Sponsor(s):Hunan Academy of Education Sciences
6 issues per year
Can advance snatching continue to empower preschool children?—A follow-up survey of the influence of early education classes on children’s learning and development
Forum on Contemporary Education,2022,No. 03
With the competition in education presenting a low age tendency, more and more children aged 0–3 are taking part in early education classes. Since the implementation of the policy that eases the burden of excessive homework and off-campus tutoring for students undergoing compulsory education (the policy of double reduction), non-academic tutoring, especially the already hot early education class, has a tendency of involution. At present, research on shadow education at home and abroad mainly focuses on the stage of compulsory education, but there is almost no follow-up research on the future learning and development of children aged 0–3 participating in early education classes in China. Can children aged 0–3 participating in early education classes continuously empower their learning and development after entering the kindergarten? The children aged 3–6 in Jinzhong City of Shanxi Province were selected as the subjects for a two-year follow-up study. Based on the follow-up survey data on 664 children aged 3–6 in 2017 and 367 children aged 3–6 in 2018, this paper uses the tendency score matching method (PSM) to analyze this problem. The PSM method is an effective way to solve the sample selection bias in the process when extracurricular classes (including early education classes) affect children’s learning and development ability. By matching, we can achieve the balance of covariate distribution between the groups who participated in early education classes and those who did not participate in early education classes, so as to eliminate the influence of intervening variables in the samples as much as possible. The East Asia Pacific Early Childhood Development Scales (EAP-ECDS) is used to evaluate children’s learning and development level. EAP-ECDS consists of seven parts: cognitive development, social development, sports development, language field, health and hygiene safety, cultural participation and learning quality. One-to-one individualized test is adopted in the actual measurement, and the researchers who have received professional training invite children to take the test in a separate classroom. In the process of testing, children need to respond orally to the questions, identify, read or arrange pictures, conducting finger movements, walk straight, catch balls, write or draw pictures according to the requirements of researchers. The independent variable is whether or not to attend the early education class before entering the kindergarten, and the information about children, their family and kindergartens is used as the control variable. It is found that children’s family socio-economic status is the key factor that affects their participation in early education classes. Baseline data show that participation in early education classes cannot significantly improve children’s learning and development. According to the tracking data, taking part in early education class has a significantly negative impact on children’s sports development from the junior class to the middle class, and a positive follow-up impact on children’s language, health and safety from the middle class to the senior class. Overall participation in early education classes has no continuous improvement effect on children’s learning and development after admission. Based on this, it is suggested that parents should respect children’s natural development law and avoid blindly following the trend to attend early education classes. High-quality parental companionship is the key. The government should fully implement the policy of double reduction, control early education institutions that are false and exaggerated, and at the same time vigorously set up inclusive nursery institutions, ensure the quality of nursery institutions, and improve the trinity cooperative education system of home, nursery and community.
Forum on Contemporary Education,2022,No. 03
Reducing the excessive academic burden of primary and secondary school students (referred to as burden reduction) is an international topic, which has been widely concerned and studied by educational circles all over the world. In China, in recent years, the problem of burden reduction has become a persistent educational difficulty when the country frequently makes burden reduction orders and makes practical explorations. It is a new focus that the Party and the state are paying more and more attention to based on comprehensive consideration of the future development of the nation. In order to solve the problem of burden reduction in a targeted and effective way, in July 2021, the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council issued the Guidelines to Ease the Burden of Excessive Homework and Off-Campus Tutoring for Students Undergoing Compulsory Education (double reduction), and emphasized that the guiding ideology of double reduction includes building a good education ecology and promoting students’ all-round development and healthy growth. This has realized the change from burden reduction to double reduction (reducing students’ homework burden and off-campus training burden), and defined the goal of educational ecology and students’ healthy development. However, with the implementation of the double reduction policy, students’ learning ecology will undergo significant changes and face new problems. It has become an urgent realistic requirement and the main direction in the future to treat the double reduction problem with the holistic view, the systematic view and the balanced view. In the past, some scholars have called for reducing the burden from the viewpoint of system theory, and called on the whole society to jointly create a good educational ecology for reducing the burden. However, research in this aspect is not enough to solve the complicated problem of excessive academic burden. Based on the basic theories