梁老师解读了语文四项学科核心素养。语文的学科核心素养包括① 语言建构与运用，具体如语言积累和建构、语言交流与沟通和语言梳理与探究；② 思维发展与提升，具体如发展形象思维、发展逻辑思维和提升思维品质；③ 审美鉴赏与创造，具体如增进对祖国语文的美感体验、鉴赏文学作品和美的表达与创造；④ 文化传承与理解，具体如传承中华文化、理解多样文化和关注参与当代文化。
The program design and practice process of social-scientific issues aim to promote the integration of students’ core competencies and subject literacy. To help teachers clarify the relevant connotations and meanings, AISL has invited Liang Jie, a special-ranked Chinese teacher of Beijing No. 5 High School and subject expert, to share her understanding on Chinese core competencies via Tencent Meeting from 19:30-21:30 on January 6, 2021. You can find the following main part of her report for your reference.
Starting from the words of Mr. Cai Yuanpei, “the emergence of a thought, or the establishment of a scientific theory, is no accidental miracle. …”, Ms. Liang pointed out that although some teachers thought that the new curriculum, new teaching materials and new college entrance examination were nothing but completely new, those were in fact the inheritance and development based on the original foundation. After that, she talked about her understanding on subject core competencies from three aspects with specific cases of Chinese learning, namely, the broader concept of Chinese core competencies, the connotation of the four Chinese core competencies and the key to their implementation.
I. Framework of Core Competencies Indicators for Students in China
Ms. Liang briefly introduced the continuous improvement in the results of the research on “Framework of Core Competencies Indicators for Students in China”, a major philosophical and social science research project of the Ministry of Education. The initial indicator framework included twelve factors, and the core competencies of a fully developed person should be divided into three aspects of social participation, cultural cultivation and autonomous development, each with four more contents; with continuous improvement, nine factors were formed, and the core competencies of a fully developed person was then divided into three aspects of social participation, cultural cultivation and self-management, each with three content. The final published indicator framework includes six factors, and the core competencies of a fully developed person is divided into three aspects of autonomous development, cultural accomplishment and social participation, with two elements in each aspect, i.e., social participation including responsibility and innovation. Liang Jie concluded that: with the in-depth study of our students’ core competencies indicators framework, the revision of our high school Chinese curriculum standards came into being.
II. Connotation of the four Chinese core competencies
Ms. Liang explained the four core competencies of Chinese subject, which include (1) language construction and application, such as language accumulation and construction, language exchange and communication, and language sorting and inquiry; (2) the development and enhancement of thinking, such as the development of figurative thinking and logical thinking, as well as the enhancement of the quality of thinking; (3) aesthetic appreciation and creation, such as enhancing the experience of the beauty of the mother tongue, appreciating literary works, and expressing and creating beauty; (4) cultural inheritance and understanding, such as the inheritance of Chinese culture, the understanding of diverse cultures and the participation in contemporary culture.
Ms. Liang believes that the Chinese teaching reform has always been a return to changes and constancy. In the case of Chinese subject, the revision of curriculum standard and the introduction of the four core competencies of the subject are actually a return to the essence of Chinese teaching. Quoting Mr. Gu Mingyuan’s saying, “No matter how the future education changes, one thing remains the same, that is, to establish morality, nourish noble character, respect human beings, respect world peace, respect human dignity, and cultivate students’ critical thinking”, Ms. Liang pointed out that the essence of education remains constant, and what has changed is the curriculum, classroom and technology that have developed with the times and technology, and explained with specific examples of changes in credits, class hours and curriculum setting. Ms. Liang believed that front-line teachers should always pay attention to the changes in the classroom and technology, find problems in the changes and reforms, and then turn them into topics to enrich their professional development and improve their teaching and research ability.
Ms. Liang further explained the changes and constants in Chinese teaching by quoting classics. For example, the phrase “to learn, to question, to discern, to think deeply, and to practice” corresponds to the current research study, and “to learn” corresponds to expanding teaching resources and setting multiple contexts; “to question” corresponds to effective, detailed and in-depth questioning; “to discern” corresponds to comparing and thinking; “to think deeply” corresponds to thinking deeply about the ways of research, and finally, “to practice” corresponds to practical application. The saying that “one who knows is not as good as the one who likes, and the one who likes is not as good as the one who enjoys” corresponds to the current interest in learning and motivation; “ritual, music, archery, driving, calligraphy, and mathematics” corresponds to the theory of multiple intelligences. The “Chapter of Standing at Confucius’ Side in Attendance” is the current situational learning, which includes the teacher-student view, life planning, personality development, value judgment and evaluation, etc. Ms. Liang believed that many of the current teaching theories are already existing in our traditional education. She concluded that the fundamental quality of education is the quality of human beings, and we sometimes overlook the nurturing nature of Chinese teaching. The development of both ancient people and modern people cannot be separated from the comprehensive improvement of the four core competencies of Chinese.
