Episode 3

David D. Perrodin

My dear fellow applied linguistics researcher friends… At the end of Episode 2, I asked you to stay tuned for the next episode when I would share what happened when I attended the Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics program orientation and the first day of course work. So, here we go….

As you recall from Episode 2, the director telling me to put my proposal in the trash was what I needed to catapult myself to the next level as a researcher. The program orientation and the first day of coursework were just another step in my growth as a researcher.

During the program orientation, the director looked at us and, while grinning, said that we have not even begun to learn. He said that we would need to be ready to unlearn and relearn ‘everything’ if we wanted to grow as researchers. He was not joking…

By the end of the first day of coursework, I felt IGNORANT! I remember the head of the program was our lecturer for the very first class. He looked at everyone at the beginning of the class and said that what we previously learned has not prepared us for ‘real research.’ He continued that we had best forget everything we think we know.

He was correct. Every time we would mention a point we thought we knew, he would ask us to justify our position. As we would mention another topic, he would ask us to look at previous research about that topic. When we would defend our beliefs, he would patiently wait for us to finish then ask questions to cause us to think deeper about our points.  

We quickly realized that we did not know anything! And there you go… That is the point. If you want to pursue a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics, you have to be willing to proudly stand up and say, “I know I am ignorant, and I want to learn!” That is the only way you can develop as a researcher and as a person.

Not only have I developed as a researcher, but I have also grown as a person. The techniques we have learned to process information and question everything have led to me using these methods in other parts of my life. Yes, I have become a better researcher, but I have also become a better educator. I have become a better writer. I have become a better thinker.

Stay tuned for the next episode of “From the Mind of a Developing Researcher,” when I will share with you the challenges of deciding on my final dissertation topic and drafting my research proposal.

My Favorite Books

  1. Chen, S. (2020). Teaching of Culture in English as an International Language (1st ed.). Routledge.
  2. Larsen-Freeman, D., & Anderson, M. (2011). Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching (Teaching Techniques in English as a Second Language) (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.
  3. Wintergerst, A., & McVeigh, J. (2010). Tips for Teaching Culture: Practical Approaches to Intercultural Communication(1st ed.). Pearson Education ESL.
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