The demand for English teachers is on the rise. In some Asian countries, over 65% of jobs advertised require some level of English proficiency, studies show, for a preference for those with good proficiency in English equipped with appropriate English teaching knowledge and skills. In this, language centres and schools all over the country have begun a hiring spree for English teachers — opening up opportunities for qualified candidates all around the country.
This includes local English teacher Huong Tran. She had been working in the field for four years before deciding that it was time to enhance her knowledge and skills in the subject. “I want to build a strong foundation in English teaching as well as be able to design a curriculum and course materials,” she shares.
To make this happen, Huong decided to join a study abroad fair in her home country. There, she came across Edge Hill University (EHU). Established in 1885, EHU is a forward-thinking university with the aim of encouraging and providing every student with the opportunity to carve out a better future for themselves. “I liked how he described the school, the facilities, and Ormskirk, the ancient market town where the school is located,” she says.
Fortunately, EHU was also advertising the MA TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) programme — which was exactly what Huong was looking for. Here, students learn everything they need to thrive as an English teacher, from the key theories that surround the subject to the chance to develop one’s professional, practical and reflective skills. “It offers everything that I need,” she says.
The MA TESOL is composed of two compulsory modules in its first term: Theories of Second Language Education and Practical Knowledge of TESOL. During this time, candidates familiarise themselves with the techniques to meet the needs and learning goals of their students, as well as the key methods and approaches that inform language teaching.
The second term is centred around developing research skills for a 10,000-word dissertation, which will be worked on in term three. It’s a balanced blend of guided learning and navigating one’s own interests and passions, leading to more self-aware, innovative English teachers of the future. “The module content is interesting and relevant to individuals with the career goal of becoming English acquisition teachers,” shares German student Anabel Hellmann.
They are taught by a host of experienced professionals who have worked in TESOL-related environments in the UK and beyond. “The ongoing support from my lecturers certainly contributes to my positive mindset towards higher education,” says Hellmann. “Whether I need concrete assistance with an assignment or simply to discuss abstract theoretical and epistemological concepts, my lecturers are ready to help.”
“Furthermore, the fact that the staff-student ratios are well maintained on the MA TESOL course is ideal for me and any other person who feels anxious speaking in a large crowd.”
Anabel had spent three years as an undergraduate student with the Faculty of Education. Following graduation, she spent a year training as a teacher in her home country but ultimately decided to return to EHU and join the British Council and BALEAP- accredited Language Centre. It was a choice she hasn’t regretted since.
“When I arrived a few weeks ago, I was incredibly grateful to walk over EHU’s beautiful campus again,” she shares. She’s referring to the expanse of tranquil greenery offered to students, a by-product of attending a university which has been voted one of the UK’s best green spaces for 10 successive years in the Green Flag Awards. “My favourite space to study is at a desk on the second floor of the Catalyst building, overlooking the small river that flows along Creative Edge and the Chancellors’ Court accommodation.”
Huong agrees. “The school facilities and staff are some of the best parts of being a student at EHU,” she says. “My favourite place on campus is the Catalyst, the library. The automated system makes it super handy to borrow and return books.”
Huong, who has been a student at EHU for a month, is enjoying her life on campus. She takes full advantage of the many activities and dining options on campus, of which EHU has invested a lot to create only the most rewarding student experience. Sixty million pounds have been invested in sports and leisure facilities, including gyms, 3G outdoor pitches, a swimming pool, and an athletics track.
Over 70 clubs and societies, a full Arts Centre with live shows and film screenings, and themed bar and club nights create a dynamic environment that’s always eventful. “The lives of master’s students don’t have to be 100% about studying because there are various societies and events to take part in,” she explains. “For example, the Global Cafe and Multicultural Society are hosted weekly to give international students an opportunity and space to interact with each other and make new friends.”
All in all, Huong feels welcomed and accepted at EHU. “Everyone is so friendly — the bus drivers always smile at us and their joy is so contagious!” It’s surely an experience that will stay with her — both professionally and personally — for a lifetime.