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Overview

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Gain the skills to teach English to speakers of other languages and put your learning into practice with an overseas teaching placement.

Summary

Whether you are a qualified teacher or have no previous teaching experience, the MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Ulster is designed to enhance your teaching and communication skills and explore how people from different cultures learn languages.

Ulster’s TESOL programme is the only master's level TESOL course in the UK which offers an overseas teaching placement.

You will have the opportunity to complete a placement in Gyor, Hungary, and teach English to non-native speakers, in either a state primary or secondary school.

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About this course

In this section

About

Offered on both a full-time and part-time basis, the MA TESOL at Ulster is an exciting programme for individuals who wish to develop their teaching ability and knowledge about language.

You will study both the theory and practice of teaching, from classroom management to syllabus design, and gain the expertise and confidence to teach English in a variety of settings to students from across the globe.

Throughout the programme you will enhance your creativity and learn to adapt your teaching style and approach in order to effectively support a range of learners, with consideration to ethical and cultural differences.

You will also improve your research skills which will enable you to further your knowledge, particularly when completing the dissertation component of the MA, on a topic of your choice.

Employability is embedded within the programme design. A unique feature of the course is the eight-week ERASMUS-funded teaching placement in Hungary. This offers an authentic environment where you will have the opportunity to put your learning into practice.

Attendance

MA full-time: normally 4 days per week in semester one; 3 days per week (6 weeks) plus 8 weeks teaching practice in sem 2; followed by independent study for the dissertation during semester three (summer semester). This can be done at a distance.

MA part-time: Year 1: normally, 2 days per week in semester one, 4 weeks teaching practice semester 2. Year 2: normally, 2 days per week in semester one, and 4 weeks teaching practice in semester two. This is followed by independent study for the dissertation during semester three (summer semester) and during semester one and two of year 3. This can be done at a distance.

Start dates

  • September 2018
How to apply

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

Entry Requirements

A second class honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard; and evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent).

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Teaching and learning assessment

Interactive workshops and lecturesare a key element in teaching on the programme. Students engage in a diverse range of interactive activities including role-plays, simulations and micro-teaching reviews. Group work is an important element too. It is used to help students integrate learning from a variety of sources, to provide opportunities to apply knowledge or case studies for class work. Individual and group tutorialsare used to build student University teacher relationships and to promote the concept of the reflective learner. Course work assignments are used as an essential part of students’ learning process and as a means of assessment. The teaching practice placementprovides trainees with challenging, high-impact encounters with the world of professional English language teaching; the feedback tutorials which follow teaching practice allow TESOL trainees to reflect on what they have encountered in the classroom.

A wide variety of course work is completed during the programme; such as, assignments, presentations, case studies, class tests, teaching practice performance and portfolios.

Exemptions and transferability

You can make an APEL application (accreditation of prior experiential learning). However, you cannot apply to be exempt from the teaching practice module.

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

Graduates of this programme have gained work as English language teachers in private language schools, further education colleges, universities and schools in the UK, Ireland and in many countries all over the world. Some have progressed to doctoral study whilst others have got jobs as on-line English language teachers. Students have gone on to work in teaching related areas: for example, the Inclusion and Diversity service and developers of online English language teaching materials; whilst some of the students use their qualification to work for charities abroad in developing countries.

Shelley Wright explains the benefits of the TESOL programme:

‘I'm in my fourth year working as a lecturer at Kanda University of international Studies in Chiba Japan. It's an amazing job which hired me right after I graduated. We get over three months holiday per year and there are lots of opportunities for professional development. There's over 60 English lecturers here so that adds to the sense of community and the students are angels. During the interview process, my boss was impressed by the placement in Hungary that you sent us on!'

Work placement / study abroad

This exciting MA in TESOL includes a fully funded Hungarian teaching practice placement, the University pays for flights and Erasmus funding can cover accommodation and subsistence costs. TESOL student teachers got to teach in Gyor, Hungary for eight weeks (full-time) or four weeks in years 1 and 2 (part-time). They depart in February and return in April. Gyor is a beautiful central European city located midway between Budapest and Vienna. Our students teach in primary or secondary schools and are supported by Hungarian host teachers and staff of the university who stay in Gyor for that purpose. The module gives an authentic opportunity to teach English to non-native speakers of English.

Academic profile

Dr Barbara Skinner graduated from the University of Bristol with an MA in TESOL and also a Doctorate in Education. Barbara has published widely in international journals, gained research funding to explore language learning and teacher education issues and is a member of the University’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences. Her current research interests focus on English as an Additional Language, teacher talk, and classroom interaction in the L2 classroom, as well as teaching practice supervision and teacher education. She is currently supervising two PhD students. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Dr Helen Hou joined Ulster University as Lecturer in TESOL in 2010. She gained her PhD in Education from the University of Manchester in 2012. She used to work as an English language teacher trainer in Guizhou Normal University in China. Her major research interests include online communities of practice and student teachers’ learning, ELT methodology, e-pedagogy and teacher education, educational technologies in the language classroom, Chinese learners, and qualitative research methodology and design. She began to supervise PhD students in the field of TESOL in 2013 and became an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014.

Apply

How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

Start dates

  • September 2018

Fees and funding

In this section

Scholarships, awards and prizes

Each year the student who gains the best overall mark in the taught modules which make up the Postgraduate Diploma will recieve the Pritchard Prize.

Additional mandatory costs

Overseas students need to apply for a visa. There is a cost for this and the application involves a trip to London. Both the trip and the application fee must be paid by the student.

Contact

Course director: Dr Barbara Skinner

T: +44 (0)28 7012 4662

E: b.skinner@ulster.ac.uk

Mrs Angela Graham

T: +44 (0)28 7012 4595

E: ad.graham@ulster.ac.uk

Testimonials

Comments from External Examiners

'The main strength of the course is the teaching practice in
Hungary. This provides an invaluable experience for both the
new teachers as well as the experienced teachers….I was also
particularly impressed by the way in which the experience in
Hungary was integrated into other modules of the course'.

‘The students were highly complimentary about the course
and commended the team spirit that had been generated, as
well as the commitment of the teaching staff.’

Comments from students

‘The teaching practice course in Hungary is organised
extremely well, and links between the various schools there
and the University are strong and mutually beneficial’.

‘We are all aware of the fact that it is people who make up
Departments within a University. I am in no doubt that all
students stand to benefit from the high standard that has
already been set. Sincere thanks to all involved in making the
course of studies so enjoyable’.

‘I’m in my fourth year working as a lecturer at Kanda
University of international Studies in Chiba Japan. It’s an
amazing job which hired me right after I graduated. We
get over three months holiday per year and there are lots
of opportunities for professional development. There are
over 60 English lecturers here so that adds to the sense of
community and the students are angels. During the interview
process my boss was impressed by the placement in Hungary
that you sent us on! They accepted me while I was still
finishing off my Thesis. Thanks so much for looking after us
so well Barbara – That was a really special year’.