Enhancing Postgraduate Taught Students’ Engagement

A Storytelling Pedagogical Approach in Higher Education


  • Yiduo Wang University of Warwick
  • Zhizhuo Su University of Warwick
  • Di Wang University of Warwick




Storytelling Pedagogy, Postgraduate Taught Students, Student Engagement, reflection, constructivism


Postgraduate Taught Students are a significant part of our student community. To enhance their learning experience and facilitate their learning more efficiently, a storytelling pedagogical approach conducted by postgraduate teaching assistants (GTAs) could be a way to accelerate this process. Postgraduate researchers (PGRs) are important members of the Higher Education teaching community as they provide a unique perspective, from both students and teaching staff. Some of them have a fresh memory of their learning experiences and thus could better understand the students’ concerns. This paper reports the experience of PGRs and GTAs regarding sharing personal stories to help students understand and overcome their challenges in academic writing. The storytelling pedagogy in practice indicates a significant effect in supporting not only academic study but also students’ engagement and reflection. The usage of storytelling pedagogy also aids in the concept explanation of technical elements in texts by offering succinct and tangible instances, which assist students in developing their critical thinking skills and individualised understanding of factual material.  


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Author Biographies

Yiduo Wang, University of Warwick

Yiduo Wang is a PhD researcher from the Warwick Manufacturing Group. Her research is to investigate the effect of STEM outreach on secondary students’ attitudes towards STEM funded by the Lord Bhattacharyya Family Trust and in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering. Since December 2020, Yiduo has been working as a graduate teaching assistant for the module of Study, professional and analytical skills (SPA) to provide academic support for more than 1,000 WMG master students, including delivering seminars, running one-to-one mentor sessions, designing synchronous and asynchronous learning materials, and refining online Moodle platform. Yiduo holds an Associate Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy. 

Zhizhuo Su, University of Warwick

Zhizhuo Su is a second-year PhD student from the Intelligent Vehicle, WMG, University of Warwick, UK. He has received a bachelor’s degree in Vehicle Engineering from Jilin University, China, and a master's degree in Vehicle Engineering from Chongqing University, China. As a senior graduate teaching assistant, he hosted academic writing seminars, weekly drop-in mentoring sessions and designed synchronous and asynchronous curriculum (e.g., face-to-face tutorials and recorded video sessions) in the WMG module of Study, professional and analytical skills (SPA) for over 1000 postgraduate students. He is now focusing on the Analytical Stream of SPA and supporting students’ analytical skills with quantitative and qualitative methods. He holds an Associate Fellowship from the Advance HE (previous Higher Education Academy).

Di Wang, University of Warwick

Di Wang is a PhD researcher and belongs to the Energy Application Group of Warwick Manufacturing Group. His main research field is cell instrumentation, which provides technical support for the development and monitoring of a new generation of smart batteries. Di Wang has been working as a postgraduate teaching assistant for the Study, Professional and Analytical Skills (SPA) module since December 2020. He currently provides teaching support in qualitative and quantitative analysis to the SPA team, and provides diverse academic services to more than 1,000 WMG master students, including online and offline seminars or lectures, one-on-one offline tutoring for targeted students, development of synchronous and asynchronous learning materials to fully meet students' learning needs, etc. He also provided technical support for the upgrade and improvement of the SPA's online Moodle platform.