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美国都柏林高中Brad Bates校长访问北师大附属实验中学
来源: | 作者:kapanshan1 | 发布时间: 2017-07-01 | 167 次浏览 | 分享到:

 

    2017年7月1日
美国都柏林高中Brad Bates校长访问了北师大附属实验中学,并参加学校举办的基础教育国际论坛。
(下附Brad Bates校长英文演讲内容)



















Speech of Bradford D. Bates
On the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of
The Beijing Experimental High School
July 1, 2017


            Thank you for the kind invitation to speak to you on this important day in the remarkable history of the Beijing Experimental High School. I wish to thank Peter Peng and Mark Kemsley for introducing me to this school almost nine years ago when I first became headmaster at the Dublin School. I wish to thank Madame Yuan, Party Secretary Cheng and Madam Shu, whom I had the pleasure of working with in those early days, and of course Mr. Cai, Mr. Li and Mr. Hao for their friendship, hospitality and our collaboration over the years. Dublin School has benefited from our visits and exchanges with your school and we have learned so much about education, administration and learning through our partnership. It has also been exciting to see the success of the International Division. It is an honor to travel here today with my son Calvin and daughter Lillian, who have been students at Dublin School. This is their visit to China and it was very important to me that they see your wonderful school and country.


I am the headmaster of an intentionally small, international boarding school in New Hampshire called the Dublin School. The school was started in 1935 by a man named Mr. Lehmann who wanted his students to learn in the mountains, far removed from the mill towns and cities of the United States. This original idea makes it even more important that we connect with innovative city schools like the Beijing Experimental School because we can learn from our differences. Dublin School has students from twelve different countries, including fourteen from China, we teach a liberal arts curriculum with a strong emphasis on writing, discussion, and critical thinking, we ask our students to have jobs on our campus ranging from shoveling the deep snow to cleaning dishes, every student is required to do three different extracurricular activities each year, and for every four students we have one teacher. Yes, we are a very expensive school to operate! Dublin graduates include a Stanford University president, the head of Union Pacific Railroad and the Washington Post, one of the top venture capitalists in the United States, and the most successful businessman in Chile.


I wanted to speak briefly today about how we work to bring the world into our school community and how we prepare our students to contribute to the global community. I wish to start my talk today with a story. My son and I recently traveled to the Patagonia Region of Latin America. We rented a car and drove around the city of Bariloche, Argentina visiting schools to set up student exchanges for our Spanish Language Program. As we were driving through the city we discovered that there were no traffic signs or stoplights. We did not know whether to slow down, stop or yield when we entered an intersection. On top of that we saw dogs everywhere on the streets and noticed that cars stopped for dogs, but rarely slowed down to allow people to cross the street. When we arrived at our first school visit we did not know how to greet people. Before we could reach out our hands to shake hands and say hello we noticed that people ignored our hands and greeted us by kissing us on the cheek. Calvin and I had to quickly learn both the written and unwritten rules of this new culture.


This story illustrates for me the importance of teaching our students how to not only learn to deal with uncertainty, but to embrace uncertainty. I believe that the student who learns to embrace the new and to learn quickly and confidently will have the best chance of making an impact on the world. Our students will face much greater cross-cultural challenges and opportunities than those involved with traffic rules and greetings. How then do we prepare our students for the uncertainty and ambiguity that is associated with most cultural exchanges? How do we go beyond teaching our students about foreign food and music and teach them meaningful things that will lead to deep cross-cultural connections? 


This past year our school collaborated with Amherst College to study the best practices in designing curriculum for our students. Amherst College is ranked #2 in the US News and World Report’s rankings of Liberal Arts Colleges. I found that the approach that Amherst’s Director of Curriculum Design shared with us lends itself to preparing students for the uncertainties of living and working in a global community. Dr. Hari Stephen Kumar of Amherst introduced us to something called Threshold Concepts. Threshold Concepts are those concepts in a given course that are difficult to master, are irreversible once you learn them, are troublesome since they often require us to “let go” of ideas that we once found familiar and reassuring, and help students make new connections across the curriculum once they are mastered. A simple example of a threshold concept might be an abstraction from Algebra where students are asked to think of the letter “x” as a variable. As adults we are very comfortable with the concept of “x” as a variable, but for young math students understanding this level of abstraction can be quite difficult. Dr. Kumar challenged us to design our curriculum with this type of threshold concept in mind. This requires approaching concepts like mathematical abstractions from multiple angles and spiraling   our curriculum in order to continually revisit concepts like these throughout a given academic year until our students fully embrace the ideas we are trying to teach.


More important to our discussion today, however, is Dr. Kumar’s point that we need to create space for our students to struggle over a period of time with these threshold concepts, that our students need to be comfortable in what he calls “liminal spaces” as they cross thresholds of understanding. The student who is comfortable navigating the liminal space and dealing with abstraction will more likely thrive when presented with unfamiliar concepts and unfamiliar situations. I would argue that students who learn to embrace uncertainty will also be well prepared to participate and thrive in a global community. Where others might be overwhelmed by cultural differences and the unwritten rules about different cultures, we hope that our students will be excited and inspired by these thresholds and seek to truly understand the people with whom they meet, work and interact.


By the end of our trip to Patagonia I was driving our rental car through the streets of Bariloche, Argentina with confidence, dodging the street dogs and moving in and out of intersections safely and without being honked at. More importantly I learned so much about the people with whom we met and left with a greater sense of connection to the world outside of the United States. I am now excited to travel around Beijing and China with my own family and I hope to develop a deeper understanding of your fascinating culture. I want my children and our students to understand, among many other things, how your economy works, how history impacts your culture, how you treat and view your elders, what is the tension between the needs of an individual and the needs of the community, and how you view foreigners. There are many thresholds to cross as we seek cross-cultural and global connections and I hope we can model the tolerance for uncertainty, humility and curiosity that we hope to see in our students. I conclude by congratulating Beijing Experimental School on your first hundred years and wish you the very best as you launch into the next one hundred years.