Issue: SUMMER 2014
Inspiring Excellence, Building Character - Since 1912
Photo: International Day Celebrations at Seoul Foreign British School
Celebrating Diversity and Building Unity at SFS How does a school celebrate the diversity of its student body? International schools like Seoul Foreign School, who represent 48 nationalities or more, face the challenge of how to build unity within the student body, while appreciating the diversity and transient nature of the international community that they serve.
Within each division of our School they approach this challenge in a structured and deliberate way to meet the needs of our parents and students. In this issue of SFS TODAY, we highlight some of the many ways our School builds international mindedness through the curriculum, events, and culture of the School.
What is Culture?
Yujin Seo (Graduate 2013) SFS Alumni - Currently studying at the University of Southern California
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A FOCUS ON INTERNATIONAL DIVERSITY
â€œMy experience at Seoul Foreign School has taught me how to become internationallyminded and adapt more easily to new environments and with diverse people.â€?
PTA - A Common Purpose
TODAY IN THE SPOTLIGHT - SFS Opinion Column
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Who am I? A closer look at the nature of who we are at SFS and the wonderful legacy of our students as we advertise to the world what makes SFS unique.
SNAP SHOT BOX Visiting author Rosemary Wells, and V.I.P
Guest speaker, Mr. David Levy, Deputy Head of Mission at the Israeli Embassy, enrich the learning experience for our students.
Who am I?
I am principled and compassionate. Diversity by the Numbers I am intelligent, articulate, and motivated. I am self disciplined and prepared for success. I am a leader, an innovator, and a critical thinker. I am able to attain my goals, and inspire others. I am a part of this legacy of excellence. I am an SFS Graduate.
Celebrating Diversity Cover Story How does our British School celebrate diversity and build unity?
Smooth Transitions Our High School student Ambassadors working hard to make the transition easier for our rising MS and BS students. What is Culture? A collection of fresh perspectives from our Middle School Grade 7 students.
When viewing SFS from outside our community, what do people see? Or more importantly, who do they see? If youâ€™ve picked up a Seoul Magazine recently or visited our Website youâ€™ll be familiar with the above image and articulation of who our students are, and the graduates that they become.
PTA - A Common Purpose Brought together from all over the world, a wealth of diverse experiences making a difference at SFS.
These ideas are based on our Essential Competencies; the very fabric that weaves throughout our curriculum and influences our School culture.
Tel: 82-2-330-3100 Fax: 82-2-335-1857 firstname.lastname@example.org
There is not one single definition of who we are as an SFS Community, but rather many possible ways to describe our unique school culture. Our Admissions Team meet with prospective parents on a daily basis and shared this insight for our publication:
Every year we work with 600-700 applicants from all over the world. The majority of those applicants say we are the only true choice for expatriate families living in Seoul.
CONTACT US Seoul Foreign School 39 Yeonhui-ro 22-gil, Seodaemun-gu Seoul, Korea 120-823
IB World School
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Check our website regularly for updates at www.seoulforeign.org and link to MY SFS our Parent Homepage for all our school announcements.
Inspiring Excellence, Building Character - Since 1912
CELEBRATING OUR 48+ NATIONS
Celebrating Diversity in the British School
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One of the most anticipated days of the school year, our British School has been celebrating International Day for the past 8 years. Formerly called, Commonwealth Day, it has become more international over the years. As a celebration of the rich diversity of our student and parent body, no other event on the school calendar brings together the parents and students in the British School quite like this one. The day begins with a colourful parade of nations and all the parents are involved as they bring in national dishes prepared at home for the students to share over lunch. An
assembly of student performances and work, weaves in various themes of international mindedness as our students and faculty celebrate the richness of their national heritages together.
Many celebrations of this nature are about flags, fashion, food, and festivals but we aim to go deeper and give the students a broader understanding of what international diversity is. Damian Prest,
BS Deputy Headteacher
Building the background for international mindedness is not just a one day event. Throughout the school year youâ€™ll witness countless examples of our student council, house system, Faculty and PTA all working together to promote inclusiveness. As one year draws to a close and a new school year looms, look for the annual Autumnal Affair, organized by the BS PTA. Itâ€™s a wonderful chance to get acquainted to new parents and a chance to see old friends in the elegant garden of the British Ambassadors Residence.
An IB World School committed to fostering international mindedness
TODAY THE SNAP SHOT BOX
Building More than A Colony Our Grade 5 students recently experienced the importance, challenges and benefits of diversity in a powerful and valuable learning activity.
