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Joseph Siegel (PhD, 2014)

Joseph Siegel profile

Current occupation
I’m currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Language Education at J.F. Oberlin University in Tokyo, Japan. In this position, I teach and design the curriculum for required and elective English as a foreign language (EFL) courses. I also contribute to faculty development.

Brief outline of PhD research
My research investigated the viability of listening strategy instruction for EFL listening courses. Over three semesters, my colleagues and I designed and implemented an innovative listening programme for EFL students and monitored this intervention in terms of student and teacher feedback, test scores, and practicality within individual classrooms and across the entire EFL programme.

Why did you choose to study for your PhD in the School of Languages and Social Sciences?
I was fortunate to meet my eventual supervisor, Professor Anne Burns, prior to enrolling in the PhD course. We had a chance to discuss my tentative proposal, and I could tell by her enthusiasm and supportive personality that she was someone I really wanted to work with. 

What did you find most useful about the PhD programme?
The milestones set at regular intervals helped to motivate and challenge me. By milestones, I mean the research portfolio at the end of the first year or so, then progressing to the qualifying report, et cetera. Each step of the way seemed like something I could accomplish if I put my mind to it, and those steps helped keep me focused on the tasks at hand rather than to be overwhelmed by the enormity of completing a doctorate. So the pacing of the programme was very useful for me. 

How has your PhD helped you in your current occupation?
The research training that I’ve received in the past four years has already paid off by giving me the skills to secure grant funding from the Japanese Ministry of Education, which I will use for future projects. My family and I expect that the PhD will be beneficial for possible promotion or future employment.