Teaching English and teaching through English: Two global trends
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Teaching English and teaching through English: Two global trends

Teaching English and teaching through English: Two global trends

The growth of English language education is one of the most striking aspects of our globalised world. It also offers an exciting range of employment opportunities for graduates with appropriate skillsets.

The statistics for English language use are impressive. An estimated 400 million people speak English as a first language in countries such as the UK and the USA. But a similar number around the world use English as a second language.  What’s more, as many as a billion more people use English as a foreign language. Altogether, that’s a quarter of the planet’s population.

In today’s world English is the dominant language of business. It’s also the global lingua franca of science, technology, medicine, international diplomacy, air traffic control, civil aviation, shipping, hotels and many other professional fields. Did you know that about 90 percent of international organisations operate in English, and that about three quarters of the world’s mail is written in English?

Proficiency in English is one of the most desirable skills that anyone can possess. And, with the number of learners set to expand well into the middle of this century, there’s huge global demand for English language education.

In recent years this demand has shown two distinct trends, and it has led to the growth of two quite distinct professions.  One profession is concerned with teaching the English language as a subject in itself, while the other is concerned with teaching other academic subjects through the medium of English.

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Source: University of Bath

For those who wish to enhance their career prospects in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, the University of Bath offers the well-established MA TESOL. This full-time specialist degree helps graduate students develop knowledge of the latest practice, theory and policy of international language education.

Here, you’ll learn how to apply this knowledge to the teaching of English to learners of different ages and levels, and in a variety of contexts around the globe. Contrary to popular opinion, there’s no one-size-fits-all method for teaching people the English language. Students learn how to use research to inform their daily practice and develop an appropriate approach to suit their context.

Dr Trevor Grimshaw, Associate Professor in International Language Education, explains: “Throughout the course we will challenge your thinking and assumptions about how English is used, taught and learned worldwide. We analyse its role as the world’s major international language, while exploring current issues and debates.”

In addition to TESOL, recent years have seen rapid growth in a professional field that’s come to be known as English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI). This is not about the teaching of the English language as such. Instead, it’s about teaching academic subjects through the medium of English in contexts where the students’ first language is not English.

Examples of such subjects include maths, science, engineering, physics, business, biology, chemistry, agriculture and medicine. Educational institutions worldwide – both public and private, from primary school to postgraduate level – are nowadays adopting English Medium Instruction as their preferred approach.  It seems the obvious choice for our increasingly internationalised, interconnected world.

The growing demand for professional development in this area has led the University of Bath to create the MA in English as a Medium of Instruction (MA EMI). Again, this is not a course for English language teachers. It is a course for mathematicians, scientists, engineers, health specialists, etc. who are passionate about teaching their subjects but who need to develop the appropriate skills to communicate their knowledge effectively to learners whose first language isn’t English.

This course explores the latest policy and practice for EMI. Students learn how to create a curriculum that’s both inclusive and challenging. They learn how English operates in bilingual and multilingual educational environments. And they gain insights into the relationship between intercultural communication and learning.

What could be more fulfilling than to empower learners by improving their job opportunities, international mobility and intercultural understanding?  Moreover, the very same benefits can also be enjoyed by graduates who work in the fields of TESOL and EMI.

MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from University of Bath on Vimeo.

“Many of our graduates have gone on to be teachers of English at primary, secondary and university level,” says Dr Grimshaw. “But”, he adds, “Many of our students have gone on to be bilingual educators in the international school sector, many have found positions in companies within international communication, and we also have people who have gone on to do doctoral research.”

Wherever your passions lie with English language and communication, the MA TESOL or the MA EMI offer the niche expertise to prepare you for a successful career. 

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