Statement of Intent for Graduate School - Essay Examples

Published: 2017-12-19 19:31:13
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Essay Sample #1

Occasionally, I would have to correct them but for the most part this was really effective. Suddenly I didn’t have to force them to open up their textbooks, instead the textbooks became useful tools for them to fact-check, tools they could use to prove themselves right, a place to find answers. It was amazing! This eventually grew to a really useful way to get them running their own study sessions before exams. Some of the boys got competitive, trying to be able to recount more info. One of the girls got involved and brought notes. So now she had proof when the guys tried to challenge her. These boys were a very high energy, challenging group. But by valuing their input and getting them invested in the process we were able to see some pretty great improvements. It helped them to push each other and challenge each other. It also got them to care about the process. They didn’t have to take my word for it that textbooks were useful because they had used them first hand as a tool. It was a dynamic and adaptable format so we could breeze by the things that the students were comfortable with or really spend time and focus if most of the group was stuck.

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Initially this was a group that didn’t see the point. They often asked “miss when am I going to need this in real life” I had to get creative I always had to have tangible examples up my sleeve. I have a feeling when they look back on their study sessions at Microskills they’ll find the soft skills they developed more useful than say balancing chemical equations. But by being able to buy into the fact that knowledge and information are tools you can use I think they will be able to create a lot more opportunities for themselves! By seeing that information is helpful not just for a grade, but to grow conversations and facilitate actual understanding. I love seeing the shift in student's perceptions when they start to realize how something seemingly unrelated to their life actually can be profoundly impactful.

Reading is the ultimate act of empathy and communication and it's great to shift their perceptions regarding language's ability to communicate and transcend time and location. Watching them learn how to use learning tools was really motivating. I hope this helped them grow their desire for understanding. I hope they will find their educational careers a place not separate from “real life” but part of their whole curious lives. I hope they learn to question things and attempt to understand things not for grades sake or because it’s a means to an end but because it will help them make better decisions and therefore live happier more satisfying lives. The idea wasn’t to get them to memorize a set of facts. The idea was to get them to be agents of their own understanding and use those facts to make connections.

Essay Sample #2

The most valuable experiences I’ve had in learning to convey information have come from my work was at a charity called I Challenge Diabetes. I started out as a volunteer in 2012 and have been involved in a variety of roles. In a small charity all staff are required to wear many hats but one of the things that is my specialty is designing activities and programming relating to outdoor education and diabetes management. The skills required to get kids and teens to engage with diabetes education are similar to those required to effectively engage students in a classroom setting. I have been involved as a coach for our Exercise and Excellence programs, as a leader on backpacking trips and guided hikes, currently I am program coordinator and head of volunteer management.

Normally in order to structure our events, we think about the goals of the program, and what skills we want the participants to learn. The games and discussions we’ll follow to facilitate participant growth and understanding is structured to support these objectives. One program in particular we ran in partnership with DSkate Hockey which is an elite hockey camp specifically for Type 1 diabetics. Type 1 diabetes can be a difficult disease to manage particularly surrounding the many adjustments made to insulin dosage and the increased blood sugar checks required in sport. Our goal at ICD is always to give students the tools and skills to manage their diabetes safely while training at a high level; we focus on increasing self-efficacy and self-esteem while offering support for practical diabetes specific challenges. We worked in partnership with DSkate and a team of Medtronic nurses and health care providers to provide fun, safe and engaging programing. The Dskate team often surprised us which made it difficult to stick to our plans.

Essay Sample #3

One day we had a visit from the Hockey Hall of Fame so that the kids could see the trophy. Due to some unforeseeable scheduling mishaps the trophies arrived pretty late. All of the children sat in the chairs waiting to see the trophies and getting more and more reckless. As support staff left to check on the trophy status I was handed a microphone, I stood facing 55 kids, all of which were getting pretty impatient. I had to improvise quickly.

