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Sample Personal Statement for the Master's Degree in TESOL, Japanese Woman

A Japanese woman and a near-native speaker of English, I am now 35 and a volunteer teacher of English in Tanzania, I am pleased by the fact that my mastery of our global language, English, has opened doors for me to professional opportunity. I have been teaching English in one location or another since I finished college; thus, I have a great deal of experience that I will be able to share with other graduate students in TESOL from around the world as we earn our Master’s Degree in TESOL together, learning from each other. I count myself fortunate to be living in a time characterized by rapid global transport and communication, fostering a global sense of identity. Born in a small town called Asaba in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, I was raised mostly in Orange County, California. My last three years of high school were spent in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Returning to my country of origin for my undergraduate studies helped to cement my roots and identity. I have also spent significant periods of time in the US, Canada, much of Western Europe and the rest of South East Asia.

English Language Education has been a central factor in the development of my identity, personal as well as professional. I see English as a gift, an accomplishment, an enriching factor that makes my life much more fulfilling than it would have been otherwise. English is a springboard for me. I would never be where I am at the moment, teaching English in Tanzania, if it were not for English, which brought me here and brings me together with the Tanzanian people. My employer, Shizuoka Prefectural Board of Education, wants me to earn the Master’s Degree in TESOL and has made me the very generous offer to provide me with the same salary as a student that I earn as a teacher, an offer that I find it difficult to refuse as this will enable me to meet the financial obligations of advanced study. XXXX Graduate School of Linguistics is my first choice among graduate schools primarily because of the sheer excellence of your program. I appreciate the way that your TESOL Program is designed for experienced teachers as I have been an English teacher throughout my career despite the fact that my academic preparation has been in Law as well as Second Language Acquisition and multilingual Education

At XXXX University Graduate School of Linguistics, I am especially looking forward to working with most honorable and distinguished professors and studying alongside some of the finest students in the world in the area of second language acquisition - with a focus on the principles and the practices of Content-and-Language-Integrated-Learning (CLIL). I strive to remain the humble person that I have always been, growing up in a rural area of Japan, my horizons have broadened greatly as a result of earning my first degree from a liberal school in Southern California followed by further professional, international experience in Amsterdam. A high school teacher in Japan, in English, with Shizuoka Prefectural high schools, and an accomplished TESOL volunteer who is looking forward to many more TESOL adventures in the Developing World, in addition to Tanzania, I am ready and eager to expand my knowledge and experience at a higher academic level, first earning the Master’s Degree in TESOL and perhaps going on to become a teacher of teachers and to focus my attention on the completion of a doctoral degree. I began learning English at 7 years old in California, in an ESL class at an elementary school. I was only there for a short time before my natural abilities allowed me to catch up and be educated alongside the little native speakers of English, my childlike free spirit facilitating an effortless transition. Yet, my English came at a very high price, as I put the Japanese language on a back burner to such an extent that to refer to it as a “mother tongue” was to be stretching the truth. By the time that I arrived in Amsterdam to start my second year of high school, however, studying towards an International Baccalaureate Diploma, my language issues had long worked themselves out. I felt more comfortable by this time in both Japanese and English, and began to simply relish learning, with a the-more-the-merrier attitude.

This is not my first trip to Tanzania as I came here before and I am now in the process of building upon the strides made on my previous visits. My first teaching experience was during my junior year at the International School of Amsterdam, when I had the opportunity to volunteer at a Maasae Girls’ Lutheran Secondary School in Monduli, Tanzania. I was chosen by the school to travel to Tanzania to teach the Maasai girls. With a strong sense of purpose to empower girls to make informed choices for themselves, our group focused on empowerment through English language teaching.

After my graduation in Amsterdam, I entered XXXX University where I signed up for a teacher training course. During my three weeks as a student-teacher at a local high school near my home town, my objectives in teaching and its significance felt clear and right to me. My language ability, along with the real-life experiences as a learner, appeared new and thus worthy. The way English was taught in general classrooms was quite different than what I had anticipated, however. Students were not trained to consider issues critically with their own voices; they simply followed teachers’ directions and had little-to-no discussions with each other and at this time I vowed that I would make a point to cultivate critical thinking as opposed to rote learning as a TESOL instructor.

I am now a homeroom teacher in Africa for students in their third year of high school, head photography coach, and in charge of international exchange programs. My very intention in teaching is not only to inspire the students to acquire a second language, but also to urge them to build a way to perceive the world from multiple, changing perspectives. Through the language learning process, my long-term goals were always set on helping students to reason, to express their thoughts with words.

