Ph.D. in Education 2017
School of Education
May 1, 2014
Studies Potential of Technology to Scaffold Second Language Learning
Soobin Yim is a second-year doctoral student in the School of Education, specializing in Language, Literacy, and Technology (LLT). She completed her B.A. in English Language and Literature in 2005 from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea, and a master’s degree in Language and Literacy in 2011 from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Soobin is interested in second language learners’ academic language development and the use of technology as both a medium and facilitator of second language learning.
My interests in English as a second language grew out of reading the Korean English language newspaper that my father wrote and edited. My father, an English literature major, introduced me to interesting articles that he wrote. In an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) country where exposure to English was very limited and English teaching did not begin until middle school, such an experience during my early years was unique and I fell in love with learning another language. However, the joy of learning English faded after I entered a typical Korean middle school, where English was taught by utilizing a traditional Grammar Translation Method with an emphasis on test-driven learning.
Determined to understand how a second language can be learned in a more effective, meaningful, and engaging way in a school system, Soobin majored in English literature and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) at Ewha University. After graduating, she worked as an English proficiency test developer at Seoul National University, and as an English outreach program coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.
To further her knowledge and expertise in language teaching pedagogies and methodologies, she began her master’s study at Harvard on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship in 2010. During the program, she became interested in the potential for technology to be used as a scaffolding tool for disadvantaged populations and second language learners, as well as a medium to effectively explore a second language with multiple modalities.
At UC Irvine, Soobin is involved with several research projects.
Currently I am working on the Cloud-based Writing: K-12 Settings project under the guidance of Dr. Warschauer. This project explores how cloud-based writing tools can support writing instruction, and the affordances and challenges of using these tools in a technology-supportive district in Colorado. I am also refining a study that explores the role of academic vocabulary knowledge in second language writing using data from Word Generation, a project that I have been involved in under the guidance of Dr. Lawrence since my time at Harvard.
Although graduate student life away from families and friends back home in Korea is challenging, I appreciate the opportunities to work with and learn from great mentors and peers at UCI, as well as the joy of parenthood in sunny California. In my free time, I enjoy going to the park, children’s museums, and theme parks with my three-year-old daughter.