“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” – Isaac Asimov
In the past two weeks I have read about four books, one of which was Josh Kaufman’s “The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast“. While reading the book, he mentioned another book he wrote called “The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business“. This book is billed as an alternative to business school and gives a condensed but in-depth look at the foundational ideas needed to succeed in business. I haven’t read it yet, but I did read Kaufman’s personal MBA manifesto and his list of the 99 best business books, broken down by category. It reads like a MBA program curriculum.
As I read it, I wondered what a personal MA TESOL would look like? Would that be interesting to someone? Is that such a crazy idea? While you don’t need an MBA to succeed in business or make money – you just need the know-how, you do need an accredited MA degree to break through a very thick glass ceiling and start a serious career in language education. Then again, not everyone measures success by money. If you measure in terms effectiveness in the classroom, then a personal MA TESOL is not such a wild idea.
In fact, with the world of open education, MOOCs, Coursera, Udacity, edX, and a plethora of free online courses and programs, it really isn’t such a crazy idea after all. People all over the world are learning things on their own these days. Lifelong learners are now the norm.
A personal MA TESOL won’t get you a degree, a high paying job, a yacht, or beautiful women (the things usually associated with it), but the ideas, concepts, methodologies, and techniques you would learn could prove pretty beneficial in the classroom.
I don’t know much (or anything) about business, but I do know something about language education (I have one of those accredited degrees in the field, technically an MSEd). So, inspired by Kaufman, I’d like to start a mini series of posts about the Personal MA TESOL. Every week or so, I’ll make a post on a category of language education, akin to a course of study in graduate school. In each post, I will recommend books and online resources that I have personally read or used. The comments will be open for readers to suggest additional resources. I will start with the foundations and work my way up from theory to praxis, focusing on practical skills and methodologies. After a few months, we’ll have a nice, well rounded Personal MA TESOL for newbies, dedicated teachers, and lifelong learners.
Here’s my rough personal MA TESOL outline. I’ll make the first post sometime this week. Leave a comment if you think I am missing something important:
- Learning Theories – the psychology behind learning
- Second Language Acquisition – how we learn languages
- Bilingualism – what it means to be bilingual
- The English Language – its history, grammar, and pronunciation
- Applied Linguistics – lingustics, sociolinguistics, semantics, pragmatics and other large words
- Materials and Assessment – crossword puzzles and word searches for the serious teacher
- Pedagogy – a fantastic voyage from grammar translation to dogme
- Evidence-based Pedagogy – notes from the experts
- Language Fun – a break from seriousness
- Educational Research – qualitiative and quantitative
- Practical Teaching Skills – how to teach reading, writing, listening, speaking and more
- Task-Based Learning – authentic and meaningful tasks in the classroom
- English for Specific Purposes – and not just general purposes
- Instructional Technology in ELT – beyond PPTs and Twitter
- English as a Lingua Franca – that means world language
- Rethinking TESOL – a critical analysis of the world’s greatest job
Looking it over, it’s quite the load!