Danish teaching methods for Chinese children

Representatives from the municipality of Horsens, VIA University College and the Chengdu Horsens Primary School at the signing ceremony

October 26th, the Chengu Horsens Primary School and Kindergarten officially opened in Chengdu, China. Based on Danish design traditions, the school is located in the hyper-modern district Hi-Tech Zone. At the opening, VIA signed a memorandum of understanding striving to cooperate on developing an internship programme for VIA students as well as, based on Danish pedagogy, training the staff of the school.

By: Communication Officer Ditte Lund

Architects Skala, Rum, Ginnerup and Linjen from Horsens, Denmark designed the school and kindergarten. The architecture is inspired by the Danish tradition for staging and engaging the physical surroundings as an inspiring frame for learning, play and movement – a tradition that very much resonates with the Danish approach to teaching. In order to ensure that the interaction between architecture and teaching is utilized optimally, VIA and the Chengdu Horsens School and Kindergarten will collaborate on educating the staff in Danish pedagogical and teaching methods.

Andreas Rasch-Christensen, Head of Research, Ph.d. at the faculty of Education and Social Studies at VIA says about the collaboration: “It’s not about implementing Danish pedagogy in China. We try to develop educational programs in close collaboration with our Chinese partners and with a high level of respect for the local context. It’s done with inspiration from Danish pedagogy and founded in concepts as child perspective, child communities, play and close collaboration with parents.”

Long standing alliance
Horsens and Chengdu are sister cities and have been so since 2013. Chengdu is also the centre of VIA’s strategic commitment in China, which includes export of knowledge, development of double-degree programmes and exchange of students and staff. Therefore, the collaboration on the school and kindergarten project came naturally.

Danish framework – Chinese content
Mayor of Horsens, Peter Sørensen participated in the opening ceremony along with other officials from Horsens, VIA and Chengdu. He said “The Chinese have made us aware that they do not want to copy Danish education, but they are very inspired by the values in Danish pedagogy and want to put these into a Chinese context. Danish pedagogy will become a brand for both the primary school and the kindergarten”.

 “We are also talking to the city council in Chengdu about collaboration in other areas, where VIA holds special knowledge, such as health care and care for the elderly”, Peter Sørensen continued.

In connection with the opening ceremony, VIA hosted a conference with focus on Danish pedagogy as well as a session where Chinese parents were able to discuss pedagogy with associated professors from VIA.

Internationalisation at home
The collaboration is valuable to VIA also in the sense that it will contribute to develop the international skills of lecturers and other employees involved. Andreas Rasch-Christensen says: “Today both students and teachers are met with demands for international competencies to be able to handle global challenges in teaching and on the work market. Export of knowledge and international collaboration provides our employees with new ideas, language, cultural and professional skills that they can share with students and colleagues at home”.