This Week's Message from the Secondary Division

A Message from Phillip Waugh | Principal Secondary Co Head of School.

Activity Week

For most of the past week I have had the pleasure of working with 18 AISHK students from Years 10, 11 and 12 who travelled with Mr Tim Kelleher, Mrs Judith Chilton and I to South Korea for Activity Week.

This was the first time this trip has been offered by AISHK and based on the experience and student feedback I am sure it will prove to be a very popular option for students in future years.

After arriving in Korea I was reminded each and every day of the immense value that the Activity Week program offers our students. While all programs 10-12 offer our students the opportunity to develop new friendships with students in different year levels, learn from others and work in teams, the Korean trip in particular demonstrated how different life is for many South Koreans, to the life those of us living in Hong Kong experience. Certainly, Seoul itself offers many of the same trappings of modern life that can be found in Hong Kong but by looking more closely we could soon see that there are constant reminders of the powerful geopolitical factors at play in this community.

Over the course of the week, students visited ancient palaces, engaged in traditional cooking and enjoyed some K pop amongst other things. However, the most powerful activity without question involved visiting the DMZ which separates North and South Korea to this very day. Here students saw with their own eyes the armed forces of the US, North and South Korea as they faced off against each other in this demilitarised zone. A living symbol of a war that has never officially ended. Our students were even fortunate enough to interview a recent defector from North Korea and in doing so gain an understanding about the issues that force people to flee their homeland and family.

Teenagers these days are often too easily criticised for their behaviour so I am very happy to note not just how well this group of students behaved, but also the manner in which they presented themselves at the various locations they visited throughout the week. On every occasion I was very proud to be associated with such a fine group of young men and women.

Thank you to all the students and staff involved in this and each of the other Activity Week programs because I know our students were offered effective and well organised learning experiences which created powerful memories that will remain with all of us, both students and teachers alike, for the rest of our lives.

Reports

A reminder to parents of students in Years 7 – 11, your child's teachers, will between now and the end of Term 1 complete an interim progress report for each subject your child is studying. This report is located in the Student Diary. It may be opportune for you to take some time over the holidays to read the comments that are available and discuss with your son or daughter their academic progress. The interim report is a brief notation on current performance, etc. and will indicate if the teacher would like to meet with you for a one to one meeting in the coming weeks.

For parents of students studying for the Higher School Certificate or the IB Diploma in Year 12, your son or daughter will be issued with their formal school Semester 1 Report in Week 3 Term 2. Year 12 Parent teacher Interviews will occur on the afternoon and evening of Tuesday 19 May.

Year 6-8 Parent – Teacher Cocktail Evening

A reminder to parents of students in Year 6 to Year 8, on Wednesday 29 April from 6:30pm, AISHK will hold the Parent Teacher Cocktail Evening in the School Auditorium. For parents of students in these year levels, if you are intending to attend and if you have not already done so, please contact the Secondary Office at the school as soon as possible to confirm your participation. I look forward to speaking with each one of you over the course of the evening.

Farewell to Co-Head of School Mrs Leonie Drew

It will be my pleasure on behalf of the school to formally farewell Mrs Leonie Drew next Wednesday morning at each of the student assemblies that will be held that day. Mrs Drew's contribution to this school has been enormous and she will be greatly missed by the school community and me personally. I wish her all the very best for her future.

Next week concludes Term 1 so may I take this opportunity to wish all our secondary students and their families a very safe and enjoyable holiday break.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding these or any other matters relating to the Secondary Division please do not hesitate to contact me directly at the school.

Until next time

Regards

Phil Waugh
Secondary Principal | Co Head of School

This Week's Message from the Secondary Division

A Message from Phillip Waugh | Principal Secondary Co Head of School.

Year 12 Examinations

Students in Year 12 are now well into their Semester 1 Examinations. It is often a time of pressure when these exam sessions take place, not just for the students themselves but also for their family members. The key lesson to be learnt in undertaking examinations is that good preparation encompassing longstanding study and revision sessions, prior to the examinations themselves, will ultimately make the greatest difference in terms of results. Furthermore, rather than something to be fearful of, students should recognise that this preparation combined with increased opportunities to practice sitting for examinations themselves, will see them begin to subconsciously treat examinations as just another test of understanding, an event almost routine in nature, an activity which is part of being a senior student. Events like this then become just a normal part of student life, creating less anxiety and promoting a greater likelihood of success when final examinations come around.

Activity Week 2015

Next week the Secondary Division will be engaged in our Activity Week program.

As I have previously noted the value of this outdoor learning is immeasurable and certainly represents one of the cornerstones of our education program here at AISHK. I am sure all our students will be great ambassadors for our school no matter which program they are engaged in. For those students who are undertaking community service, thank you for taking some of your time to help others in the wider community. We should all never forget how privileged we are to study and work at AISHK, and being able to help those less fortunate is in itself a very valuable lesson in life.