and viewpoints of ecology, the research and observation method, the interview method and the literature research method are adopted to deeply and systematically expound the problem of students’ learning ecology against the backdrop of double reduction. With those methods above, this study explores the interaction and relationship between the learning subject and the learning environment, and tries to build a harmonious and symbiotic student learning ecosystem, hoping to create a healthy learning ecology, promote reduction, efficiency improvement and quality improvement, and realize the sustainable development of home, school and society. Through research, it is found that double reduction is an important measure for the educational community to strive to solve the problem of burden reduction from the source, to promote the healthy growth of students’ body and mind, and to develop education that the people are satisfied with. The main body of double reduction is students, and optimizing students’ learning ecology is the main line of the country from burden reduction to double reduction. Multi-ecological factors, such as learning subject and learning environment, form a learning ecosystem. The sudden change of learning ecological environment order, the imbalanced driving force of learning ecological subjects, the disorder of learning ecological knowledge structure and the dysfunction of learning ecosystem have become the development dilemma of learning ecosystem against the backdrop of double reduction. To rebuild the learning ecosystem against the backdrop of double reduction, we can take the ecological theory of OECD Learning Compass 2030 and Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory as the foundation. We should focus on the symbiotic learning community and the harmonious learning environment, and follow the material cycle of “people—money—things”, the energy flow of “knowledge—technology—emotion”, and the information transmission mechanism of “home—school—society” to reduce the burden reduction, so as to ensure that policies on students’ healthy study and burden reduction are effective.
Reform of homework design in primary and secondary schools: goal confirmation, concept construction and practice path
Forum on Contemporary Education,2022,No. 01
At present, the focus of basic education reform is moving from macro-control level to the micro-practice level. As a carrier that reflects the educational reform and the academic burden of primary and secondary school students, homework in primary and secondary schools attracts more and more attention. Students have certain independence and autonomy in homework activities, and they also have plenty of time and opportunities to discuss and ask for help, which makes homework an appropriate carrier to develop students’ learning literacy. At the same time, it also makes it possible to develop students’ core literacy, namely, learning how to study, as the goal orientation of the reform of homework design in primary and secondary schools. To develop students’ core literacy, homework needs to be based on the curriculum standards and the actual situation of classroom teaching, with appropriate homework content as the carrier. The teachers need to pay attention to the diversity of homework content and the selectivity of homework tasks to create an independent learning environment for students. The homework needs to cultivate students’ ability to consult materials, obtain information through information technology and ask for help from teachers and classmates to ensure the smooth progress of homework activities. It also needs to provide students with abundant opportunities to show themselves and communicate with others. It should give full play to the feedback function of homework evaluation and the function of homework reflection to promote the development of students’ cognitive strategies and metacognitive strategies. In homework design, the teachers should pay attention to the principles, such as parallel knowledge acquisition and learning ability improvement, unity of diverse tasks and homogeneous background, connection between students’ autonomy and resource support, and combination of performance evaluation and development evaluation. On the practical level, homework design which focuses on helping primary and secondary school students to learn how to study needs to focus on four aspects: the goal, content, implementation and evaluation of homework. Homework design should combine knowledge goals with literacy goals, especially highlighting the development goals of students’ learning literacy. The content design of homework should be based on the curriculum and teaching, pay attention to the continuity and structure of homework content, promote the development of students’ information processing ability through sample questions and variant questions. It should develop students’ metacognitive ability and improve their learning motivation by popularizing extra-curricular knowledge such as metacognition and university majors. The homework implementation design should focus on creating a good homework environment for students by providing them with the necessary opportunities and ways to learn and ask for help. The homework evaluation design should pay attention to enriching evaluation subjects and evaluation methods, so as to provide students with opportunities for understanding and communication, and improve the comprehensiveness and objectivity of homework evaluation. The establishment of the learning literacy goal of homework design, namely, focusing on learning how to study, can help to clarify the connotation and value of this learning literacy, which arouses people’s attention to the core literacy. In addition, it can also help to set a basic goal and a clear direction for the reform of homework design in primary and secondary schools. This can help the majority of researchers and teachers to focus on this goal in research and design of homework in primary and secondary schools, and achieve the goal of optimizing homework design and improving homework efficiency.
