On September 24, we had the pleasure of hosting a visitor from the learning community in Shanghai. Teacher Wang Xiaoye presented a lesson to the students of Grade 6C. This was a mathematical model lesson from the learning community. We were all eager to see and understand what the difference was between a learning community classroom and a traditional classroom lesson. In the classroom we need to focus more on what our children are able to do, and we really wanted to be able to find the answer to this challenge in the lesson that was presented.
Principal Li has been committed to leading the school in the exploration of “how to promote deep learning” in our students. We invited Dr Chen Jingjing and Dr. Wu Huilin to use both theory and practical experience, so that everyone could witness: “How to let children in the classroom experience “deep” learning”. My feeling was that many people in the room were full of expectations, and the results did not disappoint. When we looked at the children’s faces, we saw that they were smiling. Their beaming smiles told us that they had really enjoyed in this class. My belief is that this happiness comes as a result of the “deep learning” that has taken place in the classroom.
Next, we accompanied Mr. Wang Xiaoye to hear how he constructs the classroom world mentally in order to ensure the "happiness" of our children. First, we need to be clear about this lesson: What do we need to teach our children? And, what do our children need to learn in this lesson? This is like the Program of Action. We need a clear purpose, in order to fully grasp and methodically promote a step by step method to implement the correct education and teaching that needs to take place!
Moreover, how do we create a well-established program, which we need to design wholeheartedly? Our design must of course lead to the ultimate goal, which is the figuring out and understanding of abstract concepts. The process by which our children acquire these concepts is through immersive activities. The type of activity does not really matter; it can be mathematics or history; it can be an interesting and fun activity; it can be a hands-on activity; it can be a listening activity – there are no limits to what we can do!
Next, we also talked about how to arrange our classrooms to promote learning. The key is listening. We need to build a listening relationship with our students. We all need to learn how to listen respectfully, learn how to express our views, learn how to share our views. In future days, these skills will empower us to learn so much and develop unique social and life skills. This, I believe, was the original intention of education!
Finally, we had the honor of inviting specialist teacher Guang Dehong from Shanghai to preside over the seminar. Many teachers participated in the seminar, and the discussions were intense. What we learned from our experience with the learning community was extensive- how to ensure the effective implementation of classroom practices, how to promote real learning in the classroom, how to develop the study habits of our students, and how to improve the student’s ability to understand. In closing, each one had the opportunity to express their thanks to the guests that we all benefited from the program. Although Mr. Wang’s course was completed, we are confident that the inspiration he has given, will keep us going for many days to come...