Open Journal of Social Sciences
2013. Vol.1, No.1, 5-12
Published Online February 2013 in SciR es (http://www.sci DOI:10.4236/jss.2013.11002
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
A Research on Quality Assurance in Arts Classroom Teaching
in Higher Education in China
Ping Huan g, Jing Chen, Wenjing Zhe ng
Faculty of Education, Sichu an Normal University, Ch engdu, Ch ina
Email: huangpingpingp@yahoo.,,
Received 2013
Classroom teaching is one of the most important aspects and links to assure quality in higher education.
Although there have been some theoretical discussions and research by Chinese scholars about how to
enhance the quality of classroom teaching in higher education, the experimental research of quality as-
sura nce in teachi ng is rarely seen. Based on an exp lorati on of the teaching-learning methods of the pres-
entation model, this article will provide evidence that interactive teaching styles, especially Presentation
Teac hing Methods , a re very eff ici ent in impr oving the qua li ty of art s class room teac hing i n higher educa-
tion. It will analyze the quality and quantity of the empirical knowledge, which includes consciously
chal lenging a uthor ity, a cademic res earc h compet enci es of c ritic al rea ding, c rit ical wr iting a nd some pr ac-
tica l abil i ties in findi ng, a na lyzi ng, sol ving p r obl ems and t ea m work . Final ly, i t will pr ovide s ome s ugges-
tions for qua lity assurance in classroom tea ching in hi gher educa tion.
Key words: Quality Assurance in Clas sroom Teaching; Analysis of Empirical K now ledge; Developing the
StudentsCompet encies; Interactive Teachi ng Styles
Ever since the Ministry of Education of China implemented
the new policy of rapidly expanding the enrollment of new
studentsin higher education in 1999, there is no doubt that the
quality of classroom teaching has declined due to a shortage of
lecturers, professors and teaching facilities including computers,
classrooms and libraries. The issue of gradually increasing
difficulties for graduates in finding jobs has appeared and be-
come very grave. Also, Qian Xuesheng, the well known scien-
tist posed this question eight times to Wen Jiabao, the Prime
Minister of China: “Why do universities in China not cultivate
excellence at all times?”The “Questioning of QianXuesheng”
pushes the quality assurance in higher education to the front of
the debate (The Ministry of Education Press Office&China
National Institute for Educational Research, 2010). Moreover,
in theEssentials of National Middle-Long-term EducationalRe-
form and Development Plan(2010-2020),the Chinese govern-
ment pointed out: “ improving quality is the co re task of educa-
tion reform and development”(Ministry of Education of Chi-
na,2010).Classroom teaching is one of the key aspects and links
to assure quality of education. Therefore, how to improve the
effectiveness of classroom teaching to guarantee higher educa-
tional quality becomes more necessary and important.
There are man ydiscussi ons about effect ive teach in g in h igh er
education by some Chinese scholars. However, most of them
focused on the general principles or theoretical discussion about
improving teaching efficiency. It is very rare to see research
about quality assurance using empirical research of classroom
teaching. This research project studied The Australian Higher
Education Quality Assurance Framework(Department of Edu-
cation, Training and Youth Affair, Australia, 2000) and found
that it is one of the vital criteriato evaluate higher education
qualityand whether the graduates could find satisfying jobs.
Qualit y assuran ce in classr oom teach ing emph asizes cu ltivati ng
the capabilities of learning and solving problems in order to
match the social demands to the students’ talents. It has been
found that during the process of quality assurance, the presenta-
tion teaching method is implemented extensively in higher
education in Australi a. For this reason , the research gro up con-
ducted a survey in several universities in Guangzhou and at
so me A rts Faculties in Sichuan Normal University, followed by
constructive experimental research in Arts Classes in Higher
Education, where the teaching method was changed from the
instructional model to the interactive model. This included
some academic research competencies of consciously chal-
lenging authority, critical reading and thinking, as well as the
competencies of dealing with social practical problems, such
asfinding,analyzing and solving practical problems.
