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Wellington College China holds its 6th Festival of Education and explores the power of 'Collaboration in Education'

Wellington College China holds its 6th Festival of Education and explores the power of 'Collaboration in Education'

SHANGHAI, April 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Wellington College China held yet another successful instalment of its Festival of Education on 22nd April. This year's Festival brought together nearly 40 thought leaders in education and 800 attendees at Wellington College International Shanghai. Together, they took part in a day of informative and inspiring talks, panel discussions and workshops covering the latest developments in education. Now in its sixth edition, Wellington College China's Festival of Education is one of China's leading forums for educators and general enthusiasts seeking insights on everything from career development to cutting-edge theories and new teaching techniques.

Collaboration in Education

"It takes a village to raise a child," said Joy Qiao, Wellington College China Founder and Chairman. "We all know how important it is to support our children, ensuring they become happy, healthy and well-rounded individuals. But it takes the collaboration between our pupils, parents and teachers to achieve that. That is why we chose 'Collaboration in Education' as this year's theme."

This theme was the lens through which this year's speakers and attendees examined the Festival's five key strands: Developing Bilingual Learners, Early Years Education, Counselling/Pupil Support, Teacher Training and Future Schools. These strands sparked stimulating conversations around how schools can bring out the best in their pupils and staff through informed, evidence-based work in wellbeing and mental health. In the process, participants explored compelling questions, like how will schools operate 20 years from now? What (and how) will the world's best schools be teaching their pupils? What is on the horizon for teaching and learning? What skills will help our pupils become the best version of themselves? What tools do educators need to ensure these skills are taught?

Happier and healthier pupils and teachers

Following opening remarks, Professor Lizhong Yu, Chancellor Emeritus of NYU Shanghai kicked off the day's events with a keynote speech. It was a call to action for more humanistic exchanges through education in the face of COVID-19, artificial intelligence and shifts in the global geopolitical landscape.

The Early Years Education strand figured prominently throughout the day. Reggio Emilia consultant Lola Alvarez led a discussion on how visual mathematics can enhance numeracy in our youngest learners. Mia Wang of Maggie & Rose shared the many ways that food education programmes can teach young children about the world around them. Wellington College International Shanghai and Huili Nursery Shanghai's Executive Head of Early Years, Charlotte Knight-Benjafield, delivered an insightful session focused on the power of positive parent relationships.   

Healthy and happy pupils are successful pupils, which is why mental health and wellbeing are essential pillars to any holistic education provision. As part of the Festival's Counselling/Pupil Support strand, several educators and mental health professionals shared their insights in how parents and teachers can foster wellbeing so our pupils can flourish. Dr Davy Guo, Director of Psychology at Mindfront, led an informative session on strategies to overcome the phenomenon of 'school refusal'. Andrew Hill, Director of ELG, made the case for community engagement with a session entitled 'Service at Your School and in the Shanghai Community'. Also, Wellington College International Shanghai's own Helen Heatley and Martina Resende introduced their highly successful positive behaviour intervention programme, the Sunshine Club, to a wider audience.

Iain Henderson, Deputy Head (Educational Developments and Partnerships) of Wellington College in the UK, also contributed to the conversation as it pertains to our educators with a talk titled 'Coaching for Growth with Compassion vs. Coaching for Compliance'.

Building bilingual better

Bilingual education was another salient topic. Alice Stott of Voice 21 gave two talks on the transformative power of oracy in education. Ms Stott's talk also marked a welcome return of international speakers joining the debate in person. "I am glad to be back in Shanghai for EdFest once again to share ideas on how language education can build bridges and transform lives," Ms Stott remarked.

Additionally, Delinda Wu of the Beijing International Bilingual Academy explained the three pillars of an effective bilingual education programme. Helen McCann, Assistant Head of Junior High and Senior School at Huili School Hangzhou, shared ways to empower bilingual voices.

Moreover, following the success of this year's Festival, Joy Qiao and Charlotte Knight-Benjafield have been invited to speak before over 5000 attendees at the Festival of Education at Wellington College in England this July. Ms Qiao will speak about the role of bilingual education in building cultural bridges and Ms Knight-Benjafield will share Wellington College China's Huili School model for bilingual early years education.

The day's agenda was also interspersed with collaborative art exhibits and music performances by some very promising and talented Wellington pupils. Guests also had the opportunity to learn more about the events many sponsor partners in the Festival's vendor exhibition space.

The day's events finally ended with a speech by Julian Jeffrey, Chief Executive Master of Wellington College China, who remarked, "What we have experienced here today are the beginnings of the post-pandemic world of educational thought leadership. Far from simply trying to pick up the threads of the pre-COVID educational scene, our speakers have tackled head-on the new environment in which we find ourselves. Whether in talks, workshops or roundtables, our contributors have helped us to make sense of the recent past and to prepare us all – teachers, pupils and parents – for the world of schooling as it will be, not how we might wish it could have been."

A benchmark educational event

The Wellington College China Festival of Education has its origins in the Festival of Education at Wellington College in England, which is now recognised as a benchmark international educational event. Since its inauguration in October 2015, the China Festival has enjoyed similar success in attracting large numbers of participants to consider and reflect on the most relevant and important questions facing modern education. 

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