This is one of my highlights from summer 2021!
I’ve been doing a Masters in Applied Linguistics for the past three years at Birmingham University and finally got my result in July. Last week the certificate arrived in the post.
I’ve taken a lot of exams in my time but studying for the Masters was probably one of the most challenging things that I’ve done. It was also one of the most interesting. I learned a huge amount about languages and the ways in which they can be taught, knowledge that I was able to apply when teaching. I discovered corpora and learned how to use them, studied the ways in which people acquire second languages, realised that nearly all words are polysemous (they have more than one meaning) and picked up a large amount of jargon along the way. I became much more aware of the power of language and the methods that writers use to persuade readers of their arguments. My knowledge of grammar improved and hopefully I became a better teacher along the way.
For my dissertation I did research about how grammar is taught, a subject very close to my heart. So now, probably like many other teachers, I’m working on my own book about English grammar!
I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone who helped me along the way. My tutors, Susie and Clare, encouraged me and gave me valuable feedback. My colleague, Danny, first suggested doing the Masters and completed it at the same time as me – well done, Danny! My family have always supported me both in my teaching career and in studying linguistics. Only occasionally did they tell me to stop pestering them with questions about English. Friends and colleagues were also brilliant, showing interest in the work that I was doing and helping me to collect responses to my research.
Finally, a special mention should go to all the students I have taught in my career. Their questions and interest in the English language have encouraged me to deepen my knowledge of languages and how they should be taught. The ideas that inspired my dissertation research were very much the result of their questions and comments. Thank you to all of you who have chosen to study with me.