The internal picture and optimizing strategy of contemporary preschool education policy tools in China
Forum on Contemporary Education,2022,No. 03
The preschool education policy is an important measure for the all-round development of China’s preschool education. Sorting out the internal picture of China’s preschool education policy tools is conducive to optimizing the choice of preschool education policy tools, solving the problems faced by China’s preschool education, such as the shortage of inclusive resources, insufficient financial investment, and poor quality of teachers, so as to promote the construction and development of inclusive preschool education in China. In this paper, the four preschool education policies issued by the central level are taken as the research objects. Firstly, the text content is coded by qualitative data analysis software NVivo according to the rule of “policy number—chapter—specific clause/sentence,” and the qualitative words are converted into quantitative data, forming 185 coding units. Then, based on the three-dimensional analysis framework of “policy tools—policy objectives—time series,” 185 coding units are classified and counted, and then the structure, matching degree and trend of the classified statistics results are analyzed, finally showing the internal structure and relationship between tools and objectives in the policy text. It is found that from the perspective of policy tools, imperative tools are the most frequently used (accounting for 44.32%), followed by capacity building tools, system change tools and incentive tools. From the perspective of policy objectives, the proportion of policy objectives from high to low includes standardized supervision, resources and funds, teaching staff, quality improvement, and structural optimization. There are inconsistencies between policy tools and policy objectives. From the time series, the mandatory tools are in a high-frequency state for a long time, the incentive tools are in a low-frequency state for a long time, the proportion of normative supervision objective is relatively high for a long time, and it shows an upward trend, while the proportion of structural optimization objective is gradually decreasing. To sum up, there are some problems in China’s selection of preschool education policy tools, such as excessive use of mandatory tools, inconsistencies between tools and objectives, inconsistencies within goals and strong dependence on tool paths. The reasons are that the tool selection has government value preference, mandatory tools obscures incentive tools, and the tool selection lacks scientific overall planning. Based on this, this paper builds a multi-value oriented and practical problem oriented policy objective system for preschool education, optimizes the combination structure of preschool education policy tools, and formulates an optimization path for integrated and systematic preschool education policy planning. By building a three-dimensional analysis framework of “policy tools—policy objectives—time series,” this study makes a quantitative analysis on preschool education policies issued by the state, explores the deep structure of policy tools, presents the internal policy tools, the combination of objectives, the changing trends of tools and objectives of different policy texts, clarifies the problems and causes of the choice of preschool education policy tools in China in recent ten years, and puts forward corresponding improvement suggestions. This study provides decision-making references for optimizing the choice of preschool education policy tools and policy formulation in China, and provides experience for related research.
The relationship between teacher care and college students’ learning satisfaction in online teaching: the mediating role of learning input
Forum on Contemporary Education,2022,No. 02
The rise of “Internet + education” has promoted the rapid development of online learning methods, making online education not only a component of the educational ecosystem, but also reconstructing the whole educational ecosystem. The attack of COVID-19 epidemic in 2020 made online teaching really enter the daily teaching activities of all teachers and students, and the quality of online teaching is closely related to the talent cultivation of higher education. Therefore, how to improve the online learning performance and build the guarantee system for online education quality are the core issues that need to be discussed at present. Quality is the lifeline of online courses, and the quality evaluation index of any product cannot be separated from consumers’ satisfaction with product use. In online teaching, learners’ learning satisfaction is an important index to measure the quality of online education. At the same time, teachers’ caring behavior and students’ learning input have certain influences on college students’ learning satisfaction. This study conducted a questionnaire survey on 635 college students who participated in online teaching in 2021, and adopted SPSS 22.0 and PROCESS macro program statistical analysis methods. Firstly, it makes a descriptive analysis of the overall level of teachers’ care, learning input and learning satisfaction in online teaching of college students. Secondly, it used the independent sample T-test, variance analysis and other methods to analyze the differences of teachers’ care, learning input and learning satisfaction in online teaching of college students with different characteristics. Finally, the relationship between teachers’ caring behavior, learning input and college students’ learning satisfaction in online teaching is further discussed with the methods of correlation analysis and intermediary effect test. It is found that the overall level of teachers’ care and students’ learning input in online teaching is not high, which needs to be further strengthened. Gender and college type will affect college students’ online learning input and learning satisfaction. Teacher’s care in online teaching positively predicts learning satisfaction, while learning input plays a partial intermediary role between teacher’s care and learning satisfaction. Therefore, to improve the online learning performance and ensure online teaching quality, it is necessary to improve the online teaching environment and create a good online teaching atmosphere. It is necessary to provide online teaching training for teachers to improve their information literacy ability. It is necessary to enhance students’ intrinsic learning motivation and improve students’ learning input.
