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University of the West of Scotland: Broaden your career prospects with an English language degree

Image courtesy of the University of the West of Scotoland

Language is a beautiful thing; a method of human communication that has arguably become the centre of human existence. According to The Daily Tribune, language brings people together, as communication is key to building personal and business relationships and breaking down cultural barriers.

There are 6,500 languages spoken around the world today, but one has the ability to connect almost everyone – English, otherwise known as the global lingua franca. Dubbed the ‘universal language’, English is one of three most widely-spoken languages, with more than 700 million people speaking it as a foreign language. On top of this, English is the official language spoken by the United Nations, European Union and many Commonwealth countries.

As of 2014, there were an estimated 1.5 billion English language learners worldwide, proving the status of the English language has stood the test of time. According to the International TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Academy, the language has the power to transform nations, making it so much more than an academic commodity.

“We communicate in English, we negotiate in English, and we sing karaoke in English,” says Dr Surin Pitsuwan, a Thai-born politician and former Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the preeminent political and economic organisation for 10 countries in Southeast Asia. He adds that citizens of the world strive to learn English not only to enjoy culture and entertainment, but also to conduct business, education and acts of diplomacy.

Image courtesy of the University of the West of Scotland

For prospective students looking to brush up on their English skills, or hoping to spread the joy of the English language through the art of teaching, we’ve found something that could help you boost your CV and brighten future prospects. The School of Education at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) provides career-focused courses and practical learning experiences, on top of progressive teaching and outstanding student facilities.

“School of Education students graduate with extensive theoretical knowledge and practical skills gained through work-based learning, ensuring that they are more than able to meet the expectations of employers,” says Professor Donald Gillies, Dean of School.

Rated top in the UK in terms of student satisfaction in the National Student Survey (NSS) for 2015, you can rest easy knowing that UWS works hard to advance the skills of each individual. The School of Education, ranked 6th out of 77 UK institutions in the Complete University Guide 2016 and 2017 for its wide-ranging degree programmes, maintains a tradition of excellence and an outstanding reputation.

Why study an English language undergraduate course at UWS?

For those hoping to improve their grasp of the English language, the School offers an undergraduate course – English as a Second Language (3rd or 4th Year Entry) for non-native speakers who wish to become proficient in the language while simultaneously broadening their career prospects for global organisations. To qualify for the course, students must have a minimum of two years’ experience in the study of English at university level, and a minimum of 6.0 for an IELTS test or equivalent.

Image courtesy of the University of the West of Scotland

For the duration of the course, students study in small groups to expand and refine their understanding of the language, learning about different cultures and focusing on authentic language development. Students choose from a list of language- and culture-related modules to increase English fluency and confidence. The options are Academic Writing, Analysing Discourse, Business English, Intercultural Citizenship, and Theory and Practice of English Language Teaching.

But if you’re thinking of teaching English professionally…

…you might be interested in submitting an application to the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programme at UWS. The Masters of Education (MEd) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages is a professional qualification for those who teach, or plan to teach, English to speakers of other languages within a school, college or university setting. The course also boasts a flexible option for those who can’t attend classes full-time.

In order to qualify for the programme, students have to hold a first degree and either be a practising teacher of TESOL or intending to enter the profession. Much like an undergraduate course, you’ll need a minimum of 6.0 for your IELTS result or equivalent. However, exceptions can be made for applicants who demonstrate significant, relevant experience together with recent academic study.

This programme is offered to home and international students at the Paisley and London campuses. And for students who are unable to commit to full-time classes, you can opt to pursue flexible blended learning options requiring only some campus attendance. Comprising of six modules and a dissertation, students have four core subjects to study which are Introduction to Language Analysis, Research Methods, The Theory and Practice of English Language Teaching, and Theories of Second Language Acquisition.

In addition to these, there are two optional modules to choose from: Applied Linguistics, English as a Global Language, Intercultural theory and Global Citizenship, Language, Identity and Power, and Teaching English to Young Learners. As a developing linguist, you’ll be supported by leading experts for the duration of your course, where you’ll learn to consider the role of language within a global context and identify the benefits for citizens worldwide. There will also be opportunities to apply practical knowledge gained from your course in a short teaching practice within the field of TESOL.

Image courtesy of the University of the West of Scotland

At the School of Education at UWS, you won’t just learn about the history and technical aspects of the English language, but also how it impacts communities, countries and the world. In honour of your language love, it’s time to submit that student application…

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