By Peter J. Foley, Ed.D., editor-in-chief
This month’s article limns the important innovations in higher education taking place in China. Importantly, this education revolution is based on the principles of student centered learning. Significantly for Thailand, these educational reforms echo the reforms Thai lawmakers set forth in 1999 that, sadly, have not yet been realized.
The authors, Shi Jian and Wang xin, explain that a centerpiece of these teaching reforms is problem based learning. Such learning compels the students to think for themselves, to analyze and solve problems. As the authors point out, teaching from a problem based learning model makes changes in the classroom necessary to facilitate this student centered learning approach.
For example, at Sichuan University new furniture was ordered to facilitate moving chairs and tables to enable group discussions and small group learning. Class size has been reduced to no more than 30 students in a class. Sichuan University students are learning to create and analyze problems using critical thinking skills. In sum, “teacher centered teaching is replaced by student-centered classroom discussion…..” The long range goal of these changes is to better prepare Chinese students for the needs of the 21st century job market where problem solving using digital technology will be increasingly required.
Student Centered Learning Thailand ‘s previous Op Ed noted the recent and powerful political, social and economic influence China is having on Thailand. Some commenters have said that this influence is at the expense of the United States’ traditional influence. SCLThailand sees this point of view as wrong footed.
SCLThailand wants to see a different view of international influence where the purpose of other countries’ aid and influence is not competitive but, rather, cooperative. We wish to be part of an international progressive education movement that encourages all countries to exchange and share in the spirit of international cooperation, a spirit of universal love of learning, a spirit of brother and sisterhood.