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Review and Discuss

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by German Wolf, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. What would you have done with someone who already had a subject specific Masters from say, Scotland or Oxbridge? Too young to be able to benefit from a MA or MSc at 22. Ding, next please!
    You probably haven't noticed in your ivory tower that in the UK and USA for instance there has been plenty of talk about an MA being normal for teachers!
    Wake up MM!
    PS Oh dear! What is a real teacher? Or maybe, what is a real school leader?

  2. I don´t understand why people on here insist on belittling other´s achievements or aspirations. If teachers acted this way towards the pupils at my school I would take serious issue with them - the teachers that is! Why do it here on a professional teacher forum?
    MA or MEd or NPQH or PhD ... why do people take issue with these? If someone has the drive and motivation to take further study or qualification for their own ends (and often to the considerable benefit of others) that in itself should be applauded. In any case to belittle others for it is just sad and says a lot about the detractor.

  3. Oh, and the (Sir) Ken Robinson TED presentation on Creativity is excellent entertainment from several years ago - there are more (even from Sir Ken) recent examples of similar topics on TED - very worthwhile site.Dangerous to take one man´s point of view too seriously.......
  4. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    I'm guessing you didn't watch the video. It's not against an MA, just questionning the point sometimes. Karvol mentioned the worthlessness of GCSE / IGCSE in another thread. Pieces of paper don't necessarily mean much. As to NPQH - many teachers with these pieces of paper don't seem to know much about education in the real world.
    I should explain about the teacher I didn't employ. It wasn't because he wanted to do an MA, it was because he didn't know much about teaching. Rather than take an MA after two years, he'd have been better off learning about teaching by focusing on the job in hand.
  5. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    We currently have a group of people doing MA/MEd at our place.
    A spin off from this is the number of new initiatives/ideas/activities/approaches which have been brought in. We also seem to keep getting questionnires to fill in on a regular basis. Personally I think there is too much and that the benefits of these changes are yet to be seen.
    I don't know that having an MA/MEd automatically makes you a better teacher than you are already or better than somebody with a plain old BEd (guess which one I have!). It depends how you apply what you have learned in your MA/MEd, the same way that it depends how you apply the experience you get as you go along.
    I am concerned about the over intellectualisation of Educational practice as opposed to the application of good old common sense and experience.
  6. [​IMG]
    The only reason I would go for a higher degree is if I thought it would help me become a better teacher. Two of my sisters have them and they are adamant that it did not make them better teachers.
    So, I'll not bother...

  7. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    There is no real evidence that further qualifications make you a better teacher.
    My experience is that nobody does a masters to make themselves a better teacher. Its all about climbing the managerial tree.
    Pure self interest. People can be excellent teachers with or without further qualifications. I think that people get prickly when there is an assumption that a masters automatically makes you in some way better than people who dont have a masters.
  8. I started an M.Ed sometime in the late 1990s at the behest of a Compie Head obsessed with useless paperwork and desperate for an NPQH. I found it to be utter drivel and after completing one module, left it behind to do an MA. Did the MA make me a better teacher? Yes it did, because it gave me enough subject knowledge to understand that some of the textbooks I had been using were way out of date. It also gave me some very useful contacts so that when one of my students wrote his A level coursework using some of my original research had it returned with an E grade by some half educated twot (probably retired and based in Spain), I was able to resubmit it with supporting messages from some of the leading experts in the world in that field. It was bumped up to the Grade A, where it should have been in the first place.
    When I completed my Ph.D, I think it made me a better teacher again in that the analytic skills that I had acquired allowed me to think really clearly. Sir Ken's description of academics living in their own heads is a good one and to be immersed in an academic subject is a truly enlightening experience. My tutor made the point that the changes in the way I thought was the real benefit of higher study, rather than the fact that one became the world's expert in one's own (admittedly) narrow field of study (it's a requirement of a UK Ph.D to make an original contribution to knowledge or significant discovery).
    The creativity issue raised in the vid is also a good one but I'm not sure how to proceed with it. This sort of thing can all too often provide the justification for the stupid to push their careers forward with useless inishatives (NQPH passim FOWT). While it is true that the dancer example mentioned is a good one, one might also point to the example of Hitler who Allan Bullock (I think off the top of my head) described as an 'unformed intellect'. Would the world have been saved such strife he he been allowed into Art College? It is true that we can have no idea of what the world will look like in 2065 (pace Spengler, AT Mahon and de Bloch) but the only way we can make guesses at its shape is to use our experience of the past.
    So keep studying the maths and keep the dance as an extra-curricular, I would argue, while at the same time providing students with the widest range of experiences, trips and activities in the hope that each one will, somewhere along the way, catch a spark.

  9. I don't know if having a masters degree made me a better teacher.

    Getting the masters degree has made me:

    a.) Make sure that students always know what they need to do to get what grade, that the point isn't about reading my mind.

    b.) Be very, very conscious of the power imbalance between teacher and student and to always respect (and merit) the trust that comes from that responsibility.

    c.) Make sure that students don't see me as "the expert to please", I'm not. I am one person that can only bring the experiences I've had, for what it's worth, in application to their situation at hand.

    d.) Make sure that my students never see me as miserly with my time for them, that my "other" activities are more important or that I am too busy to talk to them.

    They don't call universities institutions for nothing. (Am I playing the role of Oldgit here? To make our exchange complete, should I sprinkle in my favorite obscenity every 3rd or 4th word? [​IMG] )

    In contrast to that, my undergraduate degree taught me how to think. And I had some amazing professors. I consciously repeat some of the same things they said and did, and I am sure I explain points of view I got from them that I can't even remember that that's where they came from, the ideas have become so much my own.

