The Voice The Tanglin Trust School magazine
Passion for Parenting CSR at Tanglin Spotlight on Languages
Vol 01 12/2008
04 05 09 11
Find out more about our staff at Tanglin
Feature Passion for Parenting Conference
Corporate Social Responsibility A report from Graham Worthington
Infant School Looking ahead
Junior School Staff News
Phasellus dapibus Meet David Ingram magna aliquet tellus. Maecenas congue, odio non euismod fringilla,
Sixth Form Facets of life
Spotlight on Languages
Real world skills
Hear from the students
Welcome to this first edition of our new school magazine. Entitled ‘The Voice’, it aims to give everyone in the Tanglin community the opportunity to ‘speak’ and be ‘heard’, at the same time presenting the diversity and richness of the Tanglin experience.
everyone to have their voice and I encourage you all to use it.
In this issue the main feature focuses on this term’s hugely successful initiative in the form of October’s ‘Passion for Parenting’ conference. Not only were the topics on the agenda Whether it is an individual relevant, thought provoking and contributing their view on a topic of professionally presented, they were general interest, or a write-up on a also – judging by the number of department that is not often in the people that attended the Saturday spotlight, I hope that the contents of morning event – of widespread this magazine will not only increase appeal. We provide a summary your knowledge and awareness of of the conference, along with an what goes on in a school the size interesting take by Tanglin students of Tanglin, but will also encourage a on some of the issues that were sense of community and belonging. raised. A vital component of learning is the ability to listen and learn from others. I am particularly pleased to see so many contributions in this edition from both students and staff and very much hope that this is a trend that will continue and grow. From book reviews by infant and junior students, to tips on how to raise a happy teenager (written by a teenager), there is scope for
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So many sports, so little time!
We also focus in this issue on the Languages Department – currently the biggest at Tanglin - in the form of an interview with the Director of Modern Languages, Stephen Morgan. He offers some interesting insights on teaching methods and addresses some of the issues his department has faced introducing Chinese into the Infant and Junior Schools this year.
Each term we will include regular reviews from the Infant, Junior, Senior Schools and Sixth Form, an update on Tanglin’s Corporate Social Responsibilty (CSR) activities, sports news, staff news, a ‘showcase’ featuring students’ work in the arts, creative writing and more. Hopefully something for everyone! I do hope you will enjoy reading this issue – we would love to know what you think. Please send your feedback, recommendations or suggestions to communications@ tts.edu.sg. Finally, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas – I look forward to seeing you all in January for the start of an inspiring 2009!
Steven Andrews, CEO
Book reviews Check it out!
The last word
A new year
Editor: Jacqui Edmiston Designer: CleverBird + Stacy Sharma Contributors: SJB Communications, staff, the PTA, + students Printer: Oz Print Services
Delphine and Matthew Hastwell
Each term we introduce members of staff who have achieved something that we think deserves a mention. Some names you will know, others not; either way, the intention is to highlight the fact that it is the people who work at Tanglin – their spirit, enthusiasm and determination – who make the school what it is.
Instead of pampering myself, it is nice to help the less fortunate children in India.” Nalinanayagi (Nali) Loganathan has been working at Tanglin as a Teacher Assistant for 27 years. For Nali, along with her family and their friends, doing volunteer work while on vacation is more meaningful than visiting tourist attractions. In May this year, Nali visited Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala along with sixteen other volunteers. It was their second trip; last year the same group visited an orphanage in Bangalore. During the Kerala trip, Nali and the group went to two orphanages, spending time with 80 to 100 children a day in each place, involving the children in diverse activities such as flower arranging, making handicrafts and painting t-shirts. This year’s trip was funded by a $40,000 donation from family and friends. This money was also used to buy craft materials and to stock goody bags with stationery items and toothbrushes for the children. The group also took the children on outings to the local amusement park and planetarium, and to watch a movie, activities which most of our children take for granted. However, Nali says, for most of the orphans these activities are “like a dream come true”. Nali and her family are planning their next trip to Bombay in May 2009. (excerpts from “The New Paper” 6 June 2008 by Charissa Young)
Twenty five years with Tanglin and three eras later by Linda Ang, HR Manager I am a true Singaporean, born in the late fifties. The younger in a family of two, I lived in the less developed northern part of the island during the early part of my childhood. I joined Tanglin as a Secretary in the Director of Administration’s office under the headship of the late Mr Mike Gorrie, a renowned HR practitioner. A strong believer in continuing professional development, I obtained a master’s in human resource management and training some four years ago. I have seen Tanglin Trust School evolve through three eras. In the eighties, Tanglin was made up of three schools based in different locations, all run by Tanglin Trust Ltd with a head teacher in each school and fewer than 1,400 children in total. At this stage we employed less than 100 staff. The nineties was an era of massive growth and change; the three schools amalgamated onto one campus under the umbrella of Tanglin Trust School Ltd. and the Senior School was opened. In the early years of the new millennium, student intake continued to increase and we became a “3 to 18” school. TTS is now even more focused on school development – upgrading the quantity and quality of education and training the workforce. Our staff strength has grown four fold! What do I enjoy most about working at Tanglin? I enjoy the nice cosy working environment and most importantly, the co-operation from colleagues. There has been a huge amount of change over the years but there is a sense that we are all working together to move forward.
Now in their seventh year of teaching at Tanglin, the Hastwells have established themselves as a formidable team when it comes to galvanising TTS staff into action for a good cause. The 2008 ‘Tone Tanglin’ project, which incorporates this year’s healthy living theme, aims to raise money for the Samatiga orphanage in Aceh province, Indonesia, one of the areas worst hit by the 2004 tsunami. The Hastwells’ involvement in this very extra-curricular part of their role at TTS began with a trip to Cambodia. What started as a small project, designed to finance a house-building trip through the Tabitha Foundation, grew bigger and bigger and garnered an unexpectedly high level of support…the result was the 2007 staff calendar. Featuring members of Tanglin teaching staff in ‘unusual’ settings (and attire), the calendar was a huge success, raising $35,000 which was split equally between three different Cambodia-based charities. The following year a further $40,000 was raised through sales of the ‘Tanglin Aid’ (remember Band Aid?) DVD. Another opportunity to dress up,-something Tanglin staff members clearly love to do! Students were also involved in this production, making a real community effort. Congratulations to this enterprising pair for setting such an inspiring example to the rest of us.
Feature Passion for Parenting
On Saturday 18 October Tanglin held the first in what is hoped to be a series of talks and interactive discussion sessions entitled ‘Passion for Parenting’. The brainchild of Tanglin Governor Deirdre Lew and Senior Counsellor Steve Kay, the morning event offered parents the opportunity to come and listen to experts in their field discussing issues that are important to all of us as parents.
Throughout the sessions – which covered topics such as fostering responsibility in your child, keeping them safe in cyberspace, guiding them to eat healthily and finally, a sober reminder of the serious repercussions that apply to anyone that falls foul of the law in Singapore, the common thread was the importance of communicating with your child. com•mu•ni•cate * – to give or exchange information – to transmit or reveal a feeling or thought by speech, writing, or gesture so that it is clearly understood – to share a good personal understanding – to be connected or provide access to each other
*Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
The importance of communicating with your child by Jacqui Edmiston Head of Communications
Rules without relationships lead to rebellion
Communicating is a two way process. In other words it is not about just you the parent talking, but also listening, engaging and demonstrating. Talking about the difference between teaching as verbal instruction and training as nurturing, resulting in action, one of the conference speakers Jeff Devens (Senior Psychologist from the Singapore American School) highlighted the importance of rules, but pointed out that they should not only be few, fair and clear, but should also be discussed with and agreed to by your child, with consequences administered consistently. Discuss expectations and let kids know that you are vulnerable too and can be hurt by their behaviour; share with them how you deal with stress, disappointment, peer pressure and anxiety.
Student perspective For parents: how to raise a happy teenager By Grace Smith (12.6)
– Give them lots of money – No curfew – Pay no attention to their social life You may feel this method is bound to work and will avoid conflict in the short term. Although it may seem right at the time to allow them these freedoms, you will probably find that boundaries keep being pushed and when they finally collapse, you have a disaster on your hands. Some simple rules that may help: Whilst it is important to maintain a healthy and friendly relationship with your child, it is vital that you play the role of a parent and not their contemporary. Be reasonable with your child; after all they do want to be treated like an adult at this age. Setting targets, curfews and developing trust is key: a win-win situation so that your child won’t feel guilty and you won’t have to worry about them. If trust has been broken, penalties should be put in place to show them that out-of-order behaviour is not acceptable. Children in their teenage years may appear to be unfathomable. This is a natural process of growing up and establishing who they are. It does not necessarily mean that they don’t like you or want to spend time with you. Don’t nag at them, they are merely trying to find their own feet. This is when small things such as going for breakfast at the weekend or spending a few minutes on a one-to-one basis can show that you do care. The excuse of “my friend has it/does that, so why can’t I?” is emotional blackmail and therefore not a valid argument. Establishing a relationship with the parents of your teen’s friends is always a good idea. Make a conscious effort to get to know your child’s friends; you may be surprised to find that little Lizzie is in fact a six-foot-four rugby player! It is always comforting for parents to know that they can trust who their child is with, and as a teenager it is a great feeling to feel trusted.
