Related News

Home » Feature » Education

YCIS collaborative approach works wonders

WHAT is the co-teaching system and how does it benefit our children?" is usually one of the initial questions asked by first-time visitors to Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS Shanghai). The "what" is simple: a Chinese and a Western teacher work together in each class at the Early Childhood Education and Primary levels. The benefits? Numerous.

Most tangible is that primary students become adept in Chinese within an English curriculum and environment. With a one-hour Chinese language lesson each day and a Chinese culture lesson each week, Western co-teacher David Burton sees rapid Chinese acquisition among his Year 4 students, even with three or four languages spoken at home.

Beyond language immersion, students also benefit from the co-teachers' opportunity to plan, teach and assess each class as a team. While Burton teaches, his Chinese counterpart Susan Yue may monitor students' responses to the lessons. At other times, the class is split up to work on separate activities for more individual attention. Students and parents in need of help or advice can also approach either teacher, using the most appropriate language for communication.

"We work out the best strategy and methods based on the framework, but also based on the requirements and progress of each class," says Yue. "We sometimes even disagree, but in the end going through this process helps make a better and more thoughtful lesson."

Yue and the other Chinese co-teachers provide another not-so-obvious benefit to the school. With staff turnover a normal expectation at international schools that serve an equally transient expatriate population, YCIS Shanghai provides stability and continued development through the best practice sharing between longer-staying Chinese staff and the expatriate Western staff. This is true even at school-management level, where Puxi ECE and Primary co-principal Andrew Mellor was able to "hit the road running from day one" by working with co-principal Julie Zheng, a 16-year YCIS Shanghai veteran.

Co-principal Zheng says it is like the Chinese saying of "crossing the river in the same boat" - they have to work together and trust each other to get to the opposite shore. "It is very important to be aware of each other's weaknesses and strengths and support each other and do what is right for the children, the parents, the staff and the school," she says.

Co-principal Mellor reinforces, "The Chinese staff provide stability by being here longer - it gives real advantages for the children. The outcome is great as two heads are better than one."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend