Dr Wei Zhang

Dr Wei ZhangLecturer in Education

MA (Warwick), PhD (Manchester)

Tel: 0116 229 7506
Email: wz24@le.ac.uk

Personal details

MA (Warwick), PhD (Manchester)

I joined the University of Leicester, School of Education in 2008 from Liverpool John Moores University where I worked as a research associate within the Faculty of Education, Community and Leisure. I started my academic career as a lecturer in the English language at HoHai University in China between 2000 and 2003. Thereafter, I studied at the University of Warwick to achieve the MA in Educational Management and was awarded PhD from the University of Manchester.

I am committed to supporting the University’s significant number of international postgraduate students. Having completed my MA and PhD as an international student, I appreciate the difficulties of conceiving academic practice as a non-native speaker of English. I am, therefore, determined to address international students’ learning needs to ensure diversity and differentiation in teaching and concomitantly, help them establish successful learning journeys at the University of Leicester. I am committed to conducting innovative research and delivering inspiring teaching.

Teaching

Before coming to England in 2003, I taught English in a well-respected university in China. Since joining the University of Leicester, I have gained extensive experience of lecturing and supervising students at undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral level on topics ranging from educational leadership and management, culture, power and social justice as well as research methods in education.

Currently, I teach the following modules at the School of Education:

MA in International Education (Programme leader) (Campus-based and distance learning)

  • Contemporary Issues in Education (ED7310)
  • Research methods (ED7311)
  • Leadership and Social Justice in Education Pathway (pathway leader) (ED7309 and ED7321)

MA in Education: Learning and Teaching (Blended learning)

  • Developing Leadership in Education (course leader) (ED7132 and ED 7133)
  • Professional Enquiry (EDX045)

MSc in Educational Leadership (Distance Learning)

  • Organisational Effectiveness, Improvement and Transformation (module leader) (ED 7588)

I also supervise doctoral students within my research interests. Virtually all of the full-time postgraduates and many of the distance learning ones are international students. Having completed an MA and PhD as an international student myself, I really appreciate how challenging it can be to master a different type of academic practice to the one one has grown up with. I have a good grasp of their needs and can provide a high level of differentiation in my teaching.

I have developed a positive and nurturing teaching and supervisory style which my colleagues and students have rated highly in peer observations, module evaluations and student-staff council meetings. I have encouraged the strongest of my master’s students to continue to doctoral study and, to date, 18 of them have done so in five universities across the UK.

In the past five years, I have developed innovative pedagogies with colleagues within the department to address DL students' needs and provide them with flexible and high quality learning experiences. E-learning and blended learning have also been integrated into the full-time, campus-based programme. Discussion boards, wikis, narrated PowerPoints, and webinars are widely used to facilitate independent learning; lecture capture tools (e.g. Echo 360) and online assessments are also employed to help students revise and to enable them to receive timely and high-quality feedback.

Publications

Selected recent publications

  • Zong, X. H. and Zhang, W. (2015) ‘Education Master’s Students’ Research Orientation and Learning Experience in Quantitative Methods and Statistics Courses’, Journal of Postgraduate Education (in Chinese).
  • Zhang, W. and Brundrett, M. (2011) ‘Developing primary leadership in England: beyond the positivist perspective’, Education 3-13, 39 (1): 5-20.
  • Zhang, W. and Brundrett, M. (2010) ' School Leaders’ Perspectives on Leadership Learning: the Case for Informal and Experiential Learning', Management in Education, 24(4): 154-158.

Full listing of publications

Research

My research to date can be categorised into two strands: one strand centres on leadership, leadership development, and educational governance in relation to the disjuncture between education administrators’ espoused policy and school practitioners’ enacted practice; the other strand focuses on quantitative methods teaching and learning and educational policy studies in China using quantitative methods. Both strands contribute to understanding and modifying locally contextualised development of educational practice.

Being bilingual enables me to understand carefully-written Chinese policy documents and academic journal articles and to appreciate all the nuances and subtleties that get lost in translation. I am also acutely aware of all the unspoken rules and cultural norms that underpin so much professional dialogue in Chinese university seminar rooms and government offices. I benefit from excellent professional contacts and networks because of my previous academic career. The research partnerships I have established with two elite Chinese university Departments of Education grant me access to key policymakers and stakeholders. There are opportunities for government level collaboration in relation to CPD, research capacity-building, and organisational learning.

Research projects

Supervision

I am interested in supervising topics related to my research interests which include:

  • School leadership development
  • Cross-cultural investigations of schooling and school leadership
  • The impact of educational policies on children, families and schools
  • Establishing and enhancing international partnerships
  • Understanding and evaluating school university partnership
  • Teaching and learning research methods
  • Understanding locally contextualised educational practice and policies in China

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School of Education
University of Leicester
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Telephone: 0116 252 3688

Email: EducationDept@le.ac.uk

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