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Navigating the MA A resource for all students Lisa Procter & Paul Allender School of Education.

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Presentation on theme: "Navigating the MA A resource for all students Lisa Procter & Paul Allender School of Education."— Presentation transcript:

1 Navigating the MA A resource for all students Lisa Procter & Paul Allender School of Education

2 Our experiences of working with international students Chinese and UK approaches to education are very different. The Chinese system is generally didactic: the professor has the first and last word and all of the words in between. There may be some regional differences as regards this with education in the South of China being a little more Westernized. Of course, it is possible to find such approaches in the West, but they are probably not usually the dominant approach.

3 Our experiences of working with international students Along with this, Chinese students do not formally (or informally) engage in discussion. There is a wider dimension – first the continuing influence of Confucianism, although there is some discussion about whether he advocated such a passive approach to learning. Second, younger people generally are expected to be silent and respect their elders. There is also an anxiety about the quality of their spoken English.

4 For Chinese students, then, the imparting of knowledge contains notions of being right and wrong. The professor is right and it would be wrong to challenge him or her. The idea of debate, then, is pretty redundant. Again, of course, this idea is not absent in Western education – and in fact was a very big part of school education when I was growing up. But, it is not a dominant discourse now.

5 Exams dominate Chinese education and the pressure to be successful in exams is a huge one for students at all stages of education. Education is about attainment and achievement and not really about process. Again, as with my other comments, this attitude is not absent in the West – but, I think, is not dominant.

6 Critical thinking is mostly a wholly new concept for Chinese students. While not all UK educationalists engage with it either, it is not such an unfamiliar concept here… Chinese students generally believe that UK education is superior to theirs. This increases the pressure upon them to do well.

7 Pre-arrival Project: Aims To provide opportunities for engagement in education, inclusive of the experiences, values and cultures of all students. To produce a pre-arrival resource suitable for both our domestic and international students to support their early engagement on the various MA programmes in the School of Education.

8 Feedback from Students Based on evaluations from students in the early stages of the course, two overarching issues were raised: 1) Accessing session content 2) Study skills

9 In response our resource sought to: – enhance domestic-international students integration in the classroom, by familiarising all students with the UK University culture. – support prospective students’ development of ‘global skills’ required for engaging with our Masters level programmes through the provision of various resources.

10 Developing the Resource: Stage 1 3 x Focus groups with MA students (7) Key findings: 1.Previous students accounts of their experiences would be an important resource for preparing for the MA programme. 2.Understanding what is expected of students and the support students can expect from both their peers and teachers would be of benefit. 3.Key milestones from the course could be clearly identified with advice and guidance on how best to prepare and respond to them. 4.A website would be the most useful medium for the resource.

11 Designing the Resource

12 Key Milestones 1.Starting in the School of Education 2.Meeting and working with your Supervisor 3.Preparing for Reading Week 4.Doing Group Presentations 5.Writing your Assignments 6.Applying for a PhD Scholarship 7.Writing your Research Proposal 8.Developing your Dissertation 9.Presenting at the Student Conference 10.Submitting your Dissertation 11.Beyond your MA

13 Case studies from students and staff Experiences Skills We received 6 case studies in total (4 from students, 2 from staff)

14 The Website We would like you to engage with the website, and share with us your reflections. In what ways do you think the website responds to our initial aims? What do you think are the benefits of a resource like this for students? How could the website be developed to further support the issues we raised in this presentation?

15 Next Steps The website is not yet complete and we aim to develop it in conversation with students in the future. – Option 1: Integrate the development of the website into a ‘education practice’ module. The module would have an action research approach leading to the development of content for the website – Option 2: Embed the reflective case studies into our student evaluations, so that students accounts are immediate responses to the specific stages of the course

16 Additional Support What else could be done to support opportunities for engagement in education, inclusive of the experiences, values and cultures of all students?

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