I studied the MEd in Educational Policy, Leadership and Development at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol from 2006 to 2007. Whenever I think about Bristol, several pictures emerge in my mind: the harbour, friendly people and good teaching.
I loved to stroll alongside the harbour on a sunny day. The harbour offers so many interesting things and the floating harbour itself is a genius invention. It was constructed in 1809 to solve the problem created by the big tidal range. Now alongside the harbour, there are SS Great Britain (the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic), Arnolfini (the Centre for Contemporary Arts), the Architecture Centre, Watershed (the United Kingdom's first dedicated media centre) and the steam train. Bristol added to my academic life with the colour of history, culture and arts.
Not far from the harbour, Berkeley Square sits on top of the hill. It is home to the Graduate School of Education. The first time I entered the square was to attend the school’s orientation day. The orientation was given by a very friendly lady (later I discovered that she was Dr Elizabeth McNess). Her friendliness set the foundation for my experiences at Bristol. Everybody was very friendly, our tutors, administrators and librarians. It was also the first time I experienced one-to-one tutorials. In the first tutorial, my tutor, Michael Crossley, asked me whether I had settled down in Bristol. I was surprised because no professormhad asked me about my well-being before. Along the way, Michael not only guided me as a teacher but also supported me as a friend.
I do not have to stress the fact that people at Graduate School of Education undertake great research. What I want to point out is that they also do great teaching. In comparing my experience at the University of Bristol with other institutions in UK, I think Bristol has a very high standard of teaching. In an era that overemphasises research, good teaching is extremely precious. I found that most lectures I had were well organised and thought provoking.
The MEd at Bristol enabled me to continue on to become a current D.Phil candidate, in the Department of Education, at the University of Oxford.