03 Nov, 2017
10 : 00
This autumn, Yew Chung International School of Beijing continued its partnership with the Beijing Institute of Education through an exchange programme with teachers from local Chinese schools. For the seventh year in row, YCIS Beijing was selected to host local teachers at our Honglingjin Park campus to observe classroom lessons and learn more about the unique Learning Communities and bilingual co-teaching model on offer for students.
Below, YCIS Beijing Chinese Co-principal Christine Xu explains more about the exchange programme, including three key revelations that local teachers took away from their time on campus.
The Programme’s Beginnings
Seven years ago, the Chinese Education Bureau began the exchange programme in an effort to help local schools enrich their curriculums. International schools use cutting edge methodologies that local schools can learn and benefit from, so international schools are a wonderful resource for local schools. The Education Bureau then selected several well-known and well-respected international schools to participate in the programme, of which YCIS Beijing was one.
Eventually, the Beijing Institute of Education took over the programme, but it has remained the same in practice. Local teachers visit the YCIS Beijing campus for four weeks, observing classes, meeting with teachers, and writing extended reflections on the aspects of the school that they’re most impressed with and feel they could take back to their own classrooms.
During the past several years, there have been consistent takeaways by the visiting teachers, one of which is about the education mindset inside YCIS Beijing. Local schools are traditionally knowledge-based and student-centred, whereas YCIS Beijing follows a skills-based and student-centred model.
At YCIS Beijing, differences in students’ learning, aptitudes, and backgrounds are taken into account during curriculum design and implementation, and skills are taught that will prepare students for unexpected challenges in the future.
Strategies for Engagement
The second takeaway is teaching strategies. While visiting teachers are familiar with lecture-based classes and standing in front of a room full of students who are dutifully taking notes, teachers at YCIS Beijing engage students using a wide variety of strategies, including through games, apps, and frequent classroom discussion.
The final takeaway has been about the unique culture at YCIS Beijing. Visiting teachers write in their reflection papers that they feel YCIS Beijing is more than simply a collection of international students, but instead has a thriving community culture. Through frequent school activities, student leadership opportunities, and a familial atmosphere, the YCIS Beijing school culture is a model of a healthy school community.
During the past week, there was an example of this culture that visiting teachers were able to partake in first-hand. During a Halloween assembly on Tuesday, the entire Secondary school gathered in the auditorium for a series of trivia games and student performances. Students laughed together, encouraged each other, and celebrated both the performers and the holiday itself, in an activity that was both educational and also reinforced the school culture and community.
The local exchange programme offers a wonderful opportunity for visiting teachers to learn more about the unique teaching model at YCIS Beijing and to take aspects of YCIS back to their own schools.