Making Gaofen Dineng history
22 Feb, 2016
A common Chinese term used to refer to the products of their school system is Gaofen Dineng, which essentially means good at tests but bad at everything else. Because students spend nearly all of their time studying, they have little opportunity to be creative, discover or pursue their own passions, or develop physical and social skills.
Since 2012 ASDAN (a Bristol based educational organization approved by Ofqual to issue qualifications for leadership, initiative, problem solving, communication and other personal skills) has been working with Country Garden, a co-educational boarding school in Foshan City, just south of Guangzhou to offer a curriculum enrichment programme that adds considerable value to students’ personal profiles when they apply to western universities.
Described as a mini-MBA programme it gives students a unique opportunity to engage in a two week study tour of the UK (or the USA/Europe). The aim is to get beneath the surface of the culture and economic structures of the UK to provide a “deep learning” experience for the students. Through a series of visits to manufacturers like Land Rover and Burberry, universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Imperial College, financial centres like Lloyds of London, world famous sporting enterprises like Manchester United and a rich array of cultural centres like Tate Modern and the Southbank, the students benefit from a rich tapestry of experiences.
The mini-MBA tours require the student to undertake investigative work, both individually and in teams, to present their findings at key points in the study tour and to evaluate their progress in terms of their development and demonstration of important skills like leadership, team-working, problem solving and communication. Accreditation is provided through ASDAN’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) which is recognised in the UCAS tariff by British universities, the destination for many Chinese students from Country Garden School.
Interestingly it also helped Jiewen, who is now studying Economics at the University of Toronto.
“Joining the mini-MBA was an unforgettable experience for me. Unlike other travel experiences when you just come home with some beautiful pictures of the sights that you have visited, this trip gave me the chance to really dive into different European cultures, develop my personal skills and learn about business at the same time. The logic that is used in ASDAN’s programs helped me to discover my weaknesses and offered a structured way to improve myself. I have learnt to set myself long-term plans that help me fulfil my goals step by step, which I keep using in my daily life. The “Problem Solving skill” increased my self-confidence and made my personal statement more powerful and attractive.” Liang Jiewen (Canny), 18 year old student at Guangdong Country Garden School.
ASDAN was part of the “Nobel Prize Forum” at Country Garden’s 20th birthday celebrations (illustrated in the photo), where delegates examined how creativity could be nurtured alongside academic excellence for their 4,000 students. As Deputy Principal Li asserts above, the ASDAN qualifications effectively combine academic and personal skills, ensuring that Gaofen Dineng is not an epithet that describes graduates from Country Garden school.