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Bringing the World Closer

The following is a note from Carolyn Allen, a May 2010 Teaching House CELTA Graduate, about her experience receiving her MA in TESOL at Hunger College in New York.

Note to CELTA trainees

I believe there are two main reasons you’d be interested in doing an MA in TESOL: 1) in order to work in the NY Public Schools or 2) in order to work at a college; I wanted to have the option to do the latter.

I’m really enjoying Hunter College’s MA in TESOL program. While there are several good programs in the NY area, Hunter’s offered the best program for the money. I feel that already having a CELTA is a huge advantage, because you’re already familiar with the basic tenets of communicative language teaching, its principles and techniques. The first course you take incorporates much of what you’re taught in CELTA: Theories and Methods of TESOL, which highlights techniques and best practices for the classroom, with a focus on teaching and learning principles. I didn’t feel I learned too much new information in the class, rather just a lot more theoretical support for the methods taught in CELTA. Two classroom observations and accompanying reports are required, as well as a final lesson project. Linguistics is another required class in your first semester, and while it might be daunting to those who don’t enjoy sentence diagramming and trees, the two projects required by the course are worthwhile: 1) A language investigation project in which you conduct research on a language/grammar element; and 2) a language analysis project that is essentially a blown-up Focus on the Learner, in which you provide a thorough analysis of a piece of student writing, and include suggested activities to help the student correct the errors.

As well as a handful of other required courses, students take two elective classes on a range of topics (I’m currently taking Advanced Grammar), and satisfy the program’s academic requirements when they’ve amassed between 30 and 40 credits. Student teaching is done in the last semester, and finally students are given the option of either writing a Master’s essay for 4 credits or taking a comprehensive exam to complete the program.

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On a related noted, if you're wondering if your Delta certificate can be used toward an MA in TESOL, check out the following from Cambridge which describes how much credit you can expect to receive for it.
I'm actually really glad I stumbled on this, because I was looking at a few different ones in the NY area and hadn't spoken to anyone about Hunter yet. I'm really glad you like it! Are there any disadvantages to the program, do you think?
I am going into the CELTA program and have been thinking about eventually getting an MA in TESOL. Do you have any advice about getting some experience teaching before going into the MA or heading straight into a program?
Travis, I'm not the original poster, but I think it depends on the specific school. I was looking at some MA TESOL programs a few months ago when I first applied to this CELTA course to help me get a sense of the field. Some of the programs I looked at wanted students to have some teaching experience under their belts (I think 2 years was the most common requirement I saw) while others didn't mention teaching experience at all. If you already know of some schools you might be interested in, you can look up their requirements and see what they say.
I was wondering if an MA in TESOL earned in the Middle East or Asia will hold the same weight as one earned in the US or UK. Does anyone have any experience with this?


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