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Student Spotlight

Xinxin Wang graduated from the MA TESOL Program in 2019. Find out what she has done since completing the program! 



Xinxin Wang MA TESOL

What led to your decision to study TESOL/Applied Linguistics at the graduate level?

I have learnt English as a foreign language for 8 years in my home country and English literature was my major in university. In addition, in my country, speaking English as a native speaker is not an uncommon goal for students and parents who have been encouraging their children to learn English. With this background, when I was thinking about my direction at the graduate level, I was interested to learn any philosophies in the TESOL field and also wanted to verify and improve the teaching methods that I had received in my study experience. Therefore, my interest and curiosity about knowledge of teaching English as a second/foreign language automatically made the decision for me.

What was your time at AU like as a graduate student? What’s your favorite memory from your time here?

I entered the TESOL program as a “real” student because most of my classmates at that time were ESL teachers. It took me some time to adjust to studying together with so many “teachers”. Therefore, I was nervous to participate in classroom discussions while my classmates were sharing their teaching experiences. Thankfully, I had kind instructors and classmates who always encouraged me to speak out my own thoughts and listened to my voice.

In my culture, parents and students pay more attention on the accent and pronunciation, so that there is a common myth that English native speakers can always teach well no matter if they have a TESOL certificate or not. One class discussion that happened between Dr. Knowles and us that changed my mind. The topic was about “can any English native speakers be ESL teachers?”. This discussion released my concerns and encouraged me to take ESL instructors as my career. Another memorable experience was participating 2019 WATESOL Conference as a team member of Dr. Vinogradova. In her session “Multiliteracies and Digital Multimodal Composing as Part of TESOL Teacher Development”, I presented my reflections of creating the digital video as an ESL teacher. Such experience helped me a lot to lead my live session alone at 2021 WATESOL Conference.

What did you do as soon as you graduated from the AU TESOL program?

After I graduated, I have been an English counselor for AU’s IAP for three semesters and an adjunct faculty at AU’s ELTA, for two semesters. Besides, since I wanted to learn more about American education, I went to a private school to be an afterschool teacher and substitute teacher for two semesters.

Can you tell us what you are working on currently?

Currently, I am a second-year doctoral student at GWU. My study direction is about connecting adult ESL students and their local science centers/ museums. 

What advice would you give to current AU TESOL students and recent graduates?

You will come across different classmates with diverse cultures and thoughts based on everyone’s unique life and teaching experience. Sometimes, you may or may not agree with them, but you will always benefit from and be inspired by their knowledge. Therefore, please remember to always be humble and open-minded. You are not only students at TESOL, but also current or future ESL instructors. You should engage with diverse classrooms, welcome any changes and new thoughts, and apply them to your communities.

Xinxin Wang Spotlight