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Q&A with Jack Webster

Jack graduated from the Development Education and Global Learning MA* in 2020, and currently works as an International Baccalaureate (IB) History teacher in an international school in Shanghai.

Hello, Jack!

Tell us, what was your route to this MA at UCL?

I attended a state school in the North West of England, before studying History at the University of Derby. After graduating with a first class honours degree, I moved to Shanghai, China, to work in international education. Prior to starting my MA, I was a Director of Studies at a newly established university, ShanghaiTech University, overseeing the English language department.

What do you find interesting about your field of study and what inspires you?

The simultaneous need to root educational theory and practice in an applicable manner to the present, but while also cultivating the flexible skills to ensure that learners, young and mature, are equipped with the ability to succeed and thrive in a future world. 

What motivated you to pursue a Master's qualification?

First and foremost, I wanted to enrich my understanding of the field of global education given my international context. In my role as a Director of Studies, I was tasked with developing progressive, critically-rooted curricula, and therefore my programme choice reflected this.

Lastly, I have held a desire to enter the field of academia since I graduated as an undergraduate, I had just never found a programme that could benefit both my immediate professional situation and my interests. I was therefore delighted to find this MA.

This MA was designed to be run fully online. What is it like studying this way and how do you think it has benefited your studies?

It gave me the flexibility to continue my professional career abroad, while also learning at an institution in my home country. The flexibility provided on distance learning courses allowed me to choose the time in which I wanted to, or was able to, commit to a few hours of work during the working week.

The option to study as a distance learner, and therefore continue in my profession role, was a huge draw to UCL."

What is the best thing about your course?

The emphasis on critical reflection and personal discovery. I thoroughly enjoyed reflecting in learning blog posts on how my ideas and perspectives had developed after engaging with the literature and talking to my peers during a module unit.  

Has there been an element of your programme that has impressed you or been particularly valuable?

Yes - the access to open, considerate and highly knowledgeable academics at the forefront of the field.

Do you think studying at the UCL Institute of Education is a good investment?

Absolutely – it has given me leverage in the job field, and the confidence to engage contemporary educational concepts, which I have been able to share with my peers.

What are your future plans?

I intend to begin doctoral studies in this emerging and highly significant educational field.