“Who is the most important player on a hockey team? “I asked them. (To this day I am both proud of this and also a little embarrassed because it’s so cliché.) The kids quickly raised their hands jumping in with their favorite players and reasons why they were the most valuable. The Conn Smythe trophy is awarded annually to the most valuable hockey player in the NHL. If the star forward is the most valuable why have goalies earned this award? If goalies are the most valuable why have defenseman been awarded this honor? Why doesn’t the goalie always win? It’s not the position that’s important, rather the effort of the individual combined with good support from other resources.

The most valuable player still needs a team; hockey is not a one on one sport. Neither is diabetes. Focus on process, to focus on giving students tools that they can use to build their own connections. Mostly I relied on listening and asking questions. What do you think? Why? Has anyone else experienced anything like that? Had a different experience? If they could develop good critical thinking skills they would be less likely to default to being typecast and similarly would be less likely to be unfair to their colleagues. I did once have a student say to me “how would you know about that. Miss you’re white.” I dealt with this by explaining that I am more than my melanin count. I don’t want to pretend that your skin tone doesn’t inherently come with a lot of assumptions, on both sides of the issue that does exist. But I am not my skin color. I treat people with respect and I expect that in return. Systemic bias and issues therein are a reality.

Essay Sample #4

I am shamelessly idealistic in the sense that I hope everyone no matter your gender, sexual orientation; ethnic heritage, position or challenges in life can treat everyone with a base level of respect. I wish that for the future, it’s something I try to instill in my nieces, something I model and something I care very deeply about. Imagining issues complexly can complicate things. I hope that opposing views don’t ever have to limit our capacity to learn. But it’s important to consider that there is always another opinion. Differentiation in education doesn’t necessarily refer to different learning styles, but I think different needs, I think I’ve found that regardless of learning style or learning environment there is a fundamental need to feel safe and valued. We are all entitled to our views and we will all be better off we are able to explain and more importantly to listen!

Empathy is something that I try to weave into every single aspect of my life. I think a little compassion and a little listening can go a long way. I often try to think about the best way to truly make people feel heard. I terms of how exactly I tend to implement this specifically I would say I intend to continue to value diversity, respect, listening and empathy. Often diversity as an issue comes with sensitivity and should be taken on a case by case basis. This is a practical challenge I would love to learn more about through your graduate program. How can we design classrooms so that everyone feels safe and valued? Common sense is not that common as the saying goes, but the fact is we do not all share the same common. Instead I hope to make listening and respect a must have. Let’s be different, let's disagree, but let's do it an intellectual and respectful way.

Essay Sample #5

The decision to apply for the MT grad program is fueled by my passion in the disciplines offered and because it appeals best to my passions and interest. One of the most significant motivations for my application for the program is specifically because I really value the research aspect of the program. My two greatest passions in life are learning and helping people. I have been curious about what conditions and techniques best facilitate learning for a long time. My interest in the manner in which the facilitation of learning is conducted has led me to seek answers for a number of questions. One of the questions or desires has been how exactly can the delivery of modern day learning shift perceptions of education from a box-to-check-off-this list on the way to your real life and instead get learners to value the process, to ask questions and to view learning as a lifelong practice. What are the barriers to education and how can we minimize them? What methods are most effective to what subject matter? Should there be a distinction? The more time I work, volunteer and continue to study the more questions I have. My hope is to get the opportunity to study at UFT and uncover as many answers as I can to those questions. They are tough questions to answer in a written way some things that just don’t translate well, the same way that poetry doesn’t alwaystranslate to prose and the same we can’t always infer causality.

I am a firm believer in curiosity as a driver for growth and learning. There are some things that can’t be measured well in realm of education and learning. Over the course of my learning and development course, I have come to conclude that true success can be measured by an ever changing scale if you of passion and self-drive. The same applies to the learners and I believe that that the learning technique used should be able to cement this. I am of the philosophy that if a student is eternally curious and constantly trying to push their own limits then that is an idea that matters. Along the learning course, some ideas are quantifiable while others can only be treated in their abstract. There is no direct way, for instance, to quantify resilience, hardwork or passion of learners. I don’t want to tell you that I’ll work hard and that I think creatively and that I get things done despite seemingly insurmountable odds. I would much rather show you. Maya Angelou quipped it well: “When you learn, teach; when you get, give.”

