September 29, 2009, by Teaching at Nottingham

Connecting international teaching with research

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Nicola Pitchford, School of Psychology:
“I’ve had students that have done projects in Hong Kong and China and Spain. I’ve had PhD students from the Netherlands and from Greece. And, you know, for me, it’s very interesting because my own research is involved with education and with language learning and literacy acquisition. So, for me, it’s really interesting to hear about, you know, the different systems that operate across the world.

“And just things that you take for granted like, you know, if I want to know a child’s reading age, I’ll pluck a reading age test off, and I’ll have various, off the shelf, I’ll have various ones that I can choose from, you know, and I may consider the pros and cons of choosing one over another but I’ve got the choice and I’ve got the assessment tools there. In Malaysia, those tools don’t exist. And so, you know, it makes you have an awareness for researchers in those countries wanting to do that kind of work as well, that they’re actually coming at it from a much impoverished position compared to the kind of position that I’m in.

“And so, you know, an awareness that more research could be done in those countries but perhaps the lack of research that’s coming out of those countries is because they haven’t got the infrastructure there to support it.”

Iain Coyne, IWHO: “Certainly in occupational psychology which is the area I teach, pretty much a lot of it is dominated by north American researchers and theories and ideas. And whilst, in some areas, people argue that would necessarily cross over in other cultures, it’s not as strong as it is particularly in that, as it should be really, in terms of research. So, we’re able to take various concepts and say, well, “would you find a similar result if we did it in a sample in India, if we did it in a sample in China?” Where there are very much cultural differences.

“But cross-cultural psychology is quite a big area in itself and some elements in occupational psychology have started to look at the idea of culture. Especially if you think, in organisations, many of them are global anyway, that they have to consider culture, if they’re operating in many different countries in the world.”

Martin Binks, NUBS: “One of the other things that we use is an online reflection that the students have to complete several times throughout the module.

“They have to write about a couple of hundred words or more reflecting on what happened in the mentoring session, how they reacted and related to the rest of the group, and things like that.

“The other very interesting side effect is that we’ve now therefore got online reflections coming in from eight hundred and fifty students here, seven hundred and fifty or whatever from China, and two hundred and fifty or three hundred from Malaysia, and we’ve also got their observations about things like you know, how entrepreneurial they think they are, and how creative they think they are, and various questions that we’ve designed to try and pick out how comfortable they are with the uncertainty and things like that. We’d said to them “you don’t have to fill these in”; virtually all of them do. Immediately, therefore, you’ve suddenly got material for some really interesting research, you know, on looking at different self perceptions by gender, and culture, and ethic background.”

Chris Barnatt, NUBS: “I think the overseas campuses can’t just be about teaching machines, they’ve got to be about the Nottingham ethos if you like, research and teaching coming together in different parts of the world, so to some extent we’re learning to be a global business they way that many of the businesses we study and teach about in the business school are global businesses.”

Christopher Barnatt
Nottingham University Business School
 Martin Binks
Nottingham University Business School
Iain Coyne
Institute of Work Health and Organisations
Nicola Pitchford
School of Psychology

Extracts from interviews with staff and students about experiences of internationalisation. This video was originally published as part of PESL’s Learning from internationalisation collection. Produced November 2009.

Posted in InternationalisationResearch-informed teaching