On 22 January, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) commenced a teacher training programme for teaching staff from the Department of Economics and Management at Qinghai Normal University (QNU), hosted by XJTLU’s Institute of Leadership and Education Advanced Development (ILEAD).

The training programme, which lasted for three days, focused on sharing XJTLU’s unique take on the ‘student-centred’ education model, and highlights the University’s commitment to elevating the quality of higher education in China for the mutual benefit of students from both universities.

After a brief welcome speech, Professor Youmin Xi, Executive president of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, was invited to give a presentation on the topic of student-centred education, sharing his experience and thoughts about improving the healthy growth of students in tertiary education. “If teaching and learning both require change, the definition of a university also needs to be redefined,” explained Professor Xi. He also highlighted that from the perspective of development, especially in today’s internet era, the primary task of a university has shifted from merely providing knowledge, to helping students understand the meaning of learning. This also includes inspiring students to learn actively and effectively, encouraging the concept of informal learning, and to activate the implementation of this knowledge once out in the real world.

Professor Xi emphasised that, by adhering to this philosophy, XJTLU has been carrying out this education practice since its establishment in 2006, and as such is investing in the creativity and self-guidance ability of its students. In this exploration XJTLU openly communicates with its students in order to discover the most ideal educational approach with them in mind. Professor Xi also introduced the difference in the University’s assessment process rather than just focusing on exam-oriented teaching, and highlighted the diverse teaching styles and multi-national background of XJTLU’s faculty. He also expressed his wish that the attendees would reflect on what they learned during the classes, and more importantly, to be inspired to take real action when they returned to their jobs back in Qinghai.

After Professor Xi’s speech, the Deputy Director of ILEAD, Dr Xiaojun Zhang, gave an introduction in which he spoke about the theories and practice of the student-centred system from three main aspects: why student-centred in the first place?, the frame-work and content of a student-centred model, and how to practically apply this philosophy in real life.

Other professors and teachers from XJTLU were invited to present specialist training classes throughout the weekend. Dr Guohua Wu from International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at XJTLU gave a class on student centred course design, sharing his approach and strategies for how teachers can maximise the teaching outcome and how to activate students’ enthusiasm in class. Dr Bo Xi, Head of the Chinese Cultural Teaching Centre at XJTLU, introduced the innovations that have been made on framework and course content design in the Chinese culture classes at the University.

During the afternoons the training focused on interactive teaching schemes, research-led teaching and learning, active learning and student-centered assessment.

Dr Zhang concluded the three-day training by emphasising the function and importance of talent cultivation in universities today. He explained that “in the education process, universities should put more effort in understanding the learning needs of its students, cultivating students’ ability to continue learning and surviving and adapting themselves in a new, globalised environment.”

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