When Kaitlinn Flower was deciding on a university to prepare for a career in education, she knew she wanted a wide-reaching, all-encompassing course. After all, the subject of English demands its teachers to be knowledgeable in a variety of subjects and lines of research, from the analysis of literature to broader topics such as communications, journalism, education, and language.
She found the perfect institution in Edge Hill University (EHU). Established in 1885, EHU now holds the title of Modern University of the Year in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022. This only adds to EHU’s already impressive list of accolades, from ranking second in the UK for University Facilities to being One of the UK’s Best Green Spaces for 10 successive years.
It makes EHU ideal for students like Kaitlinn to gain new connections, new opportunities and newfound confidence — as offered by the MA TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
This programme puts the needs of students first. More than that: it speaks to the demands of English as a subject, exposing its students to a wealth of information and skills useful to the teaching profession.
Kaitlinn was drawn to the programme for this exact reason. “Learning about second language acquisition and textbook design and adaptation has improved my planning and teaching skills,” she shares. “Regarding the course reading and assignment writing, I was given constant support with my written work and was always encouraged to utilise the reading list to its full extent.”
Today, she is teaching academic English at Lancaster University’s summer pre-sessional programme – a role she describes as “notoriously difficult to obtain” and a testament to the impact of the MA TESOL.
At EHU, Kaitlinn was given various materials and resources to consider which she says “were valuable while [she] was writing and have continued to be useful while working”. “I now feel I have a better understanding and awareness of learner needs and how to create resources which meet them,” she adds.
Interspersed in this is a leadership and management module, created for those who might seek out a position either within education or in other fields. “As well as giving me confidence, the course helped me in identifying my own skills, including the ability to lead a team,” says graduate Lisa Moret.
Those lessons boosted her employability. Upon completing the programme, she received multiple job offers. “Since completing the MA TESOL, I have had many job offers, have acted as a Head of Department in my current role as an ESOL Tutor and am starting a Senior Teacher position delivering IELTS classes next month,” she says. “In the future, I hope to be able to train people to teach English as a Foreign or Second Language.”
Kaitlinn had a similar experience. “Before I had even begun writing my dissertation, I had multiple offers of employment including a Director of Studies position and a Pre-Sessional Tutor position at a leading UK university,” she says. “Gaining an MA TESOL has proven to be invaluable and essential to accessing positions in Higher Education and in interviews, prospective employers are continuously impressed at the depth of knowledge I have acquired regarding TESOL.”
Stories like Lisa and Kaitlinn’s are common among EHU graduates. In fact, 95.3% of EHU’s students are employed or in further study within 15 months of graduating — an impressive feat for any given university.
Much of this has to do with the extensive level of support given to students — which Kaitlinn describes as “second to none.” “One tutor arranged for my cohort to have a video chat with a leading professor in TESOL,” she shares. “Professor Bell gave an engaging talk about his career and excellent advice. All tutors have been supportive in my pursuit for employment by reviewing my CV, talking through job specifications, and discussing opportunities further afield.”
Lisa adds that support often goes beyond the classroom at EHU. “I completed the course during the COVID-19 pandemic in a complex home situation,” she says. “The Head of Department regularly checked on me to ensure I was okay, which made me feel valued as a student and positively impacted my involvement in the course.”
Perhaps the MA TESOL’s greatest impact on both Lisa and Kaitlinn, however, was the role it played in instilling a deeper love for learning and discovery. Both enjoyed the programme so much that, following graduation, they are both gearing to return to academia.
“My experience at Edge Hill was extremely positive: it made me grow as a person and helped me to find more suitable and rewarding career goals,” says Lisa. “For instance, through studying at Edge Hill University, I realised I really enjoyed doing research.”
“This is why after gaining further experience teaching English as a Second Language (ESOL), I am now in the process of applying for a PhD in Education,” Lisa shares. Similarly, Kaitlinn aims to pursue a PhD in the near future.
Both Lisa and Kaitlinn have no regrets in the decisions they’ve made. “In joining Edge Hill University, I developed my confidence, improved my academic skills and established international connections,” Lisa says. “If I had to summarise Edge Hill in three words, I would say support, kindness and commitment. I highly recommend it as a university.”