Parenting offline is no different to parenting online, where the need for communication between parent and child is paramount, but for many of us, challenging. Most of us were brought up in a generation where computers were the stuff of science-fiction movies, with the world of the internet something we have only had to get to grips with well into adult life. Effendy Ibrahim from Symantec encouraged parents to get online with their kids and to talk to them about what they enjoy doing on the internet. Pointing out some startling facts about parents’ ignorance of their childrens’ lives in cyberspace (for example, on average kids are online 10 times as long as their parents believe), he stressed the importance of being involved and keeping up with your kids. However daunting it might seem to you, the majority of children are comfortable about talking to parents regarding their online experiences, and would welcome the opportunity to do so. Grab it!
Getting it right
So if we as parents believe communicating is key, what do our kids think? And how good are we at it?
“What causes children to rebel is not the assertion of authority but the arbitrary use of power, with very little explanation of rules and no involvement in decision making.” (Lawrence Steinberg, Professor of Psychology, Temple University, USA) We talked to some of Tanglin’s teens and the message is encouraging – they confirmed that it is the basis of a good relationship and engenders mutual respect. They talked about kids sometimes going off the tracks because either their parents’ style was too authoritative and as a result the child was leading a double life, or too permissive with no boundaries set. They may never tell you this, but your child craves limits! Clear expectations that if not met, result in clear consequences, make your child feel secure. Kids also value parents being ‘authentic’– admitting their mistakes when they get it wrong. Getting on the same page as your child isn’t always easy. All of us need to
remember that what drives us as parents – keeping our children safe, healthy and happy – is not necessarily what drives them. Kids are interested in pushing the envelope: more freedom, new experiences, greater social networking, money, sex and alcohol. Try as we might, we can’t control when and where access to any of these things will occur; our role therefore has to be to guide them so that they can make healthy choices when faced with the need to do so. Being aware of these observations hopefully helps us when we look at our own style of parenting. While there is no magic solution, if we are encouraged to start talking – or to talk more – to these young adults in our care, we know we are on the right track. What do your children think? We asked Tanglin students to comment on several of the areas brought up in the Passion for Parenting Conference. Read what they had to say on the opposite and following pages.
Student perspective Freedom fom Chemical Dependency (FCD) visits Tanglin. by Felicity Brown (12.3) Early this term, the American nonprofit organisation FCD visited Tanglin and talked to several of the senior year groups. FCD provides alcohol, tobacco and other drug education and prevention programmes to schools throughout the United States and internationally. Its staff are all former substance abusers who aim to inform and educate young adults by sharing their own experiences, to enable them to make the right decisions in life. The talks had a profound effect on many students. Here Tanglin Sixth Form student Felicity Brown (Yr12.3) describes her own reactions: On 18 September, George, a former drug and alcohol addict from America, came into School to give a talk to students from Years 12 and 13 about his life. He spoke and acted in a very entertaining and engaging style, using humour effectively to keep us interested, yet speaking in a serious tone when appropriate to really make an impact. The whole talk was moving and thought provoking, however,
one part of the talk really stuck in my mind. He asked us whether we were confident people and whether we had fun without alcohol. I know I thought ‘yes’ to both and I’m pretty sure most other people in our Sixth Form don’t have problems with socialising either. But then he asked, ‘so, then why is it that young people drink alcohol?’ The hall went deadly quiet, a sign that he had made everyone stop and think. George also made us think about all the downsides of alcohol for teenagers, some of which they wouldn’t even notice are happening after a few drinks, such as when they become a drunken burden for their friends, or humiliate themselves in some way. It may be easy to ignore the fact that they are causing a lot of damage to their still-young bodies, but years down the line they could be paying the price for today’s foolish habits. He told us all about his childhood and how he fell out with his Mother over his drug and alcohol abuse. He also told us
of the time when his friends persuaded him to drive a car, while intoxicated by both alcohol and drugs, an experience he has no memory of, even today. I think everyone found the talk both sobering and enlightening. I asked some other Sixth Formers what they thought about the talk and their reactions were positive: ‘It was a change to hear that sort of thing coming from someone who’d experienced the negative side as opposed to just another policeman.’ (Sebastian Hughes 12.4) “George spoke of his own experiences but the way in which he expressed himself allowed the issue to really hit home for many. The addition of humour and colloquial language made the talk enjoyable, entertaining and not awkward in the slightest.” ( Michaela Bruntraeger 13.2) For more information visit FCD’s website on www.fcd.org
Offline equals online
08 Student perspective Teenagers and the internet by Amanda Holland (12.5) It is a fact that children are spending more and more time on the internet, using websites like Facebook, MySpace and YouTube to contact their friends and discuss their interests. But is it necessarily a bad thing? It is a fact that sometimes the internet can be dangerous and that there are people out there who use it in the wrong way. We’ve all heard the stories about teenagers being fooled by a paedophile pretending to be a (teenage) friend in a chat room. But how likely is that to actually happen? If children know the dangers of the internet and have been warned to stay away from chat rooms and never give out personal details or agree to meet someone that they don’t know, they’d have to be pretty stupid to post up personal information…wouldn’t they? Quite apart from safety, there are other ramifications too. There’s the article that came out last year about universities buying photographs from Facebook (because everything you upload belongs to Facebook, and they have the right to do whatever they wish with that content)
and turning applicants down on the basis that they had found compromising pictures of them online. Universities can also use students’ Facebook profiles to find out which students are responsible for organising rule-breaking events: again deciding whether or not to offer them a place based on what they have read. So clearly it is important to use the internet wisely. How can parents help? Restricting the amount of time a child is allowed to go online is one option, though difficult to administer given the increasing amounts of homework that require students to use a computer. Like many schools, Tanglin has its own Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), which many teachers expect their students to use on an almost daily basis. How, then, can parents tell their children that they can only use the computer for, let’s say, one hour a day, when most students spend longer than that simply doing their homework? Setting limits for non-homework time is almost impossible to police unless parents are breathing over their kids’ shoulders : not exactly encouraging trust between them. And going online is not all negative
anyway. The internet can be used to keep in touch with friends and family in other countries (which is especially useful for expats, like many of us). Plus, teenagers often have friends at other schools, and the best way to keep in touch with them is through MSN Messenger or Facebook. International phone calls are expensive; a conversation on Messenger or Skype is virtually free. Letters can take weeks to reach people; emails take seconds. Another thing about emails is that students can attach files to them, which means they can do partner projects via the internet – this is especially helpful when partners have conflicting schedules and neither of them is free at the same time as the other. Be sensible, be safe. And parents, be aware; the internet is here to stay.
Stay informed! Websites that can help: Staysafeonline.org IkeepSafe.org Norton.com/familyresource
by Graham Worthington CSR Co-ordinator Graham Worthington was appointed Tanglin’s first Co-ordinator of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the start of this academic year. Graham has been involved in Tanglin’s aid work in Aceh since the launch of the Tanglin Aceh Team in 2005. One of my first tasks in this new role was to promote Tanglin’s CSR Policy. I encourage you to read this document as it outlines our three-pronged approach to CSR and our focus on society, the environment, and an examination of Tanglin as a workplace and the resources we use. (Go to “About Tanglin” on the website, then click on “CSR”). We have begun taking important steps in implementing the policy, however achieving all the aims will be an ongoing task that will require the support and commitment of the whole school community.
Waste reduction through the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) is a high priority at Tanglin and a comprehensive whole-school recycling programme is now in operation. An initiative to provide a collection point for used batteries and mobile phones has been recently introduced in the Senior School. Our Energy Conservation Group (ECG) meets regularly and is actively exploring and implementing energy conservation measures that save money and reduce our use of resources.
Becoming carbon neutral
Tanglin is determined to reduce its carbon footprint and is firming up arrangements to introduce a carbon-offset programme in the northern Indian region of Ladakh. Tanglin students and staff will provide funding for, and be involved in, the planting of poplar trees there. We will also be helping establish an irrigation system.
We are also investigating planting mangrove and coconut trees along the tsunami affected coastline of West Aceh, Indonesia. In addition to the sequestering of carbon, these trees will provide a number of other environmental benefits. Tanglin Senior School students will plant trees in both remote regions during their overseas field studies programme. Through extensive tree planting, we aim for all Tanglin trips to become carbon neutral.
Positive engagement with communities in both local and regional contexts continues to be a priority for students and staff at TTS. As students progress through the School, their learning is enhanced by meaningful involvement in an increasing number of communities, each with its own unique characteristics and challenges.
