Estimates suggest there are over 6,000 languages in the world. Despite that, English has achieved the status of the global lingua franca, and it’s unlikely to be dethroned any time soon.
English is the dominant language of education, business, science, technology, medicine, and many other fields. Many companies, blue chip or otherwise, use English as their corporate language or for purposes that transcend geographical boundaries. Consequently, many of the world’s top universities use English as a mode of instruction, while an increasing number of institutions – regardless of whether English is the national language of their context – are choosing to teach their courses through English. Indeed, internationalisation in all sectors is intrinsically linked to the use of English as a means of communication.
Over four billion people in the world use English; yet, as noted by the World Economic Forum, fewer than 400 million use it as a first language. In contrast, about two billion people worldwide use English as a second or official language within their national context. Furthermore, the British Council estimates that as many as two billion more are learning to use English as an international language. They add that: “It is the economically active, the thought leaders, the business decision-makers, the young, the movers and shakers present and future who are learning and speaking English”.
Globalisation means non-native speakers must embrace English in order to stay competitive in an increasingly globalised job market.
This surging demand for English has led to the development of two distinct types of English language education and two distinct disciplines; one is concerned with the teaching and learning of the English language as a subject, while the other is concerned with the teaching and learning of other academic subjects through the medium of English.
Individuals who want to enhance their career prospects in both of these disciplines can pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Bath, where two distinct courses have been designed to suit their specific professional needs. The University holds a number of accolades, including being awarded Gold status in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework, ranked 6th-best university in the UK by The Guardian University Guide 2020 and ranked 5th for graduate prospects by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020.
Sharpen your skill set with a postgraduate degree in English
The well-established MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is a one-year full-time specialist degree that is ideal for individuals who are working, or aspiring to work, in the field of teaching English as an international language. The course helps graduate students develop knowledge of the latest practice, theory and policy of TESOL.
Prospective students will learn how to apply this knowledge for teaching English to learners of different ages and levels and in a variety of contexts worldwide. As there is no one-size-fits-all method for teaching people the English language, students will learn how to use classroom based research to inform their daily practice and develop an appropriate approach to suit their context.
Learn how to teach your subject effectively through the medium of English
As noted above, we are witnessing a worldwide trend for educational institutions to teach academic subjects in English. Schools and universities in all sectors and at all levels are embracing this trend. Examples include English medium kindergartens, international schools that offer a bilingual curriculum, and university departments that teach courses through English to students whose first language is not English. The latter include subjects as diverse as maths, science, engineering, physics, international trade, marketing, sports science, biology, chemistry, agriculture and medicine.
Moreover, as universities across the globe seek to internationalise, they are recruiting increasing numbers of students from overseas. Once again, the medium of instruction tends to be English. So, for example, a Chinese lecturer who teaches Chinese medicine to multinational classes from the USA, Algeria, Korea and Thailand will nowadays choose to do this in English. Or a Japanese lecturer who teaches Japanese history and culture to diverse groups of overseas students will probably do so in English.
The University of Bath’s MA English as a Medium of Instruction (MA EMI) is a one-year full-time programme that has been designed for mathematicians, scientists, engineers, health specialists and the like, who need to develop the appropriate skills to communicate their knowledge effectively through English. The course explores the latest policy and practice for EMI. Students will learn how English operates in bilingual and multilingual educational environments. They will learn effective strategies for ‘language conscious’ teaching. They will also gain insights into the vital relationship between intercultural communication and learning.
Again, it’s important to note that this course is very different from the MA TESOL in terms of purpose, course content, and intended career path. The MA TESOL is a course for people who want to teach the English language, whereas the MA EMI is a course for people who want to teach their subject through the medium of English.
Both the MA TESOL and the MA EMI offer a curriculum that is inclusive, focused on professional practice, and academically challenging. Both of them offer a structured introduction to their respective fields and career paths.
Graduates of the University of Bath’s Department of Education have enjoyed good employment prospects, going on to be educators, teacher trainers or educational leaders at primary, secondary and university level. Many have also gone on to be bilingual educators in the international school sector. Some have found positions within companies as specialists in business and intercultural communication. Others have gone on to pursue doctoral research.
The staff of the University of Bath are always happy to receive enquiries and to help applicants choose the best course of study to suit their needs. Whatever your professional interests, the postgraduate degrees offered at the University of Bath will serve as a runway to help you take off in the exciting world of international English language education.