Ask this mentor a question

Read more about my experiences

Please feel free to read my profile as it may help to answer any questions you have. You can also search for another ambassador who may be able to answer any further questions!

Back to Ambassador listing

Past Questions

  1. Hi Fatima, your career change towards becoming a language instructor was really inspiring to me as I myself have obtained a bachelor's degree in English. Moreover, I have been teaching English in Asia for the last three years and I am now looking to get the MA in TESOL (online). My question is: will this degree be recognized by educational institutes around the world? Since you are teaching in Turkey, maybe you can tell me if you have had any problems in this aspect?

    Hi, I had no problems with the MA TEFL in Turkey and as far as I know, it doesn't matter whether you hold a TEFL or TESOL MA, they are both recognized all over the world. Good luck with your studies.

  2. Hi, I was wondering why I can't find the MA TEFL, did this course change into MSc TESOL? I only found information about MA TESOL. Thank you.

    Hi, it must be that they are not currently offering the MA TEFL at the moment. That could change in the future of course. The MA TESOL programme must have been more on demand due to the world's restrictions on education and travel in these last couple of years. Hopefully the MA TEFL will be offered again in the future. Both programmes are very interesting and stimulating.

  3. Hello! I am an English Cuban Teacher! I’d like to apply to the MA course TESOL! Any suggestions?

    Hi, I wish you best luck in your studies. You can find information about the MA TESOL programme at the following link: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/taught/english/english-foreign-second-lang.aspx Kind regards Fatima

  4. What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

    Career development

  5. Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

    Because I liked the way the modules of the TEFL programme were designed, and I had confidence in the quality standards of the University of Birmingham.

  6. Have you joined any clubs or societies, gone on any research trips or done any volunteering?

    I haven’t spared much time for regular social events but I have gone on numerous trips to explore different locations in England arranged by the PGMC (postgraduate group).

  7. What, for you, are the best things about the course?

    The combination of theoretical knowledge with practical aspects of education and the orientation towards the building of critical thinking skills.

  8. How will your degree prepare you for what you want to do afterwards?

    I think that my degree will strengthen my competence as a TEFL teacher and build my confidence to develop research at PhD level.

  9. What has been the highlight of your time at Birmingham?

    Nowadays I spend most of my time studying and preparing for my research, however when I like to relax I visit the beautiful Winterbourne gardens near the university

  10. Do you have anything lined up for once you have completed your degree?

    I had some initial contacts with a university in Turkey to possibly start an academic programme that would enable me to undertake duties at the university as well as commit to PhD studies in Applied Linguistics.

  11. I have been offered a place on the MA TEFL program for 2016-17. Please could you tell me how many days a week are the classes, and can I proceed to the PhD program in TEFL after completing the Masters program? How is the overall environment in the department and can we get some funding to support our learning? Thanks and regards.

    Hi, the environment at the TEFL department is very multicultural and stimulating, this year (2015/2016) we have compulsory classes three times a week with sessions lasting three hours each. This leaves you ample time to work on homework, assignments or attend other optional classes on campus.

    You can try this link for the PhD information:

    http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/taught/edu/teaching-english-foreign-language.aspx

    The information offered in the link mentions that  "Graduates… [can] pursue a research qualification (usually a PhD degree) in topics such as second language learning and teaching, bilingual education and multilingualism".

    You can try these links to get some information on postgraduate funding:

    http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding/FundingFilter.aspx

    http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/pgt-fees/index.aspx

    Please let me know if you require more detailed information, and I will try to direct you to the right department for inquiry.

    Kind regards

    Fatima

  12. Hello what is the basic thing we do when we do a PhD programme? Is it about research all the time?

    Hi, if you tell me what kind of PhD you are thinking about I can try to get some detailed information for you or direct you to the right person, because I think programmes may differ according to the discipline.

