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U.Birmingham M.A. in Applied Linguistics: how good is it?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by arginjapan
    If it were only that simple. I think that it matters less about the person and more about society; one should get a degree that is in demand or is as flexible as possible. PhDs in anything often don't fit the bill because the education itself is so highly specialized that if amends itself to relatively few positions.

    In other words, getting that PhD in sociology only to discover that the demands for tenure-track sociology positions is next to nil leaves one pretty much SOL, doesn't it?
    Then one can always come back, with one's tail between one's legs, and tiichi ingurishu! You better believe there is a surplus of just about any degree now, thanks to the US and the countries that copy it.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by paulh

      MA you do at a liberal arts college. The TUJ Masters course is in the faculty of education at TUJ.
      And just to address this point (since you brought it up, I didn't). You can still get an MA in education. Clearly the traditional distinction is breaking down, with cross-disciplinary programmes (and TESOL programmes are a good case in point) and with things like 'Units' and 'Centres' etc.

      There must be many dozens of universities in the US and elsewhere that have this. So what was your point about this supposed to mean? Or do you just like repetitively telling us something we already know?

      Finally, let's compare some MAs and MSs and MEds. Your degree required , what, 30 credits? Compare that to the two degrees offered at Columbia Teachers College at the master's level. One, the MA, requires 36 credits; the other, an MSEd requires 60, and is considered the path to teaching in the country (the US that is) and to the doctoral level. So at this institution, the MA TESOL is clearly 'terminal', they aren't even going to jump to the doctoral with it and it is not going to get you an ESOL teaching job in the US either.
      Last edited by Nick Halliday; 2005-12-24, 01:12 AM.

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      • #48
        i second that. i've always had a theory that you'd have to try real hard to flunk out of college. and they make it that way so they can keep you coming back and keep you dropping 20 thousand a year.
        i went to undergrad at private university in Missouri where one had to have at least a B to go on to the next level. real cut throat. but where i am now, at a state school, it seems as though students can ____ around all the damn time and still climb the ranks. as long as they've got the money.
        .....to an extent, of course. i gave one of my students an -F last semester and i'm damn proud of it. i'll be damned if i see her next semester.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Nick Halliday
          There must be many dozens of universities in the US and elsewhere that have this. So what was your point about this supposed to mean? Or do you just like repetitively telling us something we already know?

          Finally, let's compare some MAs and MSs and MEds. Your degree required , what, 30 credits? Compare that to the two degrees offered at Columbia Teachers College at the master's level. One, the MA, requires 36 credits; the other, an MSEd requires 60, and is considered the path to teaching in the country (the US that is) and to the doctoral level. So at this institution, the MA TESOL is clearly 'terminal', they aren't even going to jump to the doctoral with it and it is not going to get you an ESOL teaching job in the US either.

          You seem to have this idea that because the TUJ offers a degree course in Japan for working teachers that ergo, it must be inferior, compared to going back home in the US.

          I dont know about you, but I have a wife and family and simply cant drop everything, take two years off so I can spend two years in the US with no income. One of my friends is doing that now and his wife is remaining in Japan.

          I know another guy doing his degree with the University of Southern Queensland. He has two kids and lives in Shikoku. I know another living in Okinawa doing a Masters. No TUJ or Columbia in Okinawa.

          I did my degree when i did becuase it was convenient, it was in the same city and i could fit it around my teaching schedule. Im in Kansai, Columbia is in Tokyo so that was obviously out of the question. People do what works best for them and you have to make compromises.

          I have to spend a lot of money on the Birmingham degree as well as travel to the UK as part of my residency. You are always going to get Monday morning quarterbacks and armchair referees who will tell you what you should and shouldnt do and have never actually done such a degree themselves, or they go off what a mate told them in a bar. You have spoken to one person who did a TUJ degree (what, one weekend 1-credit course?) and his word is gospel according to you. I think 800 people who have graduated so far from TUJ in Japan and are now working all across the country as TESOL teachers, as well as the hundreds of people in the doctoral research program will disagree with you about TUJ. You are entitled to your opinions though. However if I had not done my degree when I did and when i could afford it I would be living on the poverty line unable to support a family on an eikaiwa income.

          in the 90's I was working 5 days a week, 5 different schools teaching PT classes, 20 classes a week, going to TUJ 2 or 3 times a week over 3 years, as well as doing all the readings and assignments. I also passed the 5 hour Comprehensive Exam at the end of it. After 3 years work I have a Masters degree from a reputable American university. It was good enough to be accepted by a reputable British university, as well as the fact they accepted my research proposal. By the time I finish I will have a British PhD in Linguistics. You can't do much better than that and you can trivialise and nickel and dime as much as you want, but its the end result that counts, and both degrees are accepted at any university and recognised by virtually any university i choose to apply to. If your friend wants to think TUJ was rubbish then he can simply quit and go somewhere else. No one is making him stay there. For those of us with families, full time jobs and work commitments, it is often not possible to shop around for what (you consider) a worthwhile or brand degree from a prestigious or so called brand university.



