2023 International Highlights Ⅷ: International Academic Collaboration and its Global Impact

2024-01-12  |   420 views

ROE Hits Its New Milestone in 2023



In 2023, the in-house journal of ECNU Review of Education (ROE) was classified as a Q1 journal in Scopus and officially included into the ESCI database by Clarivate. Established in 2018, the journal is an international, peer-reviewed journal established by the East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai, China. As a diamond open-access journal, ROE seeks to facilitate in-depth dialogues among various stakeholders in education, and to build a global community of scholars interested in advancing knowledge, generating big ideas, inducing deep changes, and exerting real impact in education worldwide. Please visit https://journals.sagepub.com/home/roe for more information.



The Internationalization of Academic Research



In recent years, ECNU Faculty of Education actively encourages teachers and students to participate in international academic research cooperation, to present internationally competitive research findings on top international academic conference platforms, and “tell the story of Chinese education well”. With high recording, 88 papers were accepted by the 2023 Annual Meetings of Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

It is particularly worth mentioning that the Faculty of Education strongly supports students from all sections to participate in various important international conferences in different forms, and the number of accepted papers has repeatedly achieved high levels. In 2023, CIES accepted 28 student papers, and AERA accepted 38 student papers. Remarkably, two of these papers had undergraduate students as first authors, marking the first record in the history of the Faculty of Education.


Survey on Social and Emotional Skills——Cooperation with OECD


The Survey on Social and Emotional Skills (SSES) is an international, multi-year programme that assesses students’ social and emotional skills of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). SSES examines how these skills relate to factors in students’ home, school, and community environments, as well as their socio-economic outcomes, such as their health, well-being, and academic performance. The aim of providing policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers with a valid, reliable, and comparable assessment of students’ social and emotional skills is to broaden their focus to include these essential skills and to help develop them among students.



In 2018, East China Normal University (ECNU) embarked on a transformative journey by becoming a part of the SSES, joined the First Round of SSES along with other nine sites all over the world. The First Round result and report launched in September 2021, which has a great impact in China and all over the world.

To well support the SSES and research about social and emotional skills in China, ECNU established a Center for the Study on Social and Emotional skills in 2021. This center is composed of experts and researchers from various educational domains, embarked on a comprehensive research voyage.

Over the past two years, ECNU maintained close cooperation with OECD. substantial strides have been taken in evaluating the social and emotional skills of Chinese aged 10 and 15 students. Under the leadership of YUAN Zhenguo, the Dean of Faculty of Education, and guidance of HUANG Zhongjing, Director of the Department of Education, and participated the Second Round of SSES from 2021. The Field Trial took place in May 2022 and Main Survey in May 2023. The Center for the Study on Social and Emotional skills ensured the selection of a robust and representative sample, employing a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling methodology. The process involved extensive translation, meticulous sampling, rigorous training, detailed preparation, and intensive communication with OECD, etc. From translation to administration, each step was executed with precision.

Along with the implement of SSES, the center gained many worthy productions. Besides the international and site report, the center published a book, Social and Emotional Competence: Theory, Policy and Practice, and has been preparing for the series about social and emotional skills. Sixties publications are also the valuable proof of the past three years research. In the meantime, the center established a special website to better publicize and support the research and practice of Social and Emotional Skills. In November, the center embarked on a new level. The Thousand-school Alliance of Adolescent Social and Emotional Skills Cultivation has been founded in November 25th. This means that the cultivation of youth social and emotional skills comes to practice all over China.



East China Normal University’s active participation in the SSES project serves as an embodiment of our dedication to advancing international educational research. The ECNU SSES team takes the cooperation with OECD as a starting point and continuously strives to promote a well-rounded education system that encompasses both cognitive and non-cognitive proficiencies.




Inclusive Education


In 2023, the ECNU Institute of Inclusive Education, has continued to conduct the program of Accelerating Inclusive Education in China: The Upgrade of Teachers’ Professional Capacity jointly supported by UNICEF and the Department of Teacher Education, Ministry of Education, China.

In 2023, breakthroughs have been made in following aspects: the development of general curriculum of inclusive education for teachers; the construction of inclusive education pilot areas; and the promotion of demonstration schools; as well as the cultivation of professional ability of inclusive education for teachers.

Firstly, a core group for curriculum development was established to redesign and revise the framework and outline of the early course, clarify the specific course plan, establish the course objectives, content structure and knowledge points, and lay the foundation for the later course revision and adjustment.



Secondly, in Hongkou District of Shanghai, Guancheng District of Zhengzhou City, Tianfu New District of Chengdu City, and Haidian District of Beijing City, the research group held seminars and training meetings in pilot areas, conducted surveys according to the local needs, collected cases on inclusive education, promoted the formulation of work plans in pilot areas, and conducted systematic training for in-service teachers and leaders. A seminar on inclusive preschool education in Beijing’s Haidian district was reported by China Education Daily.

