"Quality education is a fundamental right": a Q&A with Fulbright Scholar Kyle Shook

Kyle Shook is a Teach For America corps member studying for his masters in Adolescence English. He is also one of two GSE Fulbright Scholars this year, along with Leila Nabizadeh ’14. Kyle recently discussed GSE, Teach For America, and the Fulbright program.

Congratulations, Kyle!

What is your educational background?

I went to Mercer University in Macon, GA for undergrad where I majored in English and Women and Gender Studies with a minor in History. I’ve spent the past two years with GSE.

What are your academic areas of expertise and interest?

In addition to a scholastic study of English Literature and Language, I’m also interested in the process by which English is not only spoken by students but also studied and challenged. My specific interests are in examining the process of language acquisition at the adolescent level and the role language has as not only an academic tool, but a social one as well.

I’m also focusing on the role that art and music play as scaffolds of language instruction and how the fine arts can be used to enhance language acquisition as well as literary analysis in ESL students and Students with Disabilities.

Can you describe any internships, externships, and/or research you conducted at GSE?

My research has been varied largely depending on the courses I’ve taken. My favorite projects have involved the impact of music instruction on SPED students’ English enrichment and the role of film in the classroom not only as a supplement to literature, but also as a literary study of its own.

What motivated you to apply for Teach For America?

My family has a long and close history with education. Both of my parents work as educators (with the brunt of their time spent in low-income schools).

I believe that a quality education is a fundamental right and the current system in place is merely an extension of the discriminatory policies of the segregation era where “separate” is valued over “equal.” Serious work must be done to reinvest the United States in the potential of its young people and it is a full-scale civil rights movement to ensure that this happens.

What motivated you to apply for the Fulbright scholarship?

My interest in education as well as my own fascination with Poland’s remarkably quick achievement in educational reform motivated me to apply. I’ve spent several summers abroad and each time I had the privilege of interacting with children across the world and I believe that Poland is a vital continuation of that trend.

Can you describe the work you will be doing with the Fulbright program?

I will be working as an English Teaching Assistant in Poland. In my spare time, I will be looking at the education system in Poland with particular focus on communication and language instruction.

What advice do you have for future GSE students?

I’d suggest remembering to always remember how important the work that we are doing is and to keep the faith when things get rough.

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