CSR at Tanglin
We aim for every Tanglin student to have the opportunity to be involved in community service work. We are planning a Year 3 excursion to the St. Joseph’s (Aged) Home and our students will be involved in a pet therapy programme. We are also planning for Senior School students studying Mandarin to travel to China’s Sichuan Province in early 2009/10 and assist with building a school. We are continuing our close relationship with the Singapore-based NGO, Mercy Relief, which has facilitated much of our community work in Aceh and is also providing aid in other parts of Asia. Through Charities at Tanglin (Ch@T), classes at the School have raised considerable funds for our new list of organisations that we support. Money raised by the Tanglin community through activities such as Mufti Days, House Day, the Tone Tanglin DVD and t-shirt sales, is increasingly being directed towards
charities and communities that our students are directly involved with. While making donations has an important role to play, the concept of adding value to giving through actual involvement has become increasingly important at Tanglin. The key to any successful CSR policy is building awareness among the stakeholders. Educating students, staff, and through them the community, on the seriousness of environmental issues such as climate change and global warming is crucial. Knowledge of the United Nation’s Millenium Development Goals and the United Nation’s Global Compact is vital as we work together over the current academic year to minimise our environmental impact and make a positive contribution to communities around us.
Student perspective Banda Aceh CSR trip by Hilary Samuels (10.2) Last year, a group of Year 9 students and teachers went on a CSR trip to Banda Aceh to provide assistance to the Samatiga Orphanage and to bond with the children living there. I was one of the students, and I would definitely say that the trip really affected me and changed who I am today. First, one of the most memorable experiences for me was when we visited ground zero and the mass graves. Until that point, it had been hard to comprehend the scale of the destruction caused by the tsunami, because we had been seeing new houses everywhere, but walking silently through mass graves, in memory of the thousands of dead, it was impossible not to recognise the scale of the damage there. The graves had not even been allowed to be completed because the landowners had refused to give permission. We spent some time on our own, thinking and appreciating that we are so lucky here in Singapore. It was amazing to go through the villages afterwards and see people smiling after all that they had been through in their lives, and after the grief that had hit every single one of them. The other part of the experience which had a big effect on me was planting trees and other vegetation with the orphans. Everywhere, teamwork was evident as we worked together to bring some colour into their homes, to help these children to forget their terrible past and move on to better lives. I was stunned to see their bravery, and after some time bonding with the children, we asked them about the tsunami. They related to us what it had been like and through the translation, I came to admire these children even more. Even after the dreadful events of 2004, they were just like any other child, enjoying what they had left. The trip made me think so much more of how fortunate we are. The links that we shared with the kids of Banda Aceh cannot be broken. I will never forget the trip, which was the best of my life, and I will never forget the friends I made and the experiences I was lucky enough to have.
Infant School Looking ahead
Preparation is paramount by Geraldine Chandran Head of the Infant School A key focus for us in the Infant School this term has been ensuring that the children and their parents are well prepared as they face the exciting challenges of new Key Stages in learning. In Nursery, to accommodate seven classes, we redesigned the layout of the floor and added a new library and additional computers. We want every child to benefit fully from all aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) of the English National Curriculum,
which applies to those in Nursery and Reception. This term we are introducing a new computer-based record of ongoing achievement that will provide the teachers with a more accurate picture of each child’s learning profile over the EYFS. This will help us to best prepare our youngest children for the transition to Key Stage 1 in Year 1. We know the importance of parental support in early learning and we are thankful for the involvement of parents both in the classroom and at home.
This term we have hosted a variety of workshops for parents of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, including sessions on reading, maths and speaking and listening. The sessions on maths were held earlier in the year than usual as we wanted parents to feel well prepared to support their child’s progress. ‘Maths packs’ containing resources for use at home were also distributed early in the term to all Year 1 families and those who commenced at the School in Year 2.
While ‘hands-on’ and practical methods such as the use of the number square and the number line are not new at Tanglin, they are very new for most parents of Infant School children. The children in Year 2 will complete Key Stage 1 of the National Curriculum this academic year and we want to provide the best preparation possible for their transition to Key Stage 2 and the choices available in the Junior School. To this end, we are holding an in-school ‘activity hour’ every Friday afternoon to give children a taste of the broad range of co-curricular activities that can be pursued in Year 3. By trying sports, such as football, and being introduced to a range of musical activities, as well as art-and-craft based projects, we believe the children will make more informed choices about activities they wish to pursue after completing the Infant School. It also gives the children an opportunity to develop new friendships across Year 2, which will help them when the classes are mixed as they move into the Junior School. We are also very aware that we are preparing our young people to play a very active role in the globalised world that they live in. The response from the children to the introduction of Chinese has been overwhelmingly positive and it is pleasing to see our children using Mandarin in a variety of contexts while at school. This term we welcomed 250 new students into the Infant School and supported them as they became accustomed to new faces, new spaces and new routines. Maybe making young people comfortable with change is the best preparation for life we can give.
“Sewing’s not hard, but the knots are.” Benjamin Milgate Y2-2
“I like sewing with Mrs Chandran because you can choose your pattern.” Blair Ferguson Y2-6
“Attending the maths, talking tables and reading workshops has given me a better appreciation of the teaching methods being used today. I have learnt new techniques and useful strategies that will be valuable to me as a parent and as a parent helper.” Trudi Wallace, mother of Aria Andriopoulos, Y1LS
“You can make a leaflet and a website in creative ICT. It’s exciting downloading your photos onto the computer.” Ji-Yeon Cowell Y2-8
Junior School Meet David Ingram
David Ingram, Tanglin’s new Head of the Junior School was born in Canterbury,
spent his teenage years in America, and received his Master of Arts degree and post graduate qualifications in teaching from Oxford Brookes University. He is a talented public speaker and worked as a policeman prior to embarking on his teaching career. He came to Tanglin from the Kellett British International School in Hong Kong and spoke to The Voice at the end of his first term at the School. Q: Can you tell us a little about your life? A: I was more or less born in a classroom. My mother was a teacher in the days when there was no maternity leave. I spent my first year in a pram in the back of her classroom being poked and prodded by children. I was literally weaned onto school dinners. I spent most of my childhood in Oxford and at the age of 11, we moved to America and I finished high school there and studied for a Bachelor of Science degree at the University College Swansea graduating with joint honours in American studies and social history. I then returned to the UK to study for my Master of Arts degree in the history of childhood. On graduation, I worked at
London University’s Institute of Education undertaking research for a book on the history of education. I enjoyed academia, but I wanted to work with people and when the book was completed, I joined the police. I was a police officer in County Durham. If you’ve seen the movie, Billy Elliot, you will remember the scene where the police chase Billy’s brother over a series of walls. Well I’ve actually done that, in the very same village! I soon realised that working as a police officer wasn’t right for me and made the decision to become a teacher, but it was an important experience. I witnessed poverty, neglect, abuse and learned the importance of communication, humour and teamwork, all of which helped me in teaching and leadership positions later. Accepting my destiny to be a teacher, I then completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education also at Oxford Brookes. After two years of teaching, I was promoted to the position of Senior Manager, then Acting Deputy. Wanting to work overseas, I accepted a position at Alice Smith School in KL and met my now wife, Wee Kean, a Chinese Malaysian lawyer, at Toastmasters, a public speaking club. We both competed in international public speaking contests at that time. We then moved to the Kellett School – the British International School in Hong Kong – and our daughter was born.
Q: Tell us about your special interests in education? A: I love story telling! This was the reason I opted for primary and not secondary or tertiary education. I love telling stories to the children in an assembly and I look forward to story time with my daughter every day. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I was fortunate to have inspirational teachers, who ignited a real passion for learning and a sense of awe and wonder at the world around me. I believe very strongly that junior education should be about this! When I went through primary education in the UK during the 70s, there was no National Curriculum and no benchmarking, no formal expectations for what level/skills children should be achieving. I strongly believe that an inspiring and adventurous curriculum should be underpinned by a wellstructured and rigorous framework of key skills (particularly in English, Maths, Science and ICT) as a matter of entitlement. There must be the right balance between inspiring a life-long love of learning and preparing students for the challenge of secondary and tertiary education and beyond. Equally parents are entitled to know how their children are progressing and how they can develop further.
Q. What were your first impressions of Tanglin’s Junior School? A. I had a very positive impression. The School seemed very friendly and I saw articulate and confident children, who were enjoying coming to school and engaging enthusiastically with their learning. I witnessed the very positive relationships that exist between the teachers and the children and the hard work and commitment of the dedicated staff. I also saw that the PTA was very supportive and active.
Q: Please tell us about your vision for the Junior School? A: I am aware that many of our young people will most likely end up doing jobs that don’t exist yet, using technologies that have yet to be invented. My vision for the Junior School is to develop a curriculum that enables and empowers students to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. I believe we can do this by creating a positive and purposeful learning environment that emphasises the development of confident and well-rounded young men and women. I believe it is also vital that ‘thinking skills’ become an integral part of the curriculum so that children have a greater awareness of themselves as learners and can develop a repertoire of strategies for solving a problem and researching/exploring an issue. A major review of primary education is now underway in the UK and assessment is also being reevaluated. Working with staff and parents, I want to make sure Tanglin remains at the forefront of educational development by making decisions based on what’s right for Tanglin children and not just following what the UK is doing.
