The SSI-L project team of Beijing Normal University held an online meeting via Tencent Rooms from 19:30-21:00pm, March 9, 2022, to discuss four issues, including the research progress of partner schools, practice outcomes, difficulties in project implementation, and work ideas and plans for this semester. Lin Jing, head of the SSI-L project and director of the Science Promotion Office of the Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment for Basic Education Quality at Beijing Normal University, made a presentation on the meeting. The meeting minutes are summarized below.
1.Research progress of base schools
The meeting summarized research progress around two aspects of generality and individuality based to the mid-term assessment forms sent by base schools. In terms of generality, project teams from most partner schools have set up a basic framework, among which approximately half are teams with interdisciplinary teachers. A working mechanism is also established to design and implement SSI-L issue activities by completing tasks individually or preparing courses collectively. Many of the teachers benefited from interdisciplinary exchanges. As for individuality, some partner schools actively use their own school projects to participate in local science and technology festivals and other activities, and provide teachers and students opportunities for practice and presentation based on their existing conditions.
As is shown by their previous participation in the annual national online seminars, teachers at partner schools have gained a lot in the general direction of becoming interdisciplinary. They have engaged consciously in interdisciplinary integration, and various welcome changes have undergone in connecting to society, designing motivating questions, focusing on student experience, etc.
2.Project practice outcomes
This meeting also summarized the project research output in the past year and a half, including over 40 SSI-L issues developed by partner schools, 24 journal articles on 5 special issues, 14 proposed projects, 29 awards, book publications and others. These achievements are laudable. It is largely attributed to the attention school leaders have invested and the overall mechanisms that have been put in place.
3.Difficulties in project implementation
The difficulties in project implementation are mainly manifested in five aspects. The first is the positioning of SSI-L project, which involves the school project mechanisms. SSI-L project focuses on developing teachers’ capability of cultivating students and facilitating students’ development by promoting teachers’ development. However, the teaching and research output during the implementation process is project-generated results. Teachers are supposed to be the principal actor for the project. They should assume researchers’ responsibility, taking a proactive role to design and carry out research, as well as communicating with the school leaders of all kinds of support needed, rather than just following orders step by step. The second is about conceptual understanding (SSI, SSI-L). The AISL website offers public salon lectures on specific issues and minutes of each online activity, so that teachers can understand SSI-L design and implementation as much as possible and have a better grasp of SSI and SSI-L related concepts. The third is about activity design, including issues, motivating questions and students’ collaborative inquiry. Teachers should provide students with comprehensive cases, data, and materials as many as possible. In so doing, students can make the best of their time in thinking, and reduce time spent on data collection and others. It is necessary to repeatedly refine motivating questions, which allows effective training for students’ thinking and emotions in the process of cooperatively resolving those questions. The fourth aspect is to study what and how students “discuss”. SSI-L issues should be open-ended. There should be great amount of cooperation and dialogue between students and groups. Students are encouraged to comment on each other’s opinions, rather than letting teachers lead them to the only answer. The fifth is on the research of evaluation. Research in this aspect needs to be initiated and strengthened. The more detailed the learning objectives are in the course design, the more effective the evaluation will be.
4.Work ideas and plans for this semester
Work ideas and plans for this semester are positioned as: from the initial launch of “surface” to breakthroughs of “point”. First, reforming the online seminar system. Instead of urging each partner school to prepare courses from online, we will help those who are voluntary make further breakthroughs. We no longer remain at discussing SSI-L issue design, but further demonstrate and revise issue design based on teaching practice. We’ll focus on a certain difficult point for analysis on each one of the online meetings. Online seminars will shift more attention to innovative content, on which teachers should avoid ineffective participation by merely listening without thinking, and think hard and raise more questions based on their own practice.
Second, building model base schools. We will provide professional support to some partner schools through targeted online guidance, on-site expert guidance and other channels based on their needs. Meanwhile there will be assistance in research and development, special subject research and other aspects to build model schools.
Third, the content and forms of regional alliance activities need to be expanded. We will strengthen our organization and management approach and carry out online course preparation activities on a regular basis.
In this semester, we look forward to further advancing SSI-L project research in each school, making breakthroughs on some difficult issues, and obtaining more achievements.