Lifelong Learning


There are a lot of things going on in  my life now. Of course there is my job- I have the delightful task of interacting with all my ebullient and charming students. I also have my family- consisting of Mr V and my two kids, Arjun and Rishi. The second is the most important part, as I am sure you will all agree it should be. Arjun is in Primary 6 and Rishi is in Primary 4. Both are students of Henry Park Primary School. I stayed home for 10 years to be with them and be maximally involved in their early development, and only got back to work in January last year.


But there is a new aspect to my life now, and that is my studies. I am enrolled in a Masters in Educational and Social Research course with the University of London. It is an online course, so there is a lot of independence and self-discipline involved. But it is very exciting because in my virtual classroom I have friends from all over the world. My classmates hail from Ghana, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, US, Canada, Ireland, Australia, South Africa and so many other places. It is like a mini United Nations.

The first module I am doing is one entitled “Research Methods”, and it starts with a section on using interviews as a research method. We always just think about interviews as being occasions for people to ask questions while other people answer them. But did you know that there are many different types of interviews? There are structured interviews and more creative ones. Face-to-face interviews and electronic ones. Individual interviews and group ones. There are alsso many issues involved such as how the interviewer perceives the respondent. Does the interviewer think of the respondent as being an expert in a particular field? Does othe interviewer want to control the course of the interview? Does the interviewer believe that the interview should be more like a conversation that should be allowed to develop freely? And above all, the main question is what basis does the interviewer use to make all these decisions?

It has been ages since I read academic writing, which is  much more meaning-packed and highly coded than most other types of writing. So the first few readings took me ages to get through. Now it is going much faster. My kids find it amusing that now they can remind me to study and do my homework. You should see us at home. My husband, my kids and I all study/ work at the same time, and the kids can ask for help whenever they need it. The house is very quiet until we take a collective break. And then all hell breaks loose!

I never stop learning. I have always loved reading and studying. So what if I am older than most of the people doing the course with me? Better late than never. And now I have my wonderful children to back me up and urge me on.


8 thoughts on “Lifelong Learning

  1. Mrs. V,

    Sounds very exciting ! You finally found the right program.. Good luck with the assignments/exams :).

    How long is the program for ? and will you get a chance to go to London as well?


  2. Hi Shobha

    Its Andrea from your Masters programme. I am just trying out your site. Its beautiful. One person said calming and that it is.


  3. Hi Vijay- no I don’t think I will get to go to London. So sad. But the course is great so that makes up for it. The course takes anywhere from 2-5 years. I am hoping to finish it in 2, but may end up taking 3 years.

    Andrea, I am so glad you stopped by. Thanks for your encouraging comment- it made my day. Studying with people like you is what makes the course so exciting. I learn so much from my classmates, because everyone has such varied fields of expertise and so many different interests.

  4. Hi,

    Stumbled upon your name on the London External website.

    Have been comtemplating applying for this course. But wasn’t sure and needed to find out more.

    I noticed there’s a similar course at the IOE in London, only full-time. I wonder how different it is. Is there then?

    Good luck on your MRes. My previous experience with doing a dissertation part-time probably made me a little more resilient in the face of adversity. It was really tough, I tell you.


  5. Hi Daniel. I don’t know about the course in London- I need to do it online because my family is here in Singapore. I shopped around for a long time before I found this course. After the very long break that I took to raise my children, I needed something that would give me the confidence to re-enter the world of research. So far the course has not been a disappointment. But you are right when you say that resilience is needed. I have only finished 2 modules so far and there are more demanding ones to follow. If I had the choice I would prefer to study onsite and full-time. Unfortunately I can’t, so this is the next best thing.

  6. Hi Mrs V,

    Yes, I think distance learning courses demand a great deal more attention and self-determination. I can vouch for that when I finally chose and studied for my MSc at NTU. Studying part-time and working was tough. But it was intellectually stimulating and rewarding enough for me and that kept me going.

    I’m a parent myself now, and if I were to embark on a research course, that’s going to be terribly taxing on everyone.

    I hear you when you cited your preference for onsite and full-time studies – nothing beats that, but I guess we can’t all choose that path sometimes.

    Anyway, good luck again with the course.

  7. Thanks Daniel. And good luck with being a parent. That’s actually the toughest course of all, because there is no definitive end to it, and no one can teach you how to do it because all kids are different!

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