We Can Replicate Our Success in Shenzhen in Your District or School!

Over the last six years, the Great Books Foundation’s Shared Inquiry™ method has been a featured form of professional development training for English teachers in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen, China, through our partnership with the Shenzhen Nanshan District Education Bureau and InterLangua. During this time, nearly 700 public school teachers have completed Shared Inquiry training, with a goal of 1,000 teachers trained by the end of 2019.

Liu Genping, director of the bureau, had the vision to instill the power of inquiry and critical thinking into public school classrooms. Liu recognized that by embedding the Shared Inquiry method in Chinese public schools, he could create a model for best 21st-century learning in China. He believes these strategies will transform teaching practices and create a classroom culture of inquiry in which both students and their teachers learn together.

Susan Galbraith, one of our international trainers, highlights the following Shared Inquiry activities as part of what makes our partnership with the Shenzhen Nanshan District Education Bureau successful:

  1. First Reading is a key step to hooking both students and teachers, allowing them to experience the wonder of expressive reading.
  2. Sharing Questions allows young people to share their questions and demonstrate their innate curiosity and sophisticated grasp of the stories by asking high-level questions about what they just read. This is something that students look forward to and that, when integrated throughout a unit, provides additional opportunities for assignments and projects.
  3. Vocabulary Activities allow students to learn target words provided with each unit. Additionally, phonics practice, sight words, and fluency practice offer options to further integrate vocabulary work in the program. I like to include kinesthetic activities to promote vocabulary work and support students as they recall words through physical and vocal memory.
  4. Shared Inquiry Discussion is the centerpiece of the Great Books model and is an opportunity to bring everyone to the table. The students in China who have sat down with me in a circle and engaged in Shared Inquiry have astounded me every time with their ability to grasp complex concepts and share interesting perspectives, teaching me a new understanding about the selections.

Our partnership has helped accelerate the process of learning English through student engagement in the Great Books model of cooperative learning and in-depth Shared Inquiry discussions. The Shenzhen Nanshan District Education Bureau uses the Shared Inquiry method to guide its annual Dragon & Eagle Dialogues, with 2019 marking the event’s ninth year. The event, together with the Shared Inquiry method, has been more and more popular not only with public schools but also with international schools in the Nanshan District. We look forward to continuing our partnership and working with the fine teachers and students of the Nanshan District.

Are you interested in learning more about our partnerships or about how to partner with the Great Books Foundation to bring our Shared Inquiry method to your district or school? Contact Sarah Friedland at friedland@greatbooks.org or 1-800-222-5870, ext. 7149.

Susan Galbraith reads “White Wave” to a group of teachers during a training in Shenzhen.

Teachers break out to discuss “Thank You, M’am” as part of their training.

Nanshan District teachers proudly display their course completion certificates.