Student-centred teacher training in China - a year on!

Chinese students

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 09:12:00 BST

The University of Huddersfield is continuing to build and develop the vocational education and training programme in China which started in April 2011.

The success of the project, evidenced in student evaluations has resulted in the extension of the project until at least December 2012. The project came about because the Beijing government is concerned that standards of teaching and learning are declining throughout the country and that school and college students are de-motivated and have little interest in their studies. The government wants to ensure that China’s continuing industrial growth is sustained by the development of new learning and teaching strategies.

The University of Huddersfield were successful in gaining the contract for this work because of their experience in teaching an undergraduate top-up degree in China, the BEd Education in Development and the publication of a text book, A Tool Kit for Teachers, published by the Open University, which was edited by Huddersfield Lifelong Learning teacher training lecturer Josie Harvey along with several of her colleagues. The activities and learning strategies became the base for the programme.

Delivery of the programme involves three members of staff teaching six days of the programme, averaging 30 students per class. Each tutor also has the help of interpreters who are teachers of English at Guangdong Normal Polytechnic University.  A stable and experienced team of practitioners have delivered the programme from the University including Dr Martyn Walker, the project manager, Wayne Bailey, Neil Denby, Alison Gorf, Josie Harvey, Mohammed Karolia, David Powell, Cheryl Reynolds, Rod Robertson and Ian Rushton.

To date the project has trained over 1,600 vocational teachers and managers. Colleagues have been also delivering the programme in new venues, including Zhongshan, Qungyuan, Zhuhai, Shantou, Maoming and at the Luoding and Women Vocational College and GZ Science.

A new programme has been delivered since March 2012, which is for new teachers which includes new subject areas of curriculum design and barriers to learning, and an early years programme will be delivered in July and Business English in August.  The aim of the early years programme is to act as a taster to develop the teaching and learning practices of Chinese staff who teach early years students.

Staff delivering this programme are also keen to be involved in collaborative research and an international vocational education conference hosted by Guangdong Normal Polytechnic University will be hosted in China in May 2012 to launch this. Dr Martyn Walker has had a paper accepted for delivery at the conference.  Colleagues are also working together to identify the impact of the programme on the students and institutions involved. 

And here are the reflections of Alison Gorf, lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, on her first visit to teach in China for this project. 

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