Children’s Author Visit - Rosemary Wells Inspiring the Writer within our students, our younger students across the School were treated to writer’s workshops and book readings from Rosemary Wells.
The students undertook an interdisciplinary Science and Social Studies simulation: Building A Moon Colony. In addition to incorporating a study of the Moon and Sun, the students spent significant time discussing and exploring how to create a diverse and peaceful community from scratch. Students were asked to apply for a job on the simulation expedition. Along with standard ques-
tions of education and job experience, they were asked to share their character’s faith and cultural heritage, keeping the goal of diversity in mind. The end result was a very diverse group of job applicants who, not surprisingly, were all accepted! As the diversity of the community inevitably led to conflicts, the students realized the need for regulations and wrote their own constitution. The students collected constitutions from many countries extracting language and ideas they liked to form their constitution. To experience the value of their learning, visit: http://sfsmike21.blogspot.kr/
NIK Embraces Diversity Ever wondered how we ensure that our students remain not just culturally, but multi-culturally sensitive and aware? Namsan International Kindergarten shared with us their teacher check list for building international mindedness into the classroom environment: • Do we believe that all children can and will learn? • Are we willing to spend the time and effort necessary to help each child learn? V.I.P. Guests in the HS Classrooms A parent of three children in our British School, David Levy, Deputy Head of Mission at the Israeli Embassy, visited as a V.I.P. guest in our High School recently, sharing his insights on the current Middle East crisis with some of our History students.
• Are we willing to teach children individually according to their cultural and individual learning styles?
• Do we have high expectations for all children regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, or gender? • Are we willing to work with the parents and families of our children to learn more about their culture, educational values, and lifestyle preferences?
Inspiring Excellence, Building Character - Since 1912 1912 Inspiring Excellence, Building Character - Since
BUILDING UNITY AND UNDERSTANDING
Smooth Transitions from MS-HS “I know what it feels like to be new and lost at school, so being able to help people in that position is really important to me. Everyone should feel welcome and comfortable at school! “ Sarah Bernhardt, HS Ambassador
Student Ambassador groups are found in international schools around the globe and all have a common purpose: welcoming students into the community and supporting them during their year-long transition.
Ambassadors are skilled in giving tours, understanding the SFHS rules and unwritten rules, cultural differences, and supporting the transition cycle. We know how important it is to welcome new students positively into community.
Transition takes time and can be a bit tough, especially when students miss their former school and friends. New students find it helpful to know they always have a friend to turn to when in need, whether it be someone to eat lunch with during those first days of school or learning where classrooms are located. We have a team of about 40 Ambassadors in Grades 9-12 who are trained every May in preparation for the upcoming school year. We plan and support events including orientation, School Open Houses, and most importantly the everyday lives of our new students.
The best compliment we could ever receive is one I heard this year from a new 9th grade student. “I was excited to start school at SFS because I already had friends.” Ms Melanie Smith HS Counselor
It was our Ambassador team who reached out to her before she ever arrived in Seoul as they began welcoming and connecting our community.
Middle East Simulation Builds Understanding Grade 8 students recently studied the Middle East and the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. They traced the history of this conflict throughout the centuries. The unit culminated in a multi-day simulation where students were challenged to do something which diplomats and religious leaders have been unable to do: solve the conflict peacefully and in a way that is acceptable to all sides.
Overall, this simulation not only extended my knowledge, but fueled my interest in global politics. Anna Nahm, Grade 8
Following their preparations, students spent two days in a formal United Nations-like setting where they gave speeches, debated ideas, and tried to ne-
gotiate resolutions to the contentious issues of water scarcity, borders and settlements, and control of Jerusalem and its holy sites. By the end, not only had students wrestled with various ideas and perspectives, but they also formed their own opinions on this enduring conflict.
Not only was this real life scenario fascinating and enjoyable to role-play, but it altered the way that many of us viewed a “Black and White” situation. In the end, we were able to ‘broaden our understanding’ in a fun, engaging way. Michael Woo, Grade 8
CULTURE CELEBRATED AND DEFINED
Rememberance As the first independent British School in South Korea since it opened in 1989, our Seoul Foreign British School has long celebrated it’s unique position in Seoul as a significant outpost of British culture and education. Serving an international school body, international mindedness is promoted within the curriculum along side opportunities to honor a British perspective. To this end, each year the Seoul Foreign British School takes the time to include select students in a commemorative trip to the Gloucester Valley to honor the sacrifices made by the British 29th Infantry Brigade during the Korean War at the Battle of Imjin River. This year was particularly special as we sent a larger contingent of students to the 63rd Anniversary of that battle commemorated by the unveiling of a New Gloster Monument. Attended by many British Commonwealth war veterans our students gained a unique opportunity to meet these courageous men and speak with them.
