On education, translated…
The learning methods put forth by the Japanese college professor, Sato, “Education as a Whole”, broke the traditions of “instructors, lecturing on the podium, students listening”, there are many school in Taiwan that modeled after it too. The Sato Scholars recently published their new book, “The Wishes of the Education Revolution”, awhile ago, the professor was interviewed by the papers, he’d stated that Taiwan had taken its time, following through with the methods that he proposed, “a slow start, but catching up really quickly”.
This “Education as a Whole” is with the students, getting separated into groups to discuss, instead of the traditional professor on podium, lecturing, allowing the students to take a more active role in their own education process, and the seating arrangements of the class is no longer in rows, but in smaller groups, the students divide themselves into groups of two to six, to discuss. Thirty years ago, Japan had started using this method, and, three years ago, Taiwan had followed suit, of the 335 elementary and middle schools in Hsinbei City, there are already eighty-four schools who are using this method, about 25 percent of the schools.
“There are less and less instances where the instructors are using a microphone to lecture to the students now”. The Sato Scholars came to Taiwan often, to observe how their program is working in the schools, he’d pointed out, that of the world, there are only school teachers in Taiwan, Korea, and China who are using microphones to lecture, but this time he’d come here, he’d found, that the students are more engaged in class discussions, and the instructors became the supporting roles, and, walked into the group, to discuss the topics with them.
The Sato Scholars stated, that Japan, Europe and the U.S. had long pushed forth this way of education, but, in the thirty years that the program had been set up in Japan, only in the last fifteen years, did they start seeing progress, and it only took Taiwan three years, to see the results.
But, the Sato Scholars also reminded us, that the “Education as a Whole”, is a reform, a never-ending “revolution in education,” and that it would take up to a decade, to build up all the basis, and, that Taiwan is still in the beginning stages, that the process should be taken, step-by-step, and not hurried.
He’d suggested Taiwan, that as we’re moving forward, we must root further down, that we couldn’t just examine how many schools, or how many classes are using the methods, instead, we must examine, if this style of education is fitting, to the children’s learning needs.
The Sato Scholars said, that from the observations made on Taiwanese education, in the past, we’d believed that there was only one way, the traditional lecturing of lessons, but, this trend is slowly, changing, the students are becoming the initiators of the discussions, instead of just listeners from the seats. But, other than the instructors realizing a change in teaching methods is needed, they must fight for the principals’ and the parents’ approvals of the method, and it needed to be back up by the government, in order for the program to work well.
And so, you see, the ways of education is slowly changing, and, now, with this method, taken from Japan, the kids at school are more engaged in the classrooms, which means that they’re taking the initiative in their own processes of learning.