The Current Situation in Arts Classroom
Teaching in Higher Education
Literary Review
The literature review indicated that the teaching ideas and
styles in universities still focuses on transmitting knowledge
rather than developing students’ abilities although China has
changed elite education into mass education. The predominant
educational philosophy is still teacher - centred in higher edu-
cation in China. Most lecturers and professors believe that de-
livering subject knowledge systematically is more important
than developing students’ abilities. Therefore, there is little
chance for students to improve their abilities, particularly those
of finding, analyzing, problem solving and creativity (Ma &
Liu, 2008; Li & Li, 2011). The lecturers are more concerned
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
with how to transform knowledge and cover all the knowledge
points. Homework and tests are focused on assessing the stu-
dents’ understanding and memory of the theories taught in the
classroom. Methods of assessing the efficiency of learning
usually consist of various types of closed-book exams. It is very
common to see lecturers talk continuously for almost the whole
class while students do their best to take notes as much as they
can in order to meet the various test requirements. This is the
same process as primary and middle schools(Song, 2011; Yi,
2010; Zhao &Guo J 2010).However, In 2007, the National
Bureau of Statistics of China issued a sampling survey, in
which the sampling fraction was 0.900 and the sample sur-
veyed waspeople above 6 years of age.This survey indicated
that only about 6.5% of Chinese peop le received higher ed uca-
tion(Huang, 2009). It indicated that China does not have too
many graduates. However,numerous companies have difficulty
in recruiting graduateswho have the desired abilities: find-
ing,analyzingand problem solving, and the ability to work coo-
peratively. This condition indicates a truth,which isthat the
instructional model of imparting knowledge does not satisfac-
torily match the human resources market demands.
A sampling survey of teaching styles in higher education was
conducted, which involved367Arts students in Zhongsan Uni-
versity, 63Arts students in Guangzhou University, 110 Arts
students in Guangzhou Traditional Chinese Medical University
and 321Arts students in Sichuan Normal university. These 861
students experienceddifferent learning styles. Table 1shows
71.8% of subjects are still taught by the dissemination of large
amounts of theories through transmission teaching styleswhich
neglects the cultivation of students’ abilities to apply those
theories (Huang, 2013). This leads to most students simply
learning and memorizing basic theories. The skills of finding,
analyzing and problem solving are not developed effectively in
many un iversities(Ma &Liu, 2008).
A sampling survey of teaching methods that undergraduates
would like to experience was conducted using the same res-
pondents. Creating a responsive atmosphere, guiding students
to join in and share knowledge and information was added as
option “E”. The survey showed that 77% of students chose
“E”.If add ed t o option “C”, there are 91% of students willing to
experience interactive teaching styles rather than the usual
transmission teaching style (Pie chart 1). No students chose
“D”. These two sampling surveys display that on one hand,
transmission-teaching styles are applied in most Arts classes
(Table 1), and on the other hand, undergraduates wish to expe-
rience interactive teaching styles (Huang, 2013)
Educational Essence, Quality and Goal
Jia Fuming, an educationalist from Taiwan, pointed out that
the essence of education is the answer to why we teach(Jia,
2007). In theEssentials of National Middle-Long -term Educa-
tionalReform and Development Plan (2010-2020), it stated:
“education should be people-centered, this is the fundamental
requirement for educators, … it is the fundamental standard for
judging the quality of education to facilitate people’s compre-
hensive development and adapt tothe demands of socie-
ty”(Ministry of Education of China,2010).This supports the
tenet that high quality education embodies facilitating people’s
comprehensive development in order to match societal devel-
opment. If higher education could emphasize various methods
of development of students’ potential and practical skills to
realize their theoretical knowledge and satisfy the needs of the
human resources market, i.e. graduates with the skills of learn-
ing, studying, finding, analyzing and solving problems, and
team cooperation, the quality of students entering the workforce
would improve as the q uality of the class room teachin g catered
to their needs.
Notes:A. Lecturers talking, students listening; B. Lecturers talking, ques-
tioning little, students listening; C. Lecturers talking, questioning more,
studen ts listen in g &answe r lit t le; D. Lect urers t alkin g, cont inu al qu esti onin g,
requiring students answers, students join in actively; E. Creating a respon-
sive atmosphere, guiding students to join in and sharing knowledge and
information. Respondents861 Art Undergraduates
Chart 1.
