Young Ok Jong

Whenever I look back my life at Oxford, a big smile appears on my face and my heart still skips a beat. After teaching English for over ten years in Korea, I came to the UK for my MA in English Language Teaching and EdD in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching at the University of Warwick from 2005 to 2009.

It was fantastic to have a great opportunity to study at Oxford for the MSc in Child Development and Education during the academic year 2009/2010. Studying the CDE course at Oxford was an exciting adventure. The atmosphere of the Education department was family-like and not competitive. All staff members were very supportive and caring, which made me feel at home. The life in this department enabled me to meet many different people with diverse backgrounds and learn about their ways of life.

The CDE course was challenging but valuable for my professional development. As I was interested in second language development and child development, I was satisfied with the CDE course, because the course covered a range of issues in second language development and childhood bilingualism. In addition, the CDE course was very helpful in promoting my understanding of child development theories and research. It enabled me to understand the process of child development in terms of cognitive, social, emotional, and linguistic aspects of development. I was surprised to know that the reading list was a several pages long and a busy schedule for the submission of term papers in time. As an Oxford student, therefore, I needed to be determined, hard-working, and responsible to complete the course successfully.

When I came back to Korea, my first new job was as Director of Education at an English Village where students are encouraged to talk with foreign teachers and make new friends while staying a couple of days together. From the experience at the English Village, I discovered the importance of an excellent learning environment in developing students’ social and linguistic skills. Now, I am working as a research fellow at the National Research Center for the Gifted and Talented Education (NRCGTE) of the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI). With an effort to meet the specific learning needs of the gifted and talented, I am learning the value of support for the establishment of scientific policy on gifted and talented education at the national level.

In Korea, we often say “Send horses to Jeju island and send men to Seoul.” This old saying emphasizes the important role of the learning environment in order to broaden our horizons. Just like horses growing up well in a good ranch, men will be educated well in good learning conditions. My belief in education now comes from the learning experience of the CDE course at Oxford as well as the MA and EdD courses at Warwick. I believe that choosing to take the CDE course at Oxford was one of the best choices I have ever made in my entire life.