Q: What issues do you see as being especially important for young people aged 8 to 11? A: Young people today are growing up in a world that can hardly be compared to the world their parents grew up in. Technologies are changing rapidly and it is important that school supports children in learning to use and get the most out of these technologies safely and appropriately. Q: Finally, what message would you like to emphasise to parents? A: Educating young people must be a partnership between the School and the parents. I have an open-door management style and appreciate feedback. I welcome the ongoing dialogue created by the parent year group meetings and other forums. I look forward to getting to know more parents and I thank everyone in the community for the very warm welcome that I have received.
The Voice spoke with David Woods, Head of Senior School. Tanglin’s Senior School has come a long way since opening its doors to offer education up to GCSE level back in 1999. Today the Senior School represents the biggest of the three schools on campus, with over 850 students aged 11 to 18 receiving their education here. If a school’s measure of success is its academic results, then Tanglin can rightly lay claim to a high degree of accomplishment. With achievements consistently exceeding expectations, there is continual motivation to strive for even better results. But it is not just about academic success. On a recent training visit to Tanglin, Ofsted inspector Sheila Nolan introduced the UK government’s 2020 educational vision statement, describing the future Tanglin student as needing to be “creative, inventive, enterprising and entrepreneurial”. There is an accepted need for students not only to do well at exams but also to be able to demonstrate life skills – self sufficiency in areas like communication and personal finance.
Whilst life skills are to a certain extent imbued in the curriculum and are very much part of the teaching philosophy at Tanglin, there are two areas that merit specific mention, for which the nurturing of these skills is a primary focus. The first is Enterprise.
One of the Senior School’s most popular CCAs is Enterprise Education. Coordinated by Humanities teacher, Mhairi Elliott, this programme combines social responsibility with business acumen, encouraging students to look at ways of raising money for the social responsibility aspect of their year group trips. This is ‘charity’ work that is ‘doing’, not just ‘giving’. Inspired by the Young Enterprise initiative, which has been running for over 40 years in the UK, Enterprise offers students from Years 7 to 11 the opportunity to get handson experience which underpins their classroom learning experience. There are currently five separate Enterprise groups running (one for each year group from 7-11. Each group has completely free rein to decide what they are going to do and how they will do it; once established, their enterprise runs as a mini-business, complete with an elected Board of Directors and corporate identity.
Developing real world skills
The direct benefits of this kind of experience include developing an understanding of business and also a sense of social justice; encouraging an interest in the corporate world and offering a practical but risk-free experience in a ‘safe’ environment. Less tangible but equally valuable benefits include developing creativity, innovation, problem solving skills and offering the experience of working with and being concerned for others - all essential building bricks when it comes to developing the individual as a whole. Just how relevant, not to mention enjoyable, these projects are becomes clear when you look at the number of students involved – remember this is all voluntary. In Year 11 alone, 43 out of 80 students are involved in this year’s fund-raising projects to support their trip to Cambodia, where they will be building houses in association with the Tabitha foundation and making physical improvements to an orphanage run by Kais Kids.
Senior School Real world skills
“Knowledge is power they say. And certainly we need knowledgeable people, but knowledge alone is not enough. We need everyone to be empowered to play their part. Knowledge plus thought plus confidence. For everyone. Now that would really be something! A major challenge? Absolutely. Can we rise to it? It’s up to us.”
PSHCE Whilst perhaps not many of us can admit to knowing what these letters stand for, (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education) this important department is the second area tasked expressly with helping every student to develop their full potential. Under the leadership of Sally Gordon, PSHCE looks at the area of personal well being as a whole and provides students with the knowledge and skills required to lead healthy and responsible lives. It offers guidance on a whole host of real issues, such as sex and relationships, alcohol and drug education and careers advice. They also support enterprise in the curriculum by ensuring that students are economically and financially aware, working hard to co-ordinate the study of topics that are relevant to a particular year group trip.
Michael Barber, July 2008, on the definition of the 21st century citizen.
IB or not IB? Over the years the curriculum in Tanglin‘s Senior School has expanded to reflect both the range of ability and the broader range of subjects on offer, culminating in the school’s decision to offer the IB Diploma alongside A levels from September 2009.
What is the IB?
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a challenging two-year curriculum, leading to a single graded qualification. The curriculum contains six subject groups together with a core made up of three separate parts. Normally three subjects are studied at higher level and the remaining three subjects are studied at standard level. All three parts of the core—extended essay, theory of knowledge and creativity, action, service—are compulsory and are central to the philosophy of the diploma programme: Extended Essay The extended essay has a prescribed limit of 4,000 words. It offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university.
Theory Of Knowledge (TOK) The interdisciplinary TOK course is designed to provide coherence by exploring the nature of knowledge across disciplines, encouraging an appreciation of other cultural perspectives. Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) Participation in the CAS programme encourages students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports and community service work, thus fostering students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena. Source: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2005-2008.
IB vs A Level
The IB is widely regarded as being an academically challenging, broader-based option than A-levels where usually three or perhaps four specific subjects are studied in depth. However, as Head of the Senior School, David Woods, says: “IB needs to be better understood: it is not, as some believe, only for able students: rather it offers breadth and scope for those who perhaps have not already chosen a particular route they wish to follow.” Commenting on the proposed introduction of IB into UK state schools by 2010, the General Secretary of the
Association of School and College Leaders, John Dunford, said: it is up to individual schools to decide “whether the IB is right for their students. It will be relevant for some cohorts of students but not others. The IB is an excellent qualification but it is not appropriate for students of all abilities.” TTS plans to take advantage of the IB programme and to offer certain elements to all Sixth Form students. For example students will be offered the opportunity to study critical thinking (theory of knowledge equivalent) and to participate equally in the the creativity action service component. In addition, all students will have to complete an independent study project, whether it be the IB extended essay or the AQA personal project. This means that all students have the opportunity to study a wider programme, whichever path they choose to take. *Source: www.guardian.co.uk/education/2006/ nov/30/schools.alevels
Sixth Form Facets of life 17
Tanglin’s first Sixth Form, comprising 20 students, graduated in 2003. This year’s Sixth Form (Years 12 and 13) is made up of 150 students, with intake expected to increase to close to 200 next year. Much has been said about the academic results our students are now achieving and it is an accepted fact that the vast majority of Tanglin graduates will enter their university of first choice – and that these represent some of the world’s finest educational institutions. But beyond the rigours of academic achievement, what is life in the Sixth Form like? How well are Tanglin students prepared for life after school? The following pages illustrate some of the facets of SixthForm life, written by those who know it best – the students.
Student Perspectives Sixth-Form Team Building Day by Sarah Martin (13.4) and Omar Chaudhuri (13.5) The Sixth Form Team-Building Day occurs in the first few weeks of term and is designed as a bonding exercise. Past team-building days have included a trip to Pulau Ubin and an ‘Amazing Race’ around Singapore. This year the Sixth Form journeyed to Sentosa on 19 September for a morning of activities. The idea behind Team-Building Day is to bring together the Sixth Form year groups (12 and 13). As the Sixth Form continues to expand, the size of this task grows year on year. However, Sentosa’s landscape and facilities provided the
perfect location for the two years to familiarise themselves with one another as well as to work together in teams. Split into teams made up of mixed year groups, we were given a set of clues to various locations. We needed to decipher the riddles, make our way to the location and find a Sixth Form tutor there. Upon arrival, we were then asked a question, for example ”How many islands does Singapore have?” A correct answer scored a point for the team. Finally, to round off the morning, we split into houses and challenged one another
to see who could collect the most sea water in a predetermined amount of time; needless to say the event ended with a mass of soaked students! We returned to school to be treated to pizza for lunch, entertained by the impressive musical talents of many Sixth Formers performing karaoke or just jamming. The main purpose of the day was achieved and has set the tone for the term and hopefully the year to come.
Preparation for life beyond Tanglin: PSHCE by Michael Nash (13.5) and Harriet Stanton (13.2) In the initial weeks of term, we began working on our applications to UK universities through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Services). We found these sessions particularly useful and many of us have sent off our applications ahead of the January deadline. A further three weeks were spent discussing the qualities that employers search for, and how to portray such characteristics in an interview. It was extremely beneficial, most of us having never been through the process before, especially for those who are required to sit interviews for university in the near future. Similarly, numerous guests have been invited to explain their career paths, to help us gain an insight into life after education. Part of the PSHCE programme involves looking at healthy living, which covers a whole host of topics. A few weeks into term, George Brown, from ‘Freedom of Chemical Dependency’ (read more about FCD’s visit to Tanglin on page 7) discussed his past drug and alcohol addiction, which proved to be a very moving and thought-provoking experience. We have also looked at the importance of contraception in the prevention of rapidly spreading sexually transmitted diseases. It is shocking to see the continued recent growth, especially in developing countries, of HIV/AIDS. There is much that is useful and relevant still to come: we will undertake courses in first aid and self defence, which will undoubtedly stand us in good stead when we leave Singapore and our exposure to dangerous situations is potentially increased. Outside speakers are scheduled to educate us on financial and nutritional needs, again, extremely valuable as independent life at university draws ever closer. From talking to other members of Year 13, the general opinion is that PSHCE sessions are very enjoyable, useful and especially well organised – and a welcome change from the rigour of our academic studies.