          PS My Masters is in Education, an M.Ed and my current degree is a Doctor of Philosophy in Applied linguistics



          Im not an expert on different universities entry criteria, but you will find if there is a will there is a way and universities will accept different Masters degrees if it meets their entrance criteria.

          There may no be a PhD in TESOL but that does not mean you can not do a related degree and apply your research topic to language teaching. My degree is related to curriculum innovation and change, team teaching as it applies to japanese elementary schools. its not a TESOL degree but it looks at foreign language learners in an L1 environment. You simply tweak or rework your proposal to something the university feels comfortable with supervising you.

          Sometimes i think you cant see the wood for the trees and are unnecessarily limiting yourself by sticking to concrete definitions.
          Last edited by paulh; 2005-12-31, 01:07 PM.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by paulh
            You seem to have this idea that because the TUJ offers a degree course in Japan for working teachers that ergo, it must be inferior, compared to going back home in the US.

            .....cut to end of quote

            Sometimes i think you cant see the wood for the trees and are unnecessarily limiting yourself by sticking to concrete definitions.
            Really paulh I'm going to avoid discussing things with you, and have been advised to do so by the moderator. However, to finish off this forlorn discussion properly, let me answer your criticisms, and then let's both get on with what we do best (and hope that will include avoiding each other).

            1. I didn't say the M-TESOL at TUJ was inferior to any other (except if you look at the amount of coursework some programmes require, there might not be much to compare with an education degree that also gets you qualified to teach ESL in an anglophone country)

            2. I don't think much of any of those sort of M. TESOL and MA TESOL programmes simply because they give a smattering of knowledge in too many different areas, and are run by people who have academic specialities and look down on classroom teachers with 'terminal' degrees and like them only to the extent that they are paying money to take these programmes. I did say specifically about TUJ that its programmes didn't justify its high fees and that the certification/accreditation might be dodgy because I really doubt that Temple, the mother institution, really extends all its resources to TUJ. TUJ is a money-making venture for a sub-group of Temple trying to run things like M-TESOL and MBA programmes.

            3. And you now stand corrected: Temple does offer PhDs. About the semantics of just what the heck TUJ is, that's their own obfuscations because, as I said before, what they are is an American education entity trying to make money in Japan and wanting to have it both ways while the free trade tide turns in their favour--in favour of liberalisation of the export of 'educational services' (a losers' game for a country like Japan, which might do well at exporting JFL courses and that is about it). TUJ wants to be a ceritified, registered 'foreign university' in Japan, but it also wants to extend its accreditation from Temple USA by virtue of TUJ actually being just a set of three 'branch campuses' in Japan. Both ways, part of their marketing scheme, part of their duplicity over their thinking that US accreditation is universal and a real guarantee of quality (it isn't, though some accredited institutions might indeed be high quality, just as some unaccredited might be just as good or better).