It goes without saying that English has become increasingly important for Japanese students to learn, for some time now. Nevertheless, it is shocking that the quality of English-language instruction is inferior to that of certain other countries, especially in the public-school system and especially in rural areas. Many of my students in Japan find learning English to be stressful and sometimes tedious. English teaching in Japanese public schools in the countryside of Japan. To many of my students, studying English is excessively stressful and sometimes tedious. All-too-often, my students tend to consider English simply as a means to obtaining acceptable scores on entrance exams, rather than as a good in and of itself that one masters joyfully. Old-fashioned English education paid little attention to practicality and this is why so many Japanese learners of English, especially historically, never learned to be good communicators, only to pass examinations. I have always put faith in the notion that students’ interests can stimulate the act of language acquisition. As long as educators assist by pointing the way, the pathways and means to language learning will be there, with improvement resulting from motivation. In light of today’s challenges in Japan, I tend to stress the importance of student engagement in my pedagogy. In Japan, all to often, student report boredom in the classroom and this has me convinced that Japanese students need to stop thinking about the process and get involved emotionally and intellectually with the content. Instead of focusing on how to teach English, it is about what to teach through the English language. Since language is merely a tool for communication, its proficiency does not satisfy most students’ desire for intellectual curiosity. More than communication, the context conveyed through the learning language process does matter for many learners since it is what draws their interests.

I keenly look forward to studying these issues at XXXX University, where I look forward to the fullest immersion in advanced language learning and teaching techniques with respect to the English language in particular. I will very much enjoy re-visiting my teaching experiences thus far in light of what I am learning at Sophia. I look forward to being an active student not shy to communicate and share in workshops, seminars, lectures, and conferences on and off campus – everything related to TESOL. At XXXX, I will cultivate my strengths and correct my weaknesses, laying a solid foundation in language acquisition, pedagogy. The principles and practices of CLIL. CLIL has long commanded my attention, for its principles epitomize my teaching philosophy, my values and priorities. Cultivating students’ cognition throughout the language learning process, and integrating those schools of thought is critical for the way that the language learning is perceived. I see Sophia University as a pioneer in this field of innovative learning in Japan, and therefore wish to take advantage of every opportunity to further investigate principles of higher education in actual classrooms. As a thesis project, I would like to pick a topic with your help that bridges processes of cognitive and second language development. I am especially interested in how students’ cognitions are related to acquisitions, achievements, and motivation, and how all of this has an influence on levels of English proficiency attained.

Great Accomplishments in TESOL

We have found that the best way to find out key information is to ask an expert. So here are the top seven technological and other innovations in English language teaching (ELT) Chia Suan Chong’s personal network think have had the biggest impact on teaching. Chia Suan Chong is an EFL teacher trainer based in York.

1. Digital Platforms

When we talk about innovation, we often immediately think of the internet and what we can now do online. Facebook and especially Edmodo, which creates a safe online environment for teachers, students and parents to connect, are very popular with teachers.

Cloud-based tools like Google Docs have also become indispensable in recent years. For teacher Tyson Seburn, it’s where he’s “moved so much of individual and collaborative writing with students...'

The list of digital platforms is extensive and growing faster all the time: a multimedia manual like Digital Video by Nik Peachey (nominated for an ELTons award for innovations in teacher resources), for example, can help teachers navigate the complicated, and sometimes overwhelming, world of digital resources, enabling teachers to create activities, lessons and courses from a range of digital tools.

2. Online Corpora

The use of corpora, which are large text collections used for studying linguistic structures, frequencies, etc., used to be the privilege of lexicographers alone.

But with most corpora now available online, and quite a few for free, teachers now have access to information about the way language is used in authentic texts and speech at the tip of their fingers.

Teachers no longer have to panic when students ask them about the difference between ‘trouble’ and ‘problem’, and it's not just teachers who benefit! To find out if more people say ‘sleepwalked’ or ‘sleptwalk’ (for example), students can simply search Google.

3. Online CPD and the Global Staffroom

The advent of the internet and the growth of social media have certainly allowed English teachers from all over the world to form online communities that act like a huge global staffroom.

Twitter and ELT blogging, for example, have opened up a network of people who can offer advice, support and ideas. Participants who are generous with their time, ideas, and contacts find they receive much in return, spreading the love and benefit right across the world.

4. Mobile learning and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

The development of mobile technology and the proliferation of smart phones have enabled many of us to access the internet and a huge variety of apps wherever we are.

