The process and practice of making contemporary jewellery objects and how interaction between people and objects can enhance effective intercultural communication through pedagogy for overseas Chinese art students, studying within the British Art and Design Higher Educational system
Meeting the First Need: The Effective Academic Performance on the UK Contemporary Jewellery Higher Education for New Coming UK China Postgraduate Students
Date of Submission: May 2012
My interest in jewellery design started in 2000 as an undergraduate student in China. At the time, the jewellery design and making technologies were in their infancy in this country. I became a jewellery design teacher one year later by chance when I graduated. Three years teaching experiences helped me to learn the ways of communication with students and art and design teaching methodologies within China Higher Educational system. However, the limitation of skill and technological support and the imperfect jewellery education system could not meet my development requirements. I decided to go abroad to enhance my professional ability. However, the reality didn't as good as my expectation. Lack of communication skill, unfamiliar educational system, misunderstanding of course structure and aims troubled me always on the first semester. That was the hardest period I was going through, which impacted me a lot even I got a highly successful at the end of the course.
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After that, the influences and conflicts of different educational systems and cultural backgrounds bring to UK China student drawing my attention, especially for those newcomers. It is hard for Chinese students building good communication with home students and tutors; it is hard for Chinese students understanding the course aims and objects; it is also hard for Chinese students applying effective learning method within the British Educational system; even it is hard for Chinese students to obtain the same level of academic achievement as home students. There exists an educational gap between China and UK Higher Educational Systems which caused these study problems. I dedicated myself to find out what could be an effective way for new coming postgraduate Chinese students of better understanding the learning process and obtaining a better achievement on UK contemporary jewellery HE.
The idea is to continue to explore my theoretical research with active participation in the residencies with related organization. After finishing my Master's study, I have had the opportunity to take part in the Artist in Residence program in School of Jewellery in Birmingham, and I predominately working with the MA students, from 2010 to 2012. Thanks to the School's AIR program which gave me a lot of chances to reach these students, further experience the British Higher Educational system and also feel the impacts between different cultural and educational backgrounds. In the studio experiment, I shared my academic experiences with new students and talked about my design project as an example, which gave me the opportunity to exam how effective the previous experiences can help the newcomers. During these processes, some of the students gave me very positive feedback; some of the cohort improved working pattern as a result. It was a very rewarding process for me to conduct a reflection about the relationship between student experiences and academic achievement on contemporary jewellery HE.
During that period, the contemporary jewellery market and educational system was beginning to be addressed by certain scholars and researchers in China  , with some contemporary jewellery groups and educational facilities appearing, together with mercantile spaces like galleries, museums, and specialized festivals, which was showing a vast landscape of possibilities. People who are interested in contemporary jewellery have more opportunity to obtain information from their home country; even studying abroad is becoming easier than any time in the past. It was arising of globalization of contemporary jewellery, even the contemporary jewellery educational system  . The effective academic performance could be a bridge to removing cultural barriers. It also could be a tool to help new coming UK China students improve the efficiency of their study quickly. It became clear to me, since I started my thinking in the field of the relationship between student experiences and academic achievement, that it is important to become an active observer to participate actively and experience the process within a wider range between UK and China.
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Section One: AIMS
As Walker (1999) argues, international students have always been in UK universities and nowadays have a significant impact on the economics of UK higher education. Ramsden (2001) notes that almost ten percent of all teaching income comes from non-EU student fees. However, the education of international students has never been more than a marginal interest to most academics. Through projects of this kind, I'm seeking to raise the profile of Chinese students in the UK by means of systematic and scholarly research. The aim of this research project is to investigate the relationship between UK China student experiences and their academic achievement in the postgraduate context. Its ultimate aim is to encourage research which can underpin good practice across the academic performance to effectively enhance and improve academic achievement for UK China students learning on contemporary jewellery HE.
Based on the research, a practice of teaching and learning contemporary jewellery system for new coming UK China students will be tested and applied, and the outcomes will contribute to build a bridge for academics who want to gain a better understanding with people who hold different cultural background. It will also contribute to researchers and scholars of contemporary and future information data base across the contemporary jewellery, through analysing the information requirements, search methodologies and world view of students between UK, and China Higher Education at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
(Within an educational context)
To what extent do Chinese and UK students understand contemporary jewellery, and to what extent do different educational and cultural backgrounds influence that understanding?
