Sunday, 26 July 2015

Random Ramblings : First Semester of MESL

Where have I been?

I was blessed with the opportunity to continue my studies in Masters of English as a Second Language in February. It's not teaching English as a Second Language but learning in depth about English as a Second Language. It's a total different ball game altogether. There are quite a handful of people gets teaching English and learning English mixed up.

There's a vast difference between Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) and Masters of English as a Second Language (MESL). TESL mainly focuses on methodology on teaching English and mind you, you don't study or learn English but you learn how to TEACH English to second-language learners. Whereas for MESL, it focuses mainly on language acquisition and here the targeted language is English. Hence, focusing on HOW second-language learners LEARN or ACQUIRE the targeted language, English. Hope this clears the confusion.

Anyhow, I have finally completed my first semester of my Masters program and it was an... interesting ride. Interesting because it felt like travelling a known terrain which becomes the unknown. Familiar parts of the terrain that gave me this false sense of control, but the truth is, I have little or no control at all. It felt as if my four years as an undergraduate student seems nonexistent. I had unlearned and relearned so much that my brains (or whatever is left) felt like exploding out of this thick skull of mine.

Trying to grasp totally new concepts of language acquisitions, exploring works of renowned researchers, and reading papers after papers  has sent me questioning myself why I am here in the first place. According to my course mate who was is linguistic graduate, I quote her, "It is as if the 3 1/2 years of what I have learned as an undergraduate has been compacted into the three weeks of the semester". Imagine that, I am a TESL graduate and linguistics is fairly new to me. I truly felt like I was drowning.  

I thought I knew what I was doing and I thought everything would turn out just fine. But halfway and at the end of the semester, I questioned myself countless of times. Why am I doing this? Is it for the money? Is it for the passion? Is it for the greater good? What's the greater good? How am I going to apply all of these knowledge in my future job? Tons of unanswered questions on replay in my head and as expected, self-doubt comes creeping in to every corner of both my conscious and subconscious mind. Cloaking every light, dampening every spark. It was and still is a struggle. Being depressed was nothing new and every now and then, anxiety attacks kicks in.

Well, that's all for now. Stay tuned for more nonsense from me!

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