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COVER STORY: Inspiring Learning
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Inspiring Learning

BT 201901 340x458世界各地的教育科技正在发生变化,由教育科技发展变化带来的经济技术的转变在中国是最好的体现。为了适应这种不断变化的环境,中国必须在国际背景下利用创新的教育方法。

第二届Inspiring Learning教育峰会将于1月26日至27日在天津举行,由惠立教育研究院主办。惠立教育研究院致力于为惠灵顿(中国)国际教育集团和惠立教育集团旗下所属学校提供支持,同时广泛地促进国内教育事业的发展。《津卫商务》专访了惠立教育研究院高级教学总监何迈德博士,希望了解更多有关这一转型的信息。

您是否能告诉我们将于一月在天津举行的教育峰会是如何开展的?您是如何选择主题和主题发言人的?

11月份我们在上海举办了第一届Inspiring Learning 教育峰会。国内外教育工作同仁聚集一堂,通过研究为本的专业化培训项目为教师的职业发展提供深远影响力。贯穿峰会的四大主题:即教学领导力、教学方法与实践、双语教育以及辅导与指导。考虑到如何让整个社区参与培训和发展机会,会议安排有一位主题发言人,有20个不同的发言人演讲,然后将在一个关键的教育领域进行扩展研究,教育峰会更像是一个研讨会。

作为一名教育家,您希望中国的教育家和管理者能够达到什么样的影响力?

我希望来到惠灵顿学校的学生在这里受到最好的教育,最主要是他们未来的发展。他们的成绩应该是优秀的,他们的成功是指在成年之后而不仅仅是现在的18岁,我认为这是我们应该寻求的成功。我们永远不会成为一个大型学校团体,而是会更关注学生个体的发展。

我们还与天津惠灵顿学校的校长Julian Jeffrey进行了关于惠灵顿学校在中国未来的教育目标对话

您如何看待此次的学习会议能够让教育工作者和领导者应对21世纪的挑战?

我很高兴天津的许多教育领导人聚集在一起,用两天时间思考未来的教学和学习。教师,校长,研究人员和教育舆论界有机会在这样的论坛上见面,这是一次难得的机会。21世纪的世界将需要高技能的年轻人加入全球劳动力,因此我们都有责任为学生做好准备。这次会议可以开始帮助构建这样的想法。

BT 201901 cover 01Education across the world is changing, reflecting economic, social and technological transformations; nowhere more than in China. In order to adapt to this changing landscape, innovation and a critical approach to education must be utilised in an international context.
 

The Inspiring Learning Conference will be hosted by Wellington College International Tianjin on 26th and 27th of January. Keen to find out more about this transforming educational opportunity, Business Tianjin Magazine spoke to the Senior Director of Academics for Wellington College China, Dr. Ahmed Hussain.

BT 201901 cover 06Dr. Ahmed Hussain, could you please briefly explain to our readers what the Huili Institute of Learning is and how it aims to help in shaping the quality of education in China?

The vision for the Institute of Learning was conceived several years ago. The aim was essentially to challenge our existing schools to be the best they possibly could be, through developing leadership, professional learning and training opportunities for our existing staff, and also through research. As our school group strengthened and we grew in terms of capacity, our aim was always for us to not simply be an excellent group of schools, but to learn from and contribute to education in China.
 

The Institute of Learning (IoL) is made up of academic leaders in the fields of: Mathematics, Chinese, English language acquisition, early years education, science, leadership, research and initial teacher education. The IoL continues to work with our own schools to strengthen their practice and are increasingly engaging in research projects across China. So for example, a comparative analysis of leadership in Chinese schools, bilingual schools and international schools along with a research project in Shanghai exploring the relationship between pedagogy and pupil engagement using AI technology. There is also a project looking into bilingual models of education and language acquisition in English and Chinese. An important research focus also includes the explicit teaching and wellbeing and how that influences teaching and learning. Therefore, it is evident that the IoL leads a wide range of high-impact and high-profile research projects that are fundamental for education in China.
 

The IoL also offers training and an open opportunity for educators in the north of China to come and take part in very high quality professional learning opportunities.

BT 201901 cover 08Well, as you mentioned the Inspiring Learning Conference that’s going to take place next month in Tianjin. Can you tell us how did the Inspiring Learning Conference start and how did you choose the topics and the keynote speakers?

