Being a postgraduate student in PESS – Yueying Gong

I was born and educated in China. Now I am a first year Structured Education and Health Sciences PhD student in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick. My research topic is about professional learning needs of physical education teacher educators (PETEds) in China. PETEds have been the focus of research attention for close to three decades. However, similar research has been noticeably limited within the Chinese context. The concept of PETEds was very new, not only for me but also for other Chinese researchers. It drove me to take the flight to Ireland in August 2016 to begin my PhD studies with Professor Ann MacPhail and Dr. Ann-Marie Young. I am so happy to be a member of the Sport Pedagogy research group in PESS which has a strong international impact in this field.. It is an amazing experience for me to discuss different topics with members in the Sport Pedagogy reading club or group meetings and the opportunity to communicate with scholars from different countries has broadened my horizons.

The aim of the research is to investigate Chinese PETEds’ (i) life as a teacher educator, (ii) roles in teacher education and research, and (iii) professional learning opportunities. It will explore the reality of being a PETEd in the Chinese physical education teacher education system. The questionnaire in the study is based on a European-wide survey investigating teacher educators’ professional learning needs, was translated into Chinese and disseminated through contacts in Chinese universities and social media. Now I’m in the period of collecting data. After analysis, it’s interesting to make a comparison with the previous results.

The culture in Ireland is so different from China. What impressed me most is the staff in PESS and UL. My supervisors and colleagues in the office are so sound and friendly. They help and care about me a lot both in study and my life. It is a great experience studying in a multicultural environment. Ireland, in my mind, is like my second home. This month, I was successful in securing funding from the Chinese Scholarship Council with Professor Ann MacPhail’s strong support. I remain passionate about my research and the experiences and opportunities afforded to me in PESS, UL and Ireland.

Yueying Gong is a postgraduate student in the PESS Department here at the University of Limerick.

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