The question of employability is a key question that many students ask when coming on Open Days. “What does your course do to make us more employable?”, “What do you offer to support the development of skills” and “What do you do to put us ahead of other potential graduates? “ are three such questions.
The University of Central Lancashire has recently introduced their Sport and Physical Education course and this has pleasingly seen a continual growth in student numbers. The course is based at the Preston campus, but gives students so many opportunities internationally that it can be classed as a globalised course. Course Leader Nick Passenger believes that the international opportunities that students have and the support from the University in terms of subsidising trips has really enhanced the development in knowledge and skill of the students. “When designing the course, we really tried to incorporate a greater understanding of what is happening nationally and more importantly internationally in terms of Sport and Physical Education and subsequently this has opened up many avenues for the students”.
The course has currently established strong links in Europe, America, and in China, and with this, there has seen a real development in the students’ understanding of culture, language, and delivery. Links with the University of Paris (Creteil) has seen students travel both ways as course trips to experience working in schools as well as partaking in an international conference to analyse their experiences with reflection on their own curriculum. “The trips have been an ongoing success and next year we are hoping to incorporate a “pen pal” system so that we have students delivering activities in schools with their international colleagues, which is a great socio-cultural experience, but also enhances our links with both primary and secondary schools” Passenger stated.
Dr John Metcalfe is leading a trip to Florida State University this summer and is giving the opportunity to witness the teaching of movement in the renowned “Circus School” course, which will enhance the students’ knowledge of teaching specific content at various key stages. This complements the basic knowledge already acquired by the students through links with the Chinese Confucius Institute and the participation in Chinese dance and Tai Chi sessions.
Finally, through links established by Dr David Grecic and the Confucius Institute, students now have the opportunity of teaching in schools in Qingdao, China. As David explains “the links have seen us work with the Ministry of Education for three years now and gives the opportunity for students to teach in a very different environment to enhance their philosophies of teaching, and work with an education authority that is very westernised in thinking. It gives them a fantastic experience plus they have the opportunity of understanding the legacy effect in Beijing of the Olympics”.
The final piece of the jigsaw comes into effect at the end of May, when confirmation will be announced of the undergraduate course being delivered out of Hunan Normal University in Changsha, China, after a lot of planning by Nick, David, and Dean Tang in Hunan. “This is the first English-speaking course to be delivered in China, and certainly the uptake for such a course really reflects the pleasing relationship we have with the Hunan Normal University and the Ministry of Education. With the course being mirrored, it gives our staff and students a fantastic opportunity to deliver and study over there respectively, as well as various exchanges to take place” clarified Passenger.
The opportunities offered have seen a huge increase in Destination of Leavers in High Education (DLHE) figures for the course, and this has been enhanced by many students going on to achieve teaching status through the postgraduate route. Nick Passenger also commented “The success of the international experiences has also led to many jobs being acquired by our students internationally, with many securing very well-paid posts recently from the Ministry of Education in Dubai. Students are aware that jobs are not always on their doorsteps, but we do make them aware that if their long-term goal is to secure a post near where they currently reside, then global experiences can only enhance this.”
This article was written by our academic partner The University of Central Lancashire for GlobalSportsJobs.
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