Category: Teacher training

A few US degree programs related to intercultural communication / international education

I wanted to look at degree programs related to education and TESOL but slightly different.

This Vanderbilt PhD has a strong focus on literacy but also works with oral communication and ESL.

UMBC Masters in Intercultural Communication – 2 year program with or without thesis that offers no assistance for native English speakers.

The university of Florida has one but their website offers relatively little information. You can see how the 34 credits required break down by checking out the pdf.

The University of Denver

Hawaii has an MA in Communication with specializations like global communication, organizationa & intercultural communication, etc.

UMass has a program that leads to an EdD in International Education – specifically improving it in developing countries.

I also searched for Intercultural Studies but many results were for religious things and I gave up on that one.

This George Mason PhD in cultural studies sounds interesting.

Where to do my PhD?

So I’m ready to do a PhD in TESOL. At first I thought I’d do it at my university, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. After applying, getting accepted, and placing a deposit, I was told that full-time professors can not do a PhD at HUFS.

Now I like my job. But I did my Masters through correspondence and I wanted to do my PhD face to face. If I go that route I can quit my current job and then either do the PhD at HUFS (maybe working here part time or something). Or I can quit my job and do it in America. I end up with a more reputable degree but we have to relocate our dogs and live a bit more poorly than we’re used to. I also need to look at student loans if I end up studying in America.

A friend of mine mentioned Stafford loans – something like 8 grand a year I think he said that’s interest free while you’re studying. I don’t remember exactly. And advice would certainly be appreciated.

For the moment, though, I want to keep my job at HUFS, a job I really love. I might look into taking a course or two online and seeing how that goes. I hear some British universities offer online PhDs.

Thinking of teaching ESL or EFL and wondering where to begin?

I recently received this question via email: “I came across your website and thought I’d ask you for some advice. I am thinking of teaching ESL but don’t quite know where to begin. Any tips?”

I think I gave some decent advice, but if anyone has something to add please leave a comment below. This is what I said: “I’d begin with some training, probably a certificate course that involves classroom practice. That will tell you if you like teaching ESL and get you ready for employment.”

Degree programs online in education and things that might have been

Since I did my Master of Applied Linguistics via distance learning (not online but distance nonetheless) I sometimes visit different online learning sites to see their teaching degrees. I’m not considering another degree – just curious really.

And then I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t gotten into education (it was an accident really that I ended up teaching SAT classes and one thing led to another and now I’m a professor of linguistics). I considered music and zoology among other things. Online education for criminal justice is another interesting one. I almost studied criminal justice because I wanted to be a Park Ranger. When I took those high school job aptitude tests they said I should either be a Park Ranger or a lumberjack…

Training the new SLA teacher

I met the new SLA teacher, the peron I’ll be training next semester. I realized how hard it will be as I started explaining the course and didn’t know exactly where to begin. We ended up talking about the course (a general overview) and assessment. I think it was fairly productive but I’ll have to be better prepared next time we meet.

Changing SMU TESOL’s SLA homework?

So I’ve been bust correcting SMU TESOL students first SLA homework which includes goodies like paraphrasing keywords in Pinker’s definition of language, drawing timelines, summarizing the Behaviorist perspective, explaining the LAD, and describing learning or teaching experiences in light of Cognitive principles.

The questions are good ones that make students think (if they want a good grade anyway) but one student went for the extra credit (which I never offered and can’t give) and offereed three focus questions of her own. Since next semester I will be in charge of the SLA course, I have to consider if the homework questions need to be changed (there may be lots of previous students’ answers floating around out there). Anyway, her questions were food for thoguht:

Why is Charles Osgood’s mediation theory necessary for Behaviorists to explain langauge learning?

Explain the language acquisition principles at work in the following dialogue:

Child: I putted the plates on the table!

Mother: You mean, I put the plates on the table.

Child: No. I putted them on all by myself.

That one of course was an excerpt from Lightbrown and Spada’s How Languages Are Learned (the cartoon on p.16). The one from McNeil (1966 p.69 as quoted in Brown’s Principles of Language Learning and Teaching p.39) would be another possibility.

Define UG (Universal Grammar).

Not according to plan

An update on the NGO EAP CBI class which met for two hours today after meeting for one hour earlier in the week. Remember I wrote before that I wanted to do some introductions, and then define NGO and civil society and finish up with talking about sources and APA referencing conventions.

Imagine my surprise then when only 6 students showed up (there were 14 last time). I don’t know how I scared them all away, but that made doing introductions tough because I don’t really know who’s in my class and who’s not. I postponed the definitions and did the definitions, having students read what they brought in for homework while I wrote the most important stuff on the board. Then I asked students where the information came from. I wasn’t ready for answers like “” – I showed students real APA style references and the detailed info they need including exact web addresses. That took about 45 minutes so we took a break.

Then I split the class into two groups of three and told each team to combine all the info about one word into a really really good definiion. Of course when it came to in text referencing they had to use (Jun Sik’s source) for now, but when they bring in the APA info (homework for next class) we’ll fix that.

I also noticed that they put the information in kind of a weird order (weird to me anyway). I’m going to work with each group to reorganize the definitions/information and hopefully have some interesting discussion about organization next time. I jsut wonder who will be there…

Extra time

If you have 5 minutes to kill, this teaching methodology quiz entertained me. If you have more time, this survey about how CALL techniques are learned might be interesting.

Online teaching certificate

Principles and Practices of Online Teaching Certificate Program is a course offered by TESOL and an especially good deal for people teaching EFL in poor countries. While someone in America or Japan (or one of the other countries listed as high income) pays $175/course, people in other countries pay $75/course. The courses look interesting too, like teaching speaking online.

Thanks to the budding online university systems rising up around the world, getting yourself an accredited online degree is easier now than it ever has been, and many now accept online college degrees to be as relevant as a "normal" degree.