    All of this aside, having a masters degree has definitely made me a more employed teacher.
  10. lovely.lady

    lovely.lady Occasional commenter

    I'm simply doing my masters for me, no-one else, selfish little me!
    I'm loving the challenge of the exposure to academic pedagogy and thinking. Maybe it will make me more employable but I doubt, not at my age but who cares! Not me! I enjoy being in the classroom - cliche maybe but I can honestly say that the day I dislike my job is the day I find a job in the UK at Tesco or similar!
  11. So, when were you an officer in the Parachute Regiment?
  12. And I want all the children in the world to sleep in the shade of the peaceful willow tree.

  13. MM - tool.

    Implies that he didn't give a job to a person doing a Masters and then backtracks when the idiocy of his statement is pointed out to him. I think the vitriolic Oldgit must have been managed by him in a previous role.
  14. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    One thing I do know, having spent 2 years at one of the most respected teacher training establishments in the UK, is that few 'trainers' (those with higher order qualifications in the field) have any idea how to teach, no awareness of practicalities of a classroom nor what constitutes a good teacher.
    One guy was crucified by the kids when he visited me in the classroom of an inner city school and had little idea how to communicate with modern children, another chap was unable to offer any practical classroom support in Literacy when I asked a direct question about appropriate activities to teach a specific objective he had been wittering about. Another well known lecturer repeatedly cancelled his classes as he was too busy with his media profile (was regularly featured in magazines).
    I started my career dazed and confused about teaching and had little practical idea of how to run a classroom or choose activities for children. I'm a very good teacher now but in many ways have little understanding of theoretical pedagogy. Any sort of teacher training should be advantageous but having worked and tutored at University for 3 years, I'd suspect an MA would be wholly impractical, and one for the CV rather than for the kids.
    Working 60 hours a week to fulfill my classroom commitments, I'd also doubt a fully engaged teacher would have the time to commit to a part-time MA. Further, with respect to penelopefish, the 4 points she mentions having learnt from securing her masters are pretty standard concepts I've learnt through my practical classroom experience.
  15. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    We have fully engaged teachers/SMT doing p/t Masters but it has taken over their lives.
    I did a similar course in the 90's whilst teaching full time. The course was for 2 years and required a 6 hour afternoon/evening a week at college plus a 4 hour weekly placement and 3 additional training weekends. it was flippin hard work and totally took over everything.
    Regards PF 4 points, you are correct in that there will be many people who have developed in the same way by studying in the University of Life/through ongoing teaching experience.
  16. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    You may find it difficult to understand, but most intelligent readers will see that the initial statement did not say that he wasn't given the job because he wanted to start a masters. The point being made, which I'll try to guide you through (I'll presume you're lower ability student by your statement above), is that taking a masters isn't necessarily the best way forward. In order to become a good teacher it is better to focus on acquiting teaching skills through practise. All BEd and PGCSE students have sat through lectures on Piaget (et al), and there is no doubting good teachers will see the links between theory and practice, but Piaget's books are not ones we automatically turn to when lesson planning.
    Far from being against MAs and MEds, I see a value in them. However, there is a difference between their value in education real terms and the value employers put on them. There are far more great teachers with just BEds and PGCEs than good teachers with MAs/MEds. Likewise, I have come across many teachers with NPQHs who I believe would not suit headship roles; of course, just my opinion (and that of all the others who've shared a similar experience). Nevertheless, for the Bob's of this world who find these statements confusing: to make the above statement about NPQH does not infer that all those with a NPQH are unsuited to headship, as I know many fine Heads who just happen to have it, having spent lots of money at their own expense on the belief they'd need it if they ever returned to England. Thank you, Mr Gove, for making that no longer a necessity. That A infers B is not equal to B infers A.
    I don't recall Oldgit being one of my teachers, but despite our disgreements I'm sure I'd be happy to employ him in my schools. How many bags of peanuts it would take to entice him is another matter.
  17. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    If I didn't type & go so much, I'd acquire skills rather than acquit them (r and t too close together on this keyboard - that's my excuse and I'm stickling too it)

  18. Why, thank you. It's nice to be valued.[​IMG]
  19. the evil tokoloshe

    the evil tokoloshe New commenter

    I agree with Oldgit here, a higher degree does not necessarily make you a better practitioner in the field that you studied it, rather it provides you with the skills to solve problems, make changes and contribute to a greater extent in later situations. I have the two further degrees and studied some MEd subjects as well. Other than publications, neither of my higher degrees have directly contributed to my teaching or my research. Actually, if anything the MEd courses probably helped more in my teaching as I did not have any background in pedagogy. What the Masters and PhD degrees have done is provided me with the skills to diversify in research so I have been able to be involved in research projects that are fundamental sciences, applied engineering sciences and in some cases humanities based research and educational research. This in turn has also improved my teaching. In summary, I don't think they are necessary for teaching, but they certainly do help rather than hinder.
  20. To MM et al

    I did watch the Creativity lecture about 4 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also agreed with many of Sir Ken´s opinions and if I could get him to present to the staff at my school I would be over the moon. However, the main point I was making was that I do get a bit irked at the negative and sometimes abusive comments directed anonymously at posters who are offering sensible and often personal articles for discussion. For the record I do have several higher education qualifications, most of them taken to better myself regardless of what other people may think of these qualifications per se.(and the Eruos/World cup only come around every 2 years ...) Investing a sense of ´life long learning´ in pupils rings hollow if at least some of our profession are not of a genuine mind to do likewise - and I am not decrying those who don´t , please don´t decry those who do.
    I know several excellent teachers who have no teaching qualifications yet I would pit them against anyone else on the classroom floor. That is not my debate. Higher qualifications do not maketh the man (or teacher), but neither should they belittle him.

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