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Shuyi Zhen (Karen)

PhD candidate
Faculty of Education and Arts

Research always seems like an exciting journey of discovery

I am a commencing PhD student, still at the beginning of my research journey. For some people, it is not an easy decision to set their foot onto the track of academic research, which demands both a high level of endurance and a strong commitment to intellectual pursuits. For me however, research always seems like an exciting journey of discovery, allowing me to explore unknown territories and search for answers to unsettled questions.

Before I came to ECU, I was a full-time English teacher. After three years of teaching, my knowledge and abilities were still far from the level that I desired. I realized that as an educator, I needed to know so much more. This motivated me to further my education overseas.

As a PhD student, research began to emerge as an integral part of my life and study. My research topic is pre-service teacher education and I am currently working on the one-year Teacher Residency Program launched by ECU in January 2010 as a new mode of study for the Graduate Diploma of Education. My particular interest lies in this program’s impact on the school-readiness of its pre-service teachers.

Throughout this Teacher Residency Program, the ECU students are immersed in a real school context under the supervision of an experienced mentor teacher. This approach to pre-service teacher education aims to weave education theory and classroom practice together tightly. It is expected to produce qualified and school-ready teachers, who are capable of meeting the needs of diverse learners in a multicultural school environment embedded in a constantly shifting social and political context.

Even though I’ve just started my PhD research, I can already feel the impact that it is having on me. When it comes to doing research, I feel like I am learning to walk again. I begin by exploring the environment. Step-by-step, I am slowly developing the confidence and determination to reach out further. While it does seem difficult, my steps are getting firmer and I get to see new dimensions of the world.

Embarking on a road less travelled, I sometimes hesitate, because I am still uncertain about what I will find at the end of my journey. But I will not stop my steps, because I believe it is also a road worth travelling. After seasons of fruitfulness and drought, what awaits us ahead is a brand new land of knowledge.

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