Sixth-Form electives by Felicity Brown (12.3)
Year 12 debate on Euthanasia by Archie Fielding (12.3) On Friday 10 October, Year 12 held a preprepared debate on Euthanasia. Seven students took part, while the rest of our year made up the audience who were allowed to contribute at a specified time. There were three people on each team with a seventh person acting as chair. Speaker one has a pre-prepared speech and opens up the debate by introducing the subject and providing some background. Speaker number two does not have a prepared speech but is allowed notes, he/she continues on from what speaker one has said, at the same time critiquing what speaker one in the other team has said. Speaker three’s job is to round up the whole debate and pick out weak points in the other team’s arguments. Each speaker has three minutes in which to make their speech. There is also a period where the debate is opened up to the audience to ask questions and pick out faults or justify points that the different teams have raised. This is all controlled by the chair. Both teams had done some thorough research and had some very good points. The debate itself was very entertaining and educational, both from the audience’s and the debaters’ points of view. Many controversial points were brought to the floor and were argued by not only the people taking part in the debate, but by audience members as well. When it all came down to it, the audience were asked to vote by a show of hands, their decision based on who they thought made the stronger claims and who argued the best. The majority decision went towards the team ‘for’ euthanasia, however congratulations has to be given to the ‘against’ team for producing some very fine points on a subject that is hard to argue. Many in the audience thoroughly enjoyed the debate and are now interested in joining the teams for the next one - which will hopefully be very soon!
Here at Tanglin, Sixth Formers have the opportunity to choose a different subject to enjoy on a Wednesday afternoon. Electives are important because they give us the opportunity to take part in an activity that isn’t academic, so as to broaden our experience or to simply let off steam! This year the choices include: photography GCSE, lifesaving, hockey, sports leaders, Model United Nations, netball, fair-trade, social services, football and basic Mandarin. I chose photography and so far I absolutely love it! There are about eight Year 12s, a Year 13 and a teacher who have signed up for the course. We hope to come out with a GCSE in photography, so we have to come in for an extra hour after school to be able to cover the whole course. Last year, those who took photography did extremely well and most students came out with a grade A. I find photography a good way to escape from all my heavy AS Level subjects, an effective way to relax and to express myself and I love the way we can choose whatever topic we like. I have chosen ‘figures and costume’; I get to make full use of the amazing art facilities at Tanglin, as well as having a camera to use and even a mini-studio with lighting to create shadow and different effects.
Spotlight on Languages
A big year for Languages! An interview with Tanglin’s Drector of Languages, Stephen Morgan. With a department comprising 20 staff members (up from just 11 as recently as five years ago) the Languages Department at Tanglin is currently the School’s biggest. Languages taught are French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Classics. There has been a lot of talk about Chinese following its introduction in the Infant and Junior schools this September – an initiative that has effectively delivered over 1,200 new customers and two new full-time staff to the Languages Department. We talked to Stephen Morgan, Tanglin’s Director of Languages, about the challenges involved in teaching Chinese to a population that is made up predominantly of native English language speakers.
Q: What are the challenges you have faced in introducing Chinese at TTS?
A: At infant level particularly, children can learn any language you throw at them, so, since we focus at that age on developing speaking and listening skills predominantly, we were very confident that we would be able to build on the already successful Malay programme and apply the same engaging storytelling and gesture-based teaching methods. Recognising that most Tanglin families are unable to help their children reinforce their Chinese at home we also committed to making the curriculum available interactively online. Children are able to record their voices online and more and more are now doing so, which is very exciting. This also has the advantage of showing parents what their children are learning in Chinese without having to wait for a report!
Q: Can you tell us more about Gesture Response Teaching (GRT)?
A: In recent years at Tanglin we have completely overhauled language learning in the Infant and Junior Schools. We decided to abandon the traditional focus on teaching lots of nouns from a sequence of different topic areas. Fun, yes, but what could children actually say or understand at the end of all that? Firstly in Malay and French, and most recently in Chinese, we trialled and then launched a programme of gesture-based storytelling taught within the framework of ‘response teaching’. We have called this approach GRT - Gesture Response Teaching. The solid theory underpinning
GRT is that students acquire foreign languages faster, and retain them longer, when vocabulary is represented by a physical action. Our programme therefore places the greatest emphasis on teaching vocabulary and associated gestures for verbs. We have built a library of ageappropriate stories including: Goldilocks, The Gruffalo, The Three Little Pigs, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Star Wars, Astérix, Babar, the Chinese Zodiac story and Mulan. We have established a departmental video database of gestures, some taken from British sign language, but most of our own devising, to ensure consistency across all foreign languages taught at TTS. The ‘Response Teaching’ element of GRT refers to a dynamic classroom management technique, adapted by us, specifically for infant and junior language teaching at Tanglin. It comprises very short bursts of teacher talk, with children then teaching a response partner each new item of language and set verbal and physical responses to key instructions. The result of this is a very high degree of student engagement and participation, increased pace, enjoyment, motivation and behaviour. This method is being employed consistently by the team of five teachers who cover infant and junior Chinese and French. Graham Worthington, previously the infant Malay teacher, and I presented a workshop at the Australian International School on this early years’ language learning methodology in November.
Q: Why do we refer to Chinese and not to Mandarin? A: Well, we already had Chinese in the curriculum from Year 7 to 13 leading to both GCSE and A-level Chinese so it made sense to keep the teminology consistent across the three schools. Additionally, when you say you are learning Chinese, it is assumed that you are referring to Mandarin. Q: What are the challenges in recruiting the right Chinese teachers? A: It is fair to say that Western children will not accept lecture-style teaching and have high expectations of a languages lesson! We were extremely fortunate to recruit two dynamic Chinese teachers with experience of teaching Western children in international schools in Hong Kong and Shanghai. They came in the summer term 2008 and were able to observe and develop their own GRT skills and help in the creation of the curriculum from scratch. The resulting culturally rich stories and songs owe much to their input. Q: Tell us more about how language learning is made fun. A: Just like last year, infant and junior students will again have the opportunity to perform their stories to audiences of younger and older students, as well as parents. At all age levels, new technologies for online collaborative e-learning are having a profound effect on the â€˜conversationâ€™ that can now be had by language students with others in the Tanglin community and the big wide world beyond. Using fun, high-tech sites, we are able to utilise some of our studentsâ€™ home computer time.
Q: What are the repercussions to the Language Department of the decision to introduce the IB Diploma in the Sixth Form next year, given the compulsory language requirement? A: Good question! We will really start to know the answer to this when we see which students opt for this pathway as it will be our joint responsibility to help them make the best possible choice for their aptitude and interests. In the short term, we are making sure that all teachers have a deep understanding of both the curriculum expectations and ethos of IB with its focus on independence, curiosity and social responsibility. This involves a number of key staff attending training in and beyond the region. Tanglin students have been very successful language learners, with entitlement to two foreign languages from an early age, so we anticipate a natural pathway for many students. Clearly, the option to take a new language from scratch will bring its own challenges and exciting opportunities for languages not currently taught in school. Anything is possible!
Whoâ€™s who in the Language department?
