Tuesday, December 27, 2011

PL 74/11: Creativity required

Filed under: China, LATINA — plinius @ 12:16 pm

Last week LATINA Lab conducted an intensive six-day training course in China.

The class had room for thirty students. They had been selected from a substantially larger number of applicants – and were young, bright and hard-working. The Chinese cult/ure of learning is very, very strong.

The tradition goes very far back. High Chinese officials (“mandarins”) were selected on the basis of their learning.

For around 1300 years, from 605 to 1905, mandarins were selected by merit through the extremely rigorous imperial examination [Wp]

Innovation and control

Competition for access to higher education is still intense – and universities are also ranked from high to low. China’s problem is the emphasis on standardized reproduction of “established knowledge” (rote learning) rather than individual production and creativity. As China develops, its economy must turn from imitation to innovation.

The government is aware of the fact that central control stifles creativity. It has asked schools, teachers and students to be more  creative and independent. But it is obvious that creativity challenges central control.  The teacher’s authority can no longer unquestioned. Teachers must step back from direct control and encourage students to find their own paths and voices.

In LATINA, we try to do that. We are still teaching, of course, but from another perspective. We do not order and demand, but guide and support. We may suggest, advise and warn, but we do not decide. The students and participants make their own choices.

The freedom of choice, I must add, is not infinite. It exists within a clear practical and conceptual framework established by LATINA. If people want to work in total freedom, they should not sign up for our courses. This framework is what LATINA

A student response

A couple of days ago I got a nice letter from one of our students. I’d like to share the central paragraphs:

Thank you for bringing new teaching concept and pattern. Chinese education has had a thorough reform in several decades, but is still traditional. Both the learners and the teachers need to learn advanced technology content of modern education.

Thank you for bringing us a totally different educational experience. I have never taken a part in such interesting course. Latina teachers conduct this course in very attractive and effective way. In the beginning, I hardly understood what the teacher said. I found this challenging. But, I like to challenge myself. I’m not afraid to try, understand and accept new things.

Later on I discovered that I had a feel of it, which made me feel so excited! Now I quite like this teaching mode and students learning method. It really works for me.

In addition, in my heart I described every professor as a very charismatic teacher. I’m also excellent, but I still have a long way to reach the height of them. I think what these professors have done and this course most meaningful and bring about many changes in our life, which maybe you won’t realize. From this course, I’ve learned to open my eyes and my mind to more new ideas.

It’s Christmas Day. Merry Christmas, all teachers, your friends and families! Best wishes and Happy New Year! In China, we don’t celebrate Christmas Day. But we students convey our best wishes to each other. I wonder how people in the west celebrate Christmas Day. Really want to experience that. In the end, is the beginning. Hope to see you again.


1 Comment »

  1. […] PL 74/11: Creativity required. The global economy demands innovation. […]

    Pingback by P 3/12: Storm i et timeglass « Plinius — Tuesday, January 3, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

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