Imogen Dunn

English Language and Communication, 2016

“The aspects of specialisation offered through the modular nature of the course at Brookes have honed my adaptability and breadth of knowledge through researching language from different angles”

Before starting at Brookes, Imogen was studying for her A-levels in English Language, Politics and Psychology at sixth form.

I decided to study this course because I had enjoyed English throughout school. I didn’t know what area of work I wanted to go into but was interested in teaching and the media, so the focus on both aspects really appealed to me.

The course at Brookes particularly interested me due to the modular element. With a common theme of English, different modules study it from distinct angles. This meant I could further my interests in teaching and the media but also take modules focusing on areas completely new to me, such as forensic linguistics. My favourite module on the course is Methodology of Foreign Language Teaching. It consolidated what I had learnt during my Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) training, and gave real teaching experience. It was a great chance to put theory into action.

Oxford itself is a brilliant city for students. There are countless quirky restaurants and bars serving up delicious food and cocktails. The museums always have great exhibitions on that are perfect to take visiting family members to before a walk around the quaint covered market.

After graduating I hope to travel and teach English. The skills gained from the course combined with my CELTA qualification and tutoring experience with Jacari have given me great experience and theoretical knowledge in order to pursue this career. After travelling for a few years I hope to follow a career in Public Relations. It was something I had considered but was unsure as to what it consisted of. Through links established by Paul Wickens with local businesses, my peers and I were offered invaluable work experience. I grabbed the opportunity with a PR company. I learnt important skills of the trade and saw the everyday happenings of a PR office; it wasn’t a week of making teas and coffees!

The aspects of specialisation offered through the modular nature of the course at Brookes have honed my adaptability and breadth of knowledge through researching language from different angles. Strong communication skills are needed for all careers. Group projects and lecture presentations are, although sometimes scary, great chances to practice public speaking and team work. The course has developed many skills attractive to employers, including working to short and long-term deadlines and independently or in a group. A feature that has shone during work experience has been the wide applicability of summarising and synthesizing complex information from a range of sources.

Paul Wickens passion for language is contagious and inspires all on the course. He consistently goes beyond the role of academic module leader, endeavouring to create work experience opportunities, encouraging connections with appropriate alumni and offering invaluable first hand advice. The transfer from school to university can be intimidating. My academic advisor and dissertation tutor Chris Rizza has offered calm support, giving guidance on assignments and career related recommendations.

I became involved with Jacari in my first year of university. It is a charity that provides tutoring for local children who don’t speak English as their first language. I tutor two children and have also taught classes to adults through the charity. Through Jacari I have improved my teaching skills, been exposed to Lebanese culture (their Mum often gives me a yummy tea!) and have had a great chance to experience Oxford outside of the University bubble. The classes for adults consisted of students who were mothers of Jacari tutees. Their varying ethnic backgrounds enhanced my awareness for the necessity of cultural sensitivity when teaching English. The classes also improved my lesson planning skills as student numbers would often vary.