Exploring Chinese Business Management Students' Experience of Active Learning Pedagogies: How Much Action is Possible in Active Learning Classrooms?
Simpson, Colin Gordon
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This phenomenological study explores how certain “innovative” pedagogies were experienced by a group of Chinese students studying Business Management at a mid-ranking UK university. Analysis of the transcripts of interviews (some in Chinese) with 24 students using NVivo shows that whilst most students felt that Active Learning pedagogies effectively supported their learning, for some students the “zone of indeterminacy” in which group projects and simulations were carried out was an uncomfortable space. Salient aspects of these students’ experiences were language, relationships and metacognitive skills, and the discussion explores the way in which these three experiential themes can be conceptualised as interrelated elements of the action (Biesta, 2006) which takes place in Active Learning classrooms. The following recommendations are made: HEIs should attempt to provide students with the advanced skills of negotiation which they will need to use in the flexible, ill-structured environments associated with Active Learning pedagogies; tutors should develop consistent approaches to collaborative assignments focussing on group work processes as well as task completion; the development of metacognitive skills through Active Learning pedagogies should be promoted through the use of explicit reflective elements embedded within the teaching, learning and assessment activities. The concluding discussion proposes that the successful use of Active Learning pedagogies requires a reconceptualisation of the purpose of education and that these pedagogies provide a potential readjustment of the balance between the functions of qualification, socialisation and subjectification (Biesta, 2010).
EdD in Education