Student expectations about teaching in Nottingham.

In conversation with: Muhammad Abdul (School of Medical & Surgical Sciences), Christopher Barnatt, Tamara Dolin (School of Humanities), Chris Ennew, Peter Yeandle (School of History). Produced: November 2009; Duration: 5 minutes : 6 seconds.

Peter Yeandle:
They have far more contact time over there. When I went to China that's the first thing that really stuck out. I think they need more contact time because they're being taught in English and progressively their spoken English and their written English is getting better, but they need things explained a lot more carefully.

Peter Yeandle:
Lectures are more basic and more frequent which I think is probably necessary. Here different lecturers have significantly different styles but I think most people in history at least try and get away from the idea that the purpose of the lecture is to be a talking textbook. There's a lot of interaction and discussion. May be you'll mix up with visuals and video clips and the point of the lecture is generally to raise conceptual issues or points for debate for students to follow up in their reading and to discuss in a seminar context. Whereas in China from the few lectures I did observe it seemed very much that the purpose of the lecture was to give a very basic introduction so the foundations were there. So it was like a talking textbook.

They found it very difficult to adjust I think. The first lecture they received from the module I teach here I gave an introduction to the course and then a colleague gave a lecture on Vietnam and not only does he speak very quickly but he's full of jokes and asides and there's a whole pedagogy of how students remember more what's said in an aside than what's said in a bullet point of a PowerPoint slide. So I think they did find it quite difficult to adjust. But the slides were available to them electronically to download and keep. Once they came accustomed to that method which I don't think they have before they knew that they could sit and listen rather than frantically scribble, which is more I'd say our way of doing things than the way they were used to.

Muhammad Abdul:
Because I did my A levels previously, so one thing is the pace of studying in University, it's really quick. In my first semester it was a big shock, but the good thing is the pastoral care by the tutors, the way they look after the students, it's really good and you need more effort from yourself to go and ask questions from lecturers because if you do not, lecturers do not know that you are lost in studies in your course. Another good thing is the lecturers, they really really give their help to the students, I mean if you ask one thing they will even answer three things.

There's a lot of students, 250 students per batch, so as I say just now, you are not in the class in which we have 20 students where your teacher asks you to do homeworks, they always monitor you 24 hours or even ask you "have you done your homeworks", no no, there's no such thing. It's totally depend on the effort if you did your 100% effort, definitely this student will succeed.

Ridhima Kapoor:
They don't have enough time to go into great depth and the rest of the time it's up to you to go and do further research which I wasn't used to beforehand where the teacher would give every single piece of information you needed.

Tamara Dolin:
If you have a course where there are very few contact hours, I think you have to be really on the case to be self disciplined and maybe make your own study timetable because coming from school where maybe you've had all your hours timetabled for you, you know exactly where you have to be and it's easier to arrange your study times, coming to University you may only have 4 hours, 5 hours a week and the rest of the time it's up to you to do the work.

Chris Barnatt:
And we've certainly had some experience of that with people coming from NingBo and suddenly they've got a level of freedom they've never known before. And that's, it's not inherently our responsibility to deal with that, although, in terms of the academic side. But I suppose as tutors you can have a bit of an awareness that some people find that overwhelming,

Chris Ennew:
So you've got a layer than comes from educational experience to date. You've then got a layer that comes from that particular context about, you know, amount of time to make a difference, distance travelled, all the uncertainty that goes with that, and therefore, a desire to minimise risk. And I think you then get into a situation which you got quite a complex set of drivers of behaviour, some is cultural, some is educational, some are situational.

Short paper

Contextual variations in communication briefly considers "context" as one of anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher Edward Hall's (1914-2009) three dimensions influencing cultural interactions: time, context and space. Hall viewed culture as influencing every aspect of human life. According to Hall, "it is the least studied aspect of culture that influences behaviour in the deepest and most subtle ways". (1977:14). Interesting use has been made of Hall's theory in the attempt to understand Malaysian culture and some of the Confucian Heritage cultures.
... more from Contextual variations in communication.

More scholarly interpretations of the theoretical basis:

... all Internationalisation short papers

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Teaching at Nottingham website resource The internationalisation of Higher Education: the ... "Background: This project contributes to the development of appropriate teaching and …"   (Sep 2005)

The Nottingham context

Dr Rachel Scudamore

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