Trip to China for Tresham fashion and textiles teacher Michelle
FASHION and textiles lecturer at Tresham College, 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 teachers 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.
Michelle was selected for her extensive teaching experience in further education colleges, prisons and running arts and craft classes for children. Her application included a scheme of work giving insight into the creative arts taught at Tresham and across the UK.
As well as sharing best teaching practices over the week-long trip, Michelle enjoyed two days of cultural visits organised by the British Council.
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 their strict curriculum guidelines. Michelle’s alternative teaching methods inspired the Chinese tutors to have an open-minded approach to teaching.
Michelle said: “This has been a huge learning curve for me. Students in the schools I visited are established in their learning, 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, 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 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.”
Creative arts and media are seen as some of the least important of all subjects offered in Chinese schools.
Pictured above – TEACHER TRAINING: Michelle Macleod (centre) with students from Suzhou Teacher Development Centre.