
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason I say it's a weak degree is because the curricula don't mesh with the outcomes goal of the degree system:

Associates -- you're supposed to be prepared to enter your field
Bachelors -- you're supposed to be fully knowledgeable in your field and ready to begin a career.
Masters -- you're supposed to be an expert in your field
Doctorate -- you're supposed to be able to teach your field to others.

*note that by teach your field I don't mean teach as in ESL, but rather teach others to be a part of your field.

A good certificate program, when combined with a year of experience will provide you about the same body of knowledge given at the associates degree level. Of course you'd be missing all the other basic skills that come with a degree like that (such as business, computer, communication, and language skills).

The mission of most MA TESOL programs state that they are only intended to PREPARE someone to ENTER the teaching field. That means they fail to even approach the level of training and knowledge expected of a masters degree. They really provide little more than the acceptable level of training required for the bachelors degree level.

THAT's why I say they are weak degrees.

If you already have a bachelor's and want to remain in the field, why not get a masters in Applied Linguistics or an MBA? There is likely little new that you would learn in an MA TESOL if you already have been in the field teaching.
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bgngranada



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:17 pm    Post subject: MA TESOL Reply with quote

I see. You are referring specifcally to a TESOL degree and not any other type of MA. I am just completing my applied linguistics MA and thought this would be similar to a MA TESOL but didn't realize there was such a difference.
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JustMe



Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm kind of surprised. I did an MA in TESOL in Australia, and it was not intended for pre-service teachers. You were expected to have teaching experience before you enrolled. They did accept people who hadn't taught, but it was fairly obvious to all that they were not getting as much out of it as the experienced teachers.
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bgngranada



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:48 pm    Post subject: MA TESOL Reply with quote

Yeah, I'm guessing to say that all MA TESOL programs are a waste, as I'm sure there are some excellent programs out there and some less than excellent. As a matter of fact SIT and Monterrey's Institute of International Studies both have MA TESOL programs and I know that these are not a 'waste of time' and are excellent programs.
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Lexicon



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 153
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad to hear that there are some MA TESOL programs that require a minimum time working in the field as part of their entry requirements.

I want to point out that it's not that I don't think there are no MA TESOL programs that are good, or that there can't be a good program. My point is primarily that I have yet to find a single program that met the threshold of master's level degrees. Even the best I've seen give only bachelor's level instruction. They provide an overview of the basics and an introduction to theory, but they hardly even approach educating their students to the level of expert in their field.

Basically what I'm saying is that the vast majority of MA TESOL curicula are little more than bachelor's programs, only being Master's degrees in name and allowing their participants to spend their time studying only one subject.

Even Masters in Education degrees which are known to be pretty worthless require some sort of specialization so that their graduates can provide a sense of expertise in their workplace. The TESOL programs just don't do this. Most have only one or two introductory linguistics courses, and I've yet to see a single program that delved deep enough into the linguistics of English and its grammar for graduates to understand the root behind all the rules and forms they are expected to be able to explain to their students.
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bgngranada



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:01 pm    Post subject: MA TESOL Reply with quote

Well, let's add another 'weak' degree to the list. If anyone out there is considering a MA degree, make sure not to go with:

MA TESOL
MA Education

as these are 'worthless'. If you do already have either of these, sorry, out of luck.

Bottom line, neither of these are 'weak' or 'worthless' and anyone would do very well to have either of these degrees, just be sure to research each individual program.

To the above poster: Do you have any advanced degrees, or undergraduate degrees?
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Lexicon



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 153
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I do and I will be earning a couple of more starting next year. Learning is an ongoing process and as your career advances, often the need for higher degree specialisation increases.

Why are you taking this so personally?

As I pointed out in my first post, the point of various levels of degrees are as follows:

Associates -- you're supposed to be prepared to enter your field
Bachelors -- you're supposed to be fully knowledgeable in your field and ready to begin a career.
Masters -- you're supposed to be an expert in your field
Doctorate -- you're supposed to be able to teach your field to others.

My point is simply that the MA TESOL degrees do not meet the threshold for the level of knowledge and understanding required of the Masters status. They merely provide a bachelor's level of instruction. Most have almost no research involved, and the graduates of these programs are far from experts.

You simply cannot compare the level of training that results from a Masters in Engineering, Physics, Music, Math, Chemistry, or even Business with that presented in an MA TESOL program.
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The first step to teaching is realizing that you don't know nearly enough yourself.

My Blog: http://calleteach.wordpress.com
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bgngranada



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:43 am    Post subject: MA TESOL Reply with quote

Not taking it personally, just wanting others who read to be cautious of your evaluations of degrees and to take them with a grain of salt.

MA programs in the sciences are derived from 100s of years of scientific (and academic) research, inquiry, testing, etc. You cannot compare MA programs in TESOL with that of Biology or Chemistry, etc. They are two completely different disciplines and our understanding of second language acquisition, pedagogy, etc are not anywhere near our understanding of the sciences. Therefore we cannot really compare these two disciplines nor the validity of one over the other.
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St. George



Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 106
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:05 pm    Post subject: LEVEL Reply with quote

So... Bgngranada, what is your criteria for judging the level of a degree?

St. G
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bgngranada



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:37 pm    Post subject: MA TESOL Reply with quote

Generally, I judge them by each program and the strengths of the department.
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juju



Joined: 08 Mar 2010
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:36 am    Post subject: MA TESOL Reply with quote

I always enjoy reading other peoples opinions no doubt! I must say however that I have recently completed MA in TESOL through the University of SOuth Africa. It is composed of 10 year subjects which must be complete in no less than 2 years and only after that are we able to do a Thesis if you have an average of 60% at least. I found it a lot of hard work and a lot of research involved. Plenty of reading too. I must agree that this helps a person specialise in a field we are already familiar with as it gives a more broader understanding of other cultures. I enjoyed it and found it very interesting. I would never use the word WEAK with all the research and studying I was faced with!
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