Wellington College Festival of Education Concludes in Tianjin

The final leg of the third annual Wellington College Festival of Education China has taken place in Tianjin. This year’s event saw a significant increase of both scale and number of participants, and has expanded to cover three cities—Shanghai, Hangzhou and Tianjin. The Festival brought together more than 40 prominent speakers from around the world to give over 90 speeches on a diverse range of topics on education.

Initiated by Wellington College in the UK, the Wellington College Festival of Education has been running successfully for 7 consecutive years. As a benchmark educational event in the UK, the Festival attracts thousands of participants to discuss hot topics in education every year. In 2015 Wellington College introduced the Festival to China. The Chairman of the Festival, said: “Every year we hold this Festival, through which we think about and explore the true nature and development trends of education, and encourage debate in these areas. Rapid development around the world requires increasing vitality in teaching so as to respond to the changing demands of current times.”

Based on positive feedback from two previous China-based festivals in 2015 and 2016, this year’s festival chose to focus on four core themes: Early Education, Wellbeing (stress, body image, and mental health), the joint relationship between Chinese and British education, and Exploring Education, which will challenge accepted practices and teaching. The Festival brought together major industry figures from China and around the world over four days to discuss these meaningful topics, providing fresh perspectives and exploring ways to work together to shape the future of education.

At each location, this year’s event offered a variety of keynote speeches and interactive activities for teachers, parents and pupils. Education experts from China and around the world shared their views and debated and exchanged ideas on a diverse range of topics.

Speaking in Tianjin, Mr. Julian Jeffrey, Master of Wellington College International Tianjin, delivered the opening speech for the Festival in Tianjin. He said, “We have come together in this forum to share ideas and learn something new. If education is a journey, then it must be a journey that rewards the traveller. ”

Mr. Julian Jeffrey, Master of Wellington College International Tianjin
delivers his opening speech

A key theme of this year’s festival was early education. Keynote speakers shared strategies and tactics to deliver effective and successful early childhood education. In the early years education system at Wellington College, the school serves to inspire curiosity and passion in children, and focuses on three fundamental areas – “language communication, physical development, and individual, social and emotional development.” This is aimed at strengthening the basic skills and knowledge children need for successful integration into society, such as the ability to read and write, mathematical and logical skills, cognitive ability, the ability to express, and art design.

With the accelerated pace of education, educators and parents have paid increasing attentions to the educational convergence between China and the West. At the event in Tianjin, Dr. Yang Yang, the Deputy Headmaster, Wellington College International Tianjin, and Mr. Paul Findlay, Head of EAL, Wellington College International Tianjin, discussed the implications of bilingual education and the merging of eastern and western methods. Paul Findlay said, “I believe that when differences occur in eastern and western educational methods, the two sides must come together and find a middle way. We should emphasise our similarities and not impose anything on other cultures. For me, the middle way is about building a bridge, and if we can do this, then we will achieve a truly international style of education. But that bridge can only be completed if it contains one crucial component – trust.”

Mr. Paul Findlay, Head of EAL, Wellington College International Tianjin

Wellington College Bilingual Tianjin Nursery officially opened its doors to pupils in September 2017. Situated on the main campus, The Nest, offers an Early Years Bilingual programme for boys and girls between the ages of 2-6. At Wellington College Bilingual Tianjin Nursery, their unique approach comprises an exposure to both Chinese and English, fostering bilingualism and biliteracy. The Wellington College bilingual immersion experience offers each and every pupil their own, personalised learning journey.

Ian Warwick, the senior director of London Gifted & Talented, has taken part in Wellington College Festival of Education for several years. At his first keynote speech in Tianjin, he discussed effective learning for pupils. During the speech, he mentioned that, “Learning is like the overlapping of waves. It is a gradual ebbing and flowing of frequencies and alternative ways of thinking; new approaches are added and old ones eliminated. Instead of providing children with external motivations, teachers should focus on stimulating their internal motivations.”

Ian Warwick, Senior Director of London Gifted & Talented
shares his educational insights with parents

This is in line with the Wellington approach, to stimulate children’s curiosity and passion for learning, and helping them think independently. Wellington College hopes that parents and pupils will focus on long term development, not just academic achievement, To achieve this, Wellington College holds a “Wellbeing” programme that teaches pupils how to live a healthy lifestyle and the innovative discipline of positive psychology. It is this spirit of innovation and discovery that has kept Wellington College at the forefront of education for over 100 years.

Shonette Bason
Motivational Speaker, Spread the Happiness

Exploration in education at the Festival not only serves as a challenge to norms, but is also an effort to find better ways for children to discover their talents. Wellington College focuses on the training of soft skills required in the 21st century, helping pupils to enhance independent learning, creative thinking, teamwork, practical skills and a wellbeing.

About Wellington College

Wellington College was founded by Queen Victoria in 1859 as a national monument to the Duke of Wellington, who twice served as Prime Minister. For over a century, Wellington College has been recognised as one of the most prestigious colleges worldwide for its extraordinary academic achievements and many successful alumni. Over its 150-year history, Wellington College has developed its innovative educational concepts and superior teaching methods, and prepared outstanding pupils for the political sector in the UK, and leading universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and Yale.

The great influence of Wellington College is embodied in the Wellington Identity: Inspired, Intellectual, Independent, Individual and Inclusive. “Inspired” means motivating children to learn through interest. “Intellectual” cultivates children’s spirit of study and exploration. “Independent” emphasises the importance of absorbing information outside campus. “Individual” encourages pupils to form their own identity by enhancing self-awareness. “Inclusive” helps pupils become more international in an age of globalisation.

For more information, about the Wellington College Festival of Education, please visit our official website at:www.festivalofeducation.cn