The NXplorers team in Hong Kong is taking a brand-new approach to implementing the NXplorers programme. Rather than running Train-the-Trainer sessions for trainers to run workshops with students in secondary and tertiary education, the trainers are learning to deliver workshops to teachers of primary aged students.
Building on the core ambitions of NXplorers to rethink what’s possible, reinvent what’s not and redesign the systems that we need to map out a sustainable future, the Hong Kong team has taken a systems thinking approach to positive impact in education.
Learnings from NXplorers programmes around the world have shown that while the workshops are designed to develop critical thinking skills in young adults and school age participants, those same skills can be hugely beneficial for everyone – from business executives through to primary school teachers.
With that in mind, the team in Hong Kong have developed a NXplorers workshop programme specifically designed to immerse primary school teachers in NXthinking skills and have trained nine facilitators to run these workshops.
Teachers become the students
The purpose of these new workshops are to equip primary school teachers to integrate NXthinking skills into all their teachings, to collaborate and work together with their peers to really learn how to use NXthinking tools and to learn from the experiences of other teachers working in different schools, subjects and environments.
However, rather than running pseudo-Train-the-Trainer workshops with these teachers, the NXplorers trainers are running close to traditional NXplorers workshops with the teachers of Hong Kong. From the development of NXthinking and collaboration skills through to ideation and problem-solving techniques, the sessions are very similar to the ones that are run with school age participants. The major difference being the integration of methodologies to weave these learnings into the subject matter context of their jobs and the ways in which they interact with their students.
To explain the effectiveness of this approach, rather than training teachers to teach NXplorers workshops, the Hong Kong team use the analogy of reciting the story held within a novel. If an individual is asked to write a report about a book before they start reading, they are less likely to engage with the story and take it to heart than someone who is reading for pleasure.
So far, the trainers that the Hong Kong team worked with have run two NXplorers workshops with in-country teachers, already giving 42 primary school teachers from 2 schools the skills they need to bring NXthinking skills into their day-to-day life.
The feedback has been outstanding. Both the trainers who have been delivering the workshops and the teachers who took part – some of whom have over 20-years of experience in STEM education – have told the Hong Kong team that the programme has opened their eyes to a new way of teaching. Multiple participants have said that they’re excited to integrate these learnings into their teaching, and to pass on this new perspective to the students that they teach.
One trainer said that they’ve started to understand that STEM teaching is more than teaching about hardware, robotics and programming, it’s about the bigger systems that we’re all a part of.