When Global Context Meets Project-Based Learning丨当宏观背景课遇上项目式学习

The world is changing quickly, so is our life. Seeing this fact, both teenagers and adults should develop some more personal skills for today and for the future.


The Global Context, based on conceptual learning and conducted around six themes, creates an effective learning experience through inquiry, action and reflection, which enables students to develop their critical thinking, problem-solving skills, teamwork spirit and self-management skills.


01 Key Concept 主题概念
Identity & Relationship 身份与关系
02 Outcome 探究形式
Photograph Exhibition 身份与关系主题摄影展
Puberty Presentation 青春期专题讲座
03 Driving Question 驱动问题
What characteristics will the same person show in different identities and relationships?
How gender understanding affects interpersonal interactions during adolescence?

Global Context 宏观背景六大主题

Concept and Driving Questions


Compared with fact-based or theme-based knowledge, “Big Ideas” questions are more likely to enable students to achieve knowledge transformation, and once this is done, it will be easier for students to improve their analytical ability, inductive ability, and other higher-level learning skills.

相较于事实型和主题型的知识,这种“Big Idea”的问题更容易使学生产生知识的转化,而这种转化一旦产生,学生的分析能力、归纳能力以及推理、判断和创造这些高阶的学习能力就会变得更加容易获得。

In order to figure out the driving questions, students began to pay attention to their own identity and to the people around them, like family members, friends and even someone who is special for them. They generated the interest in observing and studying people. Then, on the basis of Project-Based Learning, we required students to prepare for a photograph exhibition or a presentation so they could demonstrate their understanding of people, gender and adolescence from their own perspectives.


Building a Learning Framework 


The biggest feature of Project-Based Learning is that students could acquire learning skillsthrough inquiry into real world problems. In a transdisciplinary frame, the main activities that students need to complete for the photograph exhibition and lectures are:

Photograph Exhibition: interviewing people to set up the photographic theme & taking pictures; Puberty Presentation: learning about iceberg model and REACH principles.



ATL Learning 


After setting the driving questions and learning activities, we looked at the approaches to learning. The Global Context at the lower secondary level is devoted to the development of learning methods. In the first Unit, the main learning methods used were:


1 – Research skills 研究技能

Many people understand “research” by just putting keywords into the search box. In fact, using tools to support learning is an effective research skill. Mobile phones and iceberg model were applied in the first Unit.


Mobile photography 手机摄影

Images are around our lives, and cameras have been in common use. Taking pictures can be an artistic expression or an effective tool for exploring “views”. One student, in her photographing process, shot her dad in different places with different angles. She said that she saw a father that she did not ever notice before. Photograph can not only enhance our aesthetic ability, but can actually help us to observe and capture details.


Iceberg model 冰山模型

This model was proposed by the famous American psychologist McClelland in 1973. The Iceberg model looks at a person’s visible behaviour, knowledge and skills and the underlying unexpressed and unconscious deeper layers. Students made an iceberg model based on their understanding of identity and relationship. The visible part in light blue stood for a person’s physical appearance and social performance; the underlying part in dark blue referred to people’s emotional, moral and intellectual attributes. Studying the iceberg model helped students to improve their critical thinking – do not judge people from the outside.

这是1973年美国著名心理学家麦克利兰提出的一个著名模型。 “冰山模型”是指对人的认知包括表面的“冰山以上部分”和深藏的“冰山以下部分”。学生们结合“身份与关系”的主题,制作出冰山模型图,一个人容易被看到的部分(浅色部分)有外在的物理属性,比如说样貌、身高、性别、社交方式、外向或内向等等;不容易被看到的部分(深色部分)则包含了情感、价值观念及思维方式等。冰山模型的学习有助于学生思辨性思考能力的提升:不轻易评判他人,对任何事物都要从表面和深层两方面进行思考。

2 – Thinking skills 思维技能

Thinking is the basis of all behaviors. In the first Unit, students used mind maps to come up with critical questions and then reflected on their activities.


Critical thinking 思辨性思维 

When talking about honesty, G8 students had a discussion on “whether or not to share all my secrets with my friends and family”. Am I still an honest person if I choose not to share secrets with them?  They at last concluded that we should correctly understand the difference between secret and privacy. We can share secrets with those close to us, but in the meantime we must know to respect personal privacy.


Reflection 反思

The core of developing reflective ability lies in cultivating critical thinking skills. Students will become independent thinker only when their studies are focused on the process and when they learn things from different angles.


Reflective thoughts of students


3 – Social skills

The development of social skills was achieved by people interview and setting up REACH principles. Interviewing someone required the students to express their inner feelings and raise effective questions while setting up REACH principles was a task about dealing with social problems.


Learning Outcome – Presentation


This was a crucial part of this Unit. It was not only about expression and communication, but more importantly it gave the students a specific idea of “view”. The students made Feedback Forms to collect views from different groups of people. Their conclusion was that different views were helpful to build a learning community.

公众展示是第一单元学习中至关重要的一个环节, 不仅仅锻炼了学生的语言表达和沟通交流的能力,更关键的他们具象化了所学的“视角”概念。同学们制作了反馈表格,收集不同群体带来的观点。大家得出的结论是:不同的视角有助于形成一种学习社区的氛围。

Keep Calm, It’s Only Puberty


Photograph Exhibition


Student Feedback


New Beginning 新的开始

The Unit 1 is finished. However, it is never the end but a new beginning. After a series of learning activities, students learned that knowledge and skills can transform into each other and share close connection with everyday life. They are gradually becoming a real independent thinker and problem solver.

宏观背景课程第一单元的学习就此画上了句点,但同学们所感受到的并不是结束,而是新的开始,因为在一系列学习活动的帮助下,他们逐渐形成了知识和技能的转化,他们会觉得与生活的关系更紧密了,拥有了更多的能力去思考和解决生活中的问题 。