To explore the teaching practice of SSI-L in science subjects in junior high schools and to promote teachers with better interdisciplinary teaching ability, the SSI-L teaching and evaluation seminar was launched on 18th October. The seminar was hosted by the Basic Education Research Office of Hangzhou and organized by Hangzhou Baochuta Experimental School. In order to strengthen regional cooperation, jointly research the SSI-L project, and build a learning platform for mutual benefit, The Partner School Alliance for Zhejiang Region of “Social-scientific Issues Learning Project of Beijing Normal University” was established.
The event was supported by experts at all levels. Attended guests included WANG Benzhong, member of National Education Advisory Committee, member of the National Education Examination Steering Committee and president of Beijing Shengtao Education Development and Innovation Institute; Dr. LIN Jing, the SSI-L project leader, and the Director of the Science Improvement Department of China Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment for Basic Education Quality; ZHOU Huasong, deputy director of the Education Bureau of Xihu District in Hangzhou; TANG Juehong, vice president of the Education Development Research Institute of Xihu District in Hangzhou; JIN Jingsheng, research team member of science subject of Hangzhou; HU Qingxia, research team member of science subject of Xihu District, and principals of 12 partner schools.
Social-scientific issues (SSI) refer to some controversial scientific issues caused by complex relationships among science, technology, and society. Such issues imply the social, cultural, economic, and ethical impact of using technology. Since different people have different standpoints and values, they have different opinions towards the same problem, and their solving methods also vary.
The SSI-L project aims to help students to understand scientific knowledge and the nature of science, to cultivate students’ ability to make scientific decisions and solve complex problems in life. It has been considered as one of the important approaches to science education in the world.
1. “Health Management — Research on Scientific Ways of Losing Weight for Adolescents”, GAO Yingqiao, Linping No.1 Middle School, Hangzhou
Gao led students to look at the BMI data of grade 9 students from an expert view to analyze the cause of overweight and obesity from aspects of exercise and diet, and gave suggestions. Students were divided into two teams, one was “diet group”, and the other one was “exercise group”. From the early-stage investigation and group discussion, those two groups had a hot debate in class regarding policy, economics, morals, science, and safety. They also commented on each other’s plan about whether the plan could be implemented in their school.
2. “Study on the Canal’s Water Quality”, GUO Yingdan, Hangzhou Baochuta Experimental School
Taking canal water quality as the main topic, GUO led students to do research through detecting canal water quality, purifying canal water, and exploring reasons for water quality change. By doing so, students thought actively and discussed and presented the result from various aspects like policy, economy, concept, science, and environment.
Both issues were social hot issues. Both classes used scientific demonstration methods to guide students to explore comprehensive reasons behind problems and to think in multiple dimensions. Hopefully, students could improve their scientific literacy in understanding and application, thinking and practice, attitude and responsibility.
Dr. LIN fully affirmed the issues and the two teachers’ learning abilities. She suggested that teachers should pay attention to the relationship between the class and the national curriculum standards, focus on the sociality of the project, and highlight the relationship between class and the real-life situation through designing real scenarios and apply to classes. Dr. LIN also mentioned that SSI teaching should be more related with scientific concepts and the national curriculum standards. In terms of the classroom organization, teachers should be aware of the class culture and let students be the classroom master. Teachers should give students more opportunities to express themselves, discuss with each other, and take turns to say. Dr. LIN thought that the significance of losing weight can be improved with highlighting a balanced diet, food culture, aesthetic culture, and keeping health in a scientific way etc.
Teachers from four partner schools based on each school’s project shared their activity designs and teaching strategies. They were WU Xingchun from Hangzhou Sandun Middle High School, YANG Ke from Hangzhou Wenli Middle School, WU Xun from Wenzhou Dalton Primary School and XUE Xiaofeng from Ruian Affiliated School of Beijing Foreign Studies University presented topics of “Practice and Thinking of SSI-L Project”, “The Evaluation Method of SSI-L”, “Develop Student’s Individual Moral through SSI-L” and “The Class Organization and Discussion of SSI-L” respectively. Above information could be a reference and inspire attendees.
Dr. LIN gave a special lecture on “Teaching Evaluation of SSI-L Projects”, and expounded from three dimensions, which were evaluation orientation, evaluation index, and evaluation method. SSI-L aims to promote primary and secondary school students’ literacy in a comprehensive way. Through that, students could further understand important concepts and interdisciplinary concepts and apply them to real-life activities. Students could also improve their ability on raising questions and innovation through scientific practices, moral reasoning, and modeling. Finally, this could promote students’ moral accomplishment and responsibility consciousness, and make students learn science, do science, and use science.
Hosted by JIN Jingsheng from Hangzhou Basic Education Research Office, the conference approved the constitution of “The Partner School Alliance for Zhejiang Region of Social-scientific Issues Learning Project of Beijing Normal University”. The Alliance has a council and a secretariat, and the member units of the Alliance are all council units. After the election, SHA Liguo, principal of Hangzhou Baochuta Experimental School in Hangzhou, was appointed as the first chairperson, while QIAN Yuxian, principal of Hangzhou Sandun Middle School and CHEN Xuehua, executive principal of Wenzhou Dalton Primary School were appointed as the vice-chairperson of the Alliance. The Alliance secretariat was set in the chairman’s school, and YU Yuan served as the first secretary-general. The Alliance specially invited HAN Ping, WANG Benzhong, LIN Jing, PENG Menghua, TANG Juehong as consultants to lead and make guidance. WANG Benzhong during the speech emphasized that the Partner School Alliance for Zhejiang Region of Social-scientific Issues Learning Project should make full use of the advantage of the comprehensive science curriculum in Zhejiang and carry out interdisciplinary study and research on social-scientific issues led by big ideas. Dr, LIN congratulated and looked forward to the establishment of the Alliance. The alliance school principals were going to support the development of the SSI-L projects in their schools and to strengthen the communication between alliance schools.
The Alliance in the future will discuss the educational concepts and implementations of SSI-L, promote cooperation to build a project learning platform for teachers’ professional development to improve students’ scientific literacy and core literacy. The Alliance will regularly carry out online and offline seminars for learning relevant theories, discussing activity design, and sharing the strategies and difficulties on project implementation. The Alliance will strengthen communications among these member schools to support the project research and practices of SSI-L in Zhejiang Province.
Reference: Members of The Partner School Alliance for Zhejiang Region of Social-scientific Issues Learning Project of Beijing Normal University.
Hangzhou Baochuta Experimental School, Hangzhou Sandun Middle School, Hangzhou Xixi Experimental School, Hangzhou No.13 Middle School Education Group, Hangzhou Shangsi Middle School, Hangzhou Wenli Middle School, Hangzhou Linping No.1 Middle School, Hangzhou Jingyuan Middle School, Hangzhou Changyang Middle School, Wenzhou Dalton Primary School, Ruian Affiliated School of Beijing Foreign Studies University, and Taizhou Jiaojiang No.5 Middle School.