The genesis of my intense interest in education

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Out of my love of teaching and with distinguished undergraduate performance, I chose to work, upon graduation, as a teacher at the Department of English of Wuhan University, the most prestigious university in Central China. In my teaching practice, I attach significant importance to modifying the monotonous conventional English teaching strategies widely employed by the generation of my teachers. I introduced original English movies, classroom debates, mini-plays and other forms of teaching into my classroom to change the conventional passivity in the students' acquisition of English knowledge. In addition, I endeavor to gain insights into the student' learning psychology from in-class and off-class communications with them so as to bring something new for each lesson. Frankly, I should attribute all my creativities to the enlightenments that I received from the Basic Training Program and from the self-study of many Western works on education that I read under the influence of the Program.

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Out of my four-year teaching career, I have developed a heartfelt love for this profession. For my professional dedication and for my innovative teaching, I have been awarded a succession of honors that endow me with a strong sense of pride and achievement. Those honors include highest prizes for many pedagogical contests of young teachers at the municipal and provincial level. My research results are embodied in the publication of a series of English textbooks like An Introductory Course of English Grammar for College Students and Reading, Writing and Translation Skills for Students of English Majors. I participated in the construction of the "Question Database of National Band IV English Proficiency Test of College Students Majoring in English" and have been invited to mark the English test papers of the National University Entrance Examination and the National Band IV & VI English Proficiency Test of College Students Majoring in English. In addition, I was responsible for organizing the First English Speech Contest for College Students of Hubei Province and the participants from my university won second prize under my direction.

Nevertheless, as I delve deeper into my work, I have become increasingly aware that the status quo of Chinese education has much to be desired. The relatively backward education concepts and teaching methodologies have made it inevitable that Chinese education as a whole remains out of pace with the overall international education development. On the macro level, the existing Chinese education theories fall behind those of the United States. Although Internet education has made considerable headway in China, it essentially remains another form of test-oriented education instead of becoming the true Internet education in the Western sense. On the personal level, I have encountered some practical problems in my teaching experience and although I can find ready solutions to some of them by consulting relevant works by Western educators, I am convinced that the most serious problems can be worked out only via a more systematic study program. Under such circumstances, to pursue an advanced degree in education becomes a necessary condition for me if I were to seek further, more fruitful breakthroughs in my future teaching career and in my research in educational methodology.

In the rapidly developing 21st century, conventional mode of education, like most other aspects of social life, has come under great impact in terms of its concepts and its strategies. The pursuit for higher levels of educational development has largely transformed the educational value orientation of the general public. The educational model that is centered on the cognitive and intellectual instruction has been seriously questioned. Greater attention has been devoted to the cultivation of well-developed personality and to the ontological status of the individual in education. Such issues as the internal studies of education science, scientific decision-making in education, and meta-education have also been increasingly emphasized upon. There have also been innovations in educational research methodology. The tendency has been to combine modern technology with humanistic research categories and with naturalistic research categories, and to organically integrate qualitative descriptions with quantitative descriptions. It is also important to carry out educational experimentations in which educational predictions are complemented by educational feedbacks. Both the complexity of education and the complexity of human individuals have made the comprehensive application of diverse educational approaches necessary. Those new horizons are what fascinate me.

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The reason why I apply for the University of Massachusetts at Amberst is that it is the first state university with a time-honored history. The School of Education in this university is quite prominent among its counterparts in the field. I am particularly attracted by the School's powerful pedagogical resource, vibrant intellectual atmosphere and a comprehensive curriculum. I plan to apply for a degree program in Instructional Technology or Educational Psychology, both of which enjoy unparalleled academic reputation in the world. My application for Instructional Technology is motivated by my strong interest in the application of modern science and technology, especially the information technology represented by the Internet, in the field of education and in the nature of a series of revolutionary changes resulting thereof. Instructional Technology is a new discipline that has emerged as a result of the rapid development of modern communication technology since the late 20th century. It has tremendous potential for development and commercial application.

As for my motive in selecting Educational Psychology as another possible area of specialization in my degree program, it is my long-cherished interest that primarily counts. On the other hand, all the accomplished educators since the 1960's have been well-versed in psychology. Almost every important new educational theory is derived psychological findings in one way or another so that educational psychology has subsequently developed into a fundamental subject for the science of education. The tendency in the 21st century is to emphasize on the micro research of educational activities and against this backdrop educational psychology will be attached greater importance. In Instructional Technology, I would like to focus on the following studies: how to improve educational efficiency by applying research results from natural sciences and engineering technology; how to explore the combination and coordination of pedagogical contents and to improve teaching methodology by exploiting the theoretical findings from psychology and educational science concerning the process of teaching and learning. In Educational Psychology, I will concentrate on applied cognition and development, creative education, personality structure and individual differences and other related subjects.

For me, to pursue an advanced degree in education in the United States is not so much a challenge as an opportunity. At present, major reforms are being introduced into virtually every important aspect of Chinese society. The field of education especially calls for comprehensive reforms. The United States occupies an absolutely leading position in the present-day world in education. It is my conviction that, in the United States, advanced educational theories, technologies and information will facilitate me immensely in the achievement of remarkable academic progress, fulfilling my aspiration to become an accomplished professional in the field of education. This will not only bring my patriotic fervor into reality but also make my life more meaningful and rewarding.