Yungu aims to cultivate future-oriented children
On December 19, Ma Yun visited Yungu School to meet with students and teachers here. What did he share and what educational thoughts were exchanged at Yungu? Let us review together.
Three things I want to do after I retire from Alibaba
I have always been thinking, one day in future when I retire from Alibaba, what shall I do? What am I most interested in? I am definitely most interested in education. Therefore, I am sure to do three things.
The first project is Jack Ma Foundation. In China, about 70 to 80 million children live in rural areas, scattered around distant and underdeveloped places. This project aims to help solve educational problems related to those teachers, headmasters and children in rural areas. I believe that the excellent education concepts explored and implemented by Yungu now can be conveyed to rural areas via the Internet or other means.
The second project is Hupan University. Entrepreneurs constitute a group capable of creating social wealth. As social wealth grows, investment in science, technology, education and other fields also increases. Hupan University tries to tell entrepreneurs that, instead of being profit-oriented, they are expected to make meaningful money.
The last project is basic education, which is an issue that expects joint effort from all teachers present. I hope that Yungu can devote itself to exploring education in China and create an innovative path for educational reform with native characteristics.
Culture is a seed that we plant into children’s hearts and wait for germination.
My parents were both traditional Chinese art performers. My father was involved in Chinese folk art while my mother was engaged in storytelling and ballad singing in Suzhou dialect. When I was 5 and 6 years old before going to school, I used to watch performance with my parents. After watching many performances, I continuously felt their passion towards art and naturally developed my interest under such influence. Thanks to childhood experience, now I can sing traditional Chinese operas easily and feel extremely affinity with art.
Since childhood, I listened to many stories such as General Yue Fei and Romance of Three Kingdoms, which gave me a strong sense of justice and readiness to help the weak. Such impacts are due to subtle and subconscious exposure day by day in childhood, instead of intentional instruction by parents or my active learning from teachers.
Therefore, if culture and art is a seed, this seed need to be planted during kindergarten and primary school to guarantee its germination and growth. Middle school or university may be too late for its cultivation.
Lyre, chess, calligraphy and painting are tools to stimulate inspiration through art, rather than simply to acquire skills.
Lyre offers beautiful music, chess cultivates manner, painting provides imagination and calligraphy focuses on willpower. Those who make considerable achievement, such as outstanding politicians and scientists, are devoted to certain art forms so that they can find inspiration in art when caught in difficulty and bottlenecks.
Teaching children the above four courses is not merely to master skills, or learn a specific music instrument, to pass a certain test, or to compete in playing skills. Now teachers are good at teaching skills of playing music instruments and singing. However, even though many people are good at singing, they are not necessarily capable of appreciating music. I saw children who learn ice ballet stick to the same gestures though their teachers change a completely different piece of music. This reflect inability to appreciate music. Our music course should teach children to express their emotions by music.
We need to fill our children with love for art, stimulate their inspiration by art, cultivate their understanding in art and acquire something beyond skill from art.
Yungu, instead of functioning as an international school, is a school operated with international standards and elements. Children are capable of thinking with international perspective by learning language.
Leaning a foreign language is not merely for the sake of language, no matter what the scenario is: a foreigner who learns Chinese or a Chinese person who learns a foreign language. Language is neither an additional skill to show off nor a bonus point in job application. If language only serves to apply for jobs, such as translation and interpretation, then this is merely a skill that will definitely be outperformed by AI no matter how good you are. For children, it is important, by learning foreign languages, to experience the fun of culture hidden in different languages and understand to respect diversified cultures.
Yungu is definitely not an international school but it aims to become a school of internationalization. There is fundamental difference between the two kinds. To speak a foreign language does not mean internationalization. It is important for Yungu children to develop capability of thinking with international perspective.
By learning a new language, our children will enter a new culture, a new world and a new field, just like a new key to open a new gate of internationalization. It doesn’t matter whether each child chooses English, French or other languages to open such gates, as long as they follow their interest. I believe each child has his or her own gate and key. Each child is a natural creation and a rare treasure. We must try our best to cultivate and awake their interest and potential.
EQ, IQ and LQ are all indispensable
The three elements are important for anyone: EQ, IQ and LQ (L stands for love)
In my opinion, the success of a person relies on EQ and IQ. A person with high EQ, who is good at communicating and associating with people, is more likely to succeed as people are willing to offer help. A person with high IQ has low failure probability but no guarantee for success. Success favors those people who possess both high EQ and high IQ.
For children in Yungu, in addition to EQ and IQ, it is more important for us to cultivate their LQ. Q of love contains affection, responsibility and accountability. A person with high LQ wins respect from people, even in failure. Some people without enough LQ cannot win respect despite their success.
In addition to mental and physical health, it is more important for children in Yungu to maintain curiosity.
When leaving Yungu, all children are expected to be healthy in two aspects, mentally and physically. Children who are mentally healthy are prone to happiness. When facing difficulty, children are expected to handle and solve problems instead of feeling depressed and trapped. As to physical health, sport and exercise is of utmost importance to overall human development. I hope children can learn the rules, spirit and culture of sports by participation; experience the charm and joy of sports; and form habit of sport and exercise by cultivating interest. Once children love sport and exercise, they naturally continue this exploration. Physical education such as simply jogging on playground can hardly cultivate love and passion among children. Sport and exercise can cultivate not only competitive awareness but also teamwork spirit. Children may not necessarily become football champions but must foster the sense of teamwork cooperation, which is most precious.
I hope Yungu can cultivate each child into real person with sense of happiness, which requires curiosity in their hearts. Nowadays many people are gradually losing their curiosity. I am often criticized for associating with all kinds of people. I know that my curiosity prods me to find out the truth behind so many bizarre people and weird things. Only after seeing with my own eyes, I can make my own judgment with the help of fact and logic.
Yungu aims to cultivate future-oriented and future-acclimatized children
Today Yungu, with all its efforts, is dedicated to education that focuses on the future. We are bound to cultivate future-oriented and future-acclimatized children. With new technological revolution, many jobs will be replaced by robots and AI. However, machines cannot replace humans in terms of creativity and imagination, at least within the recent 100 or 200 years. How can children cultivated by us experience the era, accommodate the era and create the era so as to become leaders in 30 years? This is an issue for Yungu to contemplate.
Of course all educational innovation and exercise must comply with rules of education and child growth. Education is definitely a slow process and school development is a long-term procedure. It takes at least 30 years to judge the quality of Yungu and it requires efforts by three or four generations of teachers to form culture and flavor of Yungu.
Throughout the development journey of Alibaba until today, we experienced numerous twists and turns and changed venues from Hupan Residential Area to our current site. However, we always stuck to our direction, mission, vision and values without alteration. During its development, Yungu may make some fine adjustment for the sake of children, family and society, but it will not change the major direction of cultivating future-oriented and future-acclimatized children. We hope Yungu can make a difference, but we do not expect this difference to become a model to be copied nationwide. Each school should have its own unique characteristics. What Yungu should do is to share. In future, there will be schools with the label of Yungu as carriers of serial educational concepts instead of merely a standard.
In conclusion, Yungu will definitely not become an exclusive noble school. Being noble relies on morality instead of money. Nobility, reflected by speech, behavior, demeanor and temperament, is a taste and a feeling.