Published: February 8, 2021
I wanted to study my Master’s degree in Education at the University of Sunderland as I had previously studied my Undergraduate degree in Primary Education at Sunderland.
The staff team within the Faculty of Education were brilliant and it was clear that they care about their students. I knew that I would be well-supported and would be given the knowledge I needed to succeed. The reason I chose to do a MA was that within a field that is so competitive for jobs, I wanted to stand out, both with the qualifications I have gained and the knowledge I hold.
All of my lectures within my time at the university have been engaging, with lecturers who are experienced, knowledgeable and passionate about their subject areas. From 1-1 tutorials to lectures I felt that I was being given the knowledge I needed to write effective assignments, continue to seek greater levels of understanding and develop my own confidence as a practitioner.
In the first semester I completed two modules: research methods and critical thinking. Within research methods I was able to explore how research actually takes place, think about the theoretical underpinnings of research and why research is needed. Introduction to Criticality allowed me to develop my critical voice, which is crucial for research. The benefit to this module was that I was able to write assignments on topics I enjoyed. For example, I was able to choose the theme of music running through all of my assignments. This allowed me to have deeper knowledge than I would have done if I did not have this choice.
Within my second semester I completed my two optional modules: ‘The curriculum in a contemporary world’ and ‘Supporting Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs’. I chose these modules because they interested me and they were based on subjects I was keen to learn more about. My favourite was definitely the curriculum module, as we were able to delve deeper into why the curriculum is structured the way it is, look at key research around the curriculum and think about our own improvements that we would make if we were given the chance. This module actually inspired my MA Thesis, which was titled ‘To what extent do generalist primary practitioners have anxieties towards the teaching of modern foreign languages and how does this impact their teaching?’
My thesis explored the curriculum and the levels of support available for teachers within primary schools. It looked at how teachers feel about teaching modern foreign languages and how the way they felt impacted on the teaching and learning of MFL within school. When writing my thesis, I felt fully supported by the team. I had a thesis supervisor who was there to give me any advice I needed and help me improve my work. It was not easy and required so much work and effort, but it was worth it when I finally handed it in. I am currently awaiting my mark, but I have my fingers crossed!
Rebecca Pittman Wood