Miss Tan graduated from Peking University with a double bachelor’s degree in Chinese literature and Sociology, and got her master’s degree in Human Development and Psychology from the School of Education of Harvard University.
She focuses on group behavior, psychology and interactive learning from a cultural perspective and studies the impact of humanistic stories (books/movies/plays) on the social consciousness of adolescent and related applications.
The education experience in Peking University and Harvard University makes Miss Tan a veritable “top star teacher” in the eyes of students. She has gone to universities at the top of the pyramid and seen the vast world outside. When pursuing academic achievements, Miss Tan has a yearning heart for an educational utopia.
In the two gap years after graduation from Peking University and Harvard University respectively, Miss Tan worked as a rural volunteer teacher and a university assistant. “I want to pause for a while and to see if I can use what I have learned to really help others.”
With her passion for education and teaching, Miss Tan chose to be a psychology teacher in HKWA as her first job back home. While teaching basic psychology in junior high school and AP courses in senior high school, she takes charge of a class, a brand-new challenge for her and a good chance to create more possibilities of herself.
Junior high school curriculum: using contents in colleges, teaching methods in middle schools
“Psychology is a science, not metaphysics.”
It was what Miss Tan said for students to understand the concept of psychology at the beginning of the term.
After explaining the basic psychological test dimensions, Miss Tan organized group discussions for students to explore the introductory psychology course from the perspective of “self-knowledge”.
“Formal psychology education (such as AP courses) begins in senior high schools in China. Junior high school students’ knowledge of psychology stays in fragmentary perceptual cognition, such as psychological tests and counseling, micro-expressions and so on, by which they piece together a portrait of cognitive psychology, a magical and mysterious discipline.” Miss Tan believes that the psychology curriculum must get students out of misunderstanding to learn correct concepts. “Everyone must know that psychology is a very strict science and we teachers are not fortune tellers.”
Miss Tan believes the students in junior high schools are experiencing intellectual and emotional development. They have various puzzles about socializing, friendship and self-exploration and need to learn more about themselves in scientific psychology courses. Miss Tan has independently developed a set of easy-to-learn and practical development psychology courses based on what she learned at Peking University and Harvard University and on the characteristics of HKWA’s eighth grade students.
The developmental psychology curriculum applies thematic unit teaching, including 10 units of imagination, emotion, moral behavior, memory and other contents, and lasts for one academic year. With theories, experiments, discussions, surveys and so on, the curriculum focuses on the psychological characteristics of people at different ages from birth to death. It enables students to review their growth and to understand their current state of mind to explore themselves, analyze their own emotions, know themselves better and plan for the future.
As to the most attractive part of the curriculum, Miss Tan says it is the interesting introductory topics that allow students to connect with their past experiences at any time. For example, the theme for the first three weeks is “self-exploration”. Students learn about their strengths and weaknesses through MBTI professional personality test, and learn to analyze themselves to make plans for their learning and growth ahead.
When teaching the early psychological development features of adolescent, Miss Tan starts with the example of “children crying”. Students encounter crying children on various occasions and they understand the nature and logic behind through the course, that is, children are crying for food or security and they will stop crying when the needs are satisfied. It is how students learn the logical and rational thinking, and to a certain extent it changes their views on things.
“It changes my understanding of the mysterious psychology and I finally get to know something!” “I didn’t like setting goals before, but through this course, now I know myself better and start setting short-term, long-term and ultimate goals.” In only one month, hearing the feedback from eighth graders and everyone’s expectation for the weekly psychology class, Miss Tan smiled and said, “It can be really something to be recognized by students now!”
AP psychology in senior high school: being entrance examination-oriented, with high standards and strict requirements
Miss Tan also offers AP psychology courses to 11th graders. The courses are taught in English using American textbooks, in accordance with a complete and mature curriculum outline. The knowledge that students do not understand will be taught in Chinese when necessary.
Like other AP courses, AP psychology courses also have a preliminary trial period, that is, after a few lectures, students are free to decide whether to take this AP course based on their own interest and acceptance. Miss Tan communicates one-on-one that takes her course, understand their learning needs and personalities and advices on this course and on overall academic planning, etc.
Unlike the popular and practical psychology courses for eighth graders, AP psychology courses are oriented by entrance examination, and all the 11th graders that take his course want to get full marks. Students need to read a large number of literatures and use the methods of investigation and analysis for in-depth research; the courses will be made more challenging as time goes by. In order to keep abreast of the students’ level, Miss Tan sets certain difficulty in the test of each class towards the goal of “high standards and strict requirements”.
Facing occasional ups and downs in performance, students are inevitably frustrated. Miss Tan will take the chance to conduct frustration education so that students can take it easy and rationally analyze the reasons behind, and will not be disappointed in life for such small failures. “Frustration education” is one of the themes she shares with students in the three class meetings of every week when she is in charge of the 9th Graders. “We do not thank for the failure and frustration, but thank ourselves for not giving up and coming through all the ups and downs,” said she.
What I learned at Harvard University and Peking University is more understand and tolerance of the diversity of the world.
Miss Tan graduated from Peking University with a double bachelor’s degree in Chinese literature and Sociology, and got her master’s degree in human development and psychology from the School of Education of Harvard University. During her stay in universities, she took part in many practical activities, such as going to rural areas of Hebei Province to support education and to Nepal to be a volunteer. She have been in some scientific research projects, such as studying the result of school bullying, the impact of humanistic stories (books/movies/dramas) on the social consciousness of teenagers and related applications.
“I am tiny in this big big world”, and that is how Miss Tan said about the influence brought by Harvard University and Peking University. She explains that excellence can be defined in many ways, especially when one is in a world where everyone is brilliant and he/she will have “a sense of insignificance”. People tend to focus more on themselves and define themselves clearly. Despite the diversity of personal expertise or academic background, one should firmly set her own goals and direction at different stages. One must work hard to improve his/her learning ability and enrich personal experience. After all, one’s self growth is the most important thing in her life.
During the tenure as a teaching assistant at Harvard University, Miss Tan studied the differences between Chinese and foreign teenagers’ social behaviors, and found it was due to cultural adaptability. After better understanding the growth characteristics of Chinese teenagers, she applies the knowledge to her head teacher and teaching work. Miss Tan not only places great importance to what happens when students get along with each other, but learns about the psychological health of them. She accompanies and supports every student growing up healthily physically and mentally.
Long-term scientific research experience has enriched her theoretical knowledge. As a researcher, Miss Tan prefers to contact with teenagers in practice, well explore and understand their psychological development characteristics to help them grow better. Therefore she decided to return to China to pursue an education career.
Miss Tan likes the promising future of HKWA’s young private bilingual international environment. Here, when teaching psychological courses, she prepares to open workshops for the exploration and practice of adolescent psychological courses in China.
In HKWA, Miss Tan wants to work hard to get her education dream come true: students understand the diversity of cultures, respect rules, have critical thinking and grow up to be open and tolerant citizens of the world.