Schooling: providing a key to the door of your future

Many students will be taking the next step up after graduation. Their academic institutions believe they leave equipped with more than just their qualifications.  

Many students will be taking the next step up after graduation. Their academic institutions believe they leave equipped with more than just their qualifications — a sense of community, friendship and spirituality.  

Schooling: providing a key to the door of your future

Keeping community spirit and friendship alive

It is my hope that after graduating from Shanghai Singapore International School, all of our students continue their friendships and keep the spirit of SSIS alive. The SSIS community will always be proud of our students’ future successes. 

Let me pause on that word “community.” It is important. One of the truly wonderful things about SSIS is its students and teachers are bright and confident enough to be able to respect the talent of others. There are very few places where you will find this, and we encourage all of our students to take full advantage of it. Just as each of us brings our own special abilities and skills, we should always remember that everyone we see around us is as equally gifted in his or her own way. We will find ourselves only stronger and better because of their influence. It is not likely that we will ever have the opportunity to be part of such a community again.   

Every graduating class has left a wonderful legacy. They are the proof of what SSIS education is about. Their achievements have added another chapter to the school’s rich history. They set a high standard of performance and their university placement results tell us much, but not all, of their accomplishments. Although we are impressed by their academic success, I would rather focus on their many and diverse contributions to the well-being of the school and their world.  

Schooling: providing a key to the door of your future

Doruk Gurkan is IBDP and TOK coordinator at the Shanghai Singapore International School.

Our school shares a responsibility to continue to enhance that strength — through our own efforts, encouraging others, providing the necessary resources to support the program and, above all, by respecting the talent and ideas of those around us.   

Returning again to the word “community and friendship.” When students leave the school they should stop and think of the many times their teachers, counselors, office staff and school staff have done something extra which has made their life better. They didn’t do it because it was their job, they did it because they cared enough to want to. It is this volunteer spirit, which reminds us of the human dimension of our life together in a school like this, and reminds us, too, that we have an obligation to look out for the spiritual health and well-being of our community. 

In the future, we would like to see every member of this community being sensitive to the needs, cares and concerns of others. It is only in this way that we can expect to have a healthy community, and it is as important to understand that our human context is every bit as important as the intellectual.  

My advice for new students: Never lose sight of the essential human quality of this school, and keep in front of you at all times the goal of gaining what it can give you, both academically and spiritually. To do any less would be to deny yourself the best that this school and its people can give you, or that you can give to it and to them.

(The article is contributed by Doruk Gurkan, IBDP and TOK coordinator at the Shanghai Singapore International School.)

Be prepared, work hard, enjoy free time

So, your days of living a blissful middle school life are coming to an end, and the time has come to prepare for high school. But how can you prepare? Well, for starters, you can take the advice of a few senior students who are finishing up Year 12. So, listen up as we impart our wealth of high school knowledge to you.

First and foremost, you need to be prepared for the amount of work that’s ahead of you. The adjustment to high school levels of homework can certainly be challenging, but the bottom line is that you need to be ready. Accept the fact that you’re going to have less free time and may have to stay up later just to finish the work you have to complete. 

After you’ve prepared for the workload, start using a calendar or a planner, because staying organized is key. Write down due dates, test dates, and everything else you have to do. Once you see it all planned out in front of you, the tasks will not seem daunting. This way, you’re able to prioritize your time and distribute it according to the size of the task. Knowing when you have co-curricular activities and planning around that is also important, so you won’t find yourself running out of time to complete a task. 

Schooling: providing a key to the door of your future

From left to right, Oliver, Rheanna, Hannah and Maximillian are Year 12 students of YCIS Shanghai’s Century Park campus.

Make sure that you find something you like to do outside of studying — something that you really, really, like to do. It could be anything, like playing a sport or listening to music. And do it as often as you can, especially whenever you think something is getting tough or difficult to manage as it’s also important to take time to relax.

Finally, you must remember that failure is okay. This may sound cheesy, but failure is the opportunity to start again, but this time more intelligently. Learn from your mistakes, be open to criticism, and improve upon that. Leave your fixed mind-set behind and adopt a growth mind-set instead, it’ll help you in the long run. 

Although high school might seem tough now, just know that everyone around you is also going through the same thing. To make things easier, take our advice: Be prepared, stay organized, make time for leisure, and learn from failure. Before you know it, the four years of high school will be over, and then you’ll be heading off to college!

(The article is contributed by Oliver, Rheanna, Hannah and Maximillian, all Year 12 students at YCIS Shanghai’s Century Park campus.)

A platform to fulfil personal, academic and social success

At Nord Anglia International School Shanghai we encourage all our students to be ambitious and create the conditions whereby they are able to fulfil their potential and achieve personal, academic and social success. 

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program informs much of our educational philosophy as we believe that true success is much more than academic accomplishment. The International Baccalaureate Organization recognizes that the development of skills, including thinking skills and communication skills are regularly identified as essential to the success of students beyond school. 

In a 2007 study, 400 hiring executives of major US corporations identified their top four requirements of new recruits as being, oral and written communication skills, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, professionalism and work ethic, and teamwork and collaboration skills (Trilling & Fadel, 2009). 

Therefore, at NAIS Pudong we have worked to embed the IB approaches to teaching and learning into everyday student experiences right the way through the secondary school to ensure that our students are well prepared for life at university and beyond. These include the development of thinking skills, communication skills, social skills, self-management skills and research skills.

To be successful in the 21st Century, academic learning and subject knowledge is not enough. 

Schooling: providing a key to the door of your future

Bevan Graham is head of IB Academy at the Nord Anglia International School Shanghai, Pudong.

The complexities of 21st century life requires a sophisticated toolkit of competencies to enable students to navigate these successfully. 

Therefore the IB Diploma Programme gives students a distinct advantage in this regard because it is designed to facilitate the cultivation of international mindedness. This international mindedness manifests as recognition of our common humanity. 

At the heart of the IB Diploma Program is the learner profile. These 10 aspirational qualities are designed to guide the actions of our school community and to support lifelong learning. We regard the learner profile attributes as essential for global citizenship. Therefore we aim to articulate them throughout our school community. In our view, to be successful is to aspire to uphold these qualities.

One of the greatest assets at our school is our fantastic students. We are so proud of their ability to collaborate in a thoughtful and reflective manner and are the epitome of internationally minded lifelong learners. Their international mindedness coupled with their ability engage with their learning in a principled manner means that they are able to forge friendships that are based on very deep connections around a shared common humanity. 

To be successful in the 21st century is to move beyond superficial designations and recognize this common humanity. Therefore these bonds will last for a lifetime. Wherever our students end up, their key to success is to engage with a program like the IB Diploma which will provide them with not only   rigorous academic skills but also critical and reflective enquiry skills.

(The article is contributed by Bevan Graham, head of IB Academy at the Nord Anglia International School Shanghai, Pudong.)

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