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Sharing Best Practice Internationally


Suzhou Classroom web

Fashion and Textiles lecturer at Tresham, Michelle Macleod, has recently returned from a teaching exchange experience in China. Organised by the British Council and the Suzhou Training Centre, the aim was to share practices and get an insight into the work of a teacher in both countries.

Tresham’s International Development Officer, Jingna Wu, highlighted the opportunity and Michelle decided to apply; she was successfully selected in January to represent UK colleges in Suzhou, China.

Michelle was selected for her extensive teaching experience in further education colleges, prisons and running arts and craft classes for children. Her application highlighted a tailored scheme of work that would provide the most realistic insight of the creative arts curriculum taught throughout the UK and at Tresham.

As well as sharing best teaching practice over the week-long trip, Michelle enjoyed two days of cultural visits organised by the British Council.

suzhou training centre sign web

The Suzhou Teacher Development Centre, based in China’s Jiangsu province, has been developed by Director Wu who has a vision for Chinese teachers to be able to experience a learner led approach; despite strict curriculum guidelines. Michelle’s knowledge of alternative teaching methods inspired the tutors to be more open minded in their approach to teaching; something which is especially important in vocational subjects.




Michelle Macleod visit to China - Feb 2016web

Michelle commented after the teaching exchange:

“This has been a huge learning curve for me. Students in the schools I visited are used to their established learning styles; meaning my first day was a battle of wills to try and encourage teachers and students to do things differently.  However, after five days teaching I received lots of thanks from each and every person, highlighting how it has been an unforgettable experience for them. Even though they will not be able to adopt UK teaching styles completely, due to government restrictions, I have left them feeling inspired, motivated and full of new ideas.

It was interesting to discuss ideas as simple as classroom layout and motivational techniques, although with classes of up to 80 children, some ideas are impossible at the moment and may need considering for the future.”

Creative Arts and Media are seen as some of the least important of all subjects offered in Chinese schools. This has led Michelle to realise how lucky the UK is to see such support and encouragement for students to be able to embrace and study for careers in this sector at colleges such as Tresham.

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