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HD Beijing to Educate Globalized Chinese

September, 2017
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0j7a4550It was a beautiful day on 28 August with crystal blue skies and a comfortable breeze. Students, teachers and families were all smiles as HD Beijing School held its grand opening ceremony in front of the main school building, which featured inspiring speeches and a joyful dance performance.

Covering nearly 30,000 square meters, the campus is located near Beijing Dongba Country Park in northeastern Beijing, surrounded by pleasant natural beauty.

The main building is equipped with double-layered glass wall and an excellent air purifying system, while its interior design adopts classic oriental style with delicate details to create an enriched view and cultural atmosphere. Outstanding facilities include a bilingual library, indoor swimming pool, indoor and outdoor sports areas, rooftop tennis courts, and an indoor theatre. 

This is the third HD school in China, following on from HD schools in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province and Shanghai. The HD schools are sister schools of Hurtwood House, recognized as one of the UK’s most successful and prestigious schools.

0j7a4305e589afe69cacAs a start, HD Beijing School will have seven classes, including three Prep classes of five-year-olds, two first-Grade classes, a second-Grade class and a third-Grade class. Each class of around 25 will be taught by a foreign teacher, a Chinese teacher and a bilingual learning facilitator, with English and Chinese used equally as instructional languages, according to Jodi Ingersoll, HD Beijing’s International Principal of Primary School.

Holding Bachelor degrees in both Education and English Literature, as well as a Master’s degree in International Education Management, Ms.Ingersoll has taught in international schools and colleges in countries including the UK, Canada, Spain and Oman, making her an expert in school management and education with nearly two decades of experience. She will be responsible for the team of seven foreign teachers, a specialist PE instructor, a Design Thinking teacher and a resident artist. “Our curriculum is going to look at where the children are, and we are going to look at the best practice to put it in place,” she added.

Her colleague, Chinese Principal of Primary School Amy Chang is a passionate advocate of “Integrated Curriculum,” conceived and developed in 2012by Li Zhencun, ex-Principal of Yizhuang Experimental Elementary School, a public school in Beijing,.

0j7a4716e589afe69cac-2“Integrated Curriculum” constitute an innovative educational system that covers all aspects of school life and fuses all disciplines. Before joining HD Beijing School, Chang was Director of Curriculum Research Institute at the Yizhuang Experimental Elementary School.

Chang is determined to introduce the idea into HD Beijing School.

“A weakness in the conventional Chinese way of education is that learning is always about grand and macro themes and therefore completely separate from real life, which results in the phenomenon that many students just learn for the only sake of ‘remembering the knowledge’ and get fed up with learning. Then, when they go to college, where there is less pressure from teachers and parents, they quite often become very slack in learning,” Chang said.

But “Integrated Curriculum” would totally optimize the content and approach taught to the students based on national curriculum standard and international education elements. For example, the first theme for the first-graders at HD Beijing will be about “start of school year,” under which lively songs and stories will be taught so that the kids gradually are able to explore and experience school life, which is totally new and strange to them, and then feel relaxed.

Such carefully designed courses with a variety of themes, two in each semester, are intended to set up close connections between education and the life of each child, so that the children will feel that they are not learning something unrelated to them, but rather what they feel and experience, Chang remarked.

0j7a4612e589afe69cacYang Yucui, Director of Chinese Curriculum Research Institute at HD Beijing School, added that in Grades one and two at HD Beijing, the academic boundaries between teaching of math and literacy will be far more integrated. Yang is a renowned math teaching expert and was a colleague of Chang at Yizhuang Experimental Elementary School. This means that the kids will hardly feel that they are learning math or literacy, but will be aware that when they solve certain problems, they need certain aspects of knowledge. “After all, when the kids start to understand the world, the process is indeed one that begins with the whole and gradually goes into divided details,” said Yang.

Meanwhile, much emphasis will be put on boosting the students’ ability in reading. By the end of the third Grade, students at HD Beijing will have crossed the threshold of 1 million words and characters in reading, and the figure by the end of the fifth Grade will have become 6 million, ensuring that the kids will automatically be able to think while reading and use their reading knowledge to inform their cognitive skills. Enhancement of the ability of reading in Chinese and English can actually help the students grasp both languages in more depth and more quickly, said Chang.

In addition, the teaching of traditional Chinese culture will be an integral part of the HD Beijing curriculum. For example, poems will be taught according to the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms, so that they get to know what those terms mean while learning traditional literacy, Chang said. And as they move to higher grades, other forms of Chinese literacy, such as ancient articles and novels, will enter into their reading lists.

“We want our students to have strong cultural roots in China and to be able to proudly share this with other people, but we also want them to understand that the world works in different ways so that they will be able to work in an international context,” concluded Ingersoll.

 

BY QIN CHUAN,

LITTLESTAR MAGAZINE

 

 

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