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The Shenzhen Nanshan District Education Bureau superintends all schools and educational personnel in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen, China (PRC), for the delivery of high-quality civic and government education services. Nanshan was awarded the first district prize in Shenzhen to internationalize schools to meet 21st-century goals through partnerships with a variety of organizations and professionals. The bureau administers personnel services to more than 97 schools, including principal leadership development, teacher training, and classroom innovations, as well as new technologies for students.


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Liu Genping, director of the bureau, had the vision to instill the power of inquiry and critical thinking into public school classrooms. Liu recognized that by embedding the Great Books Foundation’s Shared Inquiry™ method in Chinese public schools, he could create a model for best 21st-century learning in China. He believes these strategies will transform teaching practices and create a classroom culture of inquiry in which both students and their teachers learn together. In partnership with Elisabeth Montgomery, senior adviser on internationalization for the bureau and president of educational training consultancy InterLangua, Liu brought the Shared Inquiry method of teaching and learning to Nanshan public schools.

In her role with the bureau, Montgomery organizes professional development training for all teachers in every public and private school in the Nanshan District. She also serves as foreign vice principal for several Nanshan elementary schools. Montgomery opened the Nanshan Teacher Great Books Training Center in 2014 in the Southern University of Science and Technology Elementary School No. 1 to support training and practice with the Shared Inquiry method. Since its opening, hundreds of teachers have been trained and continue to attend regular Great Books meetings and discussions, as well as a monthly reading club.