The 12th Shanghai-Singapore Principals’ Roundtable Forum was held from March 27 to 29 in Putuo District. Principals of Shanghai and Singaporean schools gathered together again since the 11th forum themed in “Happy Learning Meets Creativity” was held in Singapore last year. According to the agreement signed between Shanghai Education Commission and the Ministry of Education Singapore, the two sides take turns to organize the roundtable forum on fundamental education. Entrusted by the municipal education commission, Putuo District undertakes the implementation of the 2018-2019 project.
On the morning of March 27, the principals’ roundtable forum themed in “Collaborative Learning and Building ‘the Community of Exploration’” was held in the Anshi Experimental Middle School Affiliated to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Students from the School Attached to Shanghai Caoyang No.2 High School, Shanghai Yichuan Middle School Affiliated School, Anshi Experimental Middle School Affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music presented opening performances including cheerleading “In High Spirit,” Peking Opera “the Protector of the Horses,” and instrumental performances Mozart Serenade k525 and “Blooming Flowers and Full Moon” respectively to display Putuo’s achievements in art education.
Deputy Director of International Cooperation & Exchange Division of Shanghai Education Commission Liu Jiangyuan, deputy director of Putuo Education Bureau Tang Xiaoyan and Teo Hoon Peng Becky, a Cluster Superintendent of the Ministry of Education Singapore Schools Branch North delivered speeches on behalf of the host and distinguished guests. The guests believed that the roundtable forum played a very positive role in promoting exchanges between principals in Shanghai and Singapore and strengthen mutual cooperation in fundamental education. They hoped their colleagues to strengthen cooperation, deepen understanding and learn from each other to realize common development. The also wished the roundtable forum a successful conclusion. The two sides briefly shared their understanding of the theme. Teo believed that in the changing era of globalization, schools need to not only deepen the disciplinary knowledge of students but also strengthen their comprehensive understanding and application ability of interdisciplinary knowledge so as to encourage students to deal with future challenges. According to Teo, schools should not only help students develop thinking of analytical critics and creativity, but also cultivate abilities of communication and collaboration. In order to meet challenges of the changing times effectively and continuously, schools must adopt a more comprehensive approach: a "Community of Exploration" which is a closely linked ecosystem with mutual support from educational policies and cooperation between official institutions and various professional fields, the learning communities of school groups, to the cooperative learning of teachers in professional learning groups. Tang hoped to activate the subjective initiative of students through cooperative learning. She hoped to change the situation in which students receive teaching passively, improve learning motivation and ability, and create better conditions for comprehensive and individualized development of students. On this basis, the “Community of Exploration” can be cultivated through different organizational ways. After that, the “Community of Exploration” culture will form into being, which leads to conscious learning behaviors including active cooperation, joint exploration, results sharing and reflection.
At the roundtable meeting in the morning，the principal of Jiangning School Wu Qinglin gave a speech on the topic of “Practical Exploration of Group Cooperative Learning in Cultivating the ‘Community of Exploration’.” She shared her understanding of the elements of collaborative group learning including learning environment, organizational forms, learning and teaching methods. She also pointed out that high-quality group cooperative learning is crucial to the formation of “Community of Exploration” in the classes. Shen Xiao, the principal of the School Attached to Shanghai Caoyang No.2 High School delivered a speech on the topic of "A harmonious team makes harmonious campus” and shared the efforts made by the school to develop a wise team of teachers. Principal Lee Hui Feng of Qihua Primary School in Singapore briefly introduced the development process of Singapore's education. With the theme of "Creating a ‘Community of Exploration’, promoting cooperative learning, building teachers’ professional development culture," she introduced the theoretical model that guides teachers' professional development with the concept of academic governance and builds teachers' professional development culture. Lee also shared the specific practice of building a “Community of Exploration” at Qihua Primary School in order to promote cooperative learning. In the speech "Leading the School with Professional Development," principal Tan May Teng of Anderson Secondary School in Singapore pointed out that Singapore's educational philosophy is changing and the school is catching up with the change by providing a forward-looking and energetic learner-centered education, achieving ideal educational results through professional development, promoting collaborative learning and in-depth Exploration among professional learning groups, and building learning culture.
In the afternoon, Xia Haiping, the principal of the Experimental School of Foreign Languages Affiliated to ECNU, shared the school’s efforts in the exploration of promoting teachers' cooperative learning by cultivating cultural identity, remodeling curriculum structure and carrying out teacher training. Tan Sun Sun, the principal of Mee Toh School in Singapore, gave a speech on the topic of "Starting from the Heart." She shared the school’s educational goal guided by school motto and core values, the development blueprint centered on the excellence culture, Exploration and learning based on core leadership and cooperative learning exploration of students and teachers. Principal Ji Xiaohua of Anshi Experimental Middle School affiliated to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music delivered a speech titled "Building a Bridge of Collaborative Learning in the Name of Music” introduced that the school had held a series of community activities, expanded learning space and cooperated with universities to enrich learning experiences. Principal Koe Ee Tiong of Si Ling Secondary School in Singapore gave a speech themed in "The ‘Community of Exploration’ with educational partners." He said that Si Ling Secondary School had established cooperative relationships with educational partners in order to build a better platform for teachers where they can learn from and work closely with educational partners so as to create a unique "Community of Exploration."
The school principals and teachers present at the meeting exchanged ideas on the operation of research and studies community, the carrier of student leader development，the structure of teachers' research teams, the strategic drive for the teachers' and students' learning community, the role of principals in team training, and the design of thematic assignments for comprehensive courses. At the closing ceremony of the roundtable meeting, Foo Mui Chuw, principal of Chongfu School in Singapore, and Qu Zhijun, deputy director of Putuo District Education Bureau, delivered speeches respectively. Foo pointed out that the speeches delivered by principals benefited other guests a lot. She hoped that they could discuss in depth and work out solutions quickly, accurately and effectively together to improve talent education. Qu thanked Singaporean colleagues for their sharing and stressed that education takes the responsibility for the future, and that more collaboration and exploration are needed in the future. He looked forward to working with Singapore colleagues for excellent education.
On March 28 and 29, the Singaporean delegation achieved a deeper understanding of Shanghai’s fundamental education after visiting schools in Putuo District. The delegation visited functional classrooms and experienced various campus activities at the Cosco Experimental School. They also visited the school history museum of Shanghai Jinyuan Senior High School and exchanged ideas on school-running orientation, curriculum concepts and teaching modes. At the School Attached to Caoyang No.2 High School, the delegation enjoyed a series of orchestra performances and listened to the teachers’ experience of research and learning trips. At Shanghai Yichuan Middle School, the delegation experienced the simulator cockpit of C919 airplane, the archery curriculum, the drama club and characteristic courses. Through the visit, the Singaporean principals deepened their understanding of the campus culture, curriculum building and educational philosophy of Putuo schools. They hoped to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the city in the area of education.
There is a proverb which says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It is the common aspiration of Shanghai and Singaporean teacher colleagues to promote opening-up of education, develop high-quality talent adapting to future development, accelerate economic and social development, and improve people’s livelihood and welfare.