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Q&A with Bohan Liu

Bohan is a Chinese international student on the Mathematics Education MA (class of 2021).

Bohan Liu, MA student

Hello, Bohan!

What motivationed you to pursue a Master's in mathematics education?

I studied Mathematics as my undergraduate course and have taught school Mathematics part-time for four years. I realise how teaching Maths is important for students’ learning and shaping their minds.

Working in placement schools during my QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) year was a fascinating experience where I can continue developing my teaching skills. It is also a springboard because practical experience is insufficient to become a good teacher, but theoretical knowledge in pedagogy weighs more.

What made you choose UCL?

The best teaching resource and its reputation across the world - but what appeals to me the most is the rich resource of research, so that I have opportunities to work with leading researchers in the field of interest.

What was it like studying in London?

The year in IOE was my fifth year living in London. Online teaching is particularly convenient and cost-saving because I did not need to worry too much about how close I have to live to the university. Teaching was not much affected by distance delivery, because all the staff are doing their best to guarantee high teaching quality.

Do you think it has been a good investment?

It is absolutely a good investment for me because the Mathematics Education MA is the “official” start of my learning of educational theories as a systematic entirety.

With the theoretical knowledge from this year’s study and reflections on both the topics in the modules and my own practical teaching, I believe that I have much broader and more solid knowledge about how to teach and why this may work."

Have any networking opportunities benefited you?

I participated in a 5-week research project in education and was supervised by professors in Oxford University and Tsinghua University. I am now working on an essay publication about digital technological knowledge in mathematics teaching.

What are your next career plans? 

I plan to apply to the UCL Doctoral School in 2022, followed by participating in research programmes and teaching in universities.

How do you think the system of learning at UCL differs from that in your home country of China?

Learning in UCL involves more group work and more direct communication and guidance between teachers and students.

What have you found particularly valuable at IOE?

The opportunity to reflect on my own mathematics teaching and learning (e.g., Mathematics for Teachers), a wider perspective towards education (e.g. equity and inclusion).

What was the best thing about your MA course?

All the modules were well-organised and the weekly tasks were helpful to get us to the themes. I have great freedom to choose the topic that I would like to investigate more deeply in the assignment. When I hesitated in choosing the focal point, the module leaders and my supervisor were always there to offer help and give suggestions and feedback promptly. 

The ‘Understanding Mathematics Education’ and ‘Mathematics for Teachers’  modules in the MA were exactly what I expected, where the weekly themes covered a wide range of topics in mathematics education.

 I also took ‘What is Education?’ and ‘Higher Education Institutions as Organisations: their Strategic Management.’ These two modules introduced educational knowledge outside mathematics teaching and learning and enabled me to look at more general educational issues other than mathematics, for example, equity and diversity.

Is there anything else you would like to add about your time at the IOE?

I appreciate the support from the teaching staff in all modules that I have taken throughout the year, in particular my supervisor, Dr Suman Ghosh, our course leader, Dr Cosette Crisan, and PhD programme leader, Dr Jennie Golding. As I started my 7th year in the UK, my Mathematics Education MA is absolutely memorable!