Percentage of learning styles that undergraduates would like to experi-
enc e.
Tabl e 1.
Rankings of learning styles experienced by undergraduates.
A.Lecturers talking,
Students listening
B.Lecturers talking,
questioning little,
Students listening
C.Lecturers talking, ques-
tioning m o r e, Students listen-
ing & answering a little
D.Lecturers talking, continual
questioning requiring student
answers, Students join in actively
1 71.8% 20.44% 7.6% 0
2 14.9% 76.08% 9.02% 0
3 7.6% 2.28% 82.24% 7.88%
4 5.48% 1.2% 1.2 92.12%
Respondents861 art under graduates (H uang, 2013 ).
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Classroom teaching in universities is a process that assists
students to develop and improve their abilities and quality of
life. The goal of teachin g is to p repare stu dent s for their career s
and the needs of daily life(Hativa, 2010). It is more important
that ed u cation devel op s und ergrad u ates’ cap ab ili ties of learn in g,
studying, finding, analyzing and solving problems, and team-
work rather than just transforming knowledge. It means wis-
dom is more important than knowledge and the process of
teaching is more important than the result(Yuan, 2007).This
experimental research focused on developing the willingness to
challenge authority, building up a method of critical thinking,
improving the competencies of academic research and creativ-
ity, training the skills of finding, analyzing and solving prob-
lems and the ability of teamwork by subject knowledge, which
is the carrier, and interactive teaching styles, which are an ap-
ResearchMethodology and Samples
Based on theliterary review, sampling surveys and the dis-
cussion on the essence of education, quality of education and
the goal of classroom teaching in higher education, we intro-
duced presentationsand interactive teaching styles to several
groups of students at Sic huan Normal University.
This res earch app lied a pred ominately construct ivist paradigm
combined with a pragmatic paradigm. The researchers and
students worked together to create effective teaching and
learning. In this research, a sample survey method was used,
which questioned the efficiency of the teaching styles before
and after completion of constructive research from the experi-
mental and contrast student groups, followed by data and in-
formation collection. Observation and filming of the presenta-
tion performance and the students’ performance in class was
conducted. A teacher - student interview was organized, which
was unstructured like a conversation, or a discussion (Mertens,
386) to gain more details (Denzen& Lincoln, 2005). Contrast-
ing comparison methods, which compared the changes between
the experimental group and contrast group students, and ahis-
torical comparison, which compared changes before and after
the exper iment were used.
Research Samples
The empirical researchsamples were chosen from undergra-
duates in years two and year three in the Faculty of Education
atSich uan Normal Univers ity. Ea ch semester, t wo classes t otal-
ing around one hundred students were selected as subject- par-
ticipants. Firstly the experimental group who were taught using
the interactive teaching style and secondly, the contrast group
students who were taught using a traditional transmission
teaching style.
The research wascon duct ed over three semester s invo lving an
experimental group of 158 st udents and a contrast group of 150.
It was conducted in the Leadership Psychologycourse from
March t o July 2009, with 61 experimen tal students and 50 con-
trast students. The second research was conducted from Sep-
tember 2009 to January 2010, in the OrganizationalBehavior in
Education cour sewith 51 experi mental students and 50 contrast
students, followed in September 2010 through to January 2011
in the OrganizationalBehavior in Educationcourse with 46
experimental students and 50 contrast students.
The Res ea rch Proced u res
The empiricalresearch in tr odu ced several in ter active teach in g
styles that suited the new teaching ideals into the experimental
groups, especially Presentation Teaching Methods and group
classroom discussion.
The Questionnaires Before the Experiment
In the second week of the semester, the questionnairesrelat-
ing to which abilities had been trained and how much ability
had been improved were conducted in the experimental group
and contrast group (Table 2).
Table 2.
Degreesof improv ing between experimental and contrast group students b efore the experim ent.
