Experts called for greater understanding of children and tailored education at a recent forum held in Shanghai.
Liu Lili, a professor of pedagogy at East China Normal University and deputy director of the training center for secondary school principals at the Ministry of Education, said most parents are anxious about their children’s future development.
“Most of the anxiety comes from parents’ imagination of their children’s future,” she said. “We should learn to understand our children because each of them is unique, provide them with life experiences as abundant as possible to find out their advantages and potentials, and stimulate their internal impetus for learning by growing together with them.”
“There are a lot of uncertainties in the future, but the essence of education is certain no matter how special environments and technologies will change – education is meant to enable students to keep their hearts fulfilled and their spirits noble,” she added.
She said the ability to learn, to think and to imagine is more important than knowledge while cooperation is more important than competition.
“The difference between individual students will grow bigger in the future and educators should be tolerant to diverse children,” she said.
Technologies like big data can help schools develop tailored education for each child and provide different options for learning experience.
Xu Jian, president of the World Foreign Language Education Group, said education is not simply knowledge instillation but preparing children for the future.
“I would emphasize students’ ability of lifelong learning, respect and tolerance for others and the capability of bringing their ideas into actions,” he said.
Zhou Hong, from the admission office of NYU Shanghai, said talent needed in the future should not only be good at studies, they should also have curiosity for knowledge, sense of responsibility and the spirit of teamwork.
“To cultivate elites is not to cultivate bankers, entrepreneurs or politicians, but to cultivate leaders in different areas according to their characteristics,” he said. “Tailored education focuses on students’ uniqueness and interest, lets them do what they like and achieve their goals, and be a responsible person who can make contributions to society. In this way, they will succeed and be elites whatever they do.”
Li Yanping, founder of the Elite Education Group, said: “In the age of education reform, a lot of work and studies are being replaced by artificial intelligence, but personality, emotion and kindness can never be replaced. Future education should cultivate love, goodness, tolerance and confidence in children.”