Not pictured: Rosy He (Infant Chinese) Claire James (Head of Classics)
Back row: (left to right) William Manning (French) Emma Merritt (French) Sonia Capide (French & German) Suzanne Sutton (French & German) Valerie Weston (Classics) Caroline Andrault (French & Spanish) Steve Morgan (French & Spanish, Director of Languages) Linde Morgan (Jr French) Alex Bosch (Spanish) Geraldine Graves (French) Simon Hatton-Burke (Head of Spanish) SiĂ˘n Roberts (German)
Front row (left to right) Gabrielle Zhou Liang (Jr Chinese TA) Eunice Lim (Jr Chinese) Jane Wu (Chinese) Eva Connellan (Head of Chinese) Sherry Lim (Infant Chinese TA) Wendy Webbe (Head of German)
Student perspective by Stephanie Ng (12.4)
The diversity in today’s multicultural society has meant that communicating in a foreign language is becoming increasingly useful and popular. Having been exposed to five different languages, I am an enthusiastic advocate of learning new ones. I believe that they are invaluable, not only because of their importance in the business environment, where versatility could land you the $1 million contract, but also for the satisfaction of being able to independently understand a foreign language. As we all know, Chinese as a subject has recently been introduced in the Infant and Junior Schools at Tanglin. I talked to one of our new teachers, Eunice Lim, who teaches Chinese to Years 3-5 and 8, to get an insight on what it’s like to teach this increasingly popular foreign language option to the younger year groups. Before moving to Tanglin, Ms Lim taught in the English School Foundation in Hong Kong for eight years. On arriving here her major challenge was having to learn the ins and outs of the Gesture/ Response Teaching ( GRT ) method, but when asked what her first few lessons of teaching were like, she answered without hesitation: “awesome!” Because it is a new language to them, the students have been “enthusiastic and willing”, and it helps that they’ve already learned French and Malay through the GRT method. Of course, there are differences between teaching in the Junior and Senior Schools. GRT is perhaps harder to incorporate in the Senior school because students there have been taught for a longer time using the old method. Also the vocabulary required for senior students is also more complex, making it more difficult to explain using gestures: how do you mime out the word ‘awkward’? Ms Lim certainly answered with enthusiasm herself when asked whether she felt that GRT was effective. She said that it is “definitely much better – students can correlate meaning with pronunciation and they immediately understand the meaning better”. But what do the students think? I spoke first with Year 5 student Conor Harlowe who learned Mandarin in his old school. His response was positive; he said he enjoys the GRT method over the traditional teaching method he experienced in his old school and that he “wouldn’t change anything”! He also told me that he liked “learning new words” the best. Feedback from George Slack, a Year 5 student with no Mandarin background, was equally positive. He described it as a “cool language to learn” and that despite it being more difficult, he enjoys Mandarin more than French. When asked what his favourite part of learning Mandarin is, he instantly said, “really nice teachers”. Overall, it seems as though Chinese has made a brilliant transition from the Senior to the Junior and Infant Schools, and that the GRT method has worked well for both teachers and learners alike. Tanglin will surely see its linguists flourish!
Q: Can you explain the changes that have been made to the Senior School curriculum this year?
A: There are just a few things happening! Coinciding with record GCSE and A-level results and a 30 percent rise in uptake of languages in the Sixth Form, we have an all-new Year 12 curriculum in all our languages, which has led to a radical re-think of how to guide and motivate our older students. A new customised web notebook for each language course, with all student assignments and grades accessible to students at any time, has meant a closer dialogue than ever about expectations and targets. Using GoogleDocs has eliminated paper assignments and provided a tangible and instant link between teachers and students. Year 13 Prefects have taken on the role of running our daily languages display on the departmental plasma wall display and there will be many opportunities for these students to help present special film and cultural events as well as work with younger students. Some students have already been creating online resources that explain particular grammar concepts to lower year groups. Add to this the September ‘09 launch of IB and brand-new GCSE and Year 13 syllabuses for all five languages and we have a very busy time ahead.
Showcase Drama Art
Drama The highlight of this term’s drama calendar was the International Schools’ Theatre Association (ISTA) festival which was held here at Tanglin for the first time, in late November. The 120 delegates, comprising students from international schools in the region as well as Tanglin students from Years 10 through to 13, were split into ‘ensemble’ groups during the three-day festival, working with theatre practitioners from Singapore as well as visiting artists. Devised presentations were performed on the final evening in the Berrick Building Performance Hall.
Earlier in the term, Tanglin hosted Italian Renaissance theatre guru Marco Luly who spent two weeks in residence, running workshops for Year 8 students and working on a story-telling project with Year 10. Year 12 students worked on a very entertaining production of the ‘Game of Errors’ – the Asian premiere of Marco’s own adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Comedy of Errors’.
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein
Art & Design Infant and Junior art
Students in Key Stages 1 and 2 have been exploring a range of art processes and artists this term, with colour and colour mixing a particular focus.
Senior art Alexandra Hospital
Working with the University of Arts in London, in September Tanglin students created a stained glass gallery at the Geriatric Centre at Alexandra Hospital. The paintings, which vividly showed Singapore’s lush green foliage and vibrantly coloured flowers, formed the core of the ‘Creative Synergies’ Exhibition, which was opened by Guest of Honour, Professor Milton Tan, Founding Executive Director of the Singapore Design Council.
This termâ€™s focus event was the week-long FOBISSEA Music Festival, hosted by Tanglin and featuring over 250 visiting students from 11 different schools. Over the week students and staff took part in musical workshops and sectional rehearsals at Tanglin designed to challenge their musical prowess, culminating in a Gala Performance on Friday 14 November in the Berrick Building Performance Hall. An exhausting but productive and highly enjoyable week was had by all! This term has also seen the introduction of Tanglinâ€™s new instrumental teaching programme which now offers more students than ever before the opportunity to learn an instrument.
Sports What a term! 26
So many sports, so little time by Emma Calcutt Director of Sports and Activities Updated sports pages on the website, additional PE staff, exciting new cocurricular activities, a dramatic increase in participation in sport, additional facilities for students and staff, intensive training for interschool events and impressive performances by our elite athletes – term 1 has seen outstanding achievements in sport at Tanglin. At the beginning of the term, we welcomed five new staff members and the now 12-strong PE department moved into our refurbished staff room. The size of our department now allows for a specialist PE teacher to oversee each of our six core sports – athletics, basketball, swimming, football, rugby and netball. It also allows us to make progress with our developing core sports – tennis, gymnastics and cricket – and, working with more than 30 specialist coaches, extend the range of co-curricular activities (CCAs) we offer. A strength of Tanglin’s PE department is the diversity of sporting interests and talents of the teachers. Tanglin newcomer, Ian Farr, is a former professional rugby player and Hayley Canham has a special interest in girls’ football. It was a pleasure to introduce the members of the department to parents at a special information evening held early in the term. On this occasion, we also launched our new sports webpages, which give detailed and updated information as well as schedules related to core sports, the developing core sports and other co-curricular sporting opportunities. The sports webpages also provide information about participation in intra-school “Tanglin Tournaments” as well as interschool events such as those organised by the Federation of British International Schools in South and East Asia (FOBISSEA), the Athletics Council of Singapore International Schools (ACSIS), and the South East Asian Student Activities Conference (SEASAC), which Tanglin is participating in for the first time this year.
Students enjoyed the new CCAs offered this term and I am delighted that we have seen a dramatic increase in student participation in sport. This has been especially notable in the Senior School, where involvement in sport is up more than 30 percent. New to the CCA program this term were mini-tennis, synchronised swimming, volleyball, gymnastics, dance, cheerleading, fencing, badminton, water polo, development basketball, and lifesaving. This year we are using our new competition-standard gymnastics equipment that has been installed in the Griffith-Jones Hall. This term we held beginner, intermediate and advanced sessions for juniors and seniors and more than 60 students used the gymnasium each afternoon.
Students from Year 7 enjoyed “street style jazz” while those from the upper Senior School had fun learning “break dancing”. A generous donation by Tanglin parent David Tung allowed us to offer fencing at the School this term. We also had nearly 30 senior students being trained in badminton and we introduced water polo in Years 3 and 4, following a survey of Junior School students that revealed that they wanted to learn this sport more than any other! We also offered training in lifesaving for the first time. This term we set up a number of basketball development sessions for students of various ages. We also launched a “shooting clinic” for those in Years 10 to 13. In addition we have been training our older students to become qualified basketball referees.
Our new dance programme was also very popular. All seniors could join “production dance” this term and work on routines. We offered “dance moves” to students in Years 3 and 4, while those from Years 5 and 6 have learnt “hip hop”.
Meet the PE staff Emma Calcutt – Director of Sports and Activities–Tennis Emma Hall – Head of Secondary PE–Netball Chris Rawlings – Head of Primary PE–Junior Swimming Dean Scott – Assistant Head of Primary PE–Basketball Mark Andrews – Junior Football Mark Scoular – Senior Football *Maria Moylan – Athletics *Ian Farr – Rugby *Aileen Cuthbertson – Gymnastics *Hayley Canham – Girls Football *Natasha Watson – Senior Swimming Dean Pearce – Head of Year 13 *Joined TTS in September 2008
Training for competitions
Our co-curricular programme has not only boosted participation in sport, but has allowed us to identify highly skilled athletes to represent Tanglin in interschool competitions. The quality training given to these young people was reflected in the great results Tanglin achieved in events including the SEASAC Boys’ and Girls’ Football Tournament in Bangkok, Under 16 FOBISSEA Netball and the international football meet in Phuket.
All Under 13 students who have been involved at Tanglin in swimming, athletics, football and basketball also
had the opportunity to compete in our intra-school competition “The Tanglin Tournament” in Week 13. This event allowed all students to compete in a friendly environment. I am proud of what we have achieved in sport this term for all Tanglin students, regardless of their ability. I thank all members of my team and our coaches for inspiring gifted students to achieve even greater heights and instilling a love of sport and a positive self-concept in all our young people.
Top 10 Performance Highlights SEASAC girls’ football team gold medallists and league winners and boys’ football team bronze medallists and league runners up U16 A boys’ team ISIBL basketball winners, U18 A girls’ team runners up, U18 A boys’ team runners up, U16 B girls’ team placed third Young Leaders Award Students in Year 6 were trained by Nick West and Nicola Bourquin this term to become Junior Sports Leaders. Sports Leaders help with the running of sporting activities and clubs across the School. This was the first time that our Sports Leaders’ Programme was extended into the Junior School.
