September 30, 2009, by Teaching at Nottingham
The staff experience of learning from internationalisation
Martin Binks, NUBS: “Certainly teaching in other countries, which I’ve done quite a bit of, you learn a huge amount because there are suddenly areas of behaviour or attitudes that you’ve never come across before.
“It has made me recognise the need to get feedback from the students in their body language and their expressions across the piece, and actually intervene in lectures. I will often stop and say ‘You’re looking really confused about that’, if there’s quite a bit of it, ‘Can anyone say what…’ and then go through it again sometimes rather than putting them on the spot. Yeah, it has made my teaching… the pace of it has changed, and I try to explain why I’m covering what I’m covering, what its significance is, because context is all when it comes to… and relevance. Sort of understanding in a vacuum is terribly difficult, but as soon as it’s in context then the relevance is clear and therefore it’s almost accepted then ‘Yeah, I need to know this or understand it’.”
Mike Clifford, Faculty of Engineering: “I think it’s been the, the little individual kind of flickers, you know, the seeing the odd presentation by Muslim Heritage and, you know, talking to students doing projects, international students, you know, chance conversations in classes, sort of questions that come up, you think, ‘Oh, yeah, didn’t really think about that’. Through to the, you know, the students doing sort of with language courses over here and seeing the difficulties that they experience and then thinking, well, actually, must be pretty similar for an international student whose first language isn’t English.”
Dariusz Wanatowski, Faculty of Engineering: “I mean, for me, when I went first to Singapore, I also had to learn everything from the beginning, because I didn’t know much about that country, about that culture. So I know what kind of problems students may have when they come to the UK.
“It helps me to teach international students and also, I know that some issues in, or some methods in Poland or Asia or in UK, they are different. So I have to adapt a little bit and I have to change my methods and I have to be more flexible. I can’t just say, This is how I used to teach in Poland, and this is how I will teach here. No. I have to change little bit. I think that helps. That helps.”
Chris Ennew NUBS: “I suppose my development has been a, it’s been very much a kind of experience, reflection, reaction, change behaviour, observe and reflect and so on, and going through that kind of cycle because I don’t think, certainly, when I did many of my co-teaching development programmes and activities, I don’t think we particularly saw it as an issue so, it was more a case of, did that, mm, didn’t seem to work very well, what could I do differently?”
Nicola Pitchford, School of Psychology: “As a lecturer, you have to think about, think more carefully about the students that you’ve got in your group and how you can provide a learning experience which is applicable to all of them.
“I’ve tried to adapt my teaching in a way that draws out the best of the different types of students that I have in my group. I don’t think it’s been a radical change, it’s been tweaking bits here and there, reflecting on things that have worked and things that haven’t worked.”
Stephanie Bridges, School of Pharmacy: “We all see things from our perspective, of course we do, but the recognition that there are different ways of learning, for example, there are different ways of viewing things, and that one way isn’t necessarily the right way. Or even having an appreciation of why somebody thinks the way they do, you know, we might, we might be in real disagreement with, I don’t know, a practice or a way of doing something but it’s not until we perhaps understand why somebody thinks that or why they do it that we can start to accommodate that practice, or understand where, what’s going on.”
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.
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