2.Developmental Psychology and Education
4.All the information provided below are materials for you to use, pick important and necessary ones only! You do not need to cover everything; the goal is to write a pervasive and compelling admissionessay.
Since I was a child, I knew I wanted to enter the teaching profession, especially in the area of teaching language. I was inspired by my grandfather who was a language instructor in China. His first language was Chinese, and he taught Russian to high school students. When I was in elementary school and he was retired, he once took me to the former school he worked at in Langfang, China. I was able to see the materials he used, meet former students, and get a sense of the relationship between students and second language teachers. The care and thought he put into helping each student understand Russian was also apparent through the teaching materials he let me see at his home. I would often spend hours flipping through them. Although I was unable to understand them, I was able to get a sense of the complexities of language acquisition and the challenges it presented to teachers. It was from this experience and his influence in my life that I chose my Linguistics Specialization at University of Toronto Scarborough campus.
With a Linguistics specialization, I have solidified my interest and commitment to the field of linguistics and hope to continue to build my skills and increase my knowledge through the M.Ed. Language and Literacies Education program offered by OISE. Some of my most interesting coursework that inspired me to pursue graduate studies in the area language and literacy was a course I took called Sociolinguistics. In this course, the instructor taught us about code-switching. I began to understand that people who speak several languages are able to code-switch unconsciously. I realized that I then started to identify my friends or even myself as individuals who regularly participated in code-switching. Later on, I dug deeper into the literature about code-switching, and discovered that some Chinese teachers do code-switching in their ESL classrooms to better help students understand the meanings of words or sentences. It was through experiences like these during my undergraduate degree that motivated me to apply for graduate studies in the area of language and linguistics.
My experience volunteering as an English teacher in various capacities has also solidified my interest in the language acquisition field of the teaching profession. Over the summer and early fall of this year, I volunteered at Agape Family Life House. With this organization, my duties included reading English storybooks to young children with disabilities to help them improve their English Literacy. Additionally, I worked as an ESL teaching assistant in my hometown of Langfang. In this position, I was responsible for helping the head teacher plan ESL lessons with linguistic knowledge. Furthermore, I was also allowed to deliver them to the 15 high school students in our classroom, allowing me to understand what teaching language literacy actually feels like and the difference between theory and practice. Since I was also an ESL student, I felt I was able to relate to students and this helped me communicate effectively with them to understand their needs.
Lastly, I spent a significant amount of time supporting the linguistics community at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) campus. I am currently the event director for the Linguistics Student Association at UTSC. In this position, I lead the event planning for the first and only linguistics related academic club at UTSC. Working for this association means creating and executing monthly events and workshops, including Careers in Linguistics and Key Skills Developed through a Linguistic Degree. I also invited keynote speakers to share the latest research findings in the field. As the Event Director, I can connect people interested in linguistics and build an inclusive and supportive community of learning. Seeing an increasing number of participants in our club and how our events trigger others’ research interest in relevant fields endows me a strong sense of accomplishment and belongings. I am currently running an independent study at UTSC supervised by Safieh Moghaddam. The main direction of my project is to investigate how texting language, such as LOL, LMK etc. impacts adolescent second language learner’s language development. I am hoping to find that we can harness texting language and other technological means to better help adolescent second language learners improve their literacy skills and have more confidence navigating media platforms which often use this sort of language. Such academic experience in linguistics and education further solidifying my decision to apply toOISE.
I have a serious interest in conducting research in areasincludinglanguage and literacy education, curriculum and learning design, and developmental psychology and education in K12 level. I hope to continue to pursue further study as a graduate student at OISE in relevant programs. I consider the M.Ed. Language and Literacies Education program as my first choice. As a master student at OISE, I hope to continue investigating on language and literacy and subfields of this area. How to effectively design curriculum, deliver instruction, and provide assessment related to the development of first and additional language and K-12 literacy skills? What are pedagogical implications of the fact that language and literacy in contexts characterized by linguistic diversity in the digital age? I believe Language and Literacies Education program gives you comprehensive in-depth training in a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches to guarantee optimal support for my research.
The third program I select is the Developmental Psychology and Education Program as this program provides interdisciplinary research opportunities. I hope to explore the key question about the special mechanism about learning to read in a second language under the supervision of Professor Esther Geva in her research lab on language and literacy acquisition. I examined research projects in Geva Lab and Based on my academic background as a Specialist in Linguistics, I want to contribute to the further research on the potential effects of language typologies on the development of vocabulary in ESLs. I believe Developmental Psychology and Education program will provide a platform for me to apply my academic strengths in linguistic and cognitive psychology to support normal and problematic language and literacy development in L2 children.
Since I also want to advance my career as a language teacher after graduation, I also believe the Med in Curriculum and Pedagogy program will support me in exploring innovative and tech-driven pedagogy in second or additional language teaching. Key research question I have is how to area of integrating educational technology into second language acquisition. With COVID-19 and new patterns of distance learning I am interested in exploring how English second language acquisition is influenced by distance learning. I have read the literature surrounding how effectively the ESL students can be in E-learning environments, such as Integrating Social Networking Tools into ESL Writing Classroom: Strengths and Weakness, written by Melor, Y., Hadi, S., and Chen, C.. I hope to better understand how distance learning and electronic tools impact second language acquisition. With the rise of online learning in a post COVID environment, this type of research will become more and more important. I am particularly interested in the work of Professor Julia Kerekes at OISE. Her research surrounds developments in second language acquisition and teacher education aligns closely with my research interests. Additionally, her work in interlanguage pragmatics in electronic communicationsalso is of interest to me. I feel this would complement my own research interests surrounding second language acquisition and technology.
My goals upon graduation is to continue research in children bilingual development and emergent language and literary skills with gaining real-world teaching experience in the field of ESL education. I believe my strong academic background and passion in linguistics and I hope that as an instructor with both academic and professional experience in the field I will be able to make a significant impact there.
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