Learners also benefit from apps like WIBBU English: The Game, and podcasts like Luke’s English Podcast “Learn British English with Luke Thompson”. And teachers are able to build on their teaching knowledge and skills by listening to award-winning podcasts like The TEFL Commute or join 50,000 teachers from more than 200 countries and watch webinars or archived videos of talks by TEFL teachers on EFL Talks.

The attitude now is that if teachers and students are gaining so much from their mobile devices, why ban them from classrooms?! It seems that getting students to bring their own devices to class is actually becoming a game-changer in ELT practice.

For teacher Ceri Jones, tools like WhatsApp and Padlet help build channels of communication beyond the classroom. They have a record of the resources we've used to check back on after class.

5. Online authentic materials

One of the biggest benefits of the internet for language learners is the sudden widespread availability of quality, authentic resources.

As David Deubelbeiss points out, this enables teachers to use 'content with messages students want to hear from the daily news, watch trending videos on YouTube, read the latest tips on TripAdvisor… the possibilities are endless.

But with so much content available to us, choosing the right online materials is crucial for efficient and effective learning, too: Keynote by National Geographic Learning makes use of TED talks to develop a pedagogically sound approach to language learning, while Language Learning with Digital Video (Cambridge University Press) looks at how teachers can use online documentaries and YouTube videos to create effective lessons. Both resources were nominated for ELTons awards.

6. The IWB (Interactive White Board)

The IWB started appearing in classrooms in the early parts of this century and has now become a staple of many classrooms around the world. It allows you to save and print notes written on the board, control the classroom computer from the whiteboard, play listening activities on the sound system, use the screen as a slide for presentations, access the internet, and lots more.

But the addition of an IWB to a classroom does not automatically make for a better learning experience: unless teachers use them skilfully to complement teaching and learning, they are little more than a distraction.

As David Dodgson explains, some people 'love the shiny stuff', believing that simply standing in front of an IWB is effective integration of education technology! And, of course, it's not.

7. Dogme (or materials-light teaching)

For teachers like Matthew Noble, discovering the Dogme approach to language teaching was 'galvanizing': a communicative approach that eschews published textbooks in favor of conversational communication between learners and teacher, Dogme signals a departure from a one-size-fits-all approach to classroom materials.

For many teachers, this 'unplugged' approach represents a new way of looking at the lesson content. It’s also a chance to break free from self-contained language points and give more time to student-generated language.

We hope you enjoy our content. Have you worked with us yet? If not, why not? You can get you first statement of purpose paragraph for nothing! Get in touch.

Small Steps to Reach the World

My career objective after completing the TESOL program at XXXX is to return to Shizuoka and put what I have learned to good use, giving all to the advancement of the field of English language education in public schools throughout Shizuoka Prefecture. I will join academic groups of English teachers and do extensive research work to further develop our practices, in search of increasingly advanced outcomes in English language competence. I find myself most attracted to the splendid setting of XXXX, the small classes and the opportunity to get to know the world-class thinkers up close who teach them. I cannot wait to again immerse myself in a fully international environment that will help me to advance professionally for many years to come, as I continue to develop myself as an English-language instruction specialist. I am looking forward to making the world a better place for all through teaching – one student of English at a time. I thank you for considering my application to the Master’s Degree Program in TESOL at XXXX University.

Sample 1st Paragraph TESOL Masters, Chinese Woman, Career Change

A young Chinese woman who completed her undergraduate studies last year, 2016, in the areas of Mathematics and Finance, TESOL represents a career change. I have fallen very much in love with my current professional position as a language teacher in an after-school program teaching English to immigrant Chinese-speaking children. Thus, despite majoring in another area, I have long been interested in language and, in fact, served as a TA for a class in Chinese Linguistics. I teach Mandarin to Americans and English to Chinese people – serving as a professional bridge between are two societies. During my undergraduate study, I was a TA for our Chinese Linguistic class. I have also done one-on-one tutoring, to provide help for Americans. 

Sample 1st Paragraph for a PHD in Linguistics focused on TESOL, Saudi Arabian Applicant

A highly dedicated student of language acquisition from Saudi Arabia, I hope to earn the PHD in Linguistics in the USA and my first choice for graduate study is the University of XXXX. I very much admire both the excellence and versatility of your program and the welcoming and relaxed nature of the academic community and surrounding area. Having already earned my MA Degree in TEFL at the University of XXXX, I have been immersed full time for years now in the study of language acquisition, have served as a Teaching Assistant in my MA Program, and soon will receive my Teachers Trainer Certificate from Cambridge University. I am convinced that all of this will help me to excel as a doctoral student in Linguistics at the University of XXXX.

Statements of Excellence in TESOL

Degree sought, field, or place of origin!


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