02 Feb, 2018
10 : 00
In this week’s edition of Beijing Moms, we introduce Annique Claussen. Originally from Germany, Annique has lived in China for 18 years where she’s come to establish herself as one of the central members of the Parent Organisation (PO) at Yew Chung International School of Beijing.
An avid reader, Annique is also well-versed in current trends in educational research and wrote a recent article on the changing state of education in the 21st century. Below, Annique shares more about her views on forward-thinking educational models, as well as stories of her own history in China and her involvement in the PO.
Please introduce yourself.
Call me Annique Claussen or 安珂, I answer to both. Leaving Germany, I came to China in 2000, met my Chinese husband and settled down in Beijing. When I'm not around at YCIS Beijing, I translate Corporate Social Responsibility reports from Chinese, or I am occupied by our sons.
What first brought you to China?
My studies – that is, my interest in the Chinese language and culture!
What aspects of living in China do you most enjoy?
I like the Chinese way of taking life as it happens; in many interactions I see a flexible, optimistic openness towards taking chances. Besides, switching between languages and mindsets bears a special charm for me, I find the challenge of building cultural bridges extremely fulfilling.
What was your personal experience as a student in Germany?
I experienced a solid school education, focused on knowledge – an idea which has now been rendered obsolete through the internet. Plus, this type of education excluded support of a number of essential, non-standardisable skills such as cooperation.
In what ways does YCIS Beijing apply a forward-thinking educational model?
I'd like to answer with a recent experience. We threw a birthday party for my son. Imagine twelve 8- and 9-year-old boys in a wild party mood, in a setting that's prone to making things derail into chaos. They wanted a fun battle.
Would you expect them to be able to set up rules, distribute roles and equipment, count points, fix their equipment and play fair, all by themselves? No? Well, I didn't need to intervene at any point. And I believe that this is one of the fruits of the Learning Community system at YCIS Beijing.
What is your role in Parent Organisation (PO)?
After more than a decade as a YCIS Beijing parent, I guess I've had a finger in almost every PO pie! In an attempt to hold my fingers back a little, I passed the position of PO Secretary on after three years, but I still want to serve those amazing people in our community.
What value do you find in being a part of the PO?
It creates a sense of belonging. It keeps me open to experiencing cultures. It brings me all the knowledge which a network can offer. I'm learning a lot!
Another result was that I found myself encouraged to get involved in the framework of the regular curriculum, which has produced extremely precious memories for me: Carrying an ocean of little angels' voices on my piano accompaniment during Christmas concerts... Or sensing full resonance from 75 bright young minds during a presentation on sustainability which I gave to Year 3s!
What value does the PO bring to school community?
An active PO life strengthens the entire community. Parents absorb the influences that form our children's minds and, consequently, understand them better. We also act as role-models in sending a message of participation to our kids. By pursuing meaningful activities, we credibly fortify the applicability of what the students learn during school hours. In this spirit, I am breeding a plan to make waste management and waste prevention a topic to all of us at YCIS Beijing!