Athletics Carnival

On Wednesday 25 March between 8:30-3:00pm the Secondary Division Inter-house Athletics Carnival will take place. I wish all competitors all the best as they challenge themselves and their peers in a range of athletic competitions. As always parents are most welcome to join us on the day. The Carnival will be held at Kowloon Tsai Park Sports Ground

Next week I will be working with the students attending the Activity Week program in South Korea so my next newsletter will be published the week commencing 23 March.

As always if you have any questions or concerns regarding these or any other matters relating to the Secondary Division please do not hesitate to contact me directly at the school.

Until next time

Regards

Phil Waugh
Secondary Principal | Co Head of School

This Week's Message from the Secondary Division

A Message from Phillip Waugh | Principal Secondary Co Head of School.

During the week commencing 16 March the Secondary Division will undertake its Activity Week program for this year. Each year time is set aside to provide off campus learning opportunities for our students, opportunities which often involve significant “outdoor learning, community service, cultural immersion and action studies”, all of which are key elements of the global education offered at AISHK.

As a school we strongly embrace the opportunity to undertake outdoor learning whenever possible not least because of the important lessons for life that students are able to encounter by participating in such programs.

Various educational organisations have at different times attempted to define the unique aspects of learning that are often associated with outdoor education and listed below are some of the elements as identified by the British Council.

  • Outdoor education, training and recreation promotes active learning through direct personal experience and offers excitement, fun and adventure within a framework of safety.
  • Challenging experiences outdoors impact powerfully upon a young person's intellectual, physical, spiritual, social and moral development.
  • Britain (nee Australia) has a long tradition in the field of outdoor education, training and recreation, reflecting the strong place of exploration and adventure in our cultural heritage for example, through the Scout and Guide movements, Outward Bound and the Duke of Edinburgh (HKAYP) Award.
  • Building self-confidence and self-esteem are fundamental to any young person's development. Outdoor activities provide valuable alternative, often non-competitive, avenues for achievement, as well as opportunities to develop independence and self-reliance. Through successfully facing up to the challenges which outdoor activities provide, overcoming fears and apprehensions along the way, young people make major strides in confidence, with implications for all aspects of their development.
  • A positive attitude to learning is essential if young people are to make the most of their education. Participation in exciting and enjoyable outdoor activities with teachers and peers reinforces a positive attitude to education and contributes significantly to the general ethos of a school. Direct experience out of the school stimulates and reinforces learning across many areas of the curriculum, and the use of the outdoors encourages young people to take greater responsibility for their own learning.
  • Awareness of the needs and contributions of others and the ability to sustain effective relationships, at work and in the family, are vital in today's society. Experience in the outdoors provides rich opportunities for personal and social development through carefully structured group work in challenging situations. Trust, care, tolerance and the willingness to give and accept support are all encouraged and anti-social behaviour is challenged. Opportunities are presented to exhibit and develop effective inter-personal behaviour and to work co-operatively and effectively in teams.
  • The purposeful use of leisure time is increasingly seen as making an important contribution to a fulfilling lifestyle. Outdoor recreation introduces young people to a range of worthwhile leisure pursuits which will enrich their future lives, and develops the skills and knowledge essential for safe participation. Outdoor exercise contributes greatly to health and fitness and continuing participation in outdoor pursuits encourages the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle into middle age and beyond.
  • Our relationship with the environment is a key issue facing tomorrow's citizens. Active learning and adventure outdoors introduces young people to the environment in a way which develops understanding, appreciation, awe, wonder and respect. It fosters sensitivity to the environment, helps young people to see themselves in a global context and helps to develop citizens with an awareness of the need for sustainable use of the world's natural resources.
  • Tomorrow's successful citizens will possess the adaptability to cope with a rapidly changing world of work and the responsibility to be an effective member of a community. Challenging outdoor experiences promote the development of communication, problem solving and decision making skills which have currency across a range of occupations. They encourage a positive “opting in” and “can do” attitude. Young people's horizons are broadened, new challenges come to be relished rather than shunned, and perseverance and determination are reinforced. Values and attitudes developed in a context of shared endeavour help to form a sound basis for responsible citizenship.

As in previous years the programs provided through Activity Week at AISHK in 2015 will continue to provide many or all of the important learning opportunities that were noted above. Learning opportunities, which in many instances will also provide our students with the chance to undertake significant community service for others less fortunate. Providing learning pathways like these is in itself a core element of the excellent learning environment that continues to be provided by our school.

Personally I look forward to accompanying those AISHK students who will be travelling to South Korea where they will engage with another dynamic Asian community and at the same time have a chance to identify and understand the real life geopolitical events and associated history that is such an important element of modern Asia and our world more generally.

As always if you have any questions or concerns regarding this or any other matter relating to the Secondary Division please do not hesitate to contact me directly at the school.

Until next time

Regards

Phil Waugh
Secondary Principal | Co Head of School