Forum on Contemporary Education,2022,No. 01
As the beginning and foundation of lifelong education, the building of high-quality preschool education system is necessary for the building of a modern country strong in education. The balanced allocation of expenditure on education is the basic condition for the fair and high-quality development of preschool education. This paper investigates the regional fairness and influencing factors of the expenditure on preschool education per student, in order to make contributions to improving the weak link of preschool education in China’s education system. Firstly, based on the overall expenditure on preschool education, general public budgetary expenditure, tuition and fees and the number of children in kindergartens in 30 provincial-level regions of China from 2011 to 2018, the Gini coefficient and the Palma ratio of each expenditure on pre-school education per student are calculated. The fairness of pre-school education allocation per student among provincial-level regions in China is comprehensively evaluated. Then, using the panel data of the economic development level, urbanization level, urban-rural gap and expenditure on preschool education per student in each provincial-level region from 2011 to 2018, this paper builds a theoretical model to investigate which factors affect the expenditure on preschool education per student. On the whole, the expenditure on preschool education per student shows the regional characteristics of “high in eastern provincial-level regions and low in central and western provincial-level regions.” The structure of the expenditure on preschool education per student in different provincial-level regions is also different. The level of economic development, urbanization and the income gap between urban and rural areas all have impacts on the expenditure on preschool education per student, but the effects and degrees of different types of expenditure per student are different. Finally, according to the research conclusion, some countermeasures and suggestions are put forward to improve the allocation of expenditure on preschool education per student in China. It is necessary to establish a compensation type of financial transfer payment system. It is necessary to establish a financial power system of “overall planning at the provincial level, with the county as the mainstay” to ensure the sufficient and effective expenditure on education per student in each provincial-level region. It is necessary to reasonably regulate the expenditure on education per student in urban and rural areas, and accelerate the process of urban-rural integration of preschool education. It is necessary to optimize the sharing structure of expenditure on preschool education and introduce the mechanism of targeted poverty alleviation to ensure the basic quality of preschool education. The conclusion can help us to grasp the latest development trend of the fairness of expenditure on preschool education per student in China, and clarify the factors influencing the imbalance of expenditure on preschool education so as to provide references for making a rational planning for expenditure on preschool education and improving the quality of preschool education.
Forum on Contemporary Education,2022,No. 01
This paper advocates all-round ecological concern in colleges and universities, through carrying out a new type of moral education practice. By this means, it strives to promote the all-round development of college students, effectively promote the current ideological and political education in colleges and universities, and vigorously promote ecological conservation. This paper attempts to interpret the connotation of ecological moral education in colleges and universities in China. It mainly adopts and introduces the SWOT analysis method of enterprise development trend. With this systematic and comprehensive analysis method, this paper makes an overall systematic analysis and scientific and reasonable positioning of the current ecological moral education in colleges and universities. It analyzes the internal strengths, internal weaknesses, external opportunities and external threats of the current ecological moral education in colleges and universities. Then, it explores the way to promote the further development of ecological moral education in colleges and universities in China, so as to promote the further development of ecological moral education and cultivate talents for the ecological conservation in the new era. The study shows that the promotion paths of ecological moral education in colleges and universities mainly includes the following four aspects. The first is to define the guiding principles of ecological moral education in colleges and universities. The second is to improve the content system of ecological moral education in colleges and universities. The third is to expand the implementation paths of ecological moral education in colleges and universities. The fourth is to build the guarantee mechanism of ecological moral education in colleges and universities. It can be said that the continuous promotion of ecological moral education in colleges and universities is not only the basic need of ecological conservation and the inherent requirement of improving college students’ moral level, but also a necessary way to promote green development and improve the environment. The contributions of this paper are as the following. It comprehensively interprets and clarifies the current ecological moral education in colleges and universities. To be specific, ecological moral education in colleges and universities mainly refers to cultivating ecological moral consciousness, establishing ecological moral concepts, strengthening ecological moral beliefs, enriching ecological moral cognition, improving ecological moral quality, fostering ecological moral feelings and shaping ecological moral personality. The ultimate goal is to realize the self-discipline, autonomy and self-conscious ecological civilized behavior of college students, which is an important and urgent task of the current ideological and political education in colleges and universities. This paper objectively and accurately proposes that the current ecological moral education in colleges and universities is still in the primary stage with an arduous task and along road. The ecological moral education in colleges and universities should be carried out against the backdrop of accelerating the ecological conservation in the new era. At the same time, it should closely focus on how to correctly examine and handle the relationship between man and nature and other living things, emphasizing the harmony between man and nature, man and man, as well as man and society. The ultimate goal is to strive to build a community of shared future for mankind and beautiful China, realize the sustainable development and great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and cultivate more and better ecological rational talents who have ecological civilization consciousness and can actively participate in the ecological conservation. We should give full play to the basic role of key links, so as to further help the majority of the people to cultivate ecological morality, and finally strengthen the soft power of China’s ecological conservation.