In which aspects will be experienced by new coming UK China students, and to what extent do student experiences impact the academic success?
How can a more effective teaching and learning contemporary jewellery system be built and contribute to the academic achievement for overseas Chinese students within the British higher educational system?
Section Two: Methodology
The research will be divided into two stages. The first stage will take a mixed-methods approach. Structured questionnaires (postal, telephone or through the face-to-face interview) sent to a sample of (or all) the target population will be employed to gather quantitative data, and semi-structured individual and group interviews would be conducted to provide further data and a richer picture of student experiences. Both questionnaires and interviews will be applied to focused UK and China Jewellery institutions tested through self-motivated participants, looking at the general experiences of Chinese students at undergraduate level in China, the learning challenges they encounter after they come to the UK, and the differences between the two countries, in an attempt to look at how far their previous experiences will affect their study abroad.
For further investigation, examine in detail the learning experiences of Chinese postgraduates in UK and their application of learning methods to contemporary jewellery course, by collecting data through a case study of two institutions (a British Jewellery Institution and a department of UK jewellery foundation course in China) The research instruments could be interviews, Non-participant classroom observations also could be a way of collecting data, and result analysis of student assessment.
In the second stage, the main task would be to create a new model of instruction and learning method of contemporary jewellery for new coming UK China students. Seeking for the teaching experiences and critical thinking from educators, several focused artists and academics will be requested by semi-structured interview. Combine with the findings in the first stage, a practice of teaching and learning method will be introduced and examined as a new way of academic performance for selected group of students.
A thesis will be written based on all the investigation and recordings. This research will record my practice processes and analyse the practice results, which will cover the current educational system of such teaching methods and how they are likely to encourage student's creativity in the contemporary jewellery category; which will also cover the analysis of how the academic performance contribute to academic success and the development of UK contemporary jewellery educational system.
Section Three: Research Plan
Conduct a research into current contemporary jewellery market and educational system in both UK and China. Present an overview of the current state of contemporary jewellery in these two countries.
This Essay is
a Student's Work
Identify the main collaborative education group projects based on the research of resources and bibliography review. Collect information about the group. Starting from this information, define a representative sample of groups for further investigation, and check their interest and availability in participating in the research.
Begin setup an on-line based communication platform, collect and analyse information of intercultural communication.
Begin the creative process of my work. The design process and development will be recorded and published on the online communication platform as part of the overall web-based product.
Further investigate intercultural communication within British Higher Educational system. Plan the content and duration of experiments and projects participation with the groups selected, based on the project and the availability of both the group and the researcher. Set a schedule for the residencies and execute it.
Build, test and apply a questionnaire on the groups. The questionnaire will provide the participants' point of view, as well as further information to add to what was already obtained in the previous research.
Extend research into interactive media platform and its application in general audience especially in educators and students. Set up students' collaboration project - web-based exhibition. This exhibition will offer a great potential to explore the advantages of online broadcast and communication.
Continue the creative process of my work. After finish the final piece several exhibitions will be shown in both UK and China with cooperation groups. Perspectives and feedbacks from both designer and audiences during the exhibition will be collected and delivered for the final text.
After all the research information is collected, the next step is the final analysis of the results and the writing and revising of the final text.
Section Four - RESOURCES
Resources of cultural communication:
Hanna Sulman, 'Intercultural Social Work', Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures, 3rd, 1999, New York: Longman.
Emily, M.& Sarah, P. (2010) 'ARTS FOR INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE: A TOOLKIT', British Council.
Erich, M. (2001) 'Artwork and Its Functions in Intercultural Communication', in GdaÅ„sk : Uniwersytet GdaÅ„ski, 2001. pp. 108-132.
Journal of Language Teaching and Research, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 146-150, January 2011
Maria Assumpta, A. & Maria Paz, S. (2009) 'Intercultural and Cross-Cultural Communication Research: Some Reflections about Culture and Qualitative Methods' FQS Volume 10, No. 1, Art. 51 - January 2009
Adamopolous, John & Lonner, Walter (2001). Culture and psychology at a crossroad: Historical perspective and theoretical analysis. In David Matsumoto (Ed.), The handbook of culture and psychology (pp.11-34). New York: Oxford University Press.
