On this page you can read the second of three essays reflecting on my goals and learning.
Continuing My Learning Journey
October 25, 2016 One thing I often tell my students is that being a teacher means being a student. I strongly believe that a good teacher is always actively learning. Though I am at the end of my studies for a Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET), I am not at the end of my learning. In fact, I already have specific learning goals for the coming months and years. For example, I plan to expand my general content knowledge about business, deepen my knowledge about how internet communication technology (ICT) and gender are each connected to business, and engage in research projects related to language teaching. Below, I detail these goals, including why each is important, how my educational technology studies have influenced these goals, and plans toward achieving them.
My first goal is to deepen my understanding of the principles of business. While I have more than a decade of experience teaching English related to business to business students and business people, I don’t have any formal background studying or working in business. However, I am now coordinating a Business English program for my university and nearly all of my current students are business majors. Therefore, I would like a better understanding of the content area so as to improve my ability to help these students. While taking the course Technology and Leadership in the MAET program, one of the resources we were exposed to was The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman. He gave guidelines, reasons, and an annotated reading list for pursuing an individualized course of study leading to similar skills and knowledge that one would gain in an MBA program. I have chosen a dozen of the books he describes and I plan to read them over the next few months. Firstly, I plan to read four books he included as the first steps to undertaking something like this. These books are Mastery by George Leonard, Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Getting Things Done by David Allen, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Once I have read these, I plan to move on to suggested books related directly to finance, accounting, negotiation, project management, personnel management, and statistics. In addition to deepening my subject-area knowledge, I expect these books will help me with my own research and teaching practice in other ways.
Another goal I have is to combine my knowledge of gender issues and of technology with knowledge of business. Beyond simple personal interest, I will be expected to teach two content-based courses related to these topics starting next year. Thanks to my experience in the MAET program, I feel the competence to examine and teach about the intersection of ICT and business. While these were not direct areas of study in the MAET, I now feel confident that I have the skills to find appropriate resources for knowledge building, curriculum development, and use in these courses. For example, when I initially began the Master’s program I looked at the reading lists for courses in the Graduate Specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change. Books I encountered there, such as titles by Vandana Shiva and the volume The Women, Gender and Development Reader, will provide material related to both unique challenges facing women and how promoting gender equality in business can have a variety of positive benefits. Another example is that I can use the resources on the website of MergeLane, an organization geared towards promoting female business leaders and female-led startups, and other similar online resources for and about women in business.
I also aim to engage in original research, which is part of the expectations of my professorship. One area of interest is how technology and reading instruction interact. For example, I have already done a small project looking at the effects of an online quiz system for graded readers. I envision possibly expanding on that research, or looking at how having graded readers available online in a system such as Xreading impacts reading habits of language learners. I am also interested in conducting action research into teaching of Business English and perhaps how technology such as online vocabulary learning tools can help with that. Another area of interest which has grown out of my MAET studies is that of examining faculty development related to promoting appropriate technology adoption. These all require time to develop specific research projects and have them reviewed for ethical considerations and possible funding before they become concrete plans. I have learned how to use Google Scholar and tapping into my online personal learning network to find articles and Zotero to help manage these resources as I develop these projects.
As noted, being a teacher means being a learner. As I complete my MAET program I am already aiming to keep learning about things such as principles of business administration, the intersections of business, gender, and ICT, and how technology and reading interact. I want to learn about these specific things to aid me in doing my best in my work, but I also simply want to keep learning. One thing I know with certainty is that my interests and learning goals will continue to evolve even as I stride toward reaching them.