An experimental and critical exploration of strategies for the enhancement of academic achievement for Chinese master of arts jewellery students in contemporary UK higher education

Liu, Yi (2019) An experimental and critical exploration of strategies for the enhancement of academic achievement for Chinese master of arts jewellery students in contemporary UK higher education. Post-Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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It is generally acknowledged by UK universities that in order that they can (i) better address students’ educational expectations, and (ii) enhance their appeal to international students, it is necessary to understand the variety of motivating factors that shape student’s study decisions (Su, 2010; Wu, 2008). However, in the field of art and design (A&D), and specifically in relation to the study of jewellery, this thesis argues that there remain significant disparities in the understandings of motivating factors that influence Chinese students’ decisions and study expectations with respect to study abroad international education. The thesis also argues that these differences contribute to students encountering academic challenges during their UK courses. These challenges are also highlighted and discussed in relation to the cross-cultural dynamics involved in Chinese / international students moving from their 'home' educational system in China, to an unfamiliar one in the UK's. The specific focus of this thesis concerns the student's transition experience, giving particular attention to the initial period of their higher-level study. The study presents an educational way forward, the purpose of which is to encourage a more research informed approach to the future development and improvement of the Chinese international postgraduate taught (PGT) student learning experience. With its primary concern being Higher Education (HE), and more specifically the subject of jewellery in A&D education, the main thrust of the thesis focuses on how pedagogical strategies and approaches can be better designed, developed and implemented in relation to Chinese / international PGT students. Designed from the outset to be exploratory, inductive and action-oriented, the study is founded on subject-specific questions that have previously received insufficient attention. Thus, it was necessary to scope the field of study and to engage with and understand, in a granular way, the perceptions of past and current Chinese learners’ experiences of studying jewellery in the UK. In this respect, the study investigates in detail how and to what extent the student’s past experiences impact on their learning journey in the UK. The study explores institutional codes and practices within A&D disciplines, and the views of various stakeholders (educational leaders, lecturers and students) and concludes that rather than viewing Chinese PGT learners’ transition into UK learning as one that is challenging in the sense of ‘problematic’ (Martin, 2010), that such challenges can be perceived and embraced as highly beneficial to their education. Through a range of intervention experiments, the study proposes a model for based on the centrality of the concept of ‘in-between space’. An in-between space is one in which ‘conceptual translation’ and ‘negotiation’ strategies are encouraged. Via their use, a more responsive and flexible programme becomes possible, one that both facilitates positive transitions and contributes to enhanced sustainable orientations to learning and work in wider contexts. This research is relevant to a wide community: it is believed that it can make a significant contribution to students' and academics’ understanding of how Chinese MA students’ experiences and perceptions of learning in UK HE institutions (and of jewellery in particular), might be addressed. It will also contribute to the identification of disparities and missing elements in the range of transition programmes, and related methods and approaches that have been instituted by the UK HE jewellery sector as a means of maximising the benefits for Chinese MA design students from their studies. Further, it will support the development of more effective and informed preparation programmes for Chinese design students at HE institutional level, and enable Chinese students to increase their understanding of pedagogical approaches. In this way it should support achievement of higher levels of performance at both earlier and subsequent stages of UK-based design studies, and aid learners as they move beyond Master's level education.

Item Type: Thesis (Post-Doctoral)
6 March 2019Completed
Uncontrolled Keywords: Internationalisation, Intercultural, Higher Education, Art & Design, Jewellery
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-05 - others in creative arts and design
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Doris Riou
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 14:46
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 17:20

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