  13. I'm Indonesian and I'm sorry my question isn't major related. I am a Muslim woman with a hijab, can you please share your experience studying in the UK as a Muslim with a hijab? I'm planning to continue my study in University of Birmingham, and living as a Muslim there is one of the things which keeps plaguing my mind. (I also teach Turkish students living in Indonesia:))

    Hi,

    Studying at the University of Birmingham with hijab is absolutely no problem, and living in the UK as a Muslim while doing your studies is no problem as well. There are many Muslim students on campus, there is even a prayer room on campus at the students' union (the Guild) where you can pray and meet other Muslims. The UBISOC (University of Birmingham Islamic society, see https://www.facebook.com/UoBIslamicSociety/) hosts various events during the academic year. There are many halal shops in town such as in Coventry road, so living here as a Muslim student is quite easy. Most food in the supermarkets is marked with a V for vegetarians so you can buy most bread and pastries from regular supermarkets as well. I have not experienced any problems because of my hijab, I think Birmingham is quite safe. 99% of the taxi drivers are Muslims as well, especially the university of Birmingham sponsored cabs, Castle Cars. At New Street train station in the centre of town there is also a multi-faith prayer room where you can do your salah while you are out and about in the centre. There are many halal restaurants near the university on Bristol road and also in different areas in town, you can just google their address. So don't worry I have had a wonderful experience studying here at UoB. I think there are many Indonesians on campus, two of my classmates are Indonesian as well, I have found this link for you http://www.guildofstudents.com/studentgroups/societies/indonesian/. So don't worry about a thing and enjoy your studies in Birmingham!

    Just email me again if there is anything else in particular that you would like to find out.

    Kind regards

    Fatima

  14. Hello, I want to know what the differences are between this subject and TESOL?

    Hi,

    MA TEFL and MA TESOL have some similarities and some differences. Generally speaking the TESOL degree is more linguistic based and includes teaching methodology, with modules such as teacher training or aspects of teaching such as how to teach grammar and vocabulary in the classroom. You can find out more about the TESOL course details by following this link:

    http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/distance/english/english-foreign-second-lang.aspx#CourseDetailsTab

    MA TEFL similarly covers teaching methodology but links teaching English to wider issues of school-based education and also includes modules such as curriculum design. The programme aims to support you in becoming a reflective TEFL practitioner, a competent educational researcher and an active member of the international academic and professional TEFL community.

    You can find out more about the TEFL modules at the following link:

    http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/taught/edu/teaching-english-foreign-language.aspx#CourseDetailsTab

    If you compare the information provided in the links about the modules you will get a feel about the difference of the courses. They are related, they are both aimed at English teachers, but while TESOL is somehow more technical (learning how to teach) TEFL is more geared toward reflective practice (not just focusing on methods but on the meaning of teaching and how it connects to other educational issues).

    I hope this answers your question, if not feel free to ask some more.

    Kind regards, Fatima

  15. I want to take the TEFL Masters but I have limited teaching experiences within a school. Is that okay? I am also from Indonesia.

    Hi, teaching experience when doing TEFL is useful but it is not a course requirement, for example there were many students in my TEFL class last year who had very little teaching experience and they did just fine. The TEFL MA includes theory and practice, it is very varied and it introduces you to many different aspects of teaching. If you have any more specific questions you would like to ask, please do not hesitate to contact me again!

    Kind regards, Fatima

  16. Hi, if after graduating from the Masters program, I would like to become a lecturer in the English Education department and would like to concentrate in SLTE curriculum development, should I take an MA in TEFL or TESOL?

    Hi, I believe MA TEFL would be a better choice for you because it includes optional modules such as curriculum development. You can find out more about the TEFL modules at the following link:

    http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/taught/edu/teaching-english-foreign-language.aspx#CourseDetailsTab

    Good luck with your studies,

    Fatima

  17. Do we have to write a dissertation in the taught TEFL Masters programme?

    I apologize for the late answer.

    Yes you do have to write a dissertation at the end of the taught MA TEFL programme. You will write a proposal for it during the first term, and you will have over three months to complete it toward the end of the second term.

    Kind regards

    Fatima

  18. Dear Fatima, I've been an English teacher over 6 years and I am 23 years old. I am an MA student and my field is in TEFL. Recently, I'm working on the effects of music and singing on English learners. I have some amazing methods that helps students to learn English language as their native language but as you know we have some limitations here in Iran that I can't work on it more. The bad news is that I really don't have enough money to migrate and keep my searches on, I would like to know what should I do?

