11 Nov, 2016
10 : 00
An integral aspect of YCIS Beijing’s curriculum is the Character Education Programme, manifested by the school’s monthly character traits as well as the Secondary School’s Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS)requirements. Academically, Secondary School offers Character Education classes from Years 7-11, focusing on a wide array of global issues that strives to mold students into global citizens.
The first major project for the Year 11 cohort this new school year was an examination of “Social Issues in the Global Community.” Students examined a variety of broad social themes, such as world health and crime and punishment, encouraging them to think more deeply about how such issues affect not just themselves but the world around them.
To learn more about their projects and the course as a whole, we spoke with three Year 11 students to get their impressions and discover the unique skills developed and lessons learned through their attendance.
Tackling the issue of crime and punishment in different countries around the world is already helping Deborah Qu, who joined YCIS Beijing this semester, gain a greater appreciation of different communities and cultures: “when I started researching I realized how different systems and laws of different countries are. The culture also plays a huge part in the development and determination of laws and punishments.” When asked how this helped improve her worldview and made her a more global citizen, she responded, “It expands our worldview and the way in which I think of things. I never would have realized how extensive these systems were and can apply this to all kinds of other systems as well.” A deeper understanding of community networks and the world in which we live is just one effect of the school’s Character Education classes.
Developing Soft Skills through Discussion
In practice, Character Education takes on a more casual and discussion-based structure than its other humanities counterparts that form the standardized IGCSE curriculum. Claudia Rader, who’s been with the school for nearly a year, finds value in this more personal learning atmosphere: “The course is more interactive [than our normal IGCSE classes] and encourages us to offer opinions on more personal and social issues. It focuses on issues through a broader lens and allows for more discussion.” The valuable outlet that Character Education offers for students to express their ideas helps to develop the critical thinking and communication skills so vital for success beyond their academic careers. When combined with the internationally-recognized IGCSE curriculum, thoughtful global citizenship is the natural outcome.
Balancing Life and Academics
Indeed, “soft skills” are an essential piece of what Character Education classes attempt to inculcate in their students. Chloe Sandifer-Stech, in her second year at YCIS Beijing, recalls last year’s lesson on time management: “We learned how to balance studying as well as our own lives outside of school. This lesson was very helpful for me, especially for exam prep; I often get so consumed with school work and having to get things done in my academic life that I forget to take care of myself. Character Education has helped me to maintain a proper balance between the two.” While our rigorous academic programme ensures that our students stay competitive, we recognize the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle as well. The Character Education course helps to ensure that students have the skills necessary to effectively manage the challenges that they encounter.
Learn more about our Character Education Programme by visiting our dedicated Character Education page.