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Nick Halliday
              But look, even with Bachelor's of Education (usually called B.S.es), a lot of the course work is done in the respective speciality, often at a College of Arts and Humanities).
              Maybe that's how it's done where you are from, but from what I understand and from my own experience, the majority of coursework in a Bachelor's of Education is either exclusively or the majority of it is done in the Humanities (depending on your area of grade and subject specialization, although there are exceptions such as Child Studies or Early Childhood Education). As for the actual designation, it says "Bachelor of Education" (B.Ed) on my transcript, my degree, and it's how the government licensing board designates it-not "B.S.es".
              Last edited by arginjapan; 2006-01-01, 12:45 PM.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Nick Halliday
                . Both ways, part of their marketing scheme, part of their duplicity over their thinking that US accreditation is universal and a real guarantee of quality (it isn't, though some accredited institutions might indeed be high quality, just as some unaccredited might be just as good or better).
                So if thats the case, if you had a choice would you do a degree from Temple which in your opinion may be a 'wannabe' university in Japan run by a bunch of vested interests here just to make money (if it didnt make money, the goal of most corporations) it would have gone broke a long time ago) but is a recognised part of the mother institution, its credits are fully transferable and are recognised everywhere. or some place like University of Anaheim, which has big shots and ESL gurus like Rod Ellis (Uni of Auckland) and David Nunan (HK) on its staff, supposedly quality teaching, but the university itself is not accreditted and not recognised anywhere? How about Rocheville or these other 'universities' that operate out of a post box IN Arizona or in Bermuda. maybe quality institutions all but no one recognises them as they are not 'accreditted'. Im sure you will now feed me some line that accredittation is no guarantee of quality, but it sure matters to universities who want to accept your degree for a PhD, or who are maybe thinking of hiring you for a tenure position and if you have a fake Mickey Mouse degree from one of these organisations you wont get very far. Whether or not TUJ is part of temple university or not, it still has the official recognition, and 24 years operating in japan with two doctoral courses is nothing to be sneezed at.
                Last edited by paulh; 2006-01-01, 09:01 PM.

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                • #53
                  My two penneth.

                  Paulie. Respect. Hard as hell to work, study and raise kids.

                  More power to ya!

                  Hope you get your doctorate after all that.

                  Tried for four years to balance a part time phd in French philosophy, full time job, a birth, an abortion and another baby.

                  Proved too much in the end. Wasn't enjoying any of it, which was main point in doing it.

                  Yours I suspect is more ends orientated but what the hell.

                  After 20 classes a week a five places, you deserve every bit of luck.

                  I am doing a similar number at four places. Some two and half hours away from my gaff. Knackered.

                  good luck.

                  Tell the other nobs to put up or shut it.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by tetsuya
                    MAfter 20 classes a week a five places, you deserve every bit of luck.

                    I am doing a similar number at four places. Some two and half hours away from my gaff. Knackered.

                    good luck.

                    Tell the other nobs to put up or shut it.
                    20 classes a week was my Masters. Now I work full time have 13 classes a week, do weddings on weekends to pay for it and 2 kids.Largely non-supportive wife. No time to study or read anything except vacations and Im supposed to go to the UK too. Too much time on here so i can unwind from work.

                    Im not enjoying study and 'research' as much as i thought I would either and its like pulling teeth right now and its going like molasses.

                    Like my dad said, once you've got it, no one can take it away from you. never a truer word said, whatever the naysayers and sh-it stirrers on here may think.
                    Last edited by paulh; 2006-01-01, 09:02 PM.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by paulh
                      Like my dad said, once you've got it, no one can take it away from you.
                      Yes. But if it's worthless, nobody wants to take it away from you.

                      I for one have had enough of you slagging off your wife when she can't defend herself.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by HairyGaijin
                        Yes. But if it's worthless, nobody wants to take it away from you.

                        I for one have had enough of you slagging off your wife when she can't defend herself.

                        I'm not doing one for you, for Nigel Halliday, for my Dad for any employer just so i can get a job. I'm doing one for ME.

                        I've said the same things to her face and she has defended herself.

                        If you had a J-wife you would probably slag her off too.

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                        • #57
                          Sounds like you're ____ed ,mate.

                          Better call it a day before you smack someone.


                          Originally posted by paulh
                          I'm not doing one for you, for Nigel Halliday, for my Dad for any employer just so i can get a job. I'm doing one for ME.

                          I've said the same things to her face and she has defended herself.

                          If you had a J-wife you would probably slag her off too.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by arginjapan
                            Maybe that's how it's done where you are from, but from what I understand and from my own experience, the majority of coursework in a Bachelor's of Education is either exclusively or the majority of it is done in the Humanities (depending on your area of grade and subject specialization, although there are exceptions such as Child Studies or Early Childhood Education). As for the actual designation, it says "Bachelor of Education" (B.Ed) on my transcript, my degree, and it's how the government licensing board designates it-not "B.S.es".
                            There might be some traditions where a B. Ed is distinct somehow from a B.S. Ed. Education.

                            Business as a pseudo-science ended up in colleges of social science, until the area of business became such a dominant area and was often given college status of its own (again, talking from my experience and perspective).

