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PhD and Career Transition from TEFL

Date Submitted: 20-Mar-2013
From: Joanne M
Subject: PhD and Career Transition from TEFL
Contact Email: click here to access email

Notice: Hi,

I'm hoping to gain some insight on career transition from TEFL into perhaps research or academia (content course instruction).

I've been teaching ESL and EFL for ten years, in Taiwan, Canada, and most recently South Korea, where I presently reside. I finished my MA in Applied Linguistics, from the University of Birmingham, and focused on Appraisal Theory and the use of emotions to influence readers in text (regarding South Korean public perceptions of North Korean defectors). I greatly enjoyed researching written discourse for my dissertation and received a distinction overall in my program.

Now I am interested in furthering my career, beyond EFL teaching, but am unsure, as most people are, as to the best course of action. I understand the time and financial commitment required of one to enroll and participate in a PhD program; I'm struggling to find the answers to the employability factor afterwards.

My specific questions are:

1) I want to continue to do research analyzing the use of language to influence emotions (Appraisal Theory) but it is not commonly used. I also want to continue to research South Korean perceptions of North Korean defectors. How much does content of what I research (either through my own publications or via a PhD) affect my future employability?

2) Based on the information in #1, would a better approach be to research and publish on my own, to further determine the scope of this field, prior to applying to a PhD program?

3) Many of the jobs that are posted on the Linguist List are for fields like Computational Linguistics. Is there still a place for the type of research I'm interested in?

Thank you for taking the time to read my request and I appreciate any insight you might have to offer.

Kind Regards,