Wellington College China's 5th EdFest was a success

By 2021-05-12 12:01:22


Last weekend, Wellington College China's annual Festival of Education continued with its second instalment at Wellington College International Shanghai. The school brought together 31 thought leaders in progressive education and nearly 500 attendees to take part in a day of stimulating and informative talks, panel discussions and workshops. Wellington College China's Festival of Education is one of China's leading forums for educators, parents and general enthusiasts who seek insights on everything from career development to cutting-edge theories and new methodologies.


Interpreting the Future of Education



"This marks the fifth year that we have run the Festival here at Wellington College China and it is an important milestone," Festival Director Paul Rogers says. "Last year, we cancelled this annual event to protect the community and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 2020 presented many challenges to the education industry across the globe, and being able to resume the Festival in 2021 was not only a powerful expression of optimism about the state of education, but it was also an opportunity to think seriously about its future. It also gave us an opportunity to present an online virtual component of our Festival, which took place from 18 – 23 April. This enabled a huge audience from around the world to participate."



The theme of this year's Festival was 'Interpreting the Future of Education.' Speakers and attendees explored this theme through five key strands: Future Schools, Early Years Education, Bilingualism, Wellbeing and Mental Health.



Following opening remarks from Paul Rogers and Chris Wood, British Consul-General Shanghai, the day's events commenced with a keynote address by  Houqing Yin, Vice President of the Chinese Society of Education.


Imagining the learning spaces of tomorrow




The Future Schools strand figured prominently in the day's events. For instance, Dr Jane Zhao of East China Normal University shared research from her school's Learning Science Centre that provided new perspectives on China's classrooms. Ben Somner and Peter Mackey of Broadway Malyan and Chapman Taylor, respectively, envisioned what the learning spaces of tomorrow might look like. Feifei Qian, Senior Sales Director of LEGO® Education China, also discussed the importance of inspiring tomorrow's builders and facilitating their success.



Bilingualism was another salient strand on the day. Speech-language pathologists Tiffany Chen and Ge Zhao from ELG discussed language differences and language disorders. Additionally, Julia Yu of Cambridge Assessment International Education, shared with audiences the many ways in which the teacher can be a learner.



In keeping with this strand, the day's events finally came to a close with a speech delivered by Joy Qiao, Wellington College China Founder and Chairman. In it, she remarked, "This is the century when East meets West. At Wellington China, we hope to educate future global leaders who are natural bridges between China and the rest of the world, fostering deeper understanding and collaboration. This is becoming all the more important, given the increasing challenges in international relations." 


The future is now



This year's roster featured more Chinese-speaking presenters, which enabled Wellington to bring these expert insights to a wider, more multicultural audience within China. Even more remarkable, however, has been the Festival's ability to reach an audience that was unable to attend in person. For the first time, Wellington hosted a 'Virtual Festival' every afternoon from 18 – 23 April. This online event featured talks with world-renowned educators like Ian Warwick, Founder of London Gifted & Talented; researchers like Sir John Jones of Lancaster University; and even television personalities like Johnny Ball, who popularised maths and science for a generation of children in the UK.


Says Paul Rogers, "By employing the same remote learning technology that so many educators had to use throughout most of 2020, we have been able to connect with a wider international audience from within and outside of China. Bringing a portion of the Festival online was an innovation that we will continue to explore in the coming years."


Building on traditions



The Wellington College China Festival of Education has its origins in the Festival of Education at Wellington College in England, which is now recognised as a benchmark international educational event. Since its inauguration in October 2015, the China Festival has enjoyed similar success in attracting large numbers of participants to consider and reflect on the most relevant and important questions facing modern education.