ImprovingResearch Marked Much Some A little No
DimensionalitySamples Improvement ImprovementImprovementImprovementImprovement
1. Challenging A 0 007/4.4% 151/95.6%
Authority B 0 0 1/0.6% 8/5.34% 141/94%
2. CriticalA0 004/2.5% 154/97.5%
ReadingB0 005/ 3.3%145/96.7%
3. Critical A0 006/3.8% 152/96.2%
Thinking B0 005/3.3%145/96.7%
4.FindingA0 014/8.9%134/84.8%10/6.3%
Problems B0 5/3.3%9/6%121/80.7%15/10%
5.Analyzing A0 6/3.8%26/16.4% 126/79.7%0
Problems B0 8/5.3%23/15.3%119/97.3% 0
6.Solving A0 011/7%147/93%0
Problems B0 012/8%138/92%0
7.TeamworkA0 009/5.7% 149/94.3%
B0 0010/6.7%140/93.3%
Note: A: 158 Exper imenta l group students’ a nswer (introd uced interact ive teaching st yles) B: 150 Contrast group st udents’ a nswer (without introduced interactive teach-
ing styles)
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
The research found that both the experimental and contrast
group, were very weak. 94.8% of respondents believed they had
no improvement in challenging authority, 96.7% of respondents
could not improve their abilities of critical reading and thinking,
87.9% of respondents had little improvement in the competen-
cies of finding, analyzing and solving problems, and 93.8% of
respondents did not improve their competence of teamwork. No
responders showed a marked improvement in any of the above
aspects, and only 3.3% and average 4.55% of responders had
much improvement in finding and analysing problems. This
indicated a great weakness in cultivating the capabilities that
society needs using the traditional transmission teaching meth-
ods. The difference of improvement between the experimental
group and contrast group students was very small.
The Process of the Experiment
We implemented the experimental researchin the course un-
itsfortwo periods per week that, totaling twenty-six periods
each semester.
An Introduction of Educational P hilosophy and Teaching
Me thods
In the first period, the philosophy, goals, teachers’ roles in
the classroom and Group Presentation method was introduced
to the exp er imental class s tudents. This included:
Understanding the Philosophy of Classroom Teaching
Developing students’ comprehensive abilities is more im-
portant than the transmission of knowledge. Teaching know-
ledge is a platform for cultivating students’ abilities. The pur-
pose of education is to train students various abilities through
engaging th em to participate in the t eaching-learning activities,
which are preparing, presenting, answering questions and as-
sessing other students’ presentations. The consequence is that
they actively explore and discover knowledge.
Understanding the Goal of Classroom Teaching
Firstly, help the students to understand why the y need to
form ahabit of consciouslychallenging academic authority and
to improvetheir critical thinking.
Secondly, how to developcompetencies in academic re-
search, which include learning how to research academic in-
formation, how to develop opinions by critical reading and
critical thinking.
Thirdly, training students’to apply theoretical knowledge,
which includes: finding issues from society, identifying social
problems, analyzing these problems by applying theories and
finally finding solutions to those issues.
Finally, teach the students how to produce PPT presenta-
tions, working in groups and practicing teamwork.
Understanding of the Teachers’ Role in the Classroom
As the ed ucator Dewe y pointed out, teach ers are partici pants
in the learning process. Their task is guiding students to dis-
cover the contents of the field independently(Dewey, 1897).
Therefore, teachers are suppliers and guiders. They offer vari-
ous kinds of learning skills and methods, and updatedinforma-
tionin the classroom. So, a mailbox was set up for students and
teachers sharing information, opinions and articles in the expe-
rimental groups.
The Composition of Student Assessment
In order to objectively assess students’ comprehensive com-
peten cies, the assess ment d ivid es int o different part s and stages,
which include 5% for attendance, 5% for classroom debating,
10% for group classroom discussion, 30% for group presenta-
tion and 50% for final essay.
Building up the Ability to Consc iously Chal lenge
Academi c Authority
From the second period, lecturers started to guide the stu-
dents in how to point out inadequacies in the textbook or the
teacher’s explanations, and then encouraged them to share t heir
thoughts with the class. As well as giving topics for discussion
in the classroom to be presented by each student in two weeks,
students were offered ten study cases to choose from for their
group presentation to be presented, beginning in four weeks,
one group a week.