We had our first Inspiring Learning Conference in Shanghai in November. When we were thinking about how we can engage the community in training and development opportunities, we identified two channels. One is the Inspiring Learning Conference whilst the second is ongoing workshops that my team and I operate across Tianjin that educators attend, but they are quite localised and happen after the school day.
 

The Inspiring Learning Conference 26th-27th January 2019 in Tianjin is designed as an opportunity to bring educators together on a slightly larger context. The conference is organized in such a way that there will be keynote speakers and then there will be an extended study in one critical area of education. That makes it more like a workshop style conference, than a very low-impact conference where participants attend session with 20 different speakers. This way we structure our conference with a keynote speaker but what we then do is offer an in-depth study in one area for all participants. They then might be able to choose up to three or four areas over the weekend, but it means they’re getting an in-depth understanding of that concepts.
 

Our structure of professional learning is based entirely on what we understand from research and what works in professional learning and training of teachers and school leaders. For example, all of our workshops are structured into three sessions 12 weeks or more apart, as sustained focus in one area for 12 weeks has been shown to have the biggest impact.
 

The topics for the conference are selected because they are current priorities in educational thinking and practice. For example in Shanghai in November we were able to have two keynote speakers; one was Professor Lynn Newton, Durham University, a world leader in creative and critical thinking and the other was Professor Anwei Feng, Head of School at Nottingham Ningbo School of Education, whose research focuses on bilingual education. These two areas are key components of education reform in China. So what he was able to bring was current research-based findings on what works in bilingual education. And those two areas are essential because education reform in China is promoting critical thinking and creativity whilst there is significant growth in the bilingual education market and yet many of the educational models are not underpinned on a solid foundation of research.
 

In Tianjin, the focus will be slightly different. One theme is around assessment, which will be led by an associate professor from Durham University. This is fundamental across China because international schools and bilingual schools face the challenge of having rigorous benchmarking. Therefore, assessment can be a bit of a black hole because there is no standardised reference point. The assessment sessions in the conference aim to bring the latest global thinking in assessment and apply it locally through high quality assessment practices.
 

One area of focus in education reform in China is reducing stress on pupils in preparation for high stakes testing and placing greater importance on pupil wellbeing and how prepared they are for success throughout school and beyond. This is founded on strong levels independence; independent thinking learning and coping. One of the keynote speakers is a leader from the UK on this topic and he will lead a follow-up workshop to support teachers in planning to promote independence in pupils in their classrooms.
 

An ambition of the IoL is to create research hubs in schools across China. We aim to provide the research methodology, and then support them in undertaking the research projects. Participants can then together to share their findings through a range of different conferences and symposia. The strongest research findings will be written up as articles to be published in a journal which will be reviewed by Durham University. Opportunities for educators across Tianjin and beyond to develop an understanding of research methodology will be another strand at the Inspiring Learning conference in January.
 

The IoL have a proven record in leading effective and high impact research projects; for instance, that undertaken as part of strategic alliance with Pudong Education Bureau and Shanghai Education Commission. The IoL would be delighted to establish similar relationships in Tianjin and support Chinese private and international schools in Tianjin and the region with similar research opportunities.

Another strand at the January conference is the teaching of Mathematics. China is high regarded internationally for mathematics education, yet is committed to encouraging greater levels of critical and creative thinking as part of the subject across all phases. The idea is not to change the teaching of mathematics in China, but just strengthening it. There will also be a focus on bilingual education and language acquisition.
 

The inspiring learning conference in Tianjin is set to be a rich and purposeful two days of professional learning.

BT 201901 cover 10Wow, all this is incredibly innovative for the future of international and bilingual schools. Could you tell us what the long-term goals for the Huili Education Institute of Learning would be for the next 5 and 10 years?

Number one is to challenge our schools to be the best they can be, so that our own pupils, our own parents, our own communities thrive.
 

Then, if we are able to use our resource and commitment to connect groups of educators and schools within a professional learning community, we can create a network for sharing best practice in China. That will benefit the landscape of education, ourselves included. Working with Pudong Education Bureau and other partners has allowed us to learn about Chinese education and greatly influenced the bilingual model used in our Huili schools. Pudong Education Bureau gain from and enjoy the debate and critical analysis of how education can best be developed. In five years time, the aim for the IoL is to be contributing to local, provincial and national level educational.
 