U14 A netball team league winners and FOBISSEA champions Thomas Crowe, Lorcan Little and Sophie Arbuthnott for outstanding performances in the ACSIS U14 Cross Country Oliver Wilson first in the 100m butterfly and 50m butterfly at the ACSIS swim meet, Kate Johnson first in the 50m backstroke U17 rugby sevens team were third in the Singapore Cricket Club Padang Rugby Sevens tournament U8 Level 1 gymnastics team were second in the team event at their first gymnastics competition, O8 Level 1 gymnastics team came third. U 10 boys’ football superleague placed first, U9 boys’ football superleague placed first, U11 girls’ team placed first Phuket Football Tournament - two bronze medals for juniors, silver and bronze for senior teams Max Prestwich (Y6) winner and Charlie Suckling (Y7) runner-up in the first Tanglin Senior Tennis Tournament
PTA A new year I have greatly enjoyed my first few weeks as President of the PTA. My first week was very much taken up with “learning the ropes” and the second week I opened up the PTA office every morning for parents to come in and meet the new committee. Some parents have pointed out that they are not used to coming into the PTA office and some feel that if they do they will be forced to sign up to do something! One of my personal aims this year is to make parents feel they can be a part of the School community by joining in with various events or services we offer without having to feel like it is a complete chore for them to do so. The PTA aims to strengthen the community spirit of Tanglin by organising fun and interesting events for everyone to enjoy. Support the things you and your children enjoy and benefit from and please do not feel obliged to be a part of the things you or your children gain no enjoyment or benefit from. However I sincerely hope we organise things that the broad community wants to take part in so your input and opinions are greatly valued.
So far this school year we have organised: Junior Discos – a huge hit with all the children First Aid Courses – a valuable tool for all parents Book and Gift Fair – a great opportunity to purchase books the children have been looking for with all the key booksellers under one roof and a good place to buy some Christmas gifts too. Traditional Christmas Event – a fabulous event with Santa Claus, carols, mulled wine, $10 present shoppe, wine tasting, christmas hampers and great prizes.
A letter from Christina Copinger-Symes, newly elected President of Tanglin’s PTA
Christina Copinger-Symes, new PTA President
Next term we will host: Year 2 Pizza Day Quiz Night – a great fun evening for teachers and parents Ceilidh – Scottish and Irish dancing fun for the whole family In our final term we will host: Pizza Days for the children Junior Discos Supper Under the Stars – a beautiful outdoor evening set in the gardens of a Black and White house Tanglin Fete
PTA Committee pictured to the left: Back row L-R – Jill Byles, Reepa Patel, Christina Copinger-Symes, Bev Smith, Frances Beretta Front Row L-R – Alison Holland, Alison Shannon, Maxine McMahon-Brown, Susan Peters-Berg
Every event we host is produced by valuable volunteers and we are looking for sub-committees for the Quiz Night, Ceilidh, Supper Under the Stars and the Tanglin Fete. Everyone on our social teams has great fun together, so if you think you would like to be a part of any one of these events please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have fresh ideas or want to organise something new, please let us know. Every week I write a section called PTA Highlights which you can access by clicking on PTA HIGHLIGHTS at the top of the weekly in touch newsletter. This keeps you up to date with what is happening in your school community. The more people use the PTA website, the more useful we can make it. For example, we have a classifieds section that any parent of a student at the School can advertise on for free. I feel this could become quite an effective section if more parents were aware of it and not only contributed, but checked it regularly. The PTA would not function without a supportive and dedicated committee. I would like to thank the existing committee for all their hard work: Senior VP – Bev Smith Senior School Liaison 6th Form – Maxine McMahon-Brown Junior VP – Susan Peters-Berg Infant VP – Reepa Patel Hon Treasurer – Alison Holland Hon Secretary – Alison Shannon PTA Products – Jill Byles Welcoming – Frances Beretta Services co-ordinator – Suki Ubhi
Your committee currently needs more parents to join us. If you are interested, please contact us to find out more and look at the position profiles on the PTA Highlights section. Most roles involve minimal time committment. Being on the committee is a very rewarding experience and your contribution is appreciated by your children and the whole school! You are always welcome to contact us – we are a very friendly group of parents and most of us have been in Singapore for many years so we can serve as a good source of information for new parents. The PTA office will continue to be open every morning from 7:30 to 9:30 and every afternoon from 13:50 to 15:00. So please come in to share a coffee, say hello, or write suggestions in our suggestion book, which will be reviewed monthly. If we are not in the office please leave a note in our post box or send us an email to email@example.com Your support is greatly appreciated. Best regards
Christina Copinger-Symes President, PTA
Oliver Wilson’s piece The Woods was published in World Book 2008, a book featuring writing by students from international schools throughout Asia. He was in Year 10 when he wrote this. Oliver’s piece is loosely based on the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken.
Thin autumn leaves crunched beneath my feet as I trudged along the narrow winding path that flowed alongside the sleeping river. Sharp shafts of golden light pierced through the lightly burdened trees, pinning their shadows to the floor. The sun had half set, casting long dark figures of trees onto the soft moss covered earth. Frost had already started to gather on the highest branches and a chilling breeze pushed its way through the thin trees, sternly marking the reign of winter which was to come. A dusky stillness had encased the forest. I persevered on through the sleepy hollows of the daunting woods. My mouth was dry like the very leaves on which I trod and my throat was red and raw from the icy grip in which it was held. I could almost taste the minty freshness of the alpine leaves from the thick moisture in the air and a misty smell of crushed pinecones filled my head. Golden dust hung suspended in the air like little bright lights from a distant ship. The place did not seem real; it had a magical feel to it, as if I had been carried to another world.
All was silent except for the faint squawking of birds in far trees and the rustling of leaves. It was an eerie silence. I felt uncomfortable, all alone, there in the woods. I quickened my pace. Soft, dapple patches of light lit the floor for me as if they were showing me where to tread. The flowers grew tall in the long grass on the opposite bank. They too swayed in the breeze as their weakening stems bore no resistance to the rising winds. An elderly stag came to drink at the shallow waters of the stream. His coat was a glossy silvery grey, which shone in the afternoon sunlight. The two antlers which sprung from his head were a dark brown and were twisted into sharp points at the end. The sturdy legs which supported him were cut and grazed and a larger, wiry gash ran down the left side of his body. Once the stag had finished drinking he darted off back into the shelter of the undergrowth, flicking up leaves and soil as he did so. I stared into the cold running river myself; the water had a green tint and glistened in the fading light. Alongside me fish were silently slipping in and out of the weak lapping current, going about their business alone in the world and not bothering another soul. In the reflection I could see the trees all gathered around me, branches outstretched towards me. Like giants they watched over my every move. I had now reached a point in the path where it diverged into two tributary paths. The one to my left was well beaten from generations of travellers like myself. There were beautiful flowers with vibrant colours growing either side of the path and wood seemed to thin out back into civilization. The one to the right, however, was overgrown; obviously it hadn’t been used in a while. The trees were bent inward on this path and there was not a trace that anyone had travelled here recently. My brain told me to take the left but my heart yearned for me to take the right. A sense of excitement, adventure and adrenalin pumped inside me. Should I take the easy road or should I go where few have ventured before? Although I was tired and
hungry I still had a deep longing to explore the uncharted reaches of the forest. The long path I saw ahead of me with the darkness and enchanting depths seemed so lonely it was as if it urged to be taken one last time. I stood for what seemed like hours trying to decide which path to take. Finally I gave in to my heart. My adventure couldn’t be over yet. The right path was just too enticing. I strode on now but with greater enthusiasm. There was no going back and I wouldn’t regret it. As I walked along I wondered, how many would have taken the easy road, given my choice? I didn’t want to think that I was insane, but to wonder who could have resisted the temptation of the right path was beyond me. Large angular boulders had assembled at the banks of the river. They looked like an odd collection of people waiting in a queue, all lined up like that. Now that the sun had hidden away behind the trees, the forest became completely silent, all except for the constant rhythmic crunching of my boots on the crisp leaves. I had been staggering on now for almost six hours having dismissed my growing hunger. I did not realize how tired I was until I stopped. The wood had me captured in its sleeping spell. I finally came to a resting spot. An old broken tree lay across the path forming a little den with the rocks that sat there. You could tell from the markings that this tree had been refuge to many a traveller. Clumsily engraved in its trunk were names and dates of people who had passed by this very same route. I took out my own knife to do the same. The soft wood gave way to the point of my knife as I carefully carved my name and the date: September, 1876. I felt safe in the trunk of the tree. My back sank into the weak moist wood. I was safe here, at least till morning…
Creative writing The Woods
Book reviews Check it out! 32
Thanks to Tanglin’s librarians Jacqui Makselon (Senior), Barbara Philips (Junior) and Delphine Hastwell (Infant) for collating these lists. Infant School Library Book Reviews