Experiment of Group Di scussion
In the third period, lecturers started to guide the studentsto
formstudy groups based on their interest in the offered cases
and considering factors such as gender and student leaders in
order to assure the optimal combination and effectiveness of the
teams. Every group had 5-6 students. After selecting a team
leader, students sat together with team members and completed
the group discussion together in the classro om at all times. The
group’s score is the individual’s score. The pr ocedures are:
Group members researched individually on the topic they
chose before the classroom discussion
Students discuss for twenty minutes and lecturers observe
and listen to them
Each group chooses one representative to state in five
minutes, the key points of the topic and to sum up their opin-
Lecturer makes a comment to each group statement ac-
cording to performance of members, academic terms used and
the level of theoretical analysis during the d iscussion
Lecturer gives the group score immediately.
Experiment on Group Presentati o n
The lectur er provides a list of casesrelati ng to the knowledge
of this subject. After each gr oup selects a case, t hey collect an d
critically read the relevant information and theories from aca-
demic books, journals and online academic papers. Then, to
build up their own views and opinions they look for supporting
theo r ies, analyzing the practical problems in the case. This is
followed by discussion of the case with team members and
developing a presentation essay using power point. Finally, all
the members of the group will conduct a presentation in the
classroom. Group’s score is the individual’s score.
The Prepar a t io n of Gr oup Pre s e ntati on
Choosing topic together from the offered list of cases
Distributing the task to group members
Members individually research the basic information
about the company in the case study
Members discussion: contributing the findings, what the
problems and issues are, what could be improved and what
theories were used to support the solution
Students form outline of presentation
Lecturer discusses the outline with student groups and
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
offers suggestions
Group members work together to improve the contents of
presentation essay and produce Power Point presentation.
Gr oup Pres e nt ing
The group presents their PPT to their classmates for thirty
minutes, each member speaking no less than four minutes
Answering questions created by classmates for fifteen
Group hand in their presentation essay and Power Point
Assessment from other Groups and Lecturer
Other student groups will take ten minutes to assess the
group presentation. They evaluate the presentation performance
according to the Evaluation Criterion supplied by the lecturers.
The students will hand in their assessments immediately after
Teacher’s comments for twenty five minutes include:
a. Individual performance
b. The quality of Power Point
c. Clarity of the issues and problems, how accurately the
theories match the case, the logicality of analysis and integri-
tyof the presentation.
Giving suggestions, relevant theories and research meth-
Encouraging other student groups to develop different
Questionnaires after Experiment
In order to ascertain the effectiveness of teaching-learning
methods to improve abilities, a comparison questionnaire was
conducted in both the experimental group and the contrast
group at the end of th e semester(see T able 3). The P aired S am-
ples Test for the experimental student group showing the de-
gree of abili ty improve mentwas do ne before an d after the expe-
riment. Fr om Table 4, it can be seen that students in the expe-
rimentalgroup presented a remarkable difference (p<0.001) in
seven dimensionalities before and after the experiment. This
indicated that the students’ abilities in these seven as-
pectsshowed a notable improvement attributable to the training
Table 3.
Degrees of improv ement between ex perimental and c ontrast grou psafter the exp eriment.
Improving Research Marked Much Some A little No
Dimensionality Samples Improvement ImprovementImprovementImprovementImprovement
1. Challenging A 42 / 26.5%
56 / 35.4% 37 / 23.4% 12 / 7.5%
Authority B 6/4% 9/6% 6/4% 57/38%
2. Critical A 83/52.5% 36/22.7% 25/15.8% 14/8.8% 0
Reading B 0 0015/10% 135/90%
3. Critical A 67/42.4% 41/2
5.9% 26/16.6% 24/15.1%
Thinking B 0 6/4% 12/8% 12/8%
4. Finding A 88/5
5.6% 48/30.6% 16/10.1% 6/3.7%
ProblemsB 6/4% 6/4% 9/6% 18/12%
5. Analyzing A 89/56.3% 43/27.2% 22/14% 4/2.5% 0
Problems B 21/14% 36/24% 66/44% 27/18%
6. Solving A 92/58.2% 5/28.4% 20/12.6% 1/0.6% 0
ProblemsB 6/4% 12/8% 24/16% 84/56% 24/16%
7. Team work A 127/80.4% 25/15.8% 6/3.8% 0 0
B 0 5/3.3% 26/17.3% 91/60.7% 28/18.7%
A: 158 Experimental group students’ answer (introduced interactive teaching styles). B: 150 Contrast group students’ answer (without introduced interactive teaching
Table 4.
