Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

James Abela

Photo of James Abela

About me

I started my working life in the IT industry, taught English as foreign language and came into the teaching profession full time in 2004. In 2008 I came back to the UK to do my PGCE and since 2010 I have been Head of ICT and Economics in an all-through school in Suffolk.

My motivation to study the MA Teaching

Like most of my cohort, we are driven by the desire to be better teachers.

It had been a long time since I had done any serious academic study before I did my PGCE and at the time there was a lot of talk of making teaching an all-Masters profession. I felt that I needed to keep the momentum going to get my Masters.

I applied to Leeds, because most of the other Masters programs were evening based and I didn’t feel I would be able to get to Leeds on an evening, whereas I could manage the Saturdays.  Also Leeds has excellent online support with a great VLE and online journal range, the online materials are excellent.

The programme

What is amazing about the Leeds Masters is the range of speakers that come and speak to us. It really felt that the very best people had been handpicked to talk to us.

I did my PGCE elsewhere and they used to go on about the research that other people were doing, but in Leeds every speaker was able to talk authoritatively about their subject, because they had contributed to that body of research and they knew it innately.

Also the class size and style of tutorial meant that we had genuine discussions rather than simply a speaker at the front.

If you are serious about improving your practice then this is a fantastic opportunity, not only do Leeds select the best speakers, but the assignments ensure you reflect on your practice and it is an opportunity to discuss teaching with other outstanding professionals.

After graduation

I’m already Head of Department, but I like the idea of becoming Head of Learning Technology and developing online and IT based learning.

In my classroom study, I wrote in my acknowledgements, “I would like to thank Graham Chambers and his team for running this exceptional course. My wife used to say on the days that I drove to Leeds, “You got up at 5.30am, drove 360 miles, listened to a day’s worth of lectures and yet you came back reenergized.”  I mean every word.

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