Tom Williams: Beginning Reflections

At 2016 Beijing International Science Education Creation Forum of Chinese and Foreign Teachers, Principal Wang Juncheng of Beijing No. 8 High School opened the dialogue by reminding us that Confucius once said, “If you learned something this morning, it is alright to lose your life that evening.”

We were so fortunate to hear from so many thoughtful international STEM leaders throughout this Forum and the larger conference.  Central to all of the messages, this quote captures the true spirit and the long-term value of this Forum as it illuminates the importance of instilling the passion in each of our students to make a deep commitment to life long learning and their pursuit of continuous improvement.  We must recognize that the change we want to see in our students and our larger educational system begins with each of us and our commitment to making a difference.  Based on our situation and sense of joy, this may be as focused as sharing our expertise with one student or team of students to collaborating with a broad range of partners from around the globe who are committed to leveraging new knowledge and practice for the betterment of educational practice and our global society.

Throughout the week, in a variety of formal and informal settings, we have seen students, teachers, university, government, and non-government leaders from around the world engaged in a collaborative process of sharing their individual research as well as sharing the many “Challenges and Opportunities” presented by the emerging STEM reform initiatives.  While there are plenty of challenges to be sure, the number of opportunities is immense and making these a reality begins with each of us taking the next step towards what we can do to make a difference.

In my next blog, I will continue to share my reflections on this once in a lifetime experience and how it is influencing my thoughts on next steps to advance STEM education in my world.

What an incredible trip and experience!

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