On October 30, 2017, Haidian International Educational Experts Serial Forum brought the discussion of localization of Finnish Subjects Interdisciplinary in China to Wuyi Elementary School in Beijing. This forum has put the internationalization of Haidian elementary education into practice. Meanwhile, the 3rd China-Finland Educational Exchange and Training event was bound with the forum, promoting continuous exchange and training cooperation between FICEA and the local school.
There were three sections in the event, open discussion, workshop discussion and achievements display, and they lasted for one week. The forum was directed against the problems that had surfaced over the previous two events. Guidelines for Integrated (Comprehensive Practical Activity) Curriculum in Primary and Secondary Schools from Ministry of National Education was used to shed lights on localization practices of inter-subjects integration, in particular on the design of curriculum and classroom practice. Activities such as seminars, trial lessons observation and evaluation, theme-based symposiums were held, with aims of institutionalizing research on curriculum and classroom practice.
In the morning of October 30th, Secretary-General and Vice President Li Dong, the Finnish educational expert group including Ali, Matti, Paula and Pia, Chief of International Exchange and Cooperation Office of Haidian Educational Council Hao Ping, Director of Haidian Academy of Educational Science Yan Shunlin, Director of Wanshou Road’s Administrative Center Cheng Li, Headmaster of Wuyi Elementary School Chen Shan, Party Secretary Zhao Lixin, members of Beijing Xingfu Suyang Education Research Association, and many other teachers attended the open ceremony.
In the ceremony, Headmaster Chen Shan gave a speech, warmly welcoming the Finnish guests and other participants, and expressed that she looked forward to the world-renowned Finnish education essence rooting and developing in the soil of Wuyi Elementary School.
Vice-president Li Dong pointed out that in the internationalization of education, teaching should be based on one discipline and meanwhile be integrated with some others. This could create more space for thoughts and exploration. He proposed that the event be teaching-researching oriented.
Office Chief Hao Ping illustrated the blueprint for Haidian internationalization of education. He spoke highly of Wuyi Primary School’s accomplishment in the field of educational exchange and cooperation.
After the ceremony, four theme-based symposiums by Li Dong and the four Finnish teachers were hosted. They discussed about theory and practice of Finnish interdisciplinary, basic concepts and implementation strategies of phenomenon-based teaching method, nature and significance of home economics curriculum, and value of and advice for teaching evaluation. Besides that, they gave four lessons, three of them (Mathematics, Science and English) went along with the interdisciplinary and the other was a home economics lesson. During the symposiums and lessons, participants put forward questions, took part in heated discussion and exchanged ideas.
Impressions of the interesting and innovative lessons：
- Structure of the lessons
In pia’s home economics lesson, pupils made pizzas from sliced bread. Pia brought in knowledge of home economics and etiquette culture as the creative pizza-making process went on. Pupils experienced learning by doing. Matti’s science lesson greatly balanced the role of mathematics and science. Pupils were immersed in the mystery of the universe, and meanwhile deepening their understanding of the universe through the lens of mathematics. The two lessons reflected the dynamic and open nature of integrated curriculum, disrupting the traditional taken-for-granted values of teaching and learning. Integration could happen naturally and simultaneously as teaching and learning proceed.
- Design of the lessons
Integrated curriculum indicated a promotion of diverse learning approaches among students, including for example observation-inquiry and planning-doing. In the Science lesson, pupils played a game what are there in the universe. Matti introduced learning by gaming in this lesson, ingeniously integrating calculation and scientific thinking. Paula combined English learning with home economics. Pupils had joyful experience in this lesson where language learning is related to everyday life.
From these two lessons, experience and game were the two implementation strategies found for putting interdisciplinary into practice. They were in essence to provide students with enjoyable learning experience.
- Professional competence required of teachers
Ali gave a mathematic review lesson, where pupils did simple calculation, numbers filling and graphics algebra. The teacher transitioned from numbers to graphics, successfully permeating algebra. During that, she constantly collected information of each student’s learning and therefore was able to lay a foundation for future differentiation teaching.
Paula refused translators for the English lesson. Instead, she managed to “communicate” with pupils through games. Pupils were active and greatly engaged in the learning process.
The lessons showed that interdisciplinary teaching had a greater demand for teachers’ teaching competence. Teachers were required to identify the nature of classroom teaching in order to teach with skill and ease. Therefore, to assure a more successful implementation of interdisciplinary teaching, institutions should provide supports for teachers’ professional development, particularly for their development in teaching-researching competence.
（Teachers discussing about the lessons）