IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Yan Liang

Yan is an international student from China on the Education MA programme, class of 2019. She talks to us about her year studying at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE).

Hi Yan!

Tell us, what is the best thing about the Education MA?

Students have the opportunity to meet prestigious professors from all over the world, attend their classes, and share ideas and discuss with them to get inspiration.

What do you find interesting about your field of study and what inspires you?

Before I started studying this degree, I didn't think too much about teaching. What I cared about much more was how to help students improve their grades. However, after attending lectures and sharing opinions with professors and classmates, I began to think about the purpose of education more deeply. Now I pay more attention to analysing what affects students’ behaviours and how to improve the efficiency of pedagogy. 

Do you think studying at the IOE is a good investment?

Yes. From my point of view, when it comes to investment, I have to consider the benefits - what I can acquire at the IOE?

The first benefit is what I will learn at the university. Renowned professors from the world are often invited to the IOE to give lectures and share their research, which means I have access to the world's leading research. Also the IOE has an extensive library collection with a variety of literature available.

The second benefit to consider is my future development. UCL has a great reputation in China, which means that when I graduate I will have more advantages compared to graduates from other universities.

Professors would be invited to our class to talk about their research. For instance, when the topic was about the purpose of school, Michael Young came and had an excellent discussion with students; as a result we gained a deeper understanding of the required materials.  

Have you undertaken any networking opportunities either as part of your degree or outside of your studies?

I worked as an assistant at a primary school in London to help celebrate the Chinese New Year. This was the first time I involved in spreading Chinese culture to British students and witnessed the communications between two different cultures. 

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

In traditional Chinese classrooms, cooperative learning is not common. When I started this Master's, I had no idea how to learn in a group and I found it difficult to play a role within the group. Also, learning at UCL requires students to be able to learn independently. Before each class, there were some suggested reading materials. Only when I read these materials in advance could I really learn and understand during the class. 

What is it like studying in London?

As an international city, many talented people from all over the world are attracted to London. This increases cultural diversity and gives me opportunities to experience different cultures, as well as teaching me how to get along with people from different countries and to respect their cultures. Compared with other cities, London has various exhibitions and museums. It broadens my horizons and enriches my extra-curriculum life.

And finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your time at the IOE?

Studying at the IOE exercises my ability to be independent, autonomous and to accept multicultural knowledge. I have witnessed and experienced different learning styles and modes of thinking, so that I can consider what I can contribute to Education in the future. I will miss it here!