The other area I am very conscious of contributing to in China, is a source of well qualified teachers for the international and bilingual market. The reason I’m passionate about this is the growth of the bilingual Chinese private school market is such that we are using individuals trained to be teachers in China or trained to be teachers in countries like the UK for example. The problem with that is neither are trained to be bilingual teachers.
 

The IoL has established a partnership with Durham University, the leader in initial teacher education in the UK and internationally to create a set of qualifications that are not only of the highest standards, being recognized across the work; e.g. PGCE and QTS, but are specifically designed for the bilingual and international school markets. China has many individuals who are well-educated, have high levels of English and possess the capacity to operate bilingually. Moreover, they understand Chinese education, often have experienced the best of international education and can weave them together. That serves as a template for generating the need for teachers which is essential; it’s chronic.

BT 201901 cover 03Clearly, you’re very passionate about this. Could you explain to our readers how you began so passionately involved in teacher training and education reform?

I was a research scientist and lecturer before I turned to education. I became involved with a government organisation in the UK who were looking at the public understanding of science, when I recognised I may be better placed in contributing to raising awareness of science. So I became a science teacher, and soon enough I became involved with research with Durham University. I held multiple leadership roles, but the research I was undertaking became high-profile, so much so that I left school, moved to Durham University as a full-time lecturer to finish off the key elements of research we were doing with the UK government.
 

I returned to school as a senior leader. The last school I selected to lead was a failing school, which we turned it an outstanding school. From there, I was offered the opportunity to work in the Middle East, were I served as an advisor to the General of Education in Abu Dhabi and also led a range of projects with the Ministry of Education across the UAE. Despite greatly enjoying this work, I had the opportunity to join Wellington College in China and what drew me was the passion and commitment to offer an excellent education as part of a non-profit organisation; not only to offer the highest quality of education to international pupils in China, but to also develop the bilingual educational model and then in time, become an organisation that contributes wider to education. So that’s my passion, I love learning, pupils, schools and the leadership of schools.

BT 201901 cover 09As you mentioned previously, you worked in UK and Dubai, how would you say these previous leadership roles have prepared you to take on Wellington College’s academic programmes?

My last roles, in UK and UAE, were about improvement and raising standards. So making an excellent school better and taking a failing school and making it excellent were fundamental to establishing an understanding of how you can lead a school and its people; galvanize and bring them together to create a culture of excellence. They were profound in terms of me developing as an educator and a leader of education because every great school should be committed to school improvement. Another perspective is that through engaging with research whilst in the UK, I developed a very open mind about education and I’m critical of education, because I believe we need to understand context for education research to have an impact.
 

When I was in the UAE, I was given the opportunity to have an influence on developoing education systems and reform at a rapid pace. For example, I led projects on establishing national standards for educators in the UAE and led a project on the bilingual model across schools in Abu Dhabi.
 

These experiences set strong foundations to be able to come and develop our bilingual model here in China and works across a group of schools.

BT 201901 cover 05From what you’ve mentioned previously, it sounds like Wellington’s an incredibly leading school within China and across Asia. So I’d like to know how the Wellington brand of education, approach and facilities are different from the rest of other international schools?

I think the difference with Wellington College China and Huili Education schools, is we define a set of values that bond our community together and how we engage together. That sets expectations for who we are and how we operate. We use those values in all aspects of life in our schools.
 

The other thing we do across is define what we want the outcome to be of an education at Wellington or Huili, and we call this the Wellington or the Huili identity. The identity is a set of attributes we promote and seek to establish within our pupils when they leave our schools; inspiration, intellect, independence, individuality and inclusivity, which we feel will allow them to thrive beyond their time in school. We don’t simply look at intellectualism as what comes out of an exam, this is a very thin measure. That can never be measured by an IB exam or a GCSE or an A-Level or a Gaokao alone. What we want is obviously excellent exams outcomes and university destinations, but also the identity because this will underpin future success for our pupils. I think that is why we are able to offer a truly world-class holistic education because we are driven by a clearly defined identity and set of values.

