Saint Martin's education professor fills gap in China's education system with new textbook

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Lacey - In China, students of all ages study math, with excellent results. But traditionally, they aren’t introduced to science until reaching middle school. The Chinese want to change all that. They will begin the process of overhauling the curriculum of elementary schoolers to include science with the help of a newly published textbook, primarily authored by Saint Martin’s College education faculty member Huabin Chen.

The 230,000-word textbook, “The Theory of Elementary Science Teaching Methods,” published by the Chinese Higher Education Pressing House, is being adopted by all Chinese universities and colleges for all students majoring in elementary education, Chen says.

As they graduate, education students will then begin teaching the science curriculum in the country’s schools. The goal, says Chen, is to launch science education for all students in the country’s public elementary schools. Chen, the method book’s first author, wrote about 80 percent of the book’s content.

In November, Chen will travel to China to host a conference of Chinese university education professors, the first step in the process of implementing the new elementary science curriculum.

“To teach elementary science successfully, you first must train the university teachers. Then they know how to teach future teachers,” he said.

Chen, who was invited to write the textbook - written in Chinese - has a doctorate in science and environmental education from Indiana University. He is a visiting professor at China’s Najing Normal University and an advisor to the country’s National Center for School Curriculum and Text Book Development.

A Saint Martin’s faculty member since 1994 and a two-time nominee for the college’s outstanding faculty award, he is director of education technology programs at the college.

Chen began his career in education as a 6th grade science teacher and high school chemistry teacher in Shanghai, before teaching at the college level at Shanghai Teachers’ College. He completed his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at Idaho State University in 1989. At Saint Martin’s, he teaches education students a variety of technology and science courses, including elementary science and elementary mathematics content and methods.

For more information:
Deanna Partlow
Media coordinator / senior editor
360-438-4541 or dpartlow@stmartin.edu

Huabin Chen, Ph.D.
Associate professor, education;
Director, technology in education programs
360-438-4344 or hchen@stmartin.edu