Thirdly, the research group has completed the literature search and analysis of the professional competence and accomplishment of inclusive education, the preliminary construction of the professional accomplishment of inclusive education of normal university students and in-service teachers and the evaluation index system of inclusive school quality, as well as the proposal of inclusive education research and the revision and discussion for many times.



Finally, the research group created a WeChat Official Account about inclusive education, and drafted and issued an action proposal on inclusive education, which has been reported by more than 10 media outlets and had a huge social impact.


Lifelong Education


The Shanghai Municipal Institute for Lifelong Education earnestly performs its duties as the thematic coordinating city for sustainable development education of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC), and has participated in more than 10 online working meetings and intra-group thematic exchanges of the coordination group, among which it is responsible for organizing two working meetings. It hosted the 10th anniversary celebration of the Global Network of Learning City, which was broadcast live around the world and generated a good international influence. On behalf of Shanghai, Shanghai Municipal Institute for Lifelong Education, in cooperation with UIL, Hamburg and other cities, organized a special side meeting in Dubai during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and continued to research and develop the results of climate change education. The Shanghai Municipal Institute for Lifelong Education published the English version of the results of sustainable development education in the Shanghai communities, and continued to promote the sustainable development education project in 2022-2023. Through various ways of organization, participation and cooperation, more than 20 various activities were carried out throughout the year, including case study activities with Pudong New Area, Minhang District, Songjiang District, Xuhui District and other cooperative urban areas. Researchers from the Shanghai Municipal Institute for Lifelong Education visited South Korea, Japan, etc., to carry out in-depth international exchanges and cooperation.



Examining Children’s Social Cognitive Development Across Cultures


Dr. Xin (Alice) Zhao, Assistant Professor (Chenhui Scholar) at the Department of Educational Psychology at East China Normal University, focuses her research on children’s social cognitive development. Since joining ECNU in 2019, Dr. Zhao has fostered multiple global collaborations with researchers and professors. These collaborations have yielded significant findings in children’s social cognitive development across cultures, showcased in esteemed publications on child development journals.

Dr. Zhao initiated a collaborative endeavor with Prof. Tamar Kushnir from Duke University, Prof. Hyowon Gweon and Dr. Xuan Zhao from Stanford University. In discussions, they conceived the idea of studying children’s social mindful behaviors. The study of children’s prosocial behavior and moral cognition has long been pivotal in psychology and education. While existing research often focuses on direct prosocial behaviors like helping and sharing, less attention has been given to subtle, low-cost prosocial behaviors such as social mindfulness. Social mindfulness involves attentively and respectfully considering the needs and rights of others’ choices—an essential skill for navigating the social world. Dr. Zhao believes that studying this across cultures, such as in China and the US, is critical. Social mindfulness aligns strongly with virtues like kindness, humility, and courtesy inherent in traditional Chinese culture, evident in stories like Kong Rong’s act of giving pears to others.


Dr. ZHAO Xin


Prof. Tamar Kushnir

Duke University


Prof. Hyowon Gweon

Stanford University


Dr. Zhao assembled a core research team of bilingual assistants proficient in both Chinese and English. Through iterative discussions, translations, piloting, and further refinements, the team developed a culturally appropriate paradigm to study children’s social mindfulness. Rigorous training of research assistants ensued before data collection commenced in both the US and China. Collaboration extended to multiple preschools and primary schools across cities like Beijing and Shanghai, ensuring comprehensive data collection.

The initial collaborative project has delivered exciting findings. By employing a novel research paradigm to measure children’s understanding of social mindfulness, the study revealed that the preschool period is crucial for children’s social mindfulness development in both China and the United States. Between ages 4 and 6, children increasingly recognize and evaluate socially mindful behavior. The research uncovered both cultural similarities and differences in children’s social mindfulness. While both Chinese and American children exhibit similar developmental patterns in their forced-choice evaluations of socially mindful actions, Chinese children tend to provide more explicit explanations compared to their American counterparts.



The research results, published in the prestigious journal Child Development, garnered attention domestically and internationally, earning the Shanghai Philosophy and Social Sciences Research Award. It spurred subsequent research on children’s social mindfulness, offering valuable insights for parents and educators to comprehend the development of moral virtues like politeness and considerateness. Moreover, the findings have attracted media attention, featuring in multiple parenting publications. Dr. Zhao continued this line of research, publishing several papers on the topic.

Moving forward, Dr. Zhao sustains collaboration with Prof. Kushnir while branching out to work with other esteemed researchers like Prof. Henrike Moll at USC, Prof. Lin Bian at the University of Chicago, and Prof. Yarrow Dunham at Yale University. Through collaborative research, Dr. Zhao aims to gain deeper insights into child development across diverse cultures.