BT 201901 cover 07As you mentioned that Wellington College China and Huili Education have become an incredible group of schools, what do you think are some of the milestones that it has achieved in the past years?

There are many measures you can use to judge school success, such as pupil population in the school; is it growing, steady or declining? Despite operating in very competitive cities, all of our schools are growing rapidly. Our school in Tianjin is significantly larger than other international schools in the city and that’s because our high-quality education is recognised by the wider community. This may be recognised as one area of success.
 

Another measure relates to university destinations and public exam outcomes. Our exam outcomes this year were aligned to the very highest performing international schools and actually exceed those of some very selective independent schools in England. That shows that our education is getting great outcomes for pupils and sending them to the worlds leading universities.
 

We also asses at our pupils’ development; what they’ve achieved on the sports fields, on stage, in debating and chess competitions. We evaluate the impact of our bilingual education model on English and Chinese language acquisition which is phenomenal. These areas are celebrated alongside those listed above. We also have an independent team of experts review our schools annually and the feedback is extremely positive on our standards of education.
 

As an incredibly passionate educator, what type of impact do you hope to achieve here in China?

I hope that pupils who come to a Wellington or Huili school could not get a better education anywhere; not exam outcomes and university destinations alone, but who they are as an individual and that they possess the attributes for success, not just at 18, but as adults.
 

What I hope we can also do as a group is learning from the wider education community and contribute to shaping education locally and nationlly across China. Whether it’s through creating an approach in Mathematics learning, regulating the Chinese private school market or through particular research projects in the field of education. I believe we can do that in three ways: research, professional learning and training along with working with local education systems to help support in their development and reform.

BT 201901 cover 02This conversation has been incredibly enlightening. Are there any other details or questions you would like to answer or add to this interview?

What I would like to add to this is that we and Wellington School in Tianjin are fully committed to not only trying to be the best school we can, but to engage in education in Tianjin.
 

The conference in January is a first step in establishing an authentic partnership. So therefore, I would like that message to go out. We’re inviting, educators across Tianjin, and beyond, to take part in a truly purposeful and impactful conference.
 

We also spoke with the Master of Wellington College International Tianjin, Julian Jeffrey, the future of education in China and Wellington’s role and goals in education.

BT 201901 cover 11Julian Jeffrey
Master of Wellington College International Tianjin

How do you think the Inspiring Learning Conference equip educators and leaders to meet the 21st century challenge?

I am excited by the prospect of so many of Tianjin’s leading figures in education coming together to spend a day reflecting on the future of teaching and learning. It is a rare chance for teachers, principals, researchers and opinion formers in education to have the opportunity to meet in such a forum. The world in the 21st Century will need highly-skilled, resilient young people to join the global workforce, so we all have a responsibility to prepare our pupils for that inevitability. This conference can begin to help frame such ideas.

BT 201901 cover 13Wellington College International Tianjin

What are the benefits have you perceive in the people attending previous Inspiring Learning Conference?

For me, the benefits derive from engaging with a group of leading educationalists, teachers and school leaders from across China. The two days of the conference offer a startling breadth of insight and expertise, all aimed squarely at giving educators the chance to shape the future of learning. As almost every nation across the world reviews its educational programmes for its citizens, it seems an appropriate time for us to meet and exchange ideas on how best to influence these reforms.

BT 201901 cover 04What do you think will be the top education issues which will be addressed in the second conference?

One of the strongest threads to emerge from the conference will be around developing the ways we encourage young people to take ownership of their learning – to be inspired by the classroom and their experiences, and then to feed on that inspiration in their adult lives. In this way, engaged learners can grow to become people who are both highly educated in the traditional sense, as measured in examination results and university admissions, but also in more rounded ways. By this I mean more emotionally intelligent young people, capable of understanding their place in the world and how best to overcome the challenges of an ever-changing employment market.
 

On behalf of the Business Tianjin Magazine, I’d like to thank you for your cooperation. We wish the Inspiring Learning Conference to be hosted by Wellington College on the 26th and 27th of January in Tianjin become a successful event and great milestone in the bilingual education system of China.
 

For futher enquiries about the Inspiring Learning Conference in Tianjin and Huili Institute of Learning, you could contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and visit the website www.iol.huilieducation.cn or scan the following QR Code.

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