On March 20, 2012, 154 trainees completed the WIDE World online professional development programme named "Teaching for Understanding 1", jointly operated by Beijing Open University (Beijing OU) and Harvard Graduate School of Education.

WIDE World (Wide-scale Interactive Development for Educators) is a programme based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education that converts the results of academic research by Gardner and other experts into web-based training courses for instructors.

"Teaching for Understanding" is a course for teachers of all levels and subjects, helping teachers and administrators change educational concepts and teaching methods, and helping schools instill in their students creativity, critical thinking and teamworking skills.

Beijing OU introduced and implemented the programme in 2011 in cooperation with Harvard Graduate School of Education. The purpose of the programme is to develop the concept of teaching for understanding, help teachers master the theories and practical methods taught by the course, enhance their teaching and design abilities, effectively direct the entire teaching process, enable students to understand what they learn by solving problems and finally improve teaching quality. Beijing OU will also use the programme as a reference to study how to build world-class online courses and facilitate web-based teaching design, deepen curriculum and teaching reform, explore models of RTVU staff development and improve the teaching ability of RTVU instructors.

The course lasted 13 weeks, and 154 teachers from Beijing primary and secondary schools and the RTVU system participated in the programme. Through self-reflection, group work, full team construction and other styles of learning, they gained a fresh perspective on the meaning and methods of understanding, and enjoyed the stimulation and enrichment provided by the course.

The second class of "Teaching for Understanding 1", as well as the courses of "Teaching for Understanding 2" and "Leading for Understanding", are scheduled to be started soon. "Teaching for Understanding 2" places emphasis on narrowing the gap between theory and action, encourages higher objectives of understanding and stronger expression of understanding, and enables teachers to create a class culture that promotes original thinking. The programme will also involve students in creating and using assessment forms, and facilitate understanding through practice.

By Beijing OU