T Test for paired sample of experimental groups (N=158).
Contents of Improvin g M SD T
1. Challenging authority
2. Cr it ic al reading
3. Cr it ic al thi nking
4. Finding problems
5. Analyzing problems
6. Sol ving pr obl ems
7. Team work
-2.627 1.154
-3.165 1.009
-2.911 1.119
-2.367 0.752
-2.082 0.773
-2.373 0.736
-3.722 0.528
Note ***represent for p<0.001
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Observation of Students’ Performance
Each experimental group’s presentation wasvideoed. The
video sho wed th at as th e experi ment pr oceed ed, the l ater st uden t
groups showed greater improvement in the seven aspects than
the prior groups.Contrasting the performance between the first
and final group’s presentations, the final group’s presentation
was noticeably better than the first one.
Several students were interviewed a year after th e experiment
was completed. The feedback indicated that students learned
many skills from the interacti ve teach in g styles, especi all y from
the group presentation, which they wereable to apply to other
subjects and social activities.
Analysis of Experiment Results
The experiment involved three classes over a period of two
years. At the end of the semester, asurveyof the experimental
groupstudents indicated that various kinds of competencies,
such as summarizing issues, presenting skills, critical reading
and thinking,finding, analyzingand solving problems, ques-
tioning and debating in the classroom had improved. It also
showed thatthese students liked the interactive teaching style.
86.05% liked small groupdiscussion and 81.40% likedgroup-
presentation. Comparing the results with traditional transmis-
sion teaching styles, 91.7% of experimental groupstudents
chose P resentat ion Teaching M ethods as their pr eferred method
of learning.
Historical Comparison
The improvement in competence between groups before and
after implementing the new teaching styles has been substan-
tiatedby questionnaire data.
Improvement in Consciously Cha llenging Academic Au-
thority, Criti cal Reading and Thinking
It can be seen (Table 5) that there was an improvement of
consciously challenging authority from 95.6% of students with
No Improvement to 26.5% of studentswith Marked and 35.4%
with Much Improvement, totalling more than 60%.Similarly,
more than 75% of students in critical reading and more than
68% of students in critical thinking showedMarked and
MuchImprovement.Notably, most of them improved in chal-
lenging authority. From the recorded video, it can be found that
after the first group presentation, no studentshad questions, but
most actively and conscientiously took notes. Gradually, more
and more students began to question actively, to debate points
with classmates, and seek clarification ofthe lecturer’s evalua-
tion ofthe group presentations. As the experiment went by,
students questioned and debated more and more vigorously,
always within th e rules and style o f academic debating.
Developmentof the A bility to Find, Analyze and S o lve
Although the survey prior to the experiment showed (Table
5) that ability to find, analyze and solve problems was better
than consciously challenging authority, critical reading and
thinking, it also showed that 93.7% of students improved at
finding problems.However, 84.4% have A Little Improvement,
and there was no improvement at th e Marked and Much levels.
In improvement of analyzing problems, only 3.8% of students
improved at theMuchlevel and 79.7% of students showedA
Little Improvement. Similarly in the ability to solve problems,
93% of students improved A Little. All t hese dat a indicat ed that
the students could not improve their ability to find, analyze and
solve problems effectively under the traditional teaching-
learning methods.
However, it can be seen fro m The Pai red Samples Test (Ta-
ble 4) that the students had an obvious improvement in their
ability to find, analyze and solve problems after implementation
of interactive teaching methods, where group presentation was
the dominating factor. Moreover, Table 5 indicates that the
percentage of students who showedMarked Improvement in
finding, analyzing and solving problems was 55.6%, 56.3% and
58.2%, and the percentage who showedMuch Improvementwas
30.6%, 27.2% and 28.4%. No studentsshowedNo Improvement.
