|Sun Youzhong, vice president of Beijing Foreign Studies University, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of 2014 BFSU-Harvard Symposium on Teaching for the Future on Aug. 23, 2014. (People's Daily Online/Du Mingming)|
BEIJING, August 26 (People’s Daily Online) - Teachers should teach for the future in order to get students prepared for competitions, said Sun Youzhong, vice president of Beijing Foreign Studies University, at the opening ceremony of a symposium in Beijing, Aug 23, 2014.
The symposium is jointly hosted by Beijing Foreign Studies University and Harvard University for the purpose of promoting teacher development and teaching reform at BFSU.
Facing the problem that teachers in China put overwhelming emphasis on mastering existing knowledge and memorizing historical facts and that teachers neither engage students nor enlighten students, the key message in this symposium is to prepare students to meet challenges of the future, to keep them curious about the world, to think critically, to solve problems, and to explore new fields of knowledge.
"The most important thing is to teach ourselves (teachers) for the future and try to adapt the teaching methods brought by professors from Harvard to our courses in Chinese context," says Sun.
Christopher Marquis, associate professor of Harvard Business School, advocates case studies and encourages students to argue in the class.
However, not all students are good at arguing. In view of this fact, Marquis suggested that teacher should strike a balance between more active and quieter participants.
Liu Chen, a professor from School of International Journalism, reemphasized the importance of liberal education advocated by Harvard University. According to Jorge Dominguez, a professor from Harvard University, liberal education aims to foster discernment, to develop creativity, to propel the communicative skills and to motivate mastery.
This is the first time for BFSU to hold this symposium with other universities. With the hope to teach for the future, BFSU plans to organize series of high-level symposium each semester.
In order to meet the demands of teachers from different backgrounds, the organizers invited lecturers from relative fields including politics, education and business.
Apart from teachers from BFSU, teachers from Shandong University, Beijing Normal University and Liaoning University also took part in the symposium.
As young people tend to use the Internet for their studies, teachers ought to adopt new methods in teaching in order to get students engaged, Sun added.
China attaches importance to teachers’ development. BFSU, as well as many other universities, has established a center for teachers’ development. With the help of teaching competitions, lectures and workshops, the center aims to provide teachers with a platform to develop themselves.