May 13, 2014, by educationguestblog

Trainee teacher exchange Nottingham and Shanghai

Blog supported by Dr Jane Medwell, Associate Professor, School of Education and excited member of Shanghai 10.

We are the Shanghai 10. Ten students taking part in the University of Nottingham exchange with Shanghai Normal University.


What is it about?
Well, everyone in education has heard about the results of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).  It takes place every three years and the 2012 results (link to show Shanghai is, again, the clear winner in terms of students’ performance at 15. We all want to know why (and how) Shanghai students do so well, and whether we can share some of the magic. Indeed, Liz Truss, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education has twice taken delegations out to Shanghai to find out about their systems and practices.

Now it is our turn! We are the 10 University of Nottingham primary education students (from the School of Education)  going to Shanghai Normal University (SHNU), one of the leading teacher education universities in Shanghai.  We will be visiting SHNU for two weeks and 10 of SHNU’s finest students are on their way to Nottingham as we write.

What can we learn from our partnership with Shanghai Normal University?
We can make contact with trainee teachers like us, to find out about their views and what they think is important. These students are all training to be primary teachers, although all the SHNU students are doing a four year undergraduate programme. We are doing a one year School Direct programme which is based in schools which work in partnership with Nottingham University. The comparisons about our training will be interesting as well as our different thoughts about what we see.

We can look at the systems and policies in Shanghai. Breakspear, S. (2012) provides convincing evidence that PISA results have had an impact on policy in 37 countries, especially for teaching reading and maths.   (link to
) . So we can ask ourselves just why the approaches we see have such an impact and how they would work at home.

The ways the SHNU students understand our schools and our pupils will be interesting. They are coming into our schools for a few days to get an in-depth picture. Their thoughts  will be fascinating.

We expect this visit to shape our views and developing theories about education. Now is a time of great education change and in England. Schools are becoming more autonomous and there is more room for innovation and experimentation than there has been in the last few years. We want to be involved in that.

And the rest? Well, the chance to go to see one of the world’s greatest cities, sample the food, try tai chi in the park and soak up the atmosphere is not exactly lost on us, either.

Posted in Shanghai 10