    Hi, I am sorry to hear you are having problems to pursue your studies in Iran. It is a personal decision, but I would suggest that you would either change the topic of your research to continue your studies there, or alternatively apply for MA TEFL scholarships in a different country.

    Wishing you all the best,

    Fatima

  19. Does this subject have a specific or relevant module on current issues about the third language acquisition?

    Hi,

    The MA TEFL programme does not currently have a specific module on third language learning that I am aware of, however some of the core modules such as second language learning and language, discourse and society should allow you to explore topics of multilingualism in your research based assignments.

    You can find a list of modules of the MA TEFL at the following link:

    http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/taught/edu/teaching-english-foreign-language.aspx#CourseDetailsTab

    If you wish to learn more details regarding the availability of the Third Language Learning topic in the individual modules, you can also contact the school of education directly through a link available on the same above mentioned page.

    Kind regards

    Fatima

  20. Hi Fatima, I am very keen on undertaking the TEFL MA at the University of Birmingham but I am in a predicament as to which programme of study I should partake in i.e. a PGCert, PGDip or MA? On completion of my chosen degree, I would very much like to work as a language teacher. I would very much welcome your advice. Thank you.

    Hi, sorry for the late reply, I was on holiday. I don't know about your background, budget or type of teaching job you are aspiring to in the future. These are all elements that should be taken into consideration while planning which programme is most suitable for your situation. I think a lot of it depends on what kind of job as an English teacher you are thinking of, whether you wish to work in a school or whether you entertain ambitions to work at academic level and possibly continue with a PhD one day. You can always start with a PGCert or PGDip and make the decision later to progress to a full MA if you are comfortable with it. With an MA you might be able to access a wider  of variety of employment opportunities due to the weight the qualification carries, however, it also depends on the interest you may or not may not have in research and academic career.

    If you would like to provide more details about your situation I could advise you more specifically. I have included here some general information about the difference between MA, PGDip and PGCert. Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

    Kind regards

    Fatima

    Duration

    MA - 1 year full-time, 3 years part-time;

    PGDip - 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time;

    PGCert - 1 year full-time/part-time

    What is the difference between PGCert/PGDip/Masters?

    The difference between a Postgraduate Certificate, a Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters (MA or MSc) is in the amount of credits the course contains. A full MA/MSc contains 180 credits. This is made up of 120 credits of taught units and 60 credits for a dissertation.

    If you successfully complete half of the taught units (60 credits), you are awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.

    If you successfully complete all of the taught units (120 credits), you are awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.

    Who should study a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma?

    PGCert and PGDip courses are ideal for anyone interested in postgraduate study, but unable to commit to the time required for a full Masters degree.

    They are also perfect for people who aren't interested in academic research. A Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma gives you the opportunity to learn more about a subject, without having to go on and complete a dissertation.

    Remember that a PGCert or PGDip may offer the option to upgrade to a full Masters degree - perfect if your interests or circumstances change after completing your course.

    You can also find more information about these differences at:

    https://www.findamasters.com/advice/finding/postgraduate-certificates-and-diplomas-guide.aspx

    https://www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate-study/postgraduate-diplomas-and-certificates

    https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/english-as-a-foreign-language-teacher

  21. Are there any opportunities for internships or teaching within this course? I would really like the opportunity to teach under the guidance of others.

    Hi, some of the MA TEFL modules include micro-teaching, so you would get to participate and also observe your classmates' performances. Depending on your choice of optional modules you may even have the possibility of conducting school observations, which include observing teachers in action. Given the nature of all TEFL modules you will be able to clarify a lot of your ideas about teaching methods, however, it is my understanding that the TEFL MA is not focused on learning how to teach, but rather clarifying the conception we already have of teaching and reflecting on the implications of both teaching and learning.

    If you feel that you need extensive teaching experience under guidance, you may also want to find out what the TESOL MA can offer you in this respect. A friend of mine took the TESOL MA and to my knowledge she followed courses that explained for example how to teach grammar or vocabulary and so on. It seems to me that the TESOL MA offers more of a hands-on experience for new teachers, while the TEFL degree focuses on reflection. It depends on which stage you are in your career and what your personal interests are, so you should read carefully the information on modules provided on both TEFL MA and TESOL MA in order to select what suits your needs best.

    Hope this helps.

    Kind regards, Fatima