Expert says asking questions is a learning process

By Zhao Wen
BEIJING, Dec.5 — Despite Shanghai students’ stunning performance in a global student assessment, a local educational researcher said yesterday that traditional teaching methods have to be done away with.
Wang Tianrong advocates active learning by asking questions. “Besides the achievements on scores and rankings, it can be seen that Shanghai students are weaker in active learning and problem solving,” said Wang, a teacher and researcher at Baoshan Teachers College.
Wang said teachers can improve their teaching methods by studying the Program for International Student Assessment results.
Shanghai students ranked best in all the three PISA assessments — mathematics, reading and science.
“Learning to think and persisting in thinking is very useful in both work and life,” Wang said.
“Without in-depth thinking, students will easily give up.”
Wang is leading a team of 100 teachers to flip the traditional teacher-dominated classroom. Students are encouraged to put up questions themselves and solve it as well.
“Asking questions is the start of learning,” Wang said.
“My teaching method is not an innovation but teaches students how to learn by themselves, and, finally, learn without teachers.”
Wang’s research-based project has been piloted in more than 30 primary, middle and high schools in Baoshan District in the past decade.

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