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Portfolio 1

Section 3: Knowledge Discussion Essay

Interest Discussion Essay

Tareque Mehdi

George Mason University


At first, being an international student from Bangladesh, I had very scattered interests and

different ideas about various specializations of Education because of the difference in education

system, culture and other aspects. When I first came to the United States to pursue my higher

education, after two-three classes in different courses I realized that I cannot understand most of

the lectures and the purpose of the class because of the language barrier. I started making critical

friends and with their suggestions, I started to develop new skills and finetune existing through

different on campus activities. These experiences helped me to learn and transform who I am. I

was initially so afraid of making mistakes, but now I feel I must try enough to find myself

because my professors want me to be successful. I was also very anxious about approaching

professors but studying at Mason gave me the opportunity to talk to professors, consider their

research works and see different areas of specializations closely. Initially, I found myself

interested in everything and it was quite hard for me to narrow down my academic and research

interests. However, as suggested by Dr. Supriya Baily, I did an exercise during Summer 2018

which helped me to settle and narrow down my interest by having conversations with professors,

critical friends and education alumni. Bangladesh is now seeking advancement and growth in all

sectors of development. Education is the prime factor which can make this process faster. But to

meet the educational challenges of the 21st century, along with the new approaches to

educational research and knowledgeable and skilled human capital, proper innovations

management in Education is required. This is the process of creating values from new ideas in

Education. The stakeholders of Education also have realized that the single most effective step to

deal with global educational challenges is to focus on research, development, and evaluation of

teacher education for both preservice teachers and the continuing professional development of
practicing teachers. I have found that the TATE (Teaching and Teacher Education) program at

Mason ties my interests about teaching practices, education reform, education policy, managing

innovations in teaching and teacher education while IE (International Education) as my

secondary specialization will help me to develop the skills needed to be an effective educator in a

global society.

I have always wanted to pursue a doctorate degree after gaining some work experience.

Therefore, during my undergraduate and master's program I involved myself with different

academic and research works to learn and prepare me for the competitive job market in

Bangladesh. Later, I have worked with UNICEF Bangladesh and the British Council in

Bangladesh until I came to the Mason to translate my dream into reality. My initial finding about

myself was I had not been reflective in my practices. But doctoral program is a journey that truly

requires the ability to be critically reflective. I realized that my intrinsic motivation as a learner

can help me to get out of that struggle through reflecting on topics in courses specially EDUC

800 conducted by Dr. Margaret King-Sears and EDUC 853 by Dr. Rebecca Fox. EDUC 800 was

the first course I took in the Ph.D. program and it was a good exercise for me as I made mistakes

but also followed up to make up my gaps (See EDUC 800 Final Paper with mistakes). After this

course I took help from the Mason Writing Center and I started to see the transformation in my

academic writings. The EDUC 853 was a whole new different experience as I was always shy of

expressing myself; but in this case understanding of the course contents took place through

learner centered interactive discussions, critical reflections and research. I have learned from my

course professors the importance of taking a critical stance when reading research and to look for

opposing positions and cross- and counter-analysis among authors and their data sources. I

started doing better reflection by time (See EDUC 853 Critical Reflection). Classroom
discussions and these learning opportunities have given me a stronger foundation to my inquiry

about how to manage innovations in Education in developing or least developed countries

around the globe.

In recent years, globalization has led unprecedented levels of changes in education.

Global competence and intercultural competence for teachers and teacher educators are the

buzzword now-a-days. In EDUC 853, I have read articles and research based on new concepts

and innovations in education which are being applied to education systems so that the students

can thrive in today's innovation driven society. Although innovation has inherent variability, but

rate of success can be improved through proper management of educational innovations. These

perspectives fueled my interest in continuing to study how to create and capture value from

innovations in education, how does it influence teaching strategies and how to manage

innovation in teaching and teacher education?

First one and a half year in my Ph.D. program was a journey to me where I have gathered

knowledge from different perspective and realize the current issues and future challenges in

education by reading through articles in the courses. I have taken eight courses until my Portfolio

1 presentation, all of which have influenced my thinking and work toward becoming a scholarly

and informed researcher. The EDRS 810 and 812 both challenged me to honing my knowledge

about qualitative research and taught me how to apply qualitative data collection and analysis

procedures in educational research. Initially, I was thought about youth mobilization in education

who will advocate for education in least developed countries where people do not realize the

societal benefits of education. Therefore, I submitted my final paper on Youth Exchange

Programs: Experiences of Bangladeshi Changemakers (See EDRS 812 Final Paper and

Feedback). I explored myself as a researcher and methodologies in my ways of thinking in the

EDUC 853 because this course led me deepening my exploration of the literature about

intercultural competences, global competences. EDUC 880 informed me of the many

understandings of intercultural competence and ways in which is it measured and assessed. I also

took one Higher Education course HE 713 Internationalization of Higher Education. This course

expanded my view of internationalization of higher education from Western and American

perspectives; however, since students came from different background in the classroom, we

enhanced the course with as many non-western perspectives as possible to permit a broad scope

of awareness and explored the internationalization of higher education through various lenses

including administration, student services, curriculum integration, study abroad, and branch

campus development (See HE 713 Global Case Study Report and Feedback). Overall, all these

courses have contributed to my growth as a scholarly researcher and writer in my doctoral

journey. In my last semester, I struggled with EDRS 811 course. I realized that although I was

understanding the concept of the course materials well but in the tests I could not do well. Later I

spoke to Dr. Powell about my situation and we went through each segment step by step. As a

result, although I scored low in the final exam but at the end I could make up my gaps in

quantitative research methods.

Currently, I have been working with two professors as their Graduate Research Assistant

(GRA). With Dr. Dawn Hathaway, I have been involved with a research investigating teacher’s

perspective about quality in online and blended learning environment in K-12 setting and with

Dr. Divya Varier, I have been working on a research on the assessment literacy of pre-service

and in-service teachers in India. Last year, I participated AERA Annual Meeting 2018 and

presented The Influence of Data Use Process and School Level Factors on Teachers’ Data

Literacy along with Dr. Lisa M. Abrams from Virginia Commonwealth University and Dr.
Varier from George Mason University. I have also participated in the LeaderShape training and

have been awarded the Mason Resilience Badge. I have volunteered in the IREX TEA program

with Dr. Hathaway as a Teaching Assistant and these experiences have advanced my skills in

qualitative research protocols and methods of data collection and analysis.

In the coming semesters, I look forward to getting involved and contributing to different

educational conferences to delve further into the literature related to innovations management in

teaching and teacher education and intercultural competence for teachers and educators. I am a

little bit curious to know more about innovations management in education because when I

looked for related literatures, I mostly got results related to learning management system and

quality management (Google Scholar Search Result). I would like to explore concept of

innovations management in education and connection with Global Innovation Index (GII) and

frameworks. In coming semesters, I would like to expand my literature sources and I would like

to be more critical and cognizant of the articles I reference (i.e., peer reviewed journals).