Elite schools, excellent quality
Natural education is to allow the experiencer to receive education in labor under the ecological and natural system; it is to solve how to cultivate the experiencer according to nature, how to cultivate the experiencer to release potential energy, and how to cultivate self-reliance, self-improvement, self-confidence, self-care and other comprehensive qualities to establish a complete plan for a correct outlook on life, values, and balanced development; it is an education model that solves all personalized problems in the education process, cultivates a life-oriented high-quality survivability, and cultivates a strong life. The Olive Tree School has a Botany Research Center, and hires a full-time Ph.D. in botany from Warwick University. The Botany Research Center includes cultivation area, hand-made area and seed museum. Students can conduct scientific comparative experiments with different light and temperature in the cultivation area. They can also cultivate the seeds they have collected to observe the growth of plants. The hand-made areas include handcrafts such as plant tie-dyeing, leaf vein extension printing, and fallen leaf stickers to increase students' strong interest in plants. The Seed Museum displays dozens of seeds of fruits and vegetables, and cultivates students' observation and understanding of seeds. In addition to the indoor botanical research center, the natural science education of olive trees also includes rainwater gardens, water eight ponds, roof vegetable gardens and rose gardens. The olive tree combines nature courses into the usual basic courses for interdisciplinary inquiry. Current natural science education courses include: secrets of seeds, arts and crafts of botany, plant cultivation, vegetable gardening, etc.
There are no more than 20 students in each class in Hangzhou Olive Tree School. The class size is small enough for teachers to take care of the learning progress and learning status of each student, making the real individualized teaching possible. Teachers will use the relevant technical education for each student's learning in preparation for individual diagnosis, ability to learn and progress, and targeted the design needs and interests of each student is suitable for teaching contents and teaching methods, in the "mastery learning" and "adaptive" teaching theory under the guidance of individualized teaching, make every student have learned something. The organic combination of class teaching and independent learning, group learning and individual tutoring under the guidance of teachers is the distinctive feature of individual teaching. In such a teaching situation, students can not only effectively master the knowledge and skills they have learned, but also quickly understand the learning methods of autonomy, cooperation and inquiry, and cooperation and sharing will become the normal state of the classroom.。
We believe that there must be some truly talented students among them, and we should admit that there are some individual students who may have temporary learning difficulties for some reason as well. This is a challenge that an excellent school must face: how to make talented students develop better and how to help the academically disadvantaged ones to catch up. Olive Tree International Academy, BFSU will provide special learning support to those students with extreme talent or difficulty to help students to acquire better development and progress. The special learning support team of our school is made up of the most experienced subject teachers, career planning, further study guidance specialists, and psychological counselors. They will assess students’ learning levels comprehensively, and propose targeted academic support programs and ongoing case-tracking management based on that assessment. Besides, our school will provide students with all kinds of facilitating conditions to promote and improve their studies. Special learning support is the further deepening and refinement of the individualized teaching mode, and is also the embodiment of our teaching belief that we won’t let any student fall behind and rather, help them to fly higher.
Are students learning well? Which aspects are not good enough? What is the reason for not being good enough? What measures should be taken to improve these situations accordingly? How should we judge or answer these critical questions about learning? We must rely on learning feedback. In the past, learning feedback was mainly achieved through teacher-student interaction and after-school homework and examinations, which is and will be the main way of learning feedback for a long time in the future. However, the subjectivity and vagueness of the traditional learning feedback affect students, especially the accurate analysis and judgment for each student, which can not satisfy the need of the "student-centered" individualized teaching. The "Learning Dashboard" introduced and developed by our school, improves the traditional learning feedback mechanism to the fullest, makes the analysis of each student’s learning situation and outcome more accurate, and provides strong support for students’ individualized learning. The "Learning Dashboard" is an emerging learning support tool in the Big Data Age. Based on information tracking technology and image technology, it can track student's learning behaviors precisely, record and integrate a great deal of learning information, analyze the data according to the demand, and ultimately present the digits and charts in a visual form, so that it can provide learning analysis for students, teachers and education administrators. Based on the traditional learning feedback mechanism, our teachers will actively use the "Learning Dashboard" to adjust the teaching guidance strategy to promote students' individualized learning. According to students’ individual needs, we will propose individualized learning objectives and pathways; select individualized learning materials; confirm individualized learning methods and allocate individualized assignment and periodic tests, etc. The "Learning Dashboard" will be utilized in English Language and mathematics first, and gradually extended to other subjects.
We strongly emphasize the value of learning two languages, and focus on laying a solid foundation for language skills and cultural understanding, thus we have created an immersive learning environment for both Chinese-English learning and second foreign language learning. “English Language” is not only the learning content in our school, but a tool to be used in order to gain access to other significant areas of knowledge and daily communication.Students will be “immersed” in an English learning environment to the fullest. In primary and junior years most courses like English, Science, PE and Art, will be taught by foreign teachers partially or totally, while more than ninety percent of them will be taught in English in senior years. Research shows that students who learn in an immersive bilingual environment perform better not only in native language, second language, but also in academic grades. Moreover, those students will have strong cultural sensibility and show positive attitudes and understanding towards other cultures, which is good for the cross-cultural communication and study. On this basis, we will let our students learn the second foreign language to make them outstanding.