Essay Sample #6

All I have ever done since I could walk and talk was do that, I believe maybe naively but also shamelessly that we can have a huge impact if we simply take a moment to extend ourselves in compassion, to learn about those around us and to help them learn too because with education comes the ability to think critically about what needs to be changed and change it. Learning is an act of curiosity and empathy. Reading requires you to try to understand something someone else wrote down and utilize that information. Information that occurred to others, seeing through the perspective of others and discerning what can we understand from this? Can we duplicate this? Is this universally true or very personal? Authentic learning and the subsequent authentic change is a direct result of this, from reflection on information and experience and employing a process. I want to be part of figuring out how we can better enable ourselves to do this, to spread important information but more importantly to constantly reflect and to employ that knowledge.

For the record I would like to also prove that I am empathetic, compassionate and passionate about using our ability to be empathetic and using the tools of education to affect less apathy. There is a lot of psychology and science to communicating and education. But I would like to submit that at least from my perspective it is an act of humanity, it is something that I am. I am a teacher and I have tried to be a lot of other things. But this is what I keep being pulled back to, this is what I do both accidentally and naturally and I am hoping now consciously and well.

To sum up my biggest passions in life are learning and helping people and I think the master of teaching program combines the two brilliantly.

Essay Sample #7

Last year I had the opportunity to work as a tutor for high school students for Microskills Bridge toSuccess program. This was an afterschool program focusing on at-risk youth in the Rexdale community. My role at Microskills was to provide support and assist students dealing with academic challenges, students in the program usually had additional barriers and challenges to overcome when it came to learning. Mental health struggles, ESL, economic barriers and additional psychosocial issues. I tried to offer one on one support as much as possible but there was a lot of need and a very limited number of tutors. Often I would put students in small study groups according to what subject they required assistance with doing my best to try to get students in the same classes with the same assignments to sit together, then I began to rotate through the groups answering questions and facilitating study groups. I remember one student in particular who was always particularly recalcitrant. Every day I would ask him “Are you okay? Do you have any homework? Do you need any help?” He would shake his head. Then would come the automatic reply “No”

It became almost a joke, I would ask him “how come everyone else has homework and you never do?” You must be the favorite. One day I tried asking a different questions. “How are you?” “Uh fine” he responded. “What did you learn today?” I asked “Anything interesting? Anything cool?”

He looked at me sort of surprised. “I learned about science stuff” he said. “Cool.” I said, what sort of things.”

He fumbled a bit at first, not quite expecting to be asked but he began to talk a little about the lesson generally. He forgot a lot of the specifics, there were quite a few gaps. But it was great to see him trying to make connections between the things he had sort of passively heard about roughly and try to re-configure the information into something he could talk about. It was a rough conversation. It lacked a lot of detail. But once we could identify where he was at it wasn’t hard to fill in the gaps.

These types of conversations grew into quick daily updates. It was easier for him to tell me he had no homework than to tell me there was nothing to talk about. He wasn’t particularly interested in reading or writing. But he had a very high ability to intellectually scaffold. He would tell me a few quick things and then he’d get back to socializing. This improved his grades by getting him to remember a few quick facts, but I was interested to see if it would work better if more students got involved. I walked over to the students sitting in a circle, by this time they knew what to expect, they had their facts ready. They were eager to keep talking basketball. “Miss aren’t you going to ask us?” one of the boys asked me. I sat down. “Actually I’d rather you told each other. Let's see who can come up with the coolest thing.” As they told each other their facts there was some disagreement. “No the teacher didn’t say that she’d said this. No that’s not how you’re supposed to do that.” They would look to me for answers sometimes I would ask them if they could look it up.

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