The top achiever of mathematics education in PISA assessments, known as the “Shanghai Maths,” is now shifting gears and adding creativity and play to the learning program. On the initiation of the Training Center of the National Institute of Education Sciences, the Sino-European Community of Intellectual Development is connecting top educational experts from China and Europe to exchange best thinking development practices in various forms of collaboration. Experience Workshop Global STEAM Network was invited among the first organizations to this emerging community which will soon debut with lectures and demonstrations in Beijing at the anniversary congress of the thinking development program of the Training Center of the National Institute of Education Sciences.
The 21st century is the century of problem-solving. The Training Center of the National Institute of Education Sciences made significant investments to boost thinking skills combining current approaches and tools of computational thinking with the ancient Chinese cultural heritage and real-world applications of logic.
The National Institute of Education’s Training Center belongs under the auspices of the Chinese Ministry of Education. It is a comprehensive education training organization which integrates educational training, research supervision and consultation. The Center likes to “jump out of the box” with its approach to training, creating practical, operational and experiential programs in collaboration with renowned schools such as the Peking University, the Tsinghua University, the Renmin University of China and the Beijing Normal University. These partnerships help to provide better training in areas such as strategic thinking, leadership, practical operations, innovative management, resources integration. In addition, the Center provides methodological and professional training for researchers on cutting-edge theory, practical observations and behaviour consciousness.
The overall goal is to awaken children’s curiosity, engage them in thinking development activities to raise a new generation of problem-solvers who are not only successful test-solvers in the school, but are able to react quickly and implement out-of-the-box solutions in real-life situations as well.
Introduction to the thinking skill development program:
Instead of providing routine tasks, teachers present open-ended problems to the students in logic games. This is one of the critical components of the new Chinese approach. Gameplay is constantly analyzed, winning strategies are discussed, and learners reflect both on their own and on others’ thinking and playing methods as part of the learning process.
A pedagogy based on problem-solving focuses on reasoning, and the toolkits available for play promote curiosity, imagination, inventiveness, and learning by doing. Pupils are encouraged to use their imagination to find creative solutions and to cross existing boundaries.
The core of the innovation is that teachers would like to “inspire students to be interested in learning and have perseverance in searching for the solution,” – said Deng Yonggang, the director of the Training Center of the National Institute of Educational Science. The new system’s real strength is professional development in order to encourage teachers to innovate and explore to improve teaching efficiency and quality.
Li Jiajun, a researcher at the Training Center demonstrated the inherent connection between logic and Chinese characters.
Li Fuping, headmaster of the Chaoyang Primary School of the Capital Normal University, described the engaging power of real-world problems and the trial and error method, which students need to implement together in order to work their way through to the solutions.
Dr. Kristóf Fenyvesi, Experience Workshop’s founder, in cooperation with EICP (European International Cooperation Promotions), gives a plenary lecture at the conference to introduce leading projects in Experience Workshop’s network, including current thinking development Erasmus+ programs, Ferenc Arató’s cooperative learning methods, Sándor Róka’s problem-solving pedagogy, Diego Lieban’s thinking skills fab lab, and more. János Saxon-Szász’ Poly-Universe thinking development toolkit is introduced at the conference as an invited lecture as well.
Experience Workshop Network members Professor Zsolt Lavicza (Johannes Kepler University Linz) and Dr. Andrea Capozucca (University of Camerino – Labilia) greet in the videos below the initiation of the Sino-European Community of Intellectual Development:
We thank Maxi Zoltan Marton for the artistic production of the Poly-Universe video.