I’ve had the opportunity over the past several weeks to spend several visits at the kids school, Beijing City International School. I had the chance to meet twice with an education consultant, John Littleford, the school had hired to do an assessment. He conducted a series of interviews I’ve already written about. I also had a chance to review the results of those assessments and to listen to him speak about his experience as an educator and a consultant to international schools.
John has a fascinating story that I found quite compelling and inspiring, perhaps because some of it reminded me of my own journey albeit on a much smaller scale. I’d really enjoy reading a history of John’s experience and I hope he writes it down someday. I was particularly impressed with his discussion about how schools that create a need in students, inspire them to great achievements. Stac has written a little bit about how an international school is an environment where kids have greater opportunities to bond together. A new kid in a new school is the odd man out, but when everyone is new they are drawn together faster and with a stronger need. I’ve been amazed at how Sofi and Miles have both progressed.
I also had the opportunity to go to coffee with the Middle School principal, meet a couple of other mothers of children in Sofi’s grade and tour around the classrooms. I still don’t really feel I’ve had as much opportunity to connect with Sofi’s teachers, but its mostly a factor of Miles having a single class and Sofi having many.
Today Stac and I had the opportunity to both attend the Student Led Conference sessions at BCIS. This is a time when the students get to show their parents their academic work over the course of the past year. This is collected into a portfolio and students walk their parents through their accomplishments, projects and around to their various classrooms.
Sofi presented us with an overview of her social studies, where she has been learning about stereotypes of child soldiers in Africa and her English assignment where they are reading the book Holes. We went and met her Chinese teacher and chatted for a few moments. Sofi has come along quite quickly in her Chinese, given how short of a time we’ve been here; she really has a desire to learn and is not afraid to make an effort to try and speak. She is soon going to be out speaking me.
Miles was completely and totally bored with Sofi’s presentation, but was so excited to share with us the work he’d done. He pushed us (literally) through the school from the Middle School section to his 1st grade class. We were early so we waited outside until our specified time. Miles walked us through his written school work, then we went over his inquiry based sessions which focused on light and finally we reviewed his math work. Miles really loves math and is quite good at it (Sofi too). This sometimes baffles me since I’ve always been so math averse, but I am glad they enjoy it and are good at it. Afterwords Miles wanted us to walk around to each of the different specialty classrooms : Chinese, music, PE and swimming. We were really bummed that we forgot his swimming suit and missed out on a swimming demonstration.
Once again I was impressed by how BCIS provided an opportunity and environment where the students could shine and direct their parents through their educational achievements; another fine example of encouraging the kids to become self sufficient and educated citizens of the world.