With the mission to change Asia’s spoon-feeding and teacher-centered approach in the classroom, after 18 years of experience teaching in a public senior high school, in 2013, Chang Huicheng founded the Sharestart method, an unconventional teaching method that nurtures students to self-learn, think, and express. Chang began his initiative to promote the Sharestart method through classroom observations and public speeches. Seven years forward, Sharestart now has 80 lead teachers, 1st grade to college level, participating in the mission to change the spoon-feeding approach.
Currently, Sharestart’s main focus is to train more teachers to adopt the method into their classrooms. Teachers, who also grew up in the spoon-feeding environment, must first practice to self-learn, think and express, then guide students in their learning. To nurture students to self-learn, think, and express is challenging in a society that is accustomed to spoon-feeding, yet these are abilities ever more important in the 21st century.
Sharestart’s Strategy to Increase its Reach
1. Theoretical and practical training curriculum
Sharestart has developed training curriculum for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. For beginners, all participating teachers are required to mindfully make adjustments to their prior teaching methods. Throughout their growth, they are given tasks to observe Sharestart classrooms, or to spend ten minutes in class guiding students to self-learn and answer questions. Currently, the Sharestart team is working hard to increase its online curriculum and experience sharing in hopes that more educators can learn and better understand the method through the platform with convenience.
2. Build a strong Sharestart foundation in every city
Each year, Sharestart chooses up to two cities to focus its training on. They conduct monthly workshops, and encourage teachers who have adopted the method with ease to establish and lead community forums, online or in-person, where new Sharestart teachers can co-support, share and discuss their learning journey.
In the long-term, teachers who feel confident practicing the method, are encouraged to open their classrooms for observation for other teachers in their locale who have the curiosity to have the opportunity to witness a different way – a student-centered way of teaching.
3. Continued training for lead teachers
Train-the-trainer workshops are periodically conducted for lead teachers to advance on facilitation skills, curriculum establishment, and management skills of the teaching community.
In 2019, Sharestart has hosted over 200 train-the-trainer workshops with over 7000 participants. With support from schools, principals and private universities, the method which was first initiated in Taipei where Chang is based, has now stretched to ten cities across Taiwan and has established 19 community forums. In the same year, with support from The Hugo Foundation of Culture and Education and National Chiayi University’s Center for Teaching and Learning the fourth annual Sharestart Asia Conference was for the first-time hosted outside of Taipei, in the south of Taiwan.
One Sharestart lead teacher shares, “Our goal is not to take away the teacher’s way of teaching, but rather to elevate their way of teaching. From experience, I believe Sharestart is a method that truly nurtures the student learning process”. When a new method is introduced into the classroom, both teachers and students undergo change and adjustments. Sharestart’s training curriculum is a resource created to support teachers throughout different stages of their practice.
The Sharestart education revolution was initiated from bottom-up (teachers-government), and now receives government recognition. Two-years consecutively, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Education’s Fan Sun-lu attended the Sharestart Asia Conference. For many years, Fan has brought government officials to Sharestart’s observation classrooms. In 2019, Taiwan introduced a new curriculum guideline which includes the need to nurture youths to be life-long learners, a value aligned with Sharestart’s – the ability to self-learn. Chang hopes with Sharestart’s accumulated experience in the seven years, that it can inspire more teachers to elevate their ways of teaching.
Sharestart encourages all teachers to open their classrooms for observation. It is not only an opportunity to share experiences with other teachers, but more importantly, to receive feedback for continued growth. Sharestart believes not only should students be life-long learners, but teachers should share the same approach.
When faced with challenges in the classroom, Sharestart beginners are encouraged to open their classrooms to another Sharestart peer for immediate feedback. The Sharestart culture avoids focusing on failures but rather on what is positive now and what can be improved going forward. Chang hopes that with a collaborative effort and with the mindset of, to share starting from myself, that the next generation will thrive.
The Sharestart Logo
At first glance, one will notice the lightbulb which represents think. At second glance, one will notice two persons engaged in conversation which represents express; it also demonstrates that things often can have more than one answer. The triangles represent those who are part of the Sharestart education revolution, initiated from bottom-up (teachers-government).
ACF and Chengzhi Education Foundation has supported resources, manpower, strategies and tech to Sharestart since 2016. Sharestart’s next step is to establish the Sharestart Education Platform in hopes to increase its resources as well as its reach for the growth of Taiwan’s education future.