QingQing is an international student studying the Pre-Service Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) MA, graduating in 2020.
What is it like studying the TESOL MA at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)?
The programme helps us learn a solid foundation of theories in the field of second language learning and teaching. Teachers are very supportive and always answer our needs with patience, plus they often invite world famous professors and researchers to share some latest academic research, which definitely kindles a spark of ideas inside of us.
What’s more, I believe that the Academic Writing Centre at the IOE is fantastic and very professional, because I improved a lot in my academic writing skills by taking these regular classes and workshops.
When I'm not studying...
Besides academic support, the IOE also provides various regular extracurricular activities including yoga, tango and some real-life skills workshops. I am very glad to see that the IOE always tries its best to support students both in academia and extracurricular life.
“To put it simply: I don’t regret my choice of coming here!"
Volunteering with the Upskilling Course
The Upskilling Course is a 3-year blended learning course run by the IOE Confucius Institute for Schools for teachers who want to learn how to speak and teach Mandarin Chinese. From the start there has been strong support from a large group of native Mandarin-speaking MA students. A highlight of the course for participants is having the MA students on hand at training days, allowing them to practise their Mandarin skills with native speakers. As well as helping with speaking and listening, some MA students have also led large group sessions on cultural topics such as Chinese New Year, for which they had to prepare a PowerPoint presentation and lesson plan in advance.
Volunteering with the IOE Confucius Institute for Schools team is a brand-new experience for me, because we help train teachers to learn Chinese so that they can teach their students this language.
What’s great about this opportunity?
- We have real-life teaching experience and can apply what we learnt from the programme to our own practice. This is a great opportunity to improve my teaching skills.
- This voluntary opportunity is great for cultural interaction. In the workshops, we introduced the teachers to Chinese values, Chinese culture and beautiful places to visit in China. In reverse, the teachers can also teach us about their diverse cultural backgrounds, and we can exchange different opinions.
- We are able to directly see how the language is taught in England and can learn useful techniques from qualified teachers. I made friends with some of the teachers and have been to visit one of them at their primary school, which has given me even more exposure to this.
- Teachers and students at the IOE Confucius Institute for Schools are very nice and supportive. As volunteers, there isn’t too much to prepare in advance; timings are flexible and it doesn’t feel like a burden to us. They are always sincerely thankful and enthusiastic, plus they even offer us career advice if we want it.
Overall, I love being a volunteer in London, and it makes my life here more colourful.