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Questions about MA Ed - would appreciate any answers!

Discussion in 'Professional development' started by Waiguoren, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. Waiguoren

    Waiguoren New commenter

    Hello all,
    I'm thinking about applying for an MA Ed, but I'm not clear about some things. Can anybody help me out with them please? Thank you all in advance!
    1. I'd like to know a good online resource that I can read up on how to do an MA Ed that will tell me what I need to know. I've looked at universities, and they're helpful, but don't seem to give you all the answers, or fill you in on the practicals.
    2. On the Durham university site, it said
    "The UK government is moving gradually towards teaching becoming a Masters degree profession. Potentially in future all teachers may be expected to possess or achieve Masters level qualifications in education. Thus, taking the opportunity to maximise the work involved in getting a PGCE by turning it into a Masters degree could prove a shrewd move. Career advancement into promoted posts is aided by possession of Masters degrees."
    Do you think this is true?
    3. Can studying for an MA be fitted around your teaching? Assuming that I get a job when I return to the UK!
    4. Does it make a difference which university you do your MA at? Are there some universities that it's not worth doing it at, because they wouldn't be appreciated? Is Open university one of these?
    5. What exactly does an MA Ed involve? Research into a chosen aspect of education, with support from a personal tutor and weekly meetings? If anyone here has done an MA, wold you be able to tell me what it was like please? And are there any threads on MAs here?
    Thanks again!
     
  2. Waiguoren

    Waiguoren New commenter

    Hello all,
    I'm thinking about applying for an MA Ed, but I'm not clear about some things. Can anybody help me out with them please? Thank you all in advance!
    1. I'd like to know a good online resource that I can read up on how to do an MA Ed that will tell me what I need to know. I've looked at universities, and they're helpful, but don't seem to give you all the answers, or fill you in on the practicals.
    2. On the Durham university site, it said
    "The UK government is moving gradually towards teaching becoming a Masters degree profession. Potentially in future all teachers may be expected to possess or achieve Masters level qualifications in education. Thus, taking the opportunity to maximise the work involved in getting a PGCE by turning it into a Masters degree could prove a shrewd move. Career advancement into promoted posts is aided by possession of Masters degrees."
    Do you think this is true?
    3. Can studying for an MA be fitted around your teaching? Assuming that I get a job when I return to the UK!
    4. Does it make a difference which university you do your MA at? Are there some universities that it's not worth doing it at, because they wouldn't be appreciated? Is Open university one of these?
    5. What exactly does an MA Ed involve? Research into a chosen aspect of education, with support from a personal tutor and weekly meetings? If anyone here has done an MA, wold you be able to tell me what it was like please? And are there any threads on MAs here?
    Thanks again!
     
  3. Dodros

    Dodros Senior commenter

    Well, in my time, I studied successfully part-time for an MA in German and an MEd in comparative education and I can honestly say that neither made one iota of difference to my promotion prospects, so I guess I'm saying that a statement such as "Career advancement into promoted posts is aided by possession of Masters degrees" has to be taken with more than a grain of salt. This said, both my higher degrees stretched my brain muscles and gave me immense personal satisfaction, enabling me to retain my status as a learner as well as a teacher. There's nothing better to counter students' laments that they "have too much work to do and teachers don't understand the workload" by saying that you, as a teacher, not only believe in lifelong learning but also practise it, giving up hours of your personal life to continue studying for further qualifications. As for fitting such study around a teaching week, it's perfectly do-able and I did my MA in German during the first and second years of my teaching career. I did my MA so early on because I was concerned about losing the "study habit" and I believe I was right to do so, in my own case. That's not to say that it's impossible to return to part-time study after several years, it just takes more effort to free up time and adjust domestic and professional priorities. These days I don't bother with seeking out even more university qualifications to earn. After all, the record holder for the most higher degrees is probably Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; need I say more? Instead, I write articles for publication, give presentations at conferences and run the occasional workshop for teachers. I find that much more congenial, and rewarding, than degree-taking. As for the choice of university, the Open University is a perfectly respectable option, which I myself chose when completing an Advanced Diploma in Special Needs in Education to complement my move from MFL to SEN in the mid-1990s. I enjoyed the course, finding the assignments challenging and relevant, without having to sit in university classrooms as much as one evening a week alongside other "knackered" teachers. If you decide to do your MA, just make sure that the course covers what you want to study in the way you want to study it. You're in a buyer's market.
     
  4. Waiguoren

    Waiguoren New commenter

    Dodros, thank you for your insightful reply!
     
  5. Wanderer007

    Wanderer007 New commenter


    1) The answers to becoming a 'good' teacher won't be conveyed to you by academics, but rather it will be a journey of self-reflection where you extend our expertise, improve your practice and better perfect your craft. Share your thoughts with colleagues and have informal talks with potential supervisors.
    2) To answer your point about teaching becoming a Masters level profession;
    The Children’s Plan in 2007 announced that teaching should be a Masters level profession
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8504341.stm
    3) Yes, I did my M.Ed part-time, having received 120 credits for a PGDE, and then all I needed to complete was a ~20,000 word dissertation. It was a HUGE undertaking, and a lot of time needs to be devoted to it ... it’s about professional development not just personal aggrandissement.
    4) The Open University has excellent long distance support. I did my M.Ed at the University of Birmingham, but would have no issues with considering the OU. A case in point would be Professor John Mason; involved with the OU for many decades and now an emeritus professor at the University of Oxford.
    5) A lot of work! Referencing at least 50+ academic sources in your specialism for a balanced discussion, permissions from your school, ethical considerations (video/ audio/ interviews) etc.... I formally received 5 tutorial sessions during the course of the M.Ed year which was fine. My supervisor was very flexible.
    As a final thought; please bear in mind that research is the servant of professional judgement, and not its master. Good luck!
     
  6. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I bet you a large sum of money that the present government will ditch this 'all teachers to get Master's' commitment, since it's (a) pointless and (b) pointless.
    I have two of them, which I undertook purely for learning's sake. Whilst I benefited greatly from rapid career advancement, I'm in no doubt that it had nothing whatsoever to do with having either of these higher degrees.
     
  7. Wanderer007

    Wanderer007 New commenter

    I'd take your bet Middlemarch! Simply because Michael Gove has made soundings about the quality of teachers (2ii minimum entry for government subsidy), and investing in the CPD of teachers is a means to improve the craft of teaching. After all, the quality of teachers is the biggest factor that influences student achievement. The way the MTL is being rolled out is encouraging NQT's to stay in the profession - a time when a significant proportion of teachers quit. National challenge areas and HoFs... time will tell if it is valued and encourages a re-engagement.
    In all honesty, I don't think a Masters in isolation will help with career advancement (I don't expect my pay to go up!), but it shows an intellectual curiosity and flame that some of my colleagues no longer have.
     

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