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Experts advocate proactive, self-directed learning

By Zhao Xinying | | Updated: 2017-03-30 10:35

In an era of rapidly developing information technology, teachers in China should focus more on improving their students self-directed and proactive learning, rather than just imparting knowledge. according to two education industry insiders.

Bai Yunfeng, president of TAL Education Group, a leading K-12 after-school tutoring services provider, said at a news conference on Wednesday that the essence of education is helping students develop their mental capacities.

Developments in science and technology have changed the way education can be accessed and knowledge can now be obtained in many ways besides teachers' lectures, he said.

"Under such circumstances, the teacher's role has changed from imparting knowledge, answering questions and encouraging students to helping students make plans and offering the necessary guidance," Bai said.

Feng Lei, deputy general manager of Xueersi Online School, an online tutorial agency for primary and middle school students that is part of TAL, said students must be willing to learn for teaching to be effective.

She added that the effects of passive and proactive learning are quite different. Research has shown that only 5 percent of what is taught in lectures is retained by learners, shooting up to 95 percent if they have truly tried to understand the content and teach it to others.

To involve more students in proactive learning, Feng said her school is cooperating with Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in running a teaching contest for students, in the hope of promoting interest in education and improving their learning abilities.

The eight students who win first prize in the contest will be rewarded with a weeklong visit to Dubai, she said.

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