                            When I tried to switch over to get my teacher's licence in eastern US (in a state that tries to stay distinct from the rest of the country or region by having its own version of a national teachers' test), I had to take over 50 credit hours at an undergraduate level (but technically in post-graduate status) to get that, most of the courses being education courses, distinct from my humanities background (history, philosophy, English literature and native arts). Of course, it shifts back the other way to maintain a teaching career, since so many people teaching things like history or English native language arts (basically literature and composition) go back and do pure humanities masters in the summer, unless they want to get into administration.

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                            • #59
                              I think there are some things to keep clear in the mind. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don't.

                              1. Pursuit of knowledge in a formal setting (taught classes, or modules delivered by distance learning).

                              2. Pursuit of knowledge that will help you with your current job--it's nice to have a feeling of mastery and control over what it is you say you are a 'professional' at doing.

                              3. Pursuit of certificates, diplomas, degrees, post-grad. degrees in order to get a better job (better pay, higher status, etc.).

                              4. Pursuit of the things in 3 in order to do better in Japan and stay here.

                              5. Pursuit of things in 3 in order to go back to the anglophone country you are from and integrate into academia or some other profession there.

                              The lure of a lot of degrees sold by western institutions here is that theirs will do all of these, which leads to a lot of people like some I've seen here on gaijinpot. They are, in fact, not very knowledgeable about a pure subject (because they have done a superficial cross-disciplinary smattering of too much and not enough real understanding of something that interested them).
                              They don't even seem to have much of a perspective on their given profession because, perhaps, they have never taken the time to figure that out. They have been too busy doing demonstration work for professors largely out of touch with teaching EFL in Japan, that they have given up the chance to to get that perspective.

                              OTOH, for people like one participant here pursuing a PhD research degree, I say more power to him. I admire that pursuit of speciality knowledge and mastery.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Nick Halliday
                                I The lure of a lot of degrees sold by western institutions here is that theirs will do all of these, which leads to a lot of people like some I've seen here on gaijinpot. They are, in fact, not very knowledgeable about a pure subject (because they have done a superficial cross-disciplinary smattering of too much and not enough real understanding of something that interested them). .

                                Nick,
                                why should you even care what people study in their respective degrees? They do a course of study, it gets them a job in Japan that pays the bills and puts food on the table. As long as it gets people where they want to go I see nothing wrong with it, as long as they dont fake their degrees or qualifications and they see some intrinsic value in it. people dont do PhDs for 6-10 years to please other people.

                                If they want to study things that interest them they will study on their own and do classroom research. A degree like TUJ gives you the tools in order to conduct such research.

                                I am in fact in touch with someone who has a UK campus-based PhD degree and has given me some valuable feedback on my research project here. Once does not have to know anything about teaching in Japan to be able to give advice about how to conduct research. In fact, part of the trick is to be able to write in such a way that people who know nothing about Japan can understand and follow your research. that is what writing a PhD is all about. You are not preaching to the converted.

                                If you have not in fact done a Temple M.Ed or D.Ed degree or at Columbia how do you actually know what people have studied? In fact at Temple 5 of the courses are compulsory so everyone has the same basic foundation. The remain 15 credits (or 5 courses if you will) are electives which all tie in with the 5 core courses of Phonology, Grammar, Methods 1 and 2, and Applied Linguistics. It is not a "smattering" but a 12 week, 36-hour course of study on each theme. Add in the reading packets (usually 1-2 full articles a week), assigned texts and written assignments and it adds up to quite a bit a work.


                                They don't even seem to have much of a perspective on their given profession because, perhaps, they have never taken the time to figure that out. They have been too busy doing demonstration work for professors largely out of touch with teaching EFL in Japan, that they have given up the chance to to get that perspective.
                                Well you obviously dont know what other people know or dont know and just becuase they havent studied what you think is important it doesnt make them ignorant.

                                My supervisor for instance is actually in the UK, but has written 2 published books on my field based on data collected in Japan including observation and interviews with Japanese teachers in the UK.

                                What non-Japan specific supervisors look for is a thesis or paper that is understandable to people outside Japan as well as give advice on the nuts and bolts of conducting your own research.

                                I will add that some of the professors i had at Temple were living in Japan for 3-4 month stretches, often for years at a time (J.D Brown and Gabie Kasper come to mind. J.D's wife is Japanese and teaches on the Japanese language faculty at U of Hawaii.

                                Ken Schaefer has been here for donkeys years. David Beglar is one of the D.Ed alumnae) so saying they are out of touch is not exactly true IMO.
                                Last edited by paulh; 2006-01-02, 06:51 PM.

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