China education links reap rewards

Emeritus Professor Larry Owens giving a lecture in China.

Along with PhD and cultural exchanges, a School of Education teaching program has led to a range of research collaborations which are forging some strong links between Flinders and China.

“We’re very pleased with the progress of our research and teaching partnerships in China,” says Professor Larry Owens, who is in Shanghai finishing a three-year visiting professorship at East China Normal University (ECNU).

Since 2014, the Flinders Educational Futures Research Institute (FEFRI) collaborative research has been undertaken with three Chinese research institutions – the Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences (BAES), the National Institute of Educational Sciences (NIES) and the Department of Applied Psychology in the School of Psychology and Cognitive Science at East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai.

Emeritus Professor Owens, who was appointed as visiting professor at ECNU in 2014, has taught research methods in the graduate programs at both the Beijing University and Shanghai University, and has developed several joint studies in the past two years.

“We have several collaborative research studies between FEFRI and ECNU relating to social status and popularity among teenagers; drug taking policies and interventions; and rural left-behind elderly people,” he says, adding there is potential to expand the program in future.

“Several of the FEFRI group have joined two knowledge exchange conferences in Beijing with the BAES and NIES and Associate Professor Susan Krieg expanded her early childhood comparative curriculum cross-cultural collaboration with the BAES.”

As well, Dr Grace Skrzypiec is planning a comparative cross-cultural study focusing on aggression and bullying behaviours while another Flinders academic, Dr Mun Yee Lai, has presented in China on her mathematical comparative cultural study.

Several of these studies have been published in international journals and the others are on track for publication.

Three members of the BAES Beijing Municipal Center for Educational Supervision and Educational Quality Assessment came to Flinders at Tonsley in July last year to attend the inaugural international Student Wellbeing and Prevention of Violence (SWAPv) Conference.

As well a social and emotional wellbeing comparative study, led by Flinders Associate Professor Helen Askell-Williams, is comparing the responses from 2,756 students aged 10 to 15 attending 16 schools in Beijing with those of Australian students.

The results and recommendations of her surveys will help to inform educational policy development in Australia and support the Flinders School of Education  SWAPv program, which is producing anti-bullying and wellbeing programs for schools around Australia as well as overseas.



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