What *is* in a name?
This blog post was inspired by a recent email exchange with somebody who wrote to me asking for information about the Leeds Met M.A. ELT/Delta. However, the “biggest concern” that this person had, and the main question they wanted me to answer, was with regards to the university’s reputation and the impact of this on post-qualification job-hunting.
It’s a fair question.
In fact, before I went to Leeds Met, I also had the same question. Although, my concern was more immediate – about the quality of the course rather than what would happen beyond it. I suppose big names are reassuring: If you go to a school with a big name, you embark on your mission with confidence in what will happen – it will be as high a quality as befits such a name. Small names are perhaps more of a gamble. I had never heard of Leeds Met until I found the course leaflet in my conference pack when I went to Glasgow in 2012.
Why did I make that gamble?
I investigated the course website very thoroughly, looking at the staff profiles relevant to my course, and was reassured by the extensive experience the tutors could lay claim to, teaching (both in years and variety) and academic (presentations. publications etc). Additionally, of course, not any centre can run a Delta course – they have to meet all sorts of criteria and be externally assessed periodically to ensure that they are meeting those criteria. The tutors have to be suitably qualified and experienced as well – naturally. I was planning to take the Delta/M.A. route, where the Delta is integrated into an M.A. in ELT. So in the end, I thought that at the very least I would (hopefully!) come out of the course with my Delta, which is universally recognised, and if the M.A. wasn’t much good, so be it – I’d make of it what I could.
In the end the gamble I made paid off in spades: I learnt a huge amount and have been trying to put it all to use, and build on it, ever since; in various ways. The course was practical as well as rooted in theory, my tutors were so supportive of all my efforts and I’ve also had a wealth of opportunities since, that have emerged as a result of doing the course and putting that learning to use. Most recently, of course, I’ve won an ELTon for the materials I produced as my dissertation project.
To those in the position of hiring people in the ELT profession, do you look at C.V.s and make a decision to short-list or not short-list a person for an interview based on the name(s) attached to their qualification(s)? How much does it influence you and why?
To all those who have done M.A.s in an ELT-related field, or any other ELT-related qualifications, what influenced your choice of institution?