Symbolic interaction between individual and state: educational action in the context of public crisis
Forum on Contemporary Education,2022,No. 03
Events such as the global attack of COVID-19 pandemic have aroused great concern from all walks of life about the emergence and governance of public crisis. Education plays a powerful role in managing the public crisis, bridging the gap of value identity, post-disaster reconstruction, and secondary prevention. According to the theory of symbolic interaction, education should first rely on and develop individual rationality, so that it can actively act on social changes in the interactive process. Then, education should also include relative knowledge of public rationality, so as to obtain the consistent symbolic meaning of overcoming the public crisis. This paper takes the individual and the state as the objects of educational practice, and the individual rationality and the national identity as the embodied content. Then, it attempts to explore the benign symbolic interaction between them, and find the educational explanation logic which is suitable for the situation of public crisis. The findings are as the following. Firstly, individual rationality provides a guarantee for education to trigger individual actions and overcome the public crisis. On the one hand, it can effectively reduce the possible losses caused by public crises. On the other hand, it can serve the restoration and reconstruction of social order. Secondly, by virtue of the construction system of national identity, education can gradually establish the value orientation of individual rationality, and finally realize the power connection between individuals and the state under the situation of public crisis through collective individual coherent actions. There are three reasons as the following. (1) National identity can help education to activate the joint efforts of individuals so as to jointly fight against public crises. (2) National identity provides a basic measure for educated people to rationally judge and evaluate public crises, which can effectively mediate the contradiction between individual rationality and legitimacy. (3) National identity points out the direction for individuals to make appropriate judgments and choices in the situation of public crisis. In the process of absorbing national identity in education, the adhesive relationship between individual rationality and national identity is coupled. In this way, individuals, the state and education constitute a concentric circle to eliminate the public crisis. In the three stages of public crisis, education constantly reconciles the symbolic interaction between individual rationality and national identity. In the start-up stage, the inclusion of national identity into education implicitly reduces the negative impact of public crisis. In the outbreak stage, education aggregates individual rationality and national identity to manage the public crisis interactively. In the repair stage, individual rationality that comes into being due to education actively prevents the public crisis. By adjusting the operation form of education, we can help individuals to establish a systematic knowledge structure so as to drive the individuals to act rationally and actively. Through national identity, we can disseminate specific values, and connect the individual ability with the collective force, which can help us to improve the competitiveness in preventing the public crisis in the mutual promotion relationship between the individuals and the state. The specific ways for education to respond to the public crisis include the following. The first is to re-construct the educational relationship among schools, students and parents based on the institutional reform and according to the overall characteristics of students in the field. The second is to focus on training students according to their individual characteristics on the basis of comprehensive coverage. The third is to give full play to the communication role of educators and extend the discourse function of education beyond the educational field. The cooperation among the schools, students and parents can help to eliminate the public crisis and guide the society to re-enter the equilibrium state.
