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Classroom Chronicles [01]

As I pause to reflect on my PhD journey so far, I feel compelled to start this "Classroom Chronicles" series for my personal retrospection. In this space, I'll be breaking down my experiences into four distinct sections, each centered on a specific course I'm either taking or auditing this semester. We're already at Week 6 of the 15-week stretch, so there's a lot to unpack in this initial entry. My intention, moving forward, is to keep these reflections concise, capturing the essence of my academic musings more frequently. Diving into this self-reflective exercise, I hope to chart my growth, challenges, and learnings along the way. Let the introspection begin!


Introduction to Education Policy Studies

This class is a great introduction to conceptualize my research.

  • Elevator pitch: This is the first time I have a chance to practice my elevator pitch. An “elevator pitch” is a chance to situate yourself while attending different conferences and workshop. Normally, it should include terms about: 1) your discipline, 2) field, 3) research methods, 4) theoretical framework, 5) specific groups, 6) time periods, or 7) other key words. This is the first chance

  • Position yourself: Engaging in this exercise has been deeply reflective for me. It compels me to clarify my position on ontology, epistemology, and methodology. Following this, I needed to represent my research topic visually using a Venn diagram, necessitating a thorough review of my work. At this juncture, I grapple with striking a balance for my research topic: ensuring it possesses a unique and novel aspect while remaining pertinent to the current field. This remains an open question I would love to resolve in the future.


Introduction to Comparative International Education


The experience has been very helpful in conceptualising my study and pertinent ideas connected to my topic in the field of comparative education. It's fascinating to learn about the role economists play in this field, as well as the critiques levelled at their overgeneralizations. From the class, I'm eager to dive deeper into discussions about human capital theory. Moreover, understanding the dependency theory, neo-colonialism, and the world system theory will be really valuable if I decide to delve into the Vietnamese education system for my research.



Identity and Motivation



This class serves as a reading group for me to understand how identity plays a role in motivation. The first week reading is Jacquelynne's. Identity, according to Jacquelynne, may be conceptualised in terms of two main sets of self perceptions: (a) perceptions related to abilities, features, and competences; and (b) perceptions linked to personal values and aspirations. Identity can be malleable. Given my adulthood, I resonates with this statement. I was born in Vietnam but have studied in various countries. I notice a change in myself as a result of my exposure to various environments. That is why my favorite quote from the reading is “Within my theoretical frame, individuals have multiple personal and collective/identities that change in content, salience, and centrality over situations and over time”. Finally, there is a co-construction of "we" and "me" selves. I appreciate how Jacquelynne describes how each individual has agency in interpreting and constructing social roles and experiences that help to reinforce, redefine, or undermine certain personal and social identities. It explains how comparable situations may "generate" various identities through the "interpreting" and "creating" processes.


In the class, I was introduced to the primary theories that often serve as foundational anchors for research in the field. These include: Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), Expectancy-Value Theory, Self-Determination Theory, Attribution Theory, Goal Orientation Theory, and others. While the Self-Determination Theory tends to be more dominant, many of these theories have overlapping concepts.


One framework we would look at to think of all possible variables is Bronfenbrenner's.


Applied Regression

This is an undergraduate course for those who studied Data Sciences. Professor Hyunseung Kang was exceptional in his way of explaining and challenging student to think intuitively. From this class I have started to question my understanding of regression from basic. I've borrowed The Mostly Harmless Econometrics" by Joshua D. Angrist and Steffen Pischke for revision. One challenge I've encountered is self-studying Math and Statistics at this stage of my life. If anyone has any advice or strategies on this topic, I'd greatly appreciate your help!


Personal Project


I've finally learned web scraping, thanks to the assistance of ChatGPT. I also found the importance of understand the logic of multiple coding languages. As Rvest works for the job, it will take me years to complete the assignment without understanding Python. Google Collab is a great source for you to run multisession as well. I have learnt all these tips while sharing my struggle with my group of friends. So have the courage to share your struggle!


It's all for today,


Happy Autumn, everybody!


Other miscellaneous

  • Hidden curriculum

  • Teaching techniques:

    • I like how Professor Ran has groups of three individuals introduce themselves to one another. Following that, the group member will introduce their fellow group member. This strategy will help shy group members. There are nameplates to help the instructor remember the student' names, but she also instructs them to record three fun facts. It is compatible with memory joggers.

    • Low effort mini task: I appreciate how the teachers present our weekly reflections. It enables me to consolidate my learning and relate it to past lessons/readings

  • Cultivating relationship between teachers and students: From my course on Identity and Motivation, I discovered the significance of fostering personal relationships with students to enhance their motivation and learning outcomes. It serves as a reminder for me, as an educator, to push beyond my introverted tendencies to become a more effective teacher.

  • Reading tips: I like how we have instructions/tips for reading assignment. I will help student navigating through the text.


P.S: I came across this video and it reminded me the importance of education. Hope you enjoy this video with me!




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