Reinvention: The Future Beckons
More than 1,800 educators and staff members from the global network of Yew Chung International Schools (YCIS) and sister schools, Yew Wah International Education Schools (YWIES), gathered at six cities around China on March 16 and 17 to focus on the future of education at conferences marking the 85th anniversary of the schools’ founding.
YCIS and YWIES are the largest privately-run international education group in China, with a network of kindergartens, schools, and a college catering to over 10,000 students across 20 locations in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Silicon Valley, US.
The two-day conference, the group’s largest ever, was held concurrently in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Qingdao, Chongqing and Yantai. The theme, “Reinvention: The Future Beckons”, focused on the changes to education required to keep up with ever-increasing advancements in technology, in areas such as artificial intelligence.
The theme also represents YCIS’ stated mission to pioneer educational pedagogy through the introduction of “Learning Communities” and a focus on global competencies.
YCIS & YWIES CEO and School Supervisor Dr Betty Chan opened the conference, saying “’‘Reinvention’ is precisely our call to action. This is our opportunity to reinvent education. As we gather here to celebrate our 85th anniversary, we come together to lay the future direction for the education of our children. The existing pedagogy, methodology, and content should be modified to equip the next generation so that they will become the leaders of tomorrow.”
Several education specialists were invited to share their expertise at the conference. According to Dr Troy Lui, Chief Education Officer at Yew Chung and Yew Wah Schools, “If schools want to rethink the direction of education, it is not enough to rely solely on past experience. It is imperative to consult scholars and experts to understand the latest research results and practical experience.”
The keynote speakers at the conference included:
Dr Stephanie Sanders-Smith, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dr Nathan Holbert, Assistant Professor of Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Dr May Liu, Senior Lecturer at Singapore Centre for Chinese Language, Nanyang Technological University, and Adjunct Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Singapore University of Social Sciences.
The speeches included insights from an intensive independent research project which highlighted how the new model of education at YCIS positively impacts young learners’ development through its student-centred Learning Community approach, and also focused on the importance for children to leverage computational power through access to meaningful interaction with technology.
Throughout the event, workshops and panel discussions served to augment the continuous professional development provided for educators at YCIS. Video and conferencing links allowed for inter-city and cross-regional idea exchange. Following in-depth discussion and debate, tactical implementation ideas for new learnings were proposed across the school network.
“This conference affirmed that our schools are taking the lead in 21st century teaching methodology,” Dr Lui added. “We’ve already implemented teaching methods which prepare children to be successful in navigating the unknown challenges they will face in the coming decades. We aim to be a shining example for educators worldwide through our forward-thinking approach.”
Founded in 1932 by Madam Tsang Chor-hang, Yew Chung has provided quality bilingually-focused education for 85 years. The global YCIS network provides international education for early childhood, primary, and secondary students.