Top 5 most popular books Star Wars: Beware the Dark Side by Simon Beecroft The Best-Loved Bear by Diana Noonan Red Rockets & Rainbow Jelly by Sue Heap The Witch’s Children and the Queen by Ursula Jones Romp in the Swamp by Ian Whybrow
Star Wars: Beware the Dark Side by Simon Beecroft
I really liked this Star Wars book. It’s about the dark side of the force and the force is created by everything around us. The most dangerous character is Darth Vader who kills Obi-Wan Kenobi. He usually wears a black helmet, but in this book you can see a picture of his head without it. My favourite character is General Grievous. He has bodyguards and when he fights he can split his two arms into four. Every jedi he killed, he took their light sabre, so he has four, two blue and two green. I also like Count Dooku. He has a special bent light sabre. My favourite part of the book is about Boba Fett, whose father was Jango Fett who was killed in battle. My friends – Alex, Joel and Ben M – all like Star Wars books. They like Darth Maul the best. There’s a great Star Wars book in the library that you aren’t allowed to take out. I don’t think girls would like it, they like fairy books. I also like Star Wars lego and I’ve seen the show on TV too! Benjamin James (2. 2)
The Best-Loved Bear by Diana Noonan
This book is about a boy called Tim who was really worried because he didn’t think that his bear Toby could win a bear competition. He loved his bear so much, but his ear fell off. He fed Toby ice cream and he got it all over him. In the end, Tim’s bear does win the competition. I think he should have won, because even though he was a bit old, Tim loved him so much. Tim carried Toby in a bag to school so that no one could see him. He really didn’t think his bear would win. But he did. In the end, Tim carried the bear home on his back, not in the bag anymore. I think anyone would like this book, even a grown-up. I like the pictures too. Flo Drabble Year (1.1)
Junior School Library Book Reviews
Top 5 most popular books
Year 3: Star Wars (series) Year 4: Geronimo Stilton (series) Year 5: Foundling by D.M Cornish Book 1 in the Monster Blood Tattoo series Year 6: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke Book 1 in the trilogy Non Fiction: books about keeping dogs as pets
Foundling by D.M Cornish
Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling is about a young boy named Rossamund Bookchild who is an orphan. He is taken in by Madam Opera. Rossamund is bullied, mainly because of his unusual name. As well as having a girl’s name, he was named Bookchild by Madam Opera because when he was found, his last name was unknown, and that was the name that was entered into Madam Opera’s record book. Rossamund loves reading the pamphlets about heroes and monster-slaying that his best friend Vereline buys for him. When a visitor arrives and offers him a job, he has no choice but to accept. He finds out that the job is that of a lamplighter and he feels discouraged, but there is more to being a lamplighter than he thinks. Rossamund’s adventures have just begun! This book is beautifully illustrated and the ‘explicarium’ at the back of the book enables readers to understand the intricate detail of the fantasy world that is the Half Continent. Readers of fantasy will enjoy this book, I certainly did! Arjun Sawhney (6.6)
Senior School Library Book Reviews
Top 5 most popular books Crusade by Elizabeth Laird
Love You to Death by Meg Cabot (Series: The Mediator) Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine Life on the Refrigerator Door: a novel in notes by Alice Kuipers Point Blanc! The graphic novel by Anthony Horowitz adapted by Anthony Johnston Year 10 and above “hot favourite” Twilight by Stephanie Meyers From our young adult section, this is a romance, suspense and vampire series.
Crusade by Elizabeth Laird
Crusade is a book about wars between the Franks and the Saracens set at the time of the third crusade in the late 12th century. The story is about the lives of two boys on either side of the war whose paths cross when the Christian and Saracen armies meet at Acre. Salim, a Muslim boy, finds his home city threatened by war. His father sends him to become an apprentice to a Jewish doctor so that he can learn the trade and also to keep him safe during the war. Unfortunately the doctor is forced to become the personal physician of Saladin and Salim finds himself right in the thick of the battle. Salim is lame and
has a humble character but on the inside he has great mental strength and the courage of a Mamluk warrior (members of the Saracen army whom he admires). Adam is a serf from England who is introduced by the author at his mother’s burial where he is in a weak state. The local Baron passes by and decides to take Adam as his kennel boy. Once Adam moves into the castle and is amongst the dogs, the reader sees that he has a way with animals and that people, as well as the dogs, come to respect him. Adam is convinced that the only way his dead mother will get to heaven is if he is able to scatter some soil from Jerusalem over her village grave and so he is keen to travel
with his lord and join the crusade. Adam has a bit of a rebellious attitude and gets into trouble but as the truth of his birth is revealed and he moves up the ranks, he becomes a well respected man. I think Crusade is an excellent book. I could add up all the gold stars from every single book in the entire world and this book deserves a bigger number than that! I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it to anyone who likes adventure and has an interest in religion, history or the suffering of people during times of war. Lucy Stanton (8.2)
Student perspectives More from seniors... Book reviews
‘Uglies’ by Scott Westerfeld
It is 300 years in the future, and the human race has rebuilt itself after being almost totally wiped out by a bacterium that was supposed to save us from global warming by getting rid of greenhouse gases. The few that survived have made Earth a peaceful place to live, where everybody gets to be a ‘pretty’ once they turn sixteen. Tally can’t wait for the operation that will turn her into a Pretty and let her go across the river to New Pretty Town, where she will be reunited with her best friend Peris. But when she meets Shay, a girl who isn’t looking forward to the operation so much, and finds out about the rebels who never have the operation, Tally starts to wonder if being a Pretty is really all it’s cracked up to be.
is one of the most powerful books I have ever come across and I plead with you to read it. Yes, okay I am sixteen but I do recognize a good book when I see one and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini certainly qualifies as one.
sister Cass was perfect; a cheerleader, homecoming queen, and supposedly going to Yale University. Caitlin always felt like a disappointment to her parents, so when Cass runs away, her whole world is turned upside down.
We start off in the strange colorful world of Afghanistan in its prime, before the war-bitten images we see on the television. Amir allows us to enter his privileged world, we see his desperation to gain acceptance from his father as a twelve year old, his struggles with his hauntingly loyal friend Hassan and we watch as his childhood progresses depicting unexpected emotions and tragic events that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
She meets Rogerson, a mysterious and consequently intriguing boy who shows Caitlin a world she never dreamed of and helps her to forget the dull yet stressful world she comes from.
Hassan and his father migrate to America in order to escape from the Soviet invasion and the promise of war, and begin a very different life. Eventually Hassan finds himself going back to a very different Afghanistan, in search of repentance for the biggest mistake of his life. The Kite Runner is a book you don’t forget in a hurry, it shows emotions we don’t expect a twelve year old to even contemplate let alone feel as intensely as Amir does. Hosseini portrays beautifully vivid images and we are lucky enough to be able to see into these lives and experience what we will never really experience. He manages to awaken our curiosity, delve into the power of emotion, and explore themes universal to every single one of us and all through this beautiful and ever so honest fictional tale of a boy named Amir.
Amanda Holland (12.5)
Camilla Byles (12.4)
‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodi Picoult
The first book in a trilogy, this sci-fi novel is recommended for readers aged 11 and up, though I would not recommend it for readers under 14. It has a hooking storyline, with relatable characters and a message that we could all do with understanding in this beauty-orientated society: it’s not necessary to be perfectly pretty to be beautiful; sometimes it’s better just to be yourself. Oh, and it’s not just for girls – guys should read it too.
Definitely a book for older readers, this one tells the story of Anna, a thirteen year old girl who often has to donate blood and bone marrow to her sister, Kate, a Leukaemia sufferer. Anna was born to help her sister (literally – she was conceived specifically as a bone marrow match for Kate), but when she decides that she has the right to decide for herself whether she should undergo surgery for her sister’s benefit, her life and the lives of her family members change dramatically.
Amanda Holland ( 12.5)
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
You don’t always become enthralled in the book you’re reading in your AS English literature lessons. I think Othello is really rather gloomy and I don’t find Iago that captivating, Of Mice and Men was a little bit strange and quite frankly depressing (I think we all secretly cried when George shot Lennie in the head). However The Kite Runner is one glorified exception leading you on a journey you won’t forget, and won’t want to stop. It
I would recommend this book to girls (and possibly guys) over 15, as it deals with some pretty heavy issues – which I won’t say anything about because it would give away too much of the plot – that are relevant to all teenagers.
‘Dreamland’ by Sarah Dessen
Of all of Sarah Dessen’s novels, this one in particular captivated me. It tells the story of Caitlin O’Koren, a sixteen year old girl whose sister runs away from home on Caitlin’s birthday. Caitlin’s
In this novel, Picoult questions whether it is right to try and save one child by allowing another to undergo constant surgery, and what makes a good parent (appropriate, considering the theme of this term’s issue). It also helps readers to understand what families with members suffering from diseases such as Leukaemia go through on a daily basis, and how they try to make their lives and the lives of their children as normal as possible. Amanda Holland ( 12.5)
Each term we will ‘hand the mike’ over to a different member of the Tanglