In September 2016, a three-day workshop on Improving Literacy Understanding Reading Development and Reading Difficulties across the Lifespan was co-hosted by Tianjin Normal University and University of Leicester. Find how Researcher Links Workshop has helped cemented a strong academic relationship between the two universities and their researchers.
The study of Reading Development is the study of how people progress as readers. Knowing the way people develop their reading skills is helpful when developing materials for specific type of readers of different languages. Funded by Researcher Links Workshop, Tianjin Normal University and University of Leicester, led by Professor Kevin Paterson and Professor Xuejun Bai, co-hosted a 3-day workshop on Improving Literacy Understanding Reading Development and Reading Difficulties across the Lifespan that brought a group of 39 early-career researchers in the field from more than twenty research institutions in China and the UK.
The workshop was aimed to promote high quality collaborations between UK and China research by enabling early career researchers from the UK and China to share research findings and ideas, to network, and ultimately to build sustainable collaborations. The workshop also aimed to highlight the challenges faced by different groups of readers, and contribute to providing a research base that can inform educational practice. The research topics were not only focused on reading development in Chinese and English, but also included key contributions from researchers examining the reading of minority languages in China, including Mongolian and Uyghur, and other key presentations considered how best to link research to educational practice.
The workshop has sparked effective links and collaborations on both individual and institutional levels. Many researchers across universities have been able to develop successful interactions with their peers from the other country, and some of such interactions have evolved to more opportunities of exchange, research proposals, projects, and even publications. Professor Kevin Paterson from University of Leicester and Dr QIngqing Qu from Chinese Academy of Sciences have submitted an international exchange application to the Royal Society on Ageing Effects in Speech Production in English and Chinese. Dr Rosa Kwok from Coventry University has developed a collaboration with Dr Jing Zhao from Capital Normal University to investigate reading skills in Chinese. This has resulted in a paper that has been accepted for publication in Frontiers in Psychology with the topic of Underlying skills of oral and silent reading fluency in Chinese: perspective of visual rapid processing. Based on the presentation Dr Nina Liu gave at the workshop, she has since been to visit Dr Chris Hand and Professor Kevin Paterson to prepare a grant application to National Natural Science Foundation of China to investigate children’s development of reading skills for Chinese. Researchers from both countries have also started to exchange PhD students, under the programme of China Scholarship Council or the PhD Placement Programme of Newton Fund. (See the full list of recent published work at the bottom of this story)
The workshop has also made a significant contribution to helping researchers develop strong collaborations between Tianjin Normal University, University of Southampton and University of Leicester. In particular, this helped underpin a successful application to establish an International Collaborative Eye Tracking Network (ICETraN) based at Tianjin Normal University. This will involve the Academy of Psychology and Behaviour and departments of Education, Linguistics, and Foreign Language Learning at Tianjin Normal University linked with our respective research groups at the University of Southampton and University of Leicester. This provides a platform for developing collaborations between the institutions, including funding for student and staff exchanges, and will form the basis of further applications for national-level collaborative funding. Please find the List of Published Work at the bottom of the webpage.