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Education fit for students can qualify as good one

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He Fang, the principal of Hefei No.6 High School College Board AP/ Cambridge A Level International Curriculum Center, was graduated from Anhui Normal University, majoring in Biology, who has a 16-year teaching experience in high school. She has won the title of Excellence Teacher several times. She was part of several nation-level teaching and researching projects and several leading teacher trainings.  Today, we have the opportunity to interview face to face with Principal He and talk about her opinions on international education.

A pathfinder: from a teacher to a manager  

It seems drastic that her role turned from a high school biology teacher to a school principal, a school manager, but it is actually a manifestation of her practicing years of international education philosophy.

She was a young teacher who had ideas and was willing to innovate when she just entered school as a teacher years ago. For example, she introduced activities into school curriculum and won a first prize in a teaching competition. At that time, there was a group of exchange students who could not fully understand Chinese. Then she tried to use both Chinese and English in classroom. From them on, she started to focus on international education. There were few people engaging in international education back then, but Ms. He was so acute that she realized more diversified talents are needed in this ever-accelerated society. “International education, as a more open and more plural educational philosophy, will be a new option for parents and students, and it will have a promising outlook.” Ms. He says.

What suits students is the best education

In the course of exploring international education, Ms. He finds, each educational system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Chinese education emphasizes on the foundation, which means it has a solid ground and an efficient way of selecting talents. However, this unitary evaluation system cannot satisfy the need of ‘individualized development’. On the contrary, so-called western educational system adopts a comprehensive assessment which pays attention to individual strengths, which can compensate the part Chinese education lacks. “What suits students is the best. What we want to do is draw on each system’s strengths and integrate.

A Level and AP are the two main international high school programs. A Level course is the national course system in UK, as well as the most-wildly accepted international course in global scale. Students can apply for all universities in Commonwealth of Nations, Ivy League and other well-known American universities and all EU universities. AP program is the most prevailing Advanced Placement curriculum in US. It can supplement high school courses, enriching academic background and raising competitiveness. Under the background of the gradual rise of international education, Hefei No. 6 High School College Board AP / Cambridge A Level International Curriculum Center was founded in 2016, being the only school in Hefei hosting both Cambridge A Level (Center Code: CN713) and College Board AP (Course Code: 694654). We have also co-established a curriculum base with American Leadership Academy.

As a Principal, Ms. He thinks the idea of "teaching according to aptitudes" is the ultimate goal of international education. Therefore, we have introduced two curricula for students and parents to choose from according to their own situations. A Level courses are moderate in difficulty, and students can choose the subjects they are good at. A Level exams are held twice every year and students can choose 3 or 4 subjects. AP courses supplement students’ current study. And Ms. He said that AP is more suitable for students with high academic qualifications. Ms. He believes “with these two educational systems that focus on individuals, students not only can obtain traditional training, but also receive education that integrates with their own interests, motivating their learning, and realizing independent learning.”

Merging is the essence of education

This "student-oriented" education model quickly demonstrates its superiority. In the academic field, the excellence rate of the 2016 A Level test reached 90-95%. " Tang, a student of 2016, has received eight offers of admission from all over the United States. There were also students who scored 104 points in TOEFL test in Grade 11." When it comes to comprehensive quality, the MUN, and the American debate contest and other student organizations are developing rapidly, " In addition, British and American summer camps, which are held during the holidays, are well-received by students and parents.

"Integration" is the core concept of her school running philosophy. One should be as encompassing as the vast ocean which admits hundreds of rivers.  A single mode of education is bound to fail to produce talents with comprehensive abilities. If students want to have a broad vision, the educators must first open the door for them and create an open and diverse learning environment. The first is to establish a combined team of both foreign and Chinese teachers. Chinese teachers are meticulous and rigorous and foreign teachers are active and humorous. Combining these two not only makes classroom teaching rich and colorful, but also makes the campus atmosphere more international and the language environment more diverse. The second is to combine traditional teaching with the advantages of international education, and to inspire students to discover problems on their own and raise their own questions.

Ms. He said, "We have tried a lot in our daily teaching: Teachers are invited to attend lectures and review sessions, prepare lessons in three parties (teachers in traditional department, Chinese teachers in the international department and foreign teachers to prepare lessons), and find a convergence point through practice. Students can learn more positively and create a more creative atmosphere for students. I think, the essence of education is about fusion."

Determined to run a real international education

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Education in March 2016, the trend of studying abroad has been rising in the past two years, with 520,000 students choosing to study abroad in 2016 alone. The growth rate increased by nearly 14% percent over the previous year. This shows more and more Chinese families are willing to let their children receive international education. However, judging from the current situation, the international curriculum of senior high school is still a new thing for many people, in Hefei and even in Anhui province. The city's reputation and recognition are far lower than those of first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Ms. He’s idea is pure:"We just want our students to study happily and efficiently, which is our original intention."

Talking about the future of Cambridge center, Principal He mentioned three aspects: improving student guidance, enriching the curriculum and enhancing management. Student guidance and counseling will not be limited to university application procedures and academic requirements. We will also give students a detailed introduction of the situation in Europe and the United States, local laws and regulations, and help them adapt to the "cultural impact" of the country. Courses and after-school activities will also be more abundant. Ms. He said that she hopes that the two countries will continue to strengthen cooperation in various fields. "We do not want to teach students to be westerners with yellow skin,", she said, “What we want to cultivate is the future masters of the country with international vision and the family bonding.” In the field of student management, the Cambridge Center is setting up a "parent school", which aims to enhance the interaction between schools by drawing on the role of parents and family education in Europe and the United States. He Fang said that parents and schools should increase their cooperation to help students develop.

"Some parents still have doubts about the international education model, and they worry that the free and equal atmosphere is equal to allowing students do whatever they want, and they have questions about the effect of attending international school and how they are going to study abroad.” In face of these doubts, He Fang is confident: “We hope that through our achievements in the past two years, parents and society will learn more about and understand the international education curriculum, and we should gradually eliminate misunderstandings and doubts and realize the superiority of this model. In the future, we will hold a responsible attitude towards every student, not only to seek new changes, but also to be steady. We are working steadily while aspiring to change and innovation, aiming to realize the real “internationalized” education.    

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