Teachers should encourage school children, especially at earlier stages, to be more imaginative, according to educators at a two-day education forum opened Monday in Shanghai.
“Front-line teachers should be more patient with creative students, no matter how ridiculous and eccentric their opinions may be,” said Yang Fujia, former president of Fudan University.
But, as Yang mentioned, it’s more difficult to practice than to say, because many questions in exams still demand only one standard answer in China.
Teaching creativity should focus on self-improvement rather than reforming curriculum, said other experts, otherwise teachers will use fixed criteria to judge everyone’s performance at school.
At another education seminar at East China Normal University, some American educational experts said they taught creativity much earlier than their Chinese counterparts.
“Open-ended discussions and problems with rich possibilities of solutions were featured in the curricular reform in the United States over the past 20 years,” according to Wm. E. Doll Jr., professor of curriculum at Louisiana State University.
“As the Internet becomes an aiding tool to education, we should lay more curricular emphasis on the knowledge of computer science and Internet surfing,” said Wu Gang, a curricular researcher at East China Normal University.
Wu proposed that learning about computers is an important way for students to exchange their imaginative and innovative ideas.
However, creative education is deemed only effective at earlier grades in China’s schools, according to experts, because rote learning methods are still required to prepare for entrance exams to higher levels of education.