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Pursuing specialised knowledge
A GRADUATE of SIM University's (UniSIM) MA in Applied Linguistics (TESOL), Dashni Ravindran, talks about the benefits of undergoing this postgraduate programme.
What were you doing before embarking on this course?
I have been teaching at Si Ling Primary School. Prior to embarking on this course, I was pursuing a part-time undergraduate course of study in mathematics at SIM University while teaching.
Why did you decide to pursue your postgraduate studies?
There were two contributive factors. As a language teacher, I have adopted numerous pedagogical practices in my classroom to facilitate knowledge and skills acquisition amid my students. However, I was unable to instill the excitement to learn the language in students who lacked opportunities to converse in standard English outside the classroom.
Also, I found myself desperately turning to Google and my colleagues each time I struggled to explain complex linguistic forms to my students.
My sister had recently returned to Singapore after completing a master's programme at the Royal Holloway University. Upon hearing my challenges, she had encouraged me to pursue one as I would be acquiring valuable skills and developing my professional competence through a specialised curriculum.
Why did you decide to take up this particular programme in UniSIM?
An advanced degree in applied linguistics was what I had initially wanted to pursue before UniSIM announced a Master's in Applied Linguistics, with concentration in TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).
The TESOL aspect of this course was very intriguing. This was fitting, as I perceived it to be a good opportunity to learn a plethora of ideas to teach English to students who barely spoke standard English outside the classroom.
What do you feel distinguishes this programme from other similar programmes?
The flexible learning mode is unique to this programme. The Flipped Classroom mode of lesson delivery is observed in this programme. My lecturers upload all course materials one week prior to the tutorial session. Their narrated presentation slides are the highlight. I am rarely left to decipher ambiguous content independently as the explanation that accompanies each slide is very detailed. This affords us ample time to apply the theoretical knowledge to engage in meaningful discussions and tasks.
What are your plans now that you have graduated?
I would love to continue work as a language teacher. This programme has developed in me a keen interest in sociolinguistics and educational theories; in particular, communicative language teaching and task-based language teaching. I do aspire to invest time in pursuing a PhD in the future to deepen my perspective on one of the areas mentioned above.
How does this programme prepare you for your future job?
The assignments that we were tasked to complete propelled us to be reflective, evaluative and analytical. These skills have translated into my daily life as a teacher as well. With the abundance of theoretical knowledge I have been exposed to, I now employ the skills to aid in crafting an amalgam of methodologies that cater to the abilities of my students better, instead of adopting a particular strategy.