Experiential learning is a study method, which means knowledge starts with action and the unity between knowledge and action. It’s a process in which students acquire knowledge through personal practice and experience. Experiential learning is internal experience, to be acquired physically, emotionally and spiritually. Because of the whole hearted participation,students’ learning efficiency, the ability of knowledge understanding and the durability of memory will be greatly enhanced. Therefore, the efficiency of experiential learning will be improved three to five times more than that of traditional ways. Experiential learning has been one of the most important learning methods both in study and life. Students will play purposefully, explore profoundly through creative learning activities and be guided by teachers to consolidate knowledge as well. In the meantime, our teachers will help students to build self-confidence, and develop independence as well as the ability of leadership and social skills. We usually consider the traditional learning approach as observing somebody swimming,the experiential learning approach as learning while swimming. Traditional learning is that teachers use books to explain the correct posture, but no matter how detailed it is, students cannot swim without experience. However, the experiential learning is to let students go into the water in person to find their own problems summarize posture skills and learn from the experience during the exploration and communication with the coach, which is one of the most basic and natural learning approaches.
In traditional learning, the knowledge students learn is extracted from the specific life scenarios, which are abstract and unilateral. Although students can seize the main points, it is ineffective for them to understand the knowledge prototype comprehensively. Once they face complex realistic problems, they are bound to be helpless. After entering the age of information, the more important purpose of learning and grasping knowledge is to create more knowledge, solve practical problems and use knowledge to create wealth. We will promote project learning actively and moderately, which is exactly a learning method of solving practical problems creatively and let students learn like scientists. In our perspectives, the project learning is a new exploratory learning model which is based on the concepts and principles of the subjects, with the purpose of solving the problem and completing the work. And we will carry out research activities with the help of a variety of resources available in the real world. Thus, we can solve a series of interrelated problems within a certain period of time. Students will experience the whole project learning under the teachers’ guide and choose projects based on their own interests which are related closely to daily life and are integrated various subjects (like science, mathematics, Chinese, etc). Students will use certain technological products (like computers) and research samples (like investigations) to explore until the problem is solved and project accomplished in a teamwork effort. During this learning process, students will engage in various subject fields, which will help them to understand the concepts and the principles better as well as the connection and mutual support among different subjects. What the project learning offers to students is not only the knowledge and ability needed in their future careers, but also the career itself.
If we compare Chinese, western and international education, it can be found that the advantages of each are quite obvious. Chinese education pursues preciseness and steadiness; western education encourages exploration and experience;international education emphasizes critical thinking and innovation. We expect to stand at the intersection of the inheritance, innovation, history and the epoch, learn the essence of tripartite education, integrate their strengths, take the golden mean of education, create a new educational model, and make teaching and learning perfectible during the practice. Chinese education carries the ideals and missions of “self-cultivation, regulating the family,governing the state and making the world peaceful”, emphasizes morality, literacy, responsibility and discipline, pursues systemic ways of learning and advocates hardworking and diligent spirits. We must persist in having a rigorous attitude towards teaching, and lead students to revere to knowledge, help them build the aspiration of studying hard, acquire wisdom and strengthen their minds in the ocean of knowledge. Our students will be equipped with many advantages from traditional education, such as abilities of logical and mathematical thinking which will be continuously expanded and deepened. The essence of western education is people-oriented, which encourages self-exploration,active practice and emphasizes experiential learning. We insist that learning is not only a process of accumulating knowledge and wisdom, but a process of inspiring the passion and interests, mastering scientific learning methods, forming diversified ways of thinking and developing the problem-solving ability. Our teachers will create the best educational environment for students to acquire knowledge and discuss problems with students meanwhile encourage them to solve problems with the knowledge they’ve acquired.Laboratories, libraries,museums, communities and the nature are the best classrooms,where our students can study like scientists, experts and scholars. International education respects multiculturalism. It is committed to broaden students’ international horizons and it also advocates for critical thinking and practical innovation, which is a new direction in the development of education in recent decades. We will be implementing international courses, which will be designed and developed in combination with Chinese culture.We believe that students will gain a thorough understanding of the relations among the various subjects when they research and study different themes deeply. Furthermore, students will be proficient in at least two languages and minor in second foreign language, which will enable them to communicate cross-culturally. The comprehensive interdisciplinary and international curriculum will be set from primary to senior years. In our school, the values of these three models will be well integrated through the course development and teaching design. Therefore, our students are able to learn the essence from different education traditions, to respect and understand different cultures, to have a solid knowledge foundation, to keep high enthusiasm of learning, to practice and to innovate courageously, and to be skilled in solving complicated problems flexibly through cooperation.