Rural small schools: current situation and development suggestion—based on the investigation of more than 8000 rural small schools in H Province
Forum on Contemporary Education,2022,No. 01
Rural small schools are the areas which suffer the most due to unequal educational quality between urban and rural areas, and the weak links of China’s educational modernization. Whether these schools are retained or revitalized is related to tens of millions of rural children and adolescents, social fairness and justice, the overall situation of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and the realization of the Two Centenary Goals. In order to present the survival and development of rural small schools more comprehensively and objectively, this paper analyzes the practical bottlenecks and policy obstacles faced by the rural small schools more systematically and profoundly. This paper makes statistics and data analysis on more than 8000 rural small schools in H Province. Firstly, it makes a statistical analysis on macro data of rural small schools in the whole province. Second, it conducts a comparative analysis of the development and changes of rural small schools in different years. Third, it conducts field investigations and in-depth interviews with principals and teachers of some small schools, so as to have a deep understanding of the actual predicament and daily operation of small schools in rural areas. According to the survey results, as far as the situation of H Province is concerned, the development of rural small schools presents the following characteristics. The average school scale is further shrinking, the source of students are unstable and the number of students is overall decreasing. Schools without abundant teachers are beginning to emerge in large numbers, the number of full-time teachers is seriously insufficient, and excellent teachers are still unwilling to go to rural areas. The analysis shows that the construction of rural small schools is faced with some deep-seated factors. Firstly, the acceleration of urbanization directly leads to the hollowing out of rural population and further accelerates the natural disappearance of rural small schools. Secondly, the actual conditions of small schools cannot retain excellent teachers, which makes small schools in rural areas unsustainable. Finally, parents’ natural yearning for urban education also weakens the endogenous motivation for the development of rural small schools. In order to smooth the “last mile” of poverty alleviation by developing education and activate the “nerve endings” of education, it is necessary to make targeted policies and efforts at the national level. Specifically, it is necessary to have special institutional arrangements and policy designs and pay special attention. As far as the school itself is concerned, it needs to change from relying on support from other areas to improving its own development capacity. In terms of teachers, it is necessary to train local excellent general teachers to meet the special needs of small schools. This paper hopes to provide reference for the whole country to promote the construction of rural small schools, and provide direction and ideas for truly achieving the strategic goal that every child can enjoy fair and high-quality education.
Forum on Contemporary Education,2022,No. 02
The new era leads China’s higher education into a new stage of high-quality development. The new situation requires new adjustments to the higher education quality policy, whose discursive focus in the new era implies the basic logic of national action on higher education quality. This is the key clue for us to understand the blueprint of China’s higher education reform and development in the coming period. This paper makes a series of qualitative studies (including topic coding, correlation clustering, diachronic investigation, and subject preference analysis) on 166 policy texts of higher education quality issued at the national level since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The conclusions are as follows. In terms of discourse evolution, China’s higher education quality policy in the new era has generally experienced four stages: starting window period (2012–2013) characterized by management for construction and the local enhancement, progressive development period (2014–2016) characterized by the integration of elements and the synergy of knowledge and action, comprehensive improvement period (2017–2018) characterized by the people orientation and the return to the original heart, and active adjustment period (2019– ) characterized by the structural optimization and the internal development. This reflects the historical change of value orientation of China’s higher education quality policy from the single to the multiple, from extension to connotation, and from elements to the system. In the dimension of discourse structure, despite the downward trend of “optimization of governance,” it still occupies the central position of meta-themes in the higher education quality policy discourse network and continues to influence other policy discourse themes. The discourse empowerment related to the participation of sub-themes such as “faculty,” “international exchange” and “educational equity” in the construction of higher education quality is insufficient, showing a differential order pattern of “one center and multiple sub-centers” with strong meta-themes, dependent sub-themes, and relatively marginal potential themes. In the dimension of discourse orientation, the structural imbalance in the policy attention distribution of different issuers coexists with the intertextuality isomorphism. While different issuers have their own focus on specific business calibers, they all center on the optimization of governance. This not only enhances the structural imbalance in the policy focus theme, but also leads to the Matthew effect of quality-related policy discourse. Overall, the above findings support the insight of existing studies that the elements involved in China’s higher education governance policy are relatively complete and tend to be externally adapted. In addition, this paper has revised the optimistic judgment that discourses such as “faculty” are deeply involved in higher education quality policy discourse, and added new propositions about the dilemma of higher education quality culture and its operationalization in policy contexts, the conflict between internationalization and localization of higher education under the century-long change, and the inherent tension between equity and quality in higher education at the stage of universalization.