Po Li Tan
Honorary Lecturer in Higher Education
Dr Po Li Tan is an Honorary Lecturer in Higher Education in King’s Learning Institute. Her more than 20 years of teaching experience in higher education includes teaching in the American Degree Programme and the Australian Programme. She also taught in the Faculty of Education, University Technology MARA in Malaysia before joining KLI. The experience of working in 4 countries of 3 continents over the last 6 years has enriched her insights on cross-cultural issues. Her interest in cultural issues and human learning has led her to investigate the influence of cultural values on adult learners who were engaged with professional development programmes for her PhD study. She obtained her Doctorate in Educational Psychology from Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.
She also runs specific workshops such as 'Intercultural Teaching & Learning', 'Cross-Cultural Coaching' and 'Intercultural PhD Supervision'.
Po Li teaches on the Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (GCAP), the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), and the Postgraduate Diploma in Academic Practice (PGDip) programmes.
My teaching philosophy is shaped by the Chinese Middle Way philosophy (-¸ ) as well as my diverse experience of living and working in 4 countries of 3 continents over the last 7 years. I conceptualise teaching and learning as a ‘whole’, fluid and dynamic. They are never discrete or dichotomous (See Chen, 2002). My belief of teaching and learning is ‘harmonious- synergy’.
As much as learner-centred approach is advocated in Higher Education (HE), my research and more than 20-year experience of teaching in HE provides me with insights that are ‘balanced’ between teacher and learner-centred approach is enriching depending on contexts and learners (Pillay, 2002). Hence, my belief is that teaching and learning is often ‘negotiated’ between teachers and individual learners in order for the full potential of the learners to be unleashed (Rosinski, 2003). My cross-cultural research informs me that there is always ‘tension’ between the similarities and differences of individuals, of cultures and of learners that needs to be considered. These ‘tensions’ or differences in experiences and cultures should not be viewed as a challenge, rather, differences should be ‘celebrated’ and used as a resource or an opportunity for transcending diversity in HE.
Years of teaching adult learners and being an adult learner myself has made me aware of the criticality of synthesising theories and practice to make learning meaningful. Adult learners bring rich amount of life and work experiences which could provide the most powerful agents in integrating both theories and practice (Knowles, 1998). Thus, academic developer's like Warhurst (2006, p. p.116) argue that “The disciplinary diversity of participants within a community seemed to offer particular advantages in generating such high level pedagogic meaning…in particular through peer dialogue”. I believe that it is through these rich dialogues that thoughts and meanings can be cross-fertilised.
Lastly, globalisation and internationalisation of HE across the whole has driven me to ponder about ‘What is a globally competent university teacher and how do we become a globally competent university teachers?’. I shall leave you with these questions to reflect upon and I welcome responses and sharing of thoughts with you!
Chen, M.-J. (2002). Transcending paradox:The Chinese "Middle Way" perspective. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 19, 179-199. http://www.springerlink.com/content/4f3hv3g3vlpvb78m/fulltext.pdf
Knowles, M. (1998). The adult learner (5th ed.). Houston: Gulf Publishing Company.
Pillay, H. (2002). Understanding learner-centredness: Does it consider the diverse needs of individuals? Studies in Continuing Education, 24(1), 93-102.
Rosinski, P. (2003). Coaching across culture: New tools for leveraging national, corporate and performance differences. Boston, USA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Warhurst, R. P. (2006). "We really felt part of something": Participatory learning among peers within a university teaching-development community of practice. International Journal for Academic Development, 11(2), 111-122.
Research - King's Research Profile
Her current research interests are intercultural sensitivity development, intercultural pedagogy, cross-cultural coaching, adult learning, cross-cultural methodology and internationalisation of higher education.
Current Research Projects:
King's-Warwick Project - undertakes a fundamental review of undergraduate provision in partnership with employers, community representatives and students that will emphasise the research mission of HE institutions to develop capabilities that are essential for students in employment and as members of society. One of the key attributes is Global Connectedness where intercultural competence is emphasized. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/learningteaching/warwick/ This project is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
The Development of Cultural Awareness amongst Healthcare Professional Students to improve their interactions with both each other and patients in the field. This project is funded by College Teaching Fund (CTF).
Supporting Non-Local Teachers' at King's: Coaching from a Cross-Cultural Perspective. This project is funded by King's Learning Institute.
Innovation in Teaching, Learning and Research about culture in Health Sciences. This is a collaborative project with Monash University, Australia, Monash South Africa, Monash Malaysia and University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, USA with the aim of building intercultural capacity for global health education at Monash across campuses in three countries. This project is funded by Strategic Initiatives International Fund 2008.
Dr. Po Li, Tan is a qualified administrator for both the ‘Intercultural Development Inventory’ (IDI) http://www.idiinventory.com/ and ‘The Cultural Orientation Framework’ (COF). She has also completed Coaching Across Cultures Seminar 2009 http://www.philrosinski.com/pdf/2009%20CAC%20Oxford.pdf . She is a member of SIEATAR (The Society for Intercultural, Education Training and Research) UK http://www.sietar.org.uk/ , and a member of International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) ) http://www.iaccp.org/ .
Her passion in coaching and beliefs in developing future leaders/teachers have resulted in her involvement in volunteering coaching activity with Teach Coach http://www.teachfirst.org.uk
Publications - Full publications (pdf, 69KB)
Tan, P.L. (2010, January, online first ) Towards a culturally sensitive and deeper understanding of ‘rote-learning’ and memorisation of adult learners. Journal of Studies in International Education.
Tan, PL., Hay, D and Whaites, E (2009).The implementation of e-learning to the Radiological Science course within the Year 1 Dental and Hygiene Therapy programmes: A short-term longitudinal study—does it work? Journal of Dental Education.http://www.jdentaled.org/cgi/reprint/73/10/1202
Hay, D, Tan, PL and Whaites. (2010) Non-Traditional Learners in Higher Education: Comparison of multiple choice question exam and concept mapping to assess learning (in Dental Radiography Course). Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education Journal. 35(5).577-595.
Presentations - Full presentations (pdf, 55KB)
Tan, P.L. (2010). Keynote Address at Conference on ‘Research-Based Teaching. Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany and the University of Oldenburg. 3rd-5th November. Bremen, Germany.
Tan, P.L. (2010). Exclusive Seminar on Challenges and Strategies of Faculty Development in a Globalized World, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China. November 2010.
Tan, P. L. (2010).Internationalisation: Exploring pedagogical challenges and best practices of non-local university teachers in Higher Education. Internationalisation of the Curriculum Conference 2010: Internationalisation of the Curriculum for Global Citizenship: Policies, Practices and Pitfalls. 17th and 18th June 2010.Oxford Brookes University, Wheatley Campus, UK.