This type of valuable learning experience highlights one of the many ways we broaden our student’s horizons.
Learning the story of the veterans, and how they helped to defend our country in it’s time of greatest peril, I could not help feeling awe: these men had risked their lives fighting for a cause seemingly distant from them. Indeed, but for their noble sacrifice, South Korea would never have been the prosperous nation she is today, and we would never have lived so affluently as we do now. This visit was an occasion for me to realize once again the importance of grace, and how much we have to be thankful of to those who have helped us in times of need. Hyong Kim, Year 9L
World Perspectives - Art Throughout our School from Pre K-12, an appreciation of the Arts is encouraged and instructed with a global perspective in mind. From the hallways of the ES, which are lined with student work, to the Creative Arts Evening in the BS or the IB Art Exhibitions, there are numerous opportunities for our community to engage in this very visual learning process. Artwork by KS3 BS students on both page 6 & 7.
For example, in the BS, Key Stage 3 students are taken on a journey
of self-discovery as they gain an appreciation of world artists and styles, the history of art from different countries, and then being encouraged to harness their own creativity to express in artistic forms: • who they are, • where they are from (which we know is not a straight forward question for many of our students), • and their place in the world.
Inspiring Excellence, Building Character - Since 1912 Inspiring Excellence, Building Character - Since 1912
CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES EXPLORED
What is Culture? - view points from MS My culture defines me; it is who I am. Being trilingual, I feel three different kinds of national pride. Michelle Kung Grade 7
When the Grade 7 Humanities team meets to discuss and design learning activities for our students, they often ask themselves: “What do we truly want students to learn and walk away with?” The truth is, we hope that the value of the lessons that are taught transcends the prescribed standards and objectives, moves beyond skills and knowledge, and allows students to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and of the world around them. This is of course a lofty goal! Yet, both the Essential Competencies at SFS, and our Social Studies curriculum allow the flexibility to delve deeper into the standards to create such meaning.
The studying of other cultures can teach you all about others. It describes their lives and beliefs, giving you insight on how to interact with them. An understanding of culture is used socially to break boundaries of interaction. Jaehee Cho Grade 7
Our students were asked a simple question: “Where are you from?” Initially, several students struggled to answer. Since so many of our students at SFS are Third Culture Kids, defining these complex cultural combinations can be challenging. Students came to understand their sense of belonging to more than one cultural group. A creative writing assignment followed in which students wrote narratives with the purpose
of promoting cross-cultural understanding. Recently, these same students revisited the topic of culture by attempting to define it, yielding a range of interesting class discussions.
Our family....it’s a mish-mash of cultures. Due to that, I’ve grown up with many different influences to my behavior and attitude. I’ve learned lots of languages, which has helped develop my love for languages, reading, writing, and expressing myself creatively. My culture is my own and is unique, and that’s what makes me who I am. Lena Srun Grade 7
AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
PTA - A Common Purpose
An integral part of any international school community is their PTA. We are fortunate at SFS to have a strong, established and committed PTA (Parents & Teachers Association) leadership team that works tirelessly throughout the year to bring valuable experiences into the lives of our students and school community. Every parent at SFS is automatically a member of the PTA and opportunities to serve the community in specific roles come up for election every year. United by a common purpose our PTA Board and Divisional Representatives meet regularly to plan and coordinate meaningful events within each Division and across the School.
If you’ve got an image of bake sales and housewives in your mind then think again! Being involved in the PTA is a great way to meet other parents who have a range of diverse overseas experiences and professional backgrounds like yourself. No matter what your background, the PTA appreciates everyone’s knowledge and diversity. Our current PTA Mainboard brings together American, Korean American, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, British and Belgium heritages. Many members have lived in other countries and been to other international schools around the world.
Visit the PTA This Week page on our website, via MY SFS and stay up to date with news and information from the PTA. www.seoulforeign.org/page.cfm?p=3789
Our MS PTA moms, (some of them pictured above) reflect the diversity of cultures and backgrounds mirrored throughout our parent community, bringing an invaluable richness to our School experience.
International Artists Visit
Our High School students enjoyed watching the Belhaven University Dance Group, in their first of 32 performances and the only performance given to an international school during their 5 week tour of South Korea.
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“We went to a North Carolina Dance Festival last year and didn’t see any facilities like this.”
Comments from one of the dancers in regards to our Performing Arts facilities
Summer 2014 issue