Afterwards, Ms. Liang used three teaching and learning examples to stimulate everyone’s thinking on further understanding the core competencies of the subject. The first example was two pieces of artwork by children in the mountainous area of Shifang City, Sichuan (“Not to be a frog at the bottom of the well” and “struggling bird”, see Figure 2). The students worked in groups to beautify the manhole cover. Each group completed the theme graffiti through design and cooperation. That was actually a learning situation and a task in real life, with a similar intention of an essay, aiming to express one’s thoughts or feelings through the language of painting. In the process of presentation, it reflected the quality of thinking, aesthetic creation and cultural inheritance, as well as emotional attitudes and values. The second example was the task group teaching in senior one of High School Affiliated To Beijing University Of Chemical Technology. Under the encouragement and guidance of the teacher, both the students and the teacher worked to create together, and gave comments and feedback appropriately, for example, the title could indicate the background of writing the poem, and the knowledge of whether the depiction of realistic scenes was realistic or retrospective could be interspersed, etc., thus promoting teaching and learning among the teacher and the students. The third case was a chat record of reading books of senior one students of Beijing Academy. Each group of four students discussed which book to read, from what angle, and how to make book reports, etc. Through a series of discussions and communication, students learned independently and enlightened their thinking. Quoting the phrase “If you can improve yourself in a day, do so each day, forever building on improvement” (The Book of Rites – The Great Learning cited from Tang’s “Plate Inscription”), Ms. Liang concluded that the so-called new textbooks, new college entrance exams, and new curriculum standards were actually not new, but were just a return to the essence of subject teaching.
Then, Ms. Liang explained the clear and firm development of literacy assessment in entrance examination for secondary school and college. In 2019, there was a test item appeared in the Chinese subject of the entrance examination for secondary school in Nanjing, which reflected the highlights of situational questions under the description of the new curriculum academic quality standard. By reading a poem and a text together, it no longer stayed on the test of shallow knowledge points, but required students’ thinking and reading ability. In the form of test, it depicted a figure, Xiaoming, who was learning Chinese, to simulate a realistic learning situation and ask students to give comments and answers. Last year, in the college entrance examination of Jiangsu Province, there was an item testing students’ ability to use their spatial imagination to understand shapes by reading discontinuous texts, directing teaching to value students’ mastery of multiple ways of thinking. And the insight for teachers’ professional development is to make up for the lesson of brain science research development. Ms. Liang further pointed out that good thinking qualities included five aspects: profundity, agility, flexibility, criticality and originality, among which profundity was the most important. She then illustrated it with several sets of pictures and examples of the independent admission tests of key universities.
III. The Key to Implementing Chinese Core Competencies
Ms. Liang mentioned that the key to the implementation of Chinese core competencies lied in “integration” and “learning activities”. In the Chinese curriculum standards, “integration” appears 21 times, representing why to integrate, what to integrate, how to integrate, and how to evaluate the integration; “learning activities” appears 20 times, pointing to the purpose, prerequisites, types, and ways to grasp the content of learning activities. The activities will also be revelatory, enlightening, participatory, experiential and inquiry-based.
Ms. Liang used the case study of “Study Tour is Walking with a Task” to explain how the integrated learning activities (reading and appreciation, expression and communication, sorting and inquiry) were integrated and completed under a specific task in a real situation with the task as the goal. The pre-trip book was prepared before the departure of the study tour, and all materials and illustrations were completed by students after class, including the route to the destination, industry, culture, food, writers, etc. During the study tour, research on specific topics was conducted, and the post-trip book was formed after the study tour. Ms. Liang concluded that core competencies were not labels, but had specific aspects and methods that could be operated, and could be split into the teaching content of each subject. She also added that the four core competencies of Chinese intersected with each other and must be implemented through integration and learning activities.
IV. Exchange and Discussion
Zhang Tao, Director of Junior High School Teaching and Research Department of the Education and Teaching Research Center of Weihai, Shandong Province, asked how the big concept of Chinese subject is reflected and how it relates to subject literacy. Ms. Liang responded that the so-called big concept of the discipline was still the core competency of the discipline, and then got de-structured, after which, we broke it down and reflected it in our teaching. The big concept of the subject lies in its educational essence. The essence of Chinese subject is to develop the four core competencies of students, which are mutually inclusive and cross-cutting in an integrated way.
The moderator of the salon, Lin Jing, Director of the Science Improvement Department of China Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment for Basic Education of Beijing Normal University, pointed out that through Ms. Liang’s report, we could further realize the similarities of various subjects in cultivating students’ thinking and developing their core competencies, for example, both Chinese and science should develop students’ logical thinking, expression and communication skills, etc. In addition, Ms. Liang mentioned not only the ideas of science and technology in ancient philosophical thought, but also the ideas of teaching, multiple intelligences and ways of learning, which shed us light on the essence of our traditional culture. How to pass on the good traditional Chinese culture and cultivate students with Chinese national identity is the key point of education, which should be paid attention to in the SSI-L project research.