a centenary
of Learning

  • 102
  • by Emma Navin
  • graduated
  • studied MEd
  • from Hong Kong

Worthwhile is the word stands out, it was really worthwhile undertaking the Masters.

I trained in England, Middlesex University (Middlesex Polytechnic University), and gained a Bachelor of Education Honours degree in Primary Education, and more recently achieved my Masters degree in Education from CityU (City University of Hong Kong).

I enjoyed all the modules, but in particular the modules I remember most are the ones around the quality of teaching, and also the one about contemporary perspectives on learning, which really connected with me at the time.

What stands out to me are few things, the first thing is to do with the face-to-face contact that we had with the tutors and secondly with the students. We had the opportunity to meet the same students every two months, and we could catch up on what had been happening in our own schools, and how we’d been coping with the course. It was a really good connection, and we formed good bonds over the first year, which is face-to-face. That really stands out to me as significant memory, but also the diverse body of students and where everybody came from in terms of different educational establishment across Hong Kong. To me, it was really very useful to find out about how educational establishments function across HK and the contribution that we make, and why we are doing the course together.

Undertaking the research is a memory for me that I can recall because I haven’t ever had to do anything like that before in my teaching career or even when I did my Bachelor of Education, so it really stood out to me. And what is really significant, I think, in undertaking adult education, is that you’re pulling all the pieces together, so all the experiences that I had already had started to make connections when I did my Masters, and pulled my research together. These are the two significant memories that I have from the MEd.

Since completing my MEd I have moved jobs. I was Principal of an international kindergarten and I’m now the Vice Principal of large primary school with 900 students. I have the opportunity to apply what I learnt from the course, particularly going back to the contemporary perspectives on learning, the curriculum that I am now involved with in my role as Vice Principle is called PYP (primary years programme), and a lot of the contemporary perspectives on learning that we looked at on the course now have a direct connection with the style of learning that the children do in the school where I work. There is a lot to do with scaffolding, enquiry and so on, and all the connections that I learnt about on the course are now becoming a reality, so that was really helpful for me in terms of up-to-date current thinking. It had been over 20 years since I did my Bachelor Education degree, so to really reconnect with current thinking has been really helpful and relevant to me in my current role. So has getting a really good understanding of how you undertake research. I think at first when I undertook the Masters it was quite daunting, but now I realize it isn’t daunting and I can apply to my current role. We have actually undertaken action research in the school, looking at how children learn and I use many of the techniques and strategies from my Masters and apply them into my current context, which is really helpful.

I think just to sum up, we always in our life sometimes worry about decisions we’re going to make in terms of time commitments. But to me, worthwhile is the word stands out, it was really worthwhile undertaking the Masters. I did have the encouragement of a friend who did it with me and I think it was also important that we were able to bounce ideas off each other and share. Importantly it’s about saying I can do it, I’ve got the capacity to do it and I think that as an adult undertaking the course 20 years after my first degree, it’s about that sense that it was worthwhile, it was a for a good cause and I’m so glad I did it.