Keise Sano, MSc Language Education 2022
'I studied multilingualism (or plurilingualism), which is a totally different way of thinking with regards to language education than those prevalent in my country. It emancipated me from the ideology of native-speaker beliefs, which make some feel that they need to speak like 'native speakers', but also makes language learning difficult.'
Prior to studying at Edinburgh, Keise was working as a cram school teacher and, at the same time, studying cognitive linguistics in order to develop interesting explanations of concepts and components of grammar in English. 'These grammar concepts are necessary for language education, which many Japanese EFL students find boring,' says Keise.
Why did you choose to study at the University of Edinburgh?
This time, I wanted to study English education based on sociolinguistics, which is a completely new field for me. The University of Edinburgh has a number of excellent teachers whose specialities are sociolinguistics and language education methodology based on the discipline. So, I chose to study at Edinburgh.
Why did you choose to study this degree?
I wanted to explore the field of sociolinguistics and how this knowledge is incorporated into language education. Also, I wanted to take in a new perspective and gain greater skills in teaching English to Japanese EFL students.
What did you enjoy most about the programme?
I studied multilingualism (or plurilingualism), which is a totally different way of thinking with regards to language education than those prevalent in my country. It emancipated me from the ideology of native-speaker beliefs, which make some feel that they need to speak like 'native speakers', but also makes language learning difficult.
What specific skills did you develop?
I learned to critique my own work and make adjustments in order to improve my arguments. Critical thinking and research skills are what I developed the most during my time as a student.
What was the most useful thing you learned in your lectures, workshops and tutorials?
I used 'critical discourse analysis' as a methodology for my research, which enables us to interpret hidden discourses in communication. I think this mindset can be applied not only in academic research but in daily lives, which are filled with vague expressions.
Why would you recommend the programme to others?
This programme provides us with not only the knowledge for language education but also for academic research. The course, the sources of knowledge, for example, taught us different research paradigms, which we need to assume properly, depending on what we want to investigate. This knowledge is essential to conduct research in the field of the humanities.
In what way do you think the degree will contribute to your career?
I think that the degree will broaden my access to employment opportunities. I have gained knowledge and a skillset that not many educators have attained.
What advice would you give to someone considering studying this programme at Edinburgh?
Actually, I encountered a lot of hardships in studying at Edinburgh. I had difficulty in keeping up with my studies due to lack of knowledge in this specific discipline. Also, I caught COVID in the second semester and couldn’t do much during that period. To make matters worse, my mother also had COVID when I was working on my dissertation, and she passed away right after I finished it. This was so difficult a time for me that I couldn’t focus on my writing. But during that time, my teachers, my personal tutor, my supervisor, friends, and family were my emotional support. Thanks to their help, I managed to complete this programme. What I want to say here is that when you take on a challenge, hardships are bound to occur. However, you can overcome them with the support of the people around you. The important thing is to share your hardships with others. Don't be afraid to talk about your struggles.