Table 5.
Degrees of improv ement between before and af ter the ex periment in the experimentalgrou ps.
Improving Research Marked Much Some A little No
Dimensionality Samples Improvement ImprovementImprovementImprovementImprovement
1. Challenging A 0 007/4.4% 151/95.6%
Authority A’ 42 / 26.5% 56 / 35.4% 37 / 23.4% 12 / 7.5% 11/6.9%
2. Critical A0 004/2.5%154/97.5%
ReadingA’ 83/52.5% 36/22.7% 25/15.8% 14/8.8% 0
3. Critical A0 006/3.8% 152/96.2%
Thinking A’ 67/42.4% 41/25.9% 26/16.6% 24/15.1% 0
4.Finding A 0 014/8.9%134/84.8%10/6.3%
ProblemsA’ 88/55.6% 48/30.6% 16/10.1% 6/3.7% 0
5.Analysing A0 6/3.8%26/16.4%126/79.7%0
Problems A’ 89/56.3% 43/27.2% 22/14% 4/2.5% 0
6.Solving A0 011/7%147/93%0
Problem A’ 92/58.2% 45/28.4% 20/12.6% 1/0.6% 0
7.TeamworkA0 009/5.7% 149/94.3%
A’ 127/80.4% 25/15.8% 6/3.8% 0 0
Note: A: 158 Experimental class s tudents ’ answer before exper ime nt. A’ : 158 Exper imental class students’ answer after experi ment
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
In or der to calculate th e degree of improvementi n the abili ty
to find, analyze and solve problems after the experiments,we
chose the case study essays from the first two Group’s Presen-
tations. We then collected the students’ individual final essays,
which werest ill in the case st udy st yle,at the en d of experi ment,
and compared them with their group presentation essays.We
found that 93.3% of students were able to solve 90% of the
problems presented in the case study, 76.7% of students were
able to analyze the problems theoretically and present solutions,
followed by13.3% who recommendeda r easonable solution.
After the experiment, most students were able to systemati-
cally anal yze the case stud y by using logic and theories relat ed
to the course units,forming their own opinions and solutions.
They were also able to respond to questions and participate in
debat es wit hclassmates.
A Marked Improvement in Teamwor k
Before the experiment, the questionnairesshowed that 94.3%
of students showed No Improvement and 5.7% showedLittle
Impro vem ent in teamwork. However, after the experiment, the
percentage of students who showedMarked, Much and Some
improvement were 80.4%, 15.8% and 3.8%, which means
100% of students had varying degrees of improvement. These
improvementswerealso confirmed by conducting a detailed
interview. Most students realized the importance of communi-
cation and cooperation when working in a group. Moreover,
they realized they should communicate and cooperate with
group members althoughthey may have time restraints imposed
by a busy university study regime and sometimes,marked dif-
ferencesin personal opinions and attitudes. They learned how to
respect each other’s opinions and achieve a common view
through academic arguments. They said, “ It waspainfulbut
happy during the experimental procedure”. Not only the ability
to cooperate has been learned from it but also some valuable
teamwork skills.
Contrasting Comparison
As discussed above, before the experiment the difference
between the experimental groups and contrast groupswas very
small. Under the traditional teaching-learning methods pres-
ently being practiced, the abilities which today’s society re-
quires, of finding, analyzing and solving problems are anun-
dervalued and mostly ineffective area of the curriculum. Both
students’ ability to consciously challenge authority and the
academic competencies of critical reading and thinking appear
are weak.
After the experi ment, th e surve yover thr ee semester s sho wed
that ther e was a marked differen ce bet ween cont rast group s and
experimentalgroups on seven dimensions (Table 3), which
includeconsciously challenging authority, critical reading and
thinking, finding, analyzing and solving problems, as well as-
teamwork. Th e percentages of impr ovement in the experimental
groups are much higher than in the contrast groups. Firstly,
61.9% of exp erimentalgroupstudents achievedMarked and
MuchimprovementinChallenging authority, comparedwith 10%
in the contrast groups.On the aspects of critical reading and
thinking, experimental students improved 52.5% inMarked
degree and 42.4% in Much degree, while the contrast students
showed no improvement in these two aspects in Much degree.
