At Huai’an Joy International High School, we approach teaching and learning in a way that is different from traditional classrooms. Our methods come from a philosophy of psychology and education which has been applied in many countries and has resulted in developing the most innovative and transformative thinkers and leaders in the world.
This philosophy, called ‘constructivism,’ can be simplified as an emphasis on how each individual student experiences their own learning. Whereas the traditional model of teaching emphasizes the actions of the teacher and the content of the knowledge, a constructivist model emphasizes the actions of the student and the manner in which the student experiences and engages with the content knowledge. A simple way of thinking about it is that a traditional model is ‘teacher-centered’ whereas the constructivist model is ‘student-centered.’ The main difference is the assertion that what the student does in their own learning is more important than what the teacher does in determining the ultimate outcome.
This approach to teaching and learning is radically different from the traditional model, because it shifts the responsibility onto the students to own their learning experiences, and it turns teachers into facilitators who are responsible for guiding students and supporting them. By acting as facilitators, teachers give students the space and encouragement to feel their own intrinsic motivation, and in this space is where the deepest and most meaningful education takes place.
At Huai’an Joy International High School, we approach our classrooms and students with this student-centered model. Practically, this means that teachers are always observing and trying to understand the complexities of each student and use this information to plan instruction. In doing this, we use some of the following methods:
• Ongoing, formative assessment: Teachers continually assess to identify students’ strengths and areas of need so they can meet students where they are and help them move forward.
• Recognition of diverse learners: The students we teach have diverse levels of expertise and experience. Ongoing assessments enable teachers to develop differentiated lessons that meet all students’ needs.
• Group Work: Students collaborate in pairs and small groups. Learning in groups enables students to observe and learn from one another.
• Problem Solving: The focus is on issues and concepts. This encourages all students to explore big ideas and expand their understanding of key concepts.
• Choice: Teachers offer students choices in their reading and writing experiences and in the tasks and projects they complete.
The evidence shows that student-centered learning results in students becoming independent problem-solvers with strong critical thinking and self-reflection skills. Whereas a traditional model trains students to wait to be given answers from a teacher, the student-centered model trains students to go out and find the answers and making use of the teacher as a resource. In this way, student-centered learning trains a new generation of leaders and problem-solvers who will make great contributions to humanity.
We are passionate about this meaningful objective, and we would love to share more with you about the way that Huai’an Joy International High School is helping to train global leaders for the future. Please schedule a call to find out more, or schedule a visit to come see our classrooms and meet our teachers. We look forward to connecting with you in a meaningful way.