Program to help bolster educational progress


East China Normal University has launched a program to help its alumni who work in the education field to achieve their “dreams”.

The program, initiated this month, with its first phase set to last for 10 years, involves collecting the goals of the university’s alumni regarding the development of edu­ cational initiatives in China. The theme around which these goals will be centered will change every year.

This year, the theme centers on poverty alleviation through the development of the education sec­ tor in remote regions in central and western China. According to the university, 70 “dreams” will be selected for implementation by mid­October.

“As a university committed to nur­ turing teachers, we hope to tackle obstacles that our alumni are facing in education, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the university next year,” says Zhou Bin, dean of the college of teacher education at the university.

To be a part of the new initiative, applicants must submit their action plans to the university. The universi­ ty noted that each plan should have practical goals that can be achieved within three years.

Twenty­two experts from the uni­ versity and alumni working in the education sector will be responsible for helping to bring these plans to fruition. Among them are Yuan Zhenguo, professor of the university’s faculty of education department, and Li Zhicong, headmaster of the No 2 High School of East China Normal University.

Teachers and students will also volunteer for the program by offer­ ing administrative services and helping with coordination tasks.

“Through the program, the fac­ ulty will broaden the minds of teachers and take a long­term view of teaching and learning, optimiz­ ing educational approaches and course structures to better suit the real teaching environment that our students may face in the future,” says Zhou.

He points out that while the infra­ structure of schools in remote areas can generally meet the needs of basic education, there is still a lack of “soft power”, referring to educa­ tional ideas and resources.

This is the case for Wu Chaowen, a Chinese teacher at the junior middle school of Yangjie town, in Xundian county, Kunming, Yunnan province.

“I’ve noticed that the essays that many students write are usually dry and dull, even if they are given a sub­ ject that is relatable,” said Wu at the launch ceremony.

“Like other local teachers, I am aware of the problem, but I am strug­ gling to change the situation. We need assistance from the university.”

Zhou says that such a challenge could be addressed by improving the skills of teachers.

“We could make a master’s degree for Chinese language education available to teachers like Wu. We can encourage the school to form a research team and have a professor from our university become their mentor,” says Zhou, who also sug­ gests that an interest group can be set up to discuss essay writing teaching methods at the school, “where gradu­ ate students from our university can volunteer to assist”.

“This case shows why we have formed teams comprising experts and practitioners who excel in vari­ ous domains, such as psychology, music and teacher education, to motivate and help local teachers.”

Source: China Daily


East China Normal University