The University of Chicago has a rich history of scholarly collaboration in China, which dates to the early 1900s. From 1919 to 1921, John Dewey, the world-renowned educator and founder of the UChicago Laboratory Schools, traveled throughout China.

During his visit, he gained what some have called "superstar" status, with people flocking to his lectures or reading them in translation in books and newspapers, and widely applying his philosophies of education.

In the span of a century, research partnerships between UChicago scholars and their Chinese counterparts have blossomed into dozens of ongoing relationships, spanning many fields of study. The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools are excited to deepen this connection in the area of pre-collegiate education.

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Who should attend

This May 2019 conference will bring together researchers, policymakers, and school-level educators from the United States and China to further our understanding of how education has evolved.

Attendees will leave having created a base for further collaborative work between American and Chinese educators and policymakers who share an interest in Dewey.

Conference goals and objectives

Through keynote speeches, panel discussions, hands-on activities, field visits, and presentations, attendees will honor, and reflect upon, John Dewey’s role in education and his relevance in China.

  • Expert-led sessions covering topics such as: the role of interdisciplinary thinking in education today; arts in education; current issues in Chinese educational practice; the value of civic education; and the role of democratic education.
  • Programs that emphasize current educational challenges in China in context of Deweyan beliefs and values on schooling and democratic education.
  • Activities that model “learning by doing,” including a hands-on art project— participants will work with a local artist on a project that, when completed, will be shared with the greater Laboratory Schools community.
  • Visits with local civic organizations. Dewey learned about China, in part, by engaging with local communities. This to honor his approach, participants will have the opportunity to conduct field visits, which may include: a community garden, arts center, or youth-based community organization.
  • Educational site visits at local area schools to see student learning in action.
  • Tours of the University of Chicago and Chicago sights.

Centennial Colloquium Rationale

Conference Pricing

  • Individual rate
  • Full conference
  • This rate includes all keynote speeches, meal events, panel discussions, and hands-on activities.

  • Group rate
  • Full conference

  • Groups of 10 or more enjoy this discounted prices and includes everything the individual rate offers.

  • Student
  • Full conference
  • For students traveling to the conference this rate includes all of the benefits the individual rate offers.