Kirstyn Kedaitis, MSc TESOL 2018
'The programme as a whole exceeded my expectations, and I feel like a better teacher because of it.'
Why did you choose to study at the University of Edinburgh?
I am American-Lithuanian and I wanted to do my Master’s in the UK as opposed to the US, as the UK programmes I was interested in were half the length of comparable US programmes. I was fortunate enough to visit Edinburgh before choosing to study here, so I was able to speak with students on postgraduate programmes at the University. I was highly impressed by the kindness of everyone I spoke to, and I ended up falling in love with Edinburgh as a city. Although I had applied to other universities in the UK, Edinburgh was at the top of my list due to the interactions I’d had with the people and the city during my visit.
Why did you choose to study this degree?
Having had prior teaching experience in English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries, I was certain I wanted to do a postgraduate degree related to language education in some way. After carefully reviewing the courses available on various degree programmes, I ultimately decided on the MSc TESOL degree because I thought that the subjects covered by the degree would build off my existing English teaching knowledge and offer me the opportunity to learn about other facets of language education that I didn’t know much about.
What did you enjoy most about the programme?
Surprisingly, I most enjoyed the dissertation process. There was something very empowering and rewarding about designing and executing my own scientific study. I very much enjoyed searching for answers in my data while I reviewed relevant literature. I was incredibly nervous about the dissertation component when I started the program, but it ended up being the most satisfying element of the degree.
What specific skills did you develop?
I definitely developed my research skills and my critical thinking abilities. My ability to critically analyse academic texts grew significantly during the course of my degree, and I went through research training that I never had during my undergraduate degree. As a result of this degree, I feel more capable of creating new knowledge and ideas rather than simply reading and repeating existing information.
What was the most useful thing you learned in your lectures, workshops and tutorials?
The most useful thing I learned as a result of this degree was to never accept information at face value: you should always question or be critical of the information you’re taking in. Perhaps a newspaper article you’ve recently read might be biased, or maybe the figures in a TV newscast were altered a bit. The fact that my degree programme taught me to be critical of what I see has allowed me to realise that a lot of what we accept as truth might actually have varying levels of factuality.
Why would you recommend the programme to others?
Overall, I am very happy with the education I received on this programme. I had the opportunity to make several new friends and professional connections, and I’m still in regular contact with several people I met while studying here. The programme as a whole exceeded my expectations, and I feel like a better teacher because of it.
In what way do you think the degree will contribute to your career?
My degree has certainly made me a more informed educator, and it carries a bit of weight on my CV. On top of this, the dissertation component of the programme has also made me consider pursuing further study in this field. I’m quite keen to keep finding solutions for problems that learners face, and I didn’t have this passion until I started doing research for my dissertation.
What advice would you give to someone considering studying this programme at Edinburgh?
If you feel you might want to do this programme, don’t let your fears stop you. Don’t be afraid of the research, don’t be afraid of the dissertation, don’t be afraid of cultural barriers. Help is available to you if you ask for it, and the programme staff are there to guide you. The programme is definitely a lot of work, but if you want to complete it, you can. Don’t let your insecurities get in the way of your success.
What is your current role or occupation?
I am currently a Teacher of English at George Watson’s College.
What advice would you have for someone looking to work in your industry?
Be prepared for a massive learning curve: if you’ve never taught in Scotland before, the teaching registration requirements and the curriculum can be a lot to take in. Don’t be afraid to seek help from people who have been in your shoes before.