From 19:00 to 21:30 on March 22, 2023, the SSI-L project team held a webinar via Tencent Meetings, to discuss the curriculum design of partner schools and problems they’ve come across. The Project Office and teachers from the project teams of four partner schools participated in this seminar.
On behalf of the school project team, Yu Beihong from Yuxin School Affiliated to Capital Normal University shared the course in junior high school, “Why Can’t Middle School Students Drink Alcohol—the Origin, Drinking and Regulation of Alcohol”, including motivating questions, learning objectives, five-star map design and activity arrangement. Tang Feng, another member of the project team, added two more points for improvement: one is to change the logic of knowledge into the logic of students’ cognition, and the other is to emphasize the presentation of activities.
Based on this case, teachers from four schools and members of the Project Office participated actively into discussions and exchanged ideas, focusing on three aspects: 1) where should the controversy of the topic be located, 2) how to better associate the topic with the elementary and high school curriculum (e.g. “The Fruit Wine Experiment”), and 3) a further focus on the research objects — junior high school students for relevant activity design.
Zhu Yujun, the project disciplinary guidance expert, full-time deputy editor-in-chief and director of the editorial department of Chemistry Education of Beijing Normal University, spoke highly of the existing curriculum design. He pointed out that teachers should think critically and communicate about issues concerned, and make reasonable decisions on the suggestions of curriculum design revision. First, teachers should not be fettered by the existing framework. The focus is put on student training. Continuous improvement can be made through practice. Second, they should carefully consider the social and cultural elements in the course, and avoid amplifying public opinion.
Lin Jing, head of the SSI-L Project Team and director of the Science Development Department of the Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment for Basic Education Quality, pointed out that this is a creative topic, and that it aims to cultivate students’ experience and concept of healthy life which is beneficial life-long. Improvements can be made in the following aspects. The first is to avoid the teacher alone having the say, namely the knowledge-transferring class. The focus should be put on students’ participation in practice. Real events can be used to trigger students’ discussions and reach deep into their heart. The second is to further seek the internal correlation and logic of motivating questions. Activities should be supported by the main idea. The third is to construct uncertainty in issue discussion, and exercise the ability of teachers and students to solve ill-structured problems. Students should be allowed to have a variety of ideas, exchange different views, and obtain a rational understanding of alcohol.
At the end of the meeting, the experts had exchanges and offered guidance on concerns over curriculum evaluation, data acquisition, experimental conditions, and the logic of issue framework design, which partner schools have come across during their projects.