|Organization||Teach Future China|
Since 2011, the project has recruited public-funded normal students who are willing to teach in rural areas, and provided training for them in the first two years of their employment, aiming to help them strengthen beliefs for rural education and enhance the competence and influence of rural education. Through breaking environmental constraints, it is expected that they will grow into the backbone of promoting the development of local education in the future. Through more than six years of project exploration, the project has formed a model to promote the development of rural education by training outstanding young teachers in rural areas. More than 350 members have been trained, showing initial outcomes, and are gradually recognized by more foundations and by the public.
In the field, we have learned from the Education Bureau and the local principals that there are more focused and innovative needs in the training of new teachers in the counties. In February 2018, the Ministry of Education issued the Action Plan for the Revitalization of Teacher Education (2018-2022), which also emphasizes the construction of the support service system for the professional development of rural teachers in the counties. However, at present, the number of project members gathered in a county is relatively small, and there is a lack of effective links between the local Education Bureau and the school where the project locates. It is difficult to form a positive influence at the local level to promote and inherit the training mode of members and the outstanding practice and experience.
The project hopes to provide training and support for outstanding young teachers with professional background who return to rural areas to teach, so as to help them stay at ease and teach well in the days at rural schools, so as to promote the progress of rural education.
After referring to cases overseas and consulting excellent principals with rich experience in China, the project considers that the first three years are the key “moulding period” for teachers. An excellent principal shared the old saying that “a three-year period could decide the outcomes of one’s whole life”, emphasizing that the basic teaching skills, learning ability and educational values of these three years will become the basis of teachers’ development. If we miss this critical period of new teachers’ development, their further progress and improvement will be slow and unsatisfactory. At the same time, young teachers in this critical period are also in the period of the most intense collision between ideal and reality. They need to complete the transformation from students to teachers and deal with tough issues in education with limited experience. The new-teacher stage is also the stage when they need support the most. Research by New Teacher Center in the United States shows that in some states where new teachers are not well supported, the exit rate of new teachers is as high as 50%. Under China’s national conditions, teachers are not easy to withdraw from the teacher system, which then is manifested by “burnout” at an early age and premature decline in the vitality of professional learning and educational exploration, because they have not experienced growth and changes brought to students in the critical period. The project considers that the key to the development of rural education is to affect the new teachers with potential increment in time, as opposed to affect the existing teachers.
The project will intervene in the following three aspects. It will train and support outstanding young teachers returning to the rural areas to teach, so that they can become the backbone of local education development and innovation in two to three years, and further lead the development of local education.