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Effective Educational Reform

 

Reform and innovation are the main themes of the development of Langfang No. 8 Middle School. In the last five years, President Xu has taken steps to analyze the learning environment offered at No. 8, and sought appropriate educational reforms and teaching strategies to improve our environment. It is President Xu's stated belief that "Reform is crucial to the school's progress; change will bring success, whereas keeping the status-quo will lead to stagnation."

 

In recent years, through a focus on classroom practices, the school has gradually overcome the inherent limitations in the teaching methods previously employed at No. 8; such as cramming and teacher-centred learning.

 

Educational reforms at No. 8 have been implemented in 4 stages:

The first stage addressed the teacher-centered learning prevalent at No. 8. This was achieved by employing a "30.15.8" mode of teaching. In every 45 minute lesson, no more than 30 minutes are devoted to teaching, no fewer than 15 minutes are allocated to student practice and no fewer than 8 students will be asked to participate in some way. In this way, we are able to fully engage the enthusiasm and initiative of each and every student.

 

The second stage of our reforms was devised through consultation with students and teachers, and introduced routine requirements to be carried out at the beginning of every lesson. A review process now occurs at the beginning of each class, focusing on basic knowledge that is essential for supporting further learning and improving students uptake and performance during their lessons.

 

The third stage implemented a "learning-first, teaching-second"approach to classroom teaching. This places the learning of the students ahead of any preconceptions that teachers may have about how the students 'should' be taught. Teachers are encouraged to focus on the learning requirements of their classes and tailor their teaching materials and methods to enhance the learning process. Teachers also consult with students and give them a voice in the learning process. In this way, students have become involved in their own learning, and concurrently, our teaching has become more effective, thus creating an active and vibrant learning environment for all.

 

The fourth stage of reform was the adoption of "Cooperative Learning" in the classroom. This has seen a move from the traditional seating arrangement of 60 plus students all facing the blackboard, to classes divided into 6-8 groups consisting of 6-7students, each group seated together in clusters facing each other. This seating arrangement favors discussions between students and exchanges with the teacher. The new setup encourages group learning; allowing students to easily exchange ideas and benefit from each other's personal insights. This not only fosters innovative thinking, but enhances students' ability to cooperate with each other.

 

Through a series of reforms, teaching has taken on a new look; self-learning, group discussions, and teacher coaching, have all brought the initiative of the students into full play. The quality of education has greatly improved.