Students nearly 6,000 miles away are set to benefit from City of Bath College’s innovative teaching practices, thanks to the sharing of their teaching and learning methods.
The methods were shared with a group of 10 education leaders from Shanghai Jiguang Polytechnic College.
The teachers have completed a three-week teacher development course and returned to China “bursting with ideas.”
The group, which included nursing, construction, electronics and economics teachers, spoke to staff and students, observed classes, and attended teaching workshops.
They were inspired to come up with new ways to encourage students to ask questions, improve their communication and think for themselves
Lena Teng, Director of Business English and Co-ordinator of International Affairs at Shanghai Jiguang Polytechnic College, said the trip was “worth every mile travelled” as they’d learnt so much.
She said: “We will return home bursting with ideas, we have a lot of important information to take back to our college.
“We have learnt some very effective teaching methods. We have learnt to question ourselves on our teaching styles.
“We will go home and integrate what we have learnt into lessons. We will listen to and involve students more in the learning process, we now understand it’s not one-way, it’s about discussion.”
Shanghai Jiguang Polytechnic College is a not-for-profit organisation with about 5,000 full-time students and 300 teachers.
Lena said: “The big difference is class sizes, in China we have 45-60 students in a class and students don’t have a lot of chances to speak out.
“In Bath students are very keen to interact with their teachers. Their voices are heard and their thoughts dictate how things are learnt.
“Students in Bath play a much more active part in their lessons; they are very creative and are encouraged to be critical thinkers.”
Lena described City of Bath College as “a castle” compared to the “matchbox-like classrooms” in Shanghai. She explained that she liked the way tables and chairs in classrooms were arranged in a u-shape rather than in rows facing the front.
Julia Chen, a nursing teacher at Shanghai Jiguang Polytechnic College, said it was their first time to the UK and they had found the city of Bath to be “very unforgettable.”
She said: “Bath is rich in history and elegance, it has such beautiful and impressive scenery.
“Everyone has been so friendly, helpful and welcoming. We’d like to thank the whole of Bath for its hospitality.”
The visiting teachers also squeezed in a bit of sightseeing, visiting several London attractions and going on a day-trip to Stonehenge.
They visited the Mayor’s Parlour for tea with Bath’s Mayor Cherry Beath.
They also got the chance to meet Minister of State for Skills and Equalities Nick Boles and listen to a talk by Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Steve Bradley on the UK political system.
City of Bath College has strong international links with China with teacher and student exchanges taking place for the last couple of years.
Principal Matt Atkinson and Head of Engineering, Construction and Computing Daisy Walsh visited Shanghai last year and Learning Development Coach Gwyn Chamberlain will be visiting next month.
Gwyn said: “It was a very successful visit in what continues to be a very beneficial partnership between Bath and Shanghai.
“Both colleges get to share good teaching practice and continue to grow with an international outlook.
“I am looking forward to seeing how things are done in Shanghai. It’s a great learning experience for us all.”
The College also has links with the Shanghai Technical institute of Electronics and Information (STIEI) and Shanghai SIPO Polytechnic.