2017 Sharestart Asia Conference
Themed “Converging and Deepening”, the second Sharestart Asia Conference, held over 7th to 17th December, congregated overseas and local educators concerned with innovation in education. Presented by the Sharestart community, National Taiwan University’s (NTU) teachers’ training community, Junyi Academy and The Alliance Cultural Foundation (ACF), Taiwan is already “exporting” its education and Sharestart Founder Chang Huicheng is an example for promoting educational philosophies based on the Taiwan experience and building a 50,000-strong community in Asia, reversing rote learning.
The annual forum was held on 9th and 10th December while the Advanced Capacity Building Workshop was held on 16th and 17th December. The Open Classroom Observations, from 7th to 15th December, held by 26 Sharestart educators was so popular that it could only admit 700 educators despite over one thousand sign-ups. 100 participants were leaders and innovators in the education scene from countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, China, Brunei. Founder Chang Huicheng said the spirit of Sharestart is sharing, especially amongst educators, to provide connections and platforms to groom more outstanding educators, bettering generations of students.
In 2017, Sharestart and ACF has put together 103 sessions of workshops aimed at enhancing teaching capabilities, reaching 25 co-learning groups across levels, subjects and schools. 48 overseas and local “seed teachers” were also brought together to form the core lecturing team at Shareshart to deepen its educational philosophies. ACF and the Sharestart community supported over 70 teachers to participate in the Open Classroom Observations; and shares resources online with over 1,800 Sharestart lecture notes accumulated as well as a bi-monthly online publication with now a readership of 3,000.
Founder Chang’s vision of Sharestart is one that allows students to pick up speed, ability and interest for learning independently or in groups, and even remotely, requiring only a timeline and content, harnessing technology and involving parents as partners in this journey with the focus on new and interdisciplinary teaching and learning methods, innovation was adopted as a new theme in this year’s conference.
13 new emerging teachers were invited to present at the conference. One of which was Yunlin Erlun Junior High’s Teacher Chang Shuoling whom after having vocal injuries was inspired when her doctor asked if one-way lecturing was the only method of teaching beginning her learning journey with Sharestart.
Another remarkable breakthrough for Sharestart was extending its methods to college. Professor Yu Chuanhan of National Yang-Ming University applied the Sharestart method in a lecture on embryos and tissues. Sharestart is also practiced across industries beyond education, such as in staff training for the security sector or corporate sectors.
The audience were particularly moved by the simple yet impactful project “Collective Memories of the Island” shared by Guest Speaker Li Si-ying who teaches at the Kaohsiung Shengli Elementary. It prompts students to trace their roots and identities with the teacher educating them on interview skills and portrait drawing. Students then have to interview their grandparents and draw their portraits, allowing them to put aside their hand-phones and to pick up the skills of listening, understanding and being gentle. With the transmission and recording of family stories, the students are enriched by their personal histories and roots, which could support them through challenges in life. The project is now in ten counties reaching 26 schools, 70 teachers and 4000 students; it hopes to establish a facial history museum and cross-border connections in future.
Sharestart also has “seed teachers” in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau, and shares resources online with a Sharestart syllabus that has over 1,800 Sharestart lecture notes. Moreover, Sharestart hopes to further its overseas collaborations with organizations such as Yangcong345, an online math learning platform from Beijing which has a ten million user-base whose program head also leads Teach for China, as well as education institutes such as the Guangdong Gongguan Oxford Kids International School, 21st Century Education Research Institute and other educational groups. The promotion of Sharestart in other regions will also be done systematically and with the support of local partner schools, whose efforts have been affirmed by parents and students alike.