Tsuyuki Miura

Tsuyuki Miura

Doctor of Education


Ms. Miura currently teaches English in the Japanese university system and recently received a Doctor in Education degree. We talked with her about her decision to pursue advanced degrees in TESOL and the difficulties involved in writing a dissertation.

How did your early education and work history lead you to studying English education?

My undergraduate studies were in Japanese literature at a Japanese university. After finishing my undergraduate studies, I worked as an office worker for about ten years. I wanted a more specialized job, so for career development I attended some intensive English programs in the United States and Japan. After working as a secretary and interpreter for a short while, about thirteen years ago I started to teach English at a language school, which was when I first became involved in English education.

You earned both a Masters and a Doctorate in Education at Temple, what motivated you to join the doctoral cohort?

Studying in the M.S.Ed. program had an impact on me: The program was practical and intellectual, and the teachers were enthusiastic and friendly. I thought that studying was interesting for the first time in my life. The M.S.Ed. degree was sufficient for me to obtain teaching positions in Japanese universities, but I felt that my knowledge of the field was relatively shallow. I wanted to study second language acquisition more deeply, and joining the Ed.D. cohort seemed like a good opportunity to do so.

What was the focus of your research?

I was interested in the motivational changes that had occurred in my English learning. I was not motivated to study English in my teenage years, but was strongly motivated when I became an adult. Because few studies of long term motivational change had been conducted in the field, I decided to focus my research in that area.

What challenges did you face earning your doctorate?

I faced miscellaneous challenges while completing the process. It took me five and a half years; two and a half years to complete the course work and three years of dissertation writing. As is the case with most EdD students, I had never written a dissertation. Most of the process was a new experience and I encountered blocks a number of times. In addition, I had other parts of my life to attend to—primarily my work and my family. I always had good excuses not to study. Ultimately, therefore, how I perceived and dealt with the difficulties I faced was the biggest challenge.

How did you overcome that challenge?

Because my dissertation topic concerned long-term motivation in foreign language learning, I kept thinking about the reasons why people endure and overcome difficulties when facing challenging tasks. This actually helped me overcome the many challenges I was facing in my dissertation writing. I tried to perceive all the challenges as an important part of my learning process. I also kept faith in myself: I believed that I would complete the task someday. Even if unexpected problems came up and took longer to solve than anticipated, I accepted them and moved forward little by little. Of course, I was supported by people around me a great deal. My chief advisor consistently wrote me, "Send me a new draft when it's ready." Because of his unyielding support and encouragement, I could keep writing a draft after draft for the three years. Also, my family kept saying, "You'll be alright." They probably knew that they could not help me academically, but I think they understood I was doing something challenging that was important to me.

How do you envision your Ed.D. and your experience at TUJ will help your future career?

Completing my doctorate will give me better choices for my future career, and I can be slightly more confident now that I have achieved something challenging. This semester I started teaching in the M.S.Ed. program, which could never have happened without completing the Ed.D. Helping new students in the program is really rewarding to me.

Tell us about your dreams and aspirations.

The more I have learned, the more I have understood how little I know. So, I hope to keep learning and help people by using my own experience, for example writing informative books for learners.