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Dave's ESL Cafe's Teacher Training Forum

Re: Can an MA TESOL teach lit. at a U abroad?

Posted By: nomad soul
Date: Sunday, 15 December 2013, at 1:41 a.m.

In Response To: Can an MA TESOL teach lit. at a U abroad? (Jeremy)

In 2011 I graduated from a state U in the US with a BA in English lit. and I am currently teaching EFL in the Peace Corps. I have strongly considered getting an MA and PhD in lit. as lit. is what I have always loved, but the highly competitive non-tenure track future of the lit. PhD at a US university nowadays has disenchanted me from this idea.

Instead, more and more it seems like teaching English abroad is an excellent field to get into, in terms of both job growth and personal growth.

Now I am researching getting an MA TESOL. Ultimately, I want to teach literature, composition, creative writing, US history, or US culture as subjects at the university level overseas. I could also see myself teaching resume/cover letter writing or helping students prep for the TEFL exam.

Is teaching such subjects possible with an MA TESOL? Do such subjects exist in universities abroad, or are they integrated under the broader category of "English class"?
I am not sure to what extent an MA TESOL would better prepare me to, say, do a telephone role play in class to help students further comprehend the simple past tense like I do now in the Peace Corps; or to read an article about the impact of cell phones in Africa with a class to further reading comprehension skills; or to analyze a poem with students to help them with English and critical thinking skills. I am much more interested teaching critical thinking and writing skills than English grammar, slang, or idioms. What do classes generally consist of at the university level overseas, if one can make such a generalization? What sort of subjects will you find yourself teaching with an MA in TESOL?

I am also interested in teaching students who have an advanced grasp of English, something students often lack at the U level in the 3rd world country I am in. What level of students would you find yourself teaching?

I mention my change of heart about an MA in lit. because my idea with the MA TESOL is to teach literature and writing abroad in the world of higher education, and I'm not sure if this is feasible or the right mindset to have.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You're not likely to find university-level opportunities in which an MA in TESOL qualifies you to focus on teaching subjects such as English lit, US history, US culture, etc. An MA in TESOL entails English language teaching/language acquisition in the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing to English language learners. TEFL/TESL is not considered a subject or content area because it doesn't focus on imparting knowledge/information to the students. It emphasizes the process of learning or acquiring language by incorporating psychological as well as linguistic theories. Teaching EFL can range from basic conversation English in a language school up to stringent English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at the tertiary level---low-level through advanced language learners. Many of us with TEFL-related MAs teach EAP within an intensive English language context. For example, I presently teach academic writing to university students to improve their English proficiency in preparation for success in their subsequent academic studies in their subject areas once they move into the mainstream university system.

Frankly, if English lit is your passion, then pursue the MA and PhD in that major and teach literature to university students who are already highly-proficient in English. Those qualifications would get you the job compared to an unrelated, TESOL-focused degree. I suggest you check out the various job opportunities on higheredjobs.com and chronicle.com to see what qualifications PhD-holding English lit instructors need.

Messages In This Thread

Can an MA TESOL teach lit. at a U abroad?
Jeremy -- Thursday, 12 December 2013, at 11:03 a.m.
Re: Can an MA TESOL teach lit. at a U abroad?
Sojourner -- Friday, 13 December 2013, at 8:10 p.m.
Re: Can an MA TESOL teach lit. at a U abroad?
nomad soul -- Sunday, 15 December 2013, at 1:41 a.m.
Re: Can an MA TESOL teach lit. at a U abroad?
Ani DAmbrosio -- Wednesday, 21 May 2014, at 6:32 a.m.
Re: Can an MA TESOL teach lit. at a U abroad?
Dena -- Tuesday, 27 May 2014, at 6:17 a.m.

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