Ding Liang (PhD Symposium)

Ding Liang graduated with a BA in Sculpture from Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts in China in 2008, and went on to study for her MA in Ceramic Design in Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. During her MA her work focused on combining different materials with clay, and investigating texture. Since 2011 she has worked as a lecturer at the Art College of Inner Mongolia in China, mainly teaching ceramic art and sculpture courses. During her two years teaching she found many weaknesses in Chinese ceramics education and tried to improve the situation. From 2013-2019 she undertook PhD research in the University of Sunderland in the UK. Based on the two countries’ learning experiences, her research proposes that a comparison of the undergraduate ceramics courses in China and the UK can help to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each country.

My presentation will discuss my PhD research. This research explored the differences in undergraduate ceramics teaching and learning between China and the UK through the analysis of interviews and ceramic programme documents. Interviews were held with twenty students and two tutors in the University of Sunderland and a University in Inner Mongolia, China. The research was conducted by a lecturer in the Chinese university, who has studied in both China and the UK. There three key findings were identified, 1. Chinese students studying ceramics felt a pressure to learn due to increasing social employment pressures in China, whereas, for UK students the main motivation was an interest in the subject of ceramics. 2. UK students preferred group tutorials and seminar teaching methods because they had more chance to communicate with other people, while Chinese students preferred one-to-one tutorials because they thought these focused more on helping them personally. 3. Both countries had similar ceramic course assessment methods, and both cohorts believed that formative assessment was helpful for their learning. Finally, this research offered some suggestions on how to improve learning and teaching in ceramics education in China, and proposed some advice for UK ceramic teachers concerning understanding the different needs and expectations of Chinese students who attend their ceramics classes in the UK, in order to help them to approach their teaching of these students to achieve the best outcomes.

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