On the evening of July 20, 2022, from 19:30 to 20:30, the Beijing Normal University SSI Learning Project Team held its summer holiday working conference. Regional and national team leaders from different schooling phases, principals and project coordinators of the partner schools attended the meeting.
Lin Jing, director of Science Development Department of Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment for Basic Education Quality at Beijing Normal University and head of the SSI-L Project Team, reviewed the project progress at the meeting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there existed certain difficulties in project development. But all parties have made many useful explorations through concerted efforts in the past two years. The first exploration is to establish a teachers’ action and research community in a national, regional, and school-based three-level linkage model. The team has held project seminars, partner school principals’ meetings, and annual academic meetings across the whole country in hybrid online and offline forms. The regional alliances have played a great role in building up research communities across various provinces and cities for collaborative progress. The second is to provide teachers with professional support through online workshops. On the basis of course preparation and training in different schooling phases, the project team has focused more on key issues, motivating practical thinking with the use of specific cases, and encouraging teachers’ self-reflection and improvement. The third is to combine theory with practice to generate academic outcomes. The project team has provided specific training sessions on teaching plan writing and journal article writing. Professional support was also offered to teachers on publishing a total of 5 special reports, 24 journal articles in academic journals, as well as the publication of Socio-Scientific Issue Learning—From Concept to Practice. By the end of last year, many partner schools had applied for research projects, among which 14 were approved. They had also won 29 awards of various kinds.
After that, project guidance experts and partner school principals in charge of the school projects all expressed their opinions and discussed the project plan. Tan Yongping, head of the high school phase project team and director of the Biology Office of the People’s Education Press, pointed out that the concept of SSI Learning is consistent with the idea of teaching reform and curriculum standards, which is conducive to the implementation of comprehensive interdisciplinary learning activities. Zhang Tao, head of the middle school phase project team and a Special-Rank Teacher of Shandong Weihai Education and Teaching Research Institute, discussed the teaching value of SSI Learning. In terms of “teaching”, the real-situation-based teaching breaks down the barriers between the inside and the outside of the classroom, which helps achieve the unification of teaching goals, content, methods, resources, and evaluation. In the aspect of “learning”, it helps students develop their core competencies. Peng Menghua, leader of the disciplinary guidance expert group and a Special-Rank Teacher of the Second Affiliated Middle School of Beijing Normal University, suggested that the form of comprehensive interdisciplinary learning is conducive to developing students’ ability of analyzing and thinking, which is the future direction of education evolvement. It is necessary to summarize and refine in time the project progress that the team has made together in the past two years of work. Zhou Youxiang, a disciplinary guidance expert and a Special-Rank Teacher of the No. 1 Middle School in Changping District of Beijing, proposed that it needs to consider the ways in which SSI Learning activities are promoted in high schools and implement them in the students’ learning process. Cheng Li, vice-principal of Beijing No. 101 Middle School, mentioned that teachers have gained a sustainable development in the process of the project implementation, which is reflected in the improvement of their ability of collaborative course preparation and scientific research, and the overall development of students’ scientific spirit and humanistic dispositions. But it is with regret that the project development has encountered practical difficulties due to the pandemic. And they are looking forward to making continued improvement in the future.
In this summer holiday, the project team will collate teaching plans, teachers’ papers and student works, so as to encourage them for self-reflection and self-review. In the meantime, it is hoped that the principals and coordinators of each partner school will lay out the project implementation system, build up their project team and set up curriculums in this summer holiday. Each partner school should improve their evaluation and assessment system, provide guarantees for funding, establish and stabilize their project teams, and ensure the implementation of SSI Learning projects regarding class hours. The meeting also pinpointed the next step for SSI Learning project. The two-year pilot work summary and the next step kick-off meeting will be held soon. The project team hopes that all schools will strengthen their project mechanisms, deepen cooperation, consolidate the initial results of project implementation, break through key difficulties, improve the teaching quality of scientific thinking and practice, embed evaluation into activities, and promote student development with developmental evaluation.
It is expected that the partner schools will achieve better research outcomes and implementation progress in the new semester after self-reflection, summary and planning during the summer holiday.