Adler, Paul (1975).Thetransitorial experience: An alternative view of culture shock. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 15, 3-23.
Altman, Irwin & Taylor, Dalmas (1973). Social penetration: The development of interpersonal relationships. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Bennett, Milton (1998). Basic concepts of intercultural communication: Selected readings. Yarmouth: Intercultural Press.
Berger, Charles & Calabrese, Richard (1975). Some explorations in initial interaction and beyond: Toward a developmental theory of interpersonal communication.
Casmir, Fred (1993). Third-culture building: A paradigm shift for international and intercultural communication. Communication Yearbook, 16, 407-428.
Casmir, Fred (1999). Foundations for the study of intercultural communication based on a third-culture building model. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 23(1), 91-116.
Chen, Guo-Ming &Starosta, William (1998).Foundations of intercultural communication. Boston: Allyn& Bacon.
Gudykunst, William (1989). Intercultural communication theory. Current perspectives. Newbury Park.
Gudykunst, William (1992). Communicating with strangers: An approach to intercultural communication. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Gudykunst, William (1993). Toward a theory of effective interpersonal and intergroup communication. InRichard L. Wiseman & Jolene Koester (Eds.), Intercultural
Journal of Aesthetic Education Vol. 38, No. 4 (Winter, 2004), pp. 1-9. University of Illinois Press
Resources of education:
A.Binsardi, F. Ekwulugo, (2003) "International marketing of British education: research on the students' perception and the UK market penetration", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 21 Iss: 5, pp.318 - 327
Jo Blanden, Stephen Machin (2004) 'Educational Inequality and the Expansion of UK Higher Education' Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Volume 51, Issue 2, pages 230-249
Lawrence R.P. Reavill, (1998) "Quality assessment, total quality management and the stakeholders in the UK higher education system", Managing Service Quality, Vol. 8 Iss: 1, pp.55 - 63
Glauco De Vita&Peter Case(2003) 'Rethinking the internationalisation agenda in UK higher education' Volume 27,pages 383-398
Scott D. Eriksen, (1995) "TQM and the transformation from an élite to a mass system of higher education in the UK", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 3 Iss: 1, pp.14 - 29
W. David ED, P. David ED (2001) 'The State of UK Higher Education: Managing Change and Diversity' Open University Press, Vol.4 PP.68-88
Angela Brew (2003) 'Teaching and Research: New relationships and their implications for inquiry-based teaching and learning in higher education' Higher Education Research & Development Volume 22, Issue 1PP. 3-18
J. E. Coryell, (2012) 'Case Studies of Internationalization in Adult and Higher Education: Inside the Processes of Four Universities in the United States and the United Kingdom' Journal of Studies in International Education February 1, 2012 16: 75-98
Narayanan T. Ramachandran,(2011) 'Enhancing international students' experiences: An imperative agenda for universities in the UK' Journal of Research in International Education August 1, 2011 10: 201-220
Thomas F. Stafford and Marla Royne Stafford University of Memphis, USA, Neal G. Shaw, University of Texas-Arlington, USA, 'Motivations and Perceptions Related to the Acceptance of Convergent Media Delivered Through the World Wide Web', Advanced Topics in Information Resources Management, Vol. 1, 2002, pp 116-117
Resources of contemporary jewellery:
Grace Brown, 'Art Jewellery', AERIS, Vol. Chinese New Year Special, Jan.-Feb. 2012, pp22-23.
Grace Brown, AERIS, p23.
Hugh Tait (Ed), Jewellery, 7000 years: an international history and illustrated survey from the collections of the British Museum, H.N. Abrams, New York, 1987
Robert Bell, Transformations - the Language of Craft, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2005
Helen W. Drutt English & Peter Dormer, Jewellery of ourtime: art, ornament, and obsession, Rizzoli, New York, 1995
Esther Knobel, The mind in the head, The Netherlands, 2008
Liesbeth den Besten, On jewellery: A compendium of international contemporary art jewellery