Shu is graduate of the Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Shu describes her experience of the Masters programme and the teaching practice she completed as part of course. Read more about her experience below.
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to do this specific program?
My name is Sue and I’m from China. Before coming to study at UL I had been an English teacher for six years in China. I read the MA TESOL course page on the UL website before making the decision to apply. I found that the modules, such as language pedagogy, classroom application and teaching practice were what I wanted to improve in terms of my teaching ability. I had also been to Limerick twice before and really liked it. The campus is very tranquil and beautiful and I think is a great place to study for a masters.
Can you take us through a typical day on the MA program and how you find the course day-to-day?
We had three core modules and one elective module each semester. As a Chinese student, I had to review all the content each day after college, so I was quite busy. I chose teaching practice as my elective module. Before teaching, I met with my team teacher to discuss the teaching plan first and then I prepared for the lesson. After teaching, I met with my supervisor to discuss what I did well and what I might need to improve on next time. I felt that I learned something new every day with this program.
I felt that I learned something new every day with this program.
What type of challenges or obstacles did you face during your teaching practice module?
When starting the MA TESOL program, it took me some time to adjust and get used to the different educational methods. For example, the use of public speaking in our classes and group discussions were two things I wasn’t used to from my previous educational experiences. My supervisors and classmates helped me to overcome this through my own observation, discussing experiences with classmates and learning from my supervisor's feedback.
What supports were available to you during your time completing the teaching practice element of your programme?
During teaching practice, we could observe our supervisor's classes in order to learn the advantages of their teaching methods in practice. I also learned from my supervisor who observed my teaching. After observation, supervisors give you professional feedback and guidance which allows you to make improvements and adjust your teaching accordingly. The MA TESOL program is practical but it is also theoretical because you learn grammar from the language system. You also learn teaching theories from second language acquisition, language pedagogy and the use of grammar and teaching theories in teaching.
After observation, supervisors give you professional feedback and guidance which allows you to make improvements and adjust your teaching accordingly.
Would you recommend the MA to others?
I would highly recommend the MA TESOL program to those who want a deep development of their teaching skills. The MA TESOL is both a Masters Degree and also a qualification as an English teacher. In addition to this, the programme allows you to really improve your knowledge of the language and teaching simultaneously. The supervisors are so kind and patient with us, they make sure to answer all our questions and support us in every way possible.
The MA TESOL is both a Masters Degree and also a qualification as an English teacher. In addition to this, the programme allows you to really improve your knowledge of the language and teaching simultaneously.
What do you plan to do after graduation once you complete the MA program? Do you have any plans?
Actually, I have already finished the course now so I plan to go back to China. I now have multiple choices for the next stage of my career, for example, I can apply for a permanent job in public schools, but also in private and international schools. My learning experience from the MA TESOL program has also improved my overall professional image which will benefit me no matter what route I choose.
If you would like to learn more about the MA TESOL at University of Limerick, Ireland and to apply please click here.