Moreover, if we con sid erMarked and Much improvement, mo r e
than 83% of the experimental groups’ students showed im-
provement inproducingsolutions and finding and analysing
problems, compared with the contrast group with 38% im-
provement foranalyzingproblems, followed by 12% for produ-
cingsolutions and 8%forfinding problems. In addition, the dif-
ference in teamwork becomes very obvious, where 80.4% of
the experimental students improved Marked compared with
zero in the contrast students.
The Chi-squareTest shows the number of improved students
in both theexperimental and contrast groups (Table 3-4).The
out comes clearly indi cateanobvious difference (p<0.01); that in
the seven dimensions observed, the students in the experimen-
talgroupsshowed greater improvement than those in the contrast
Other Outcomes
Contribution to Social Activities
The students in the experimental groups in 2009 achieved
high results in the university-run competition of Excellent Class,
for utilizing the skills they acquired during the process of re-
searching and compiling information for their group presenta-
tion. They believe this is because their ability to comprehend
and professionally present their findings had been cultivated by
the interactive teaching-learni ng methods .
Table 6.
Diff erence of the degree of impr o v ementbetween experimental a n d contrast groups af ter the ex periment χ2.
1. Challenging authority
2.Critical reading
3.Critical thinking
4.Fin ding problems
5.A naly z ing pr obl e ms
6.S olvingproblems
7.Te am work
P.S**represent for p<0.01.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Skills Learned
The experimental group students took part in peer-group as-
sessment, allotting grad es to classmates. F rom this they learned
how to evaluate each other’s work and gained a deeper under-
standing of the requirements of group presentation, enabling
them to enhance the quality of their performance in the class-
room. Moreover, the students could now confidently respond to
questions from and debates with classmates using theories and
knowledge gained through the presentation teaching-learning
methods. Students also acquired the skill of making a Power
Point production.
Appropri at e Amount of Presentations
The presentation teachin g-l ear ning methods received positive
feedback, but that does not mean that students should necessar-
ily be taught using this method alone. Results of interviews
with students in Lingnan College of Zhongshan University,
suggested that, although they like the method, they would pre-
fer it for no more than four subjects each semester. This is be-
cause the presentations will consume more of their time and
energy than traditional teaching methods, time which is not
available for those who have more than five courses in one
semester in Chinese universities.
It has been stated that undergraduates could gain higher qual-
ity learning through interactive teaching-learning methods.
These include transferring course and subject knowledge as a
carrier, conducting presentations and discussions, creating an
environment where students are engaged, encouraging under-
graduates to participate in class activities, and finally, creating
posi tive interact ion between lecturers and stud ents and allowing
stud ents to take an active part in their learning.
Moreover, every student in the experimental groups com-
pleted at least five evalu ations of ot her group presen tations and
a series of questioning and debating sessions with classmates,
as well as their own presentation and peer assessment. These
repeated experiences reinforced and improved the students’
ability to produce a clear and concise presentation. Through this
experience, their ability to consciously challenge authority and
read and think critically, had been gradually improving. It also
gave incen ti ve to stu dent s to enhance th eir abi lities o f acade mic
researching and writing, creating and innovation. In addition,
the experimental group students’ expertise in finding, analyzing
and solving problems by applying academic theories was pre-
dominant. Through this method, the efficiency of classroom
teaching could increase and improved quality would be ensured.
In this way, the undergraduates not only learn the knowledge,
but also the methods of practical application of that knowledge,
through this, the requirements of the human resources market
are being trained and cultivated. The newly developed abilities
would provide a strong basis for undergraduates’ daily life and
career in thefuture.
However, it is desirable to have a comfortable balance be-
tween both teaching methods, and lecturers are best placed to
assess when, and with which classes interactive teaching is
appropriate. The extra workload imposed on students and lec-
turers and the sudden increase in PPT or similar presentations
needs to be considered.Both methods can be employed concur-
rently and flexibly to maintain a positive and continual im-
provement in the overall education of students.
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