Special report from the NPC & CPPCC for Ren Min Zheng Xie Bao, an Interview with OneSmart
The National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference (CPCC) are in progress. A special issue of the Ren Min Zheng Xie Bao (RMZXB) for the NPC & CPPCC interviewed Xi Zhang, CEO and founder of the OneSmart Education, on the subject of reduction of study load. As a leader in the customized education industry, how does Zhang view the relationship between education institutions and study-load reduction?
OneSmart CEO Xi Zhang:
Love for Study Represents True Study-Load Reduction
In recent years, "study-load reduction" has become a catchphrase which has generated a heated discussion about education training organizations. Children are exhausted when going to crammer schools after class, so will we alleviate their study load by cutting the number of crammer schools? Xi Zhang, CEO of OneSmart Education answers "no", arguing that study-load reduction does not conflict with education nor training institutes.
Study-Load Reduction is not Simply Homework Reduction
There was a child who came to the training center every day.
Xi Zhang knew that the child was in his first year of junior high school. He had so much homework that he had to stay up late until midnight accompanied by his parents and grandparents. "If he had to do this much in his first year, what would happen in his third?" The family's hard work surprised Xi Zhang.
"If I do my homework here in OneSmart, I can finish my homework faster and go to sleep before 9 pm" The child's words made Xi Zhang even more grateful for the efforts of the team. "Tips given by the tutors helped improve his efficiency. As the child's ability to learn increases, so the whole family can have a good night's sleep. "
Zhang realised early on that while knowledge itself can become outdated, the ability to learn can never be out of date. Since its establishment, Zhang has hoped that OneSmart can teach students how to learn rather than simply acquire knowledge. Following that principle, he and his team explored a series of measures to promote students' interest in study, setting goals for them, helping them gain a sense of achievement so as to create active learning attitudes. This would provide students with the motivation, ability and perseverance for learning. These methods also introduced some techniques and means to better process and summarize knowledge and so to improve learning efficiency. What's more, students adopt good learning habits with which they can continue their studies.
"Learning is a lifetime thing. When students like to learn, there will be no pressure, even if they study for a very long time." The idea of study-load reduction questions the need for afterschool training, but in Zhang's view, learning should not be a burden for children. What really annoys them is being forced by their teachers and parents to do things they do not want to. "If teachers find effective ways of learning which improve children's efficiency and cultivate their interest in study rather than just cramming them full of knowledge, there will be less pressure. After all, they won't feel stressed if they love studying."
Reducing children's study burden is something that Xi Zhang has long expected to be an issue. However, instead of simply reducing the homework and the amount of time children are asked to learn, he believes study-load reduction should be about returning to the essence of education, an education that is expected by children. This student-oriented education builds lifelong learning skills by developing better learning methods, cultivating good learning habits, improving study efficiency and thereby providing students with the ability to learn independently. "This is what OneSmart has been exploring and pursuing for many years." Zhang believes that with the proper ideology and teaching methods, education and training institutions can promote effective study-load reduction.
Embrace Changes and Customize Your Education
The ability to embrace change and to innovate is the impetus that drives the company and pushes it forward.
In today's society, the Internet is changing all aspects of people's lives, including education. How to follow the trend and take the lead in the development of "Internet+" has become an important issue which various education institutions must confront. After the launch of "iOneSmart·O2O intelligent learning platform", OneSmart introduced the O2O intelligent teaching service system which integrates online lesson preparation and teachers' feedback, intelligent exercises summarizing system, online Q&A and a personalized study process for students, and parents' feedback. OneSmart uses advanced internet technologies to construct a self-adapting learning system and promote students' power-learning abilities and provide a guarantee of teaching quality. "The future-orientated training of talent requires an update of educational approaches including the innovation of teaching technologies. Educators should be innovative and independent. The integration of education and technology allows us to better customize education to every individual."
In Xi Zhang's view, customized education is a theme and an opportunity for the education industry. School education is supportive of personalized development; however, since the number of students is large and the range of teaching tasks is wide, it is difficult to take care of each child's characteristics on a deeper level at school or to provide a customized education program for every student. "That demonstrates why there are still many people choosing education institutions like OneSmart."
In response to this, OneSmart provides online IQ tests for every child enrolled on the course and, based on the diagnosis results, matches teachers according to their performance in the test. Moreover, test results are used to design the curriculum and homework. The O2O intelligent teaching service system also downloads data relating to student's study on their mobile phones, collects the mistakes, analyzes the potential reasons for the mistakes, and categorizes them mistakes in order to prevent meaningless repetitions. "Teachers can adjust their plans according to every student's condition."
In addition, OneSmart also provides a 24-hour online service to answer students' questions and make comments on their progress. In addition to teachers, moderators and psychological consultants are also provided for students. "To know every student's demand and personalize their study plans is the best education service," said Xi Zhang.
Utilizing Merits to Forge a Third-Classroom
Since school education is increasingly focusing on personal development, is there any space for education institutions?
Zhang tells us a story in response. In August last year, the US Secretary of Education visited OneSmart and was surprised to see how OneSmart had applied the Harvard Case Study Method to basic education to improve the independent learning process. He asked for further cooperation as well as introducing teaching materials to the US. The same requests have been made by the education administrations of Canada, Australia and other countries. Zhang said: "This is China's training and education. It is exporting to foreign countries and telling the world the 'Chinese story' in its own way. "
In Zhang's opinion, school education and training education do not conflict. Just as certain famous brands will have their own franchise stores when selling their goods in department stores, the two are not in contradiction. "Education is a system. When teenagers are growing, their families, schools and the society connect and affect each other and together become a joint educational force. In this system, family education is the first classroom and the starting point of education, focusing on character building and basic cognition. But, at present, many parents in China are employed on both sides of the family, so they have to find another place to educate their child. School education is the second classroom, which improves students' moral standards and introduces more basic knowledge. However, with so many students to take care of, personalized education is just a dream. Education institutions like OneSmart can be a good complement because of its flexibility and innovation, and it becomes a third classroom. With personalized education, OneSmart can improve students' all-round qualities and, together with family education and school education, help students to reach a brighter future."
"These three classrooms should be complementary to each other," Xi Zhang said. OneSmart also provides online consultancy, one-on-one consultancy and an education meeting for parents to better understand their children, and create more confidence for children to face their future. "With the improvement in the first classroom, parents will better understand OneSmart's principle and therefore improve the quality of the third classroom."
Founded by excellent students at Harvard and Peking University, OneSmart Education is committed to improving key competencies for students aged 0-18 and to forging a happy and effective third-classroom. Sub-brands owned by the group include OneSmart Education, Happymath Classes, OneSmart Chinese, OneSmart Study Tour, Robot Programming and OneSmart English for Kids & Teenagers.
After summarizing his own learning strategies when studying at Harvard and Peking University, our founder Xi Zhang integrates Harvard case-based teaching into the elementary education curriculum and puts forward the concept of power learning. Based on the "student-oriented, teacher-aided, active learning with multiple interactions" power-learning principle, OneSmart improves students' power-learning abilities through the O2O smart teaching platform and personalized teaching services, thereby cultivating promising futures.