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A Study on Promotion of Innovative Education in Primary and Middle Schools in China

A Study on Promotion of Innovative Education in Primary and Middle Schools in China

In a recent paper presented in the 2nd International Conference on Education and Management Technology, Wu Xianzhi discussed his “Study on Promotion of Innovative Education in primary and middle schools in China”. The author brought out shortcomings of the school education system in China and discussed their stifling impact on innovative capability of the children. Why is it that China, the manufacturing powerhouse of the world is still stuck in the rut of an antiquated examination system and rote learning.

A major study on promotion of innovative education in primary and middle schools in China has come up with some important findings. The study has found that the education system in China is itself at fault for not grooming children up to be innovators.

Typically, school education in China focuses on making children learn as much of the syllabus as they can, without any concern for what their areas of interest actually are. At the same time, traditional Chinese culture makes children accept this method without questioning. Obedience – a highly valued virtue – further makes a child simply follow whatever he is told. Questioning and querying is not encouraged and as a consequence, the child grows up without learning to think independently for himself.

This passive acceptance of knowledge is largely responsible for binding a child’s characters, thought, development and creativity.

Yet another factor restricting creativity and innovation in Chinese children is the mode of teaching itself. Most teaching in Chinese classrooms is teacher led. Since teachers have a large range of subjects to cover, teaching is largely one sided. Teachers focus on imparting basic and essential knowledge to ensure that the school’s scores as well the teachers’ own evaluation does not suffer. There is no time or inclination to develop independent thinking leave alone an innovative spirit in the child.

The current examination system determines the chances of a child entering college. Since the entire future of a child is probably determined by getting entry into a good college, abnormal effort is put to ensure that the child succeeds in this endeavor. Schools, teachers and parents leave no stone unturned to ensure that children get selected. The end result is an endless series of tests and exercises and rote memorization. The final output is the widespread phenomenon of high scores and low abilities among students.

Strategies for innovative education

Since true knowledge depends not on how it is imparted but on how it is imbibed, a social and cultural context becomes important while teaching. A change of concepts and methods in teaching is therefore essential to foster the innovative spirit among children.

The role of the teacher herself becomes critically important. She has to take a leading role to fully stimulate the students’ enthusiasm for study. The teacher has to become an organizer, a mentor, an assistor and valuator in the process of knowledge acquisition rather than a simple provider of data and information. The child in turn is developed to become a participant, partner and explorer. The teacher’s ideas are not to be imposed on the student who is to be encouraged to develop their own thoughts since this has a decisive influence on the learning process.

The next major change that needs to occur is in the teaching methodology. The traditional stuffing method of teaching is required to be replaced with a heuristic, discussion based inquiry method. Students have to be allowed to develop new insights by independent thinking.

Classroom atmosphere is the next critical factor requiring change. This is an external expression of the psychological interaction between teachers and students. It is a mental state that is generated with moods and feelings, attitude towards teaching and learning, prestige accorded to teachers and the students’ willingness to learn. A favorable atmosphere is essential to cooperation in the classroom and is a precursor to learning. The onus lies on teachers to create such an atmosphere through freedom, equality, harmony and mutual respect. This will encourage students to approach education with a problem solving attitude. A dynamic learning atmosphere will ensure improvement in the innovative abilities of children.

Einstein once said that “imagination is more important than knowledge”. This is precisely true in teaching students as well. Rich imagination can create a new spark, helping students make a remarkable leap. Therefore it is extremely important to encourage students to show imagination.

Finally, it is important to develop a scientific approach. Teachers need to show students the scientific method. This focuses on raising questions, making an assumption, working to a plan to collect data and finally proving the assumption right or wrong and moving on to the next stage. Verifying experiments should be used rather than demonstrative experiments. If the results are not as expected, it becomes another opportunity for the teacher to promote practical abilities and handle frustration.

Note: The preceding is a summary of an article found though our research, and is provided here with editorial comment for members only. Please see the full article at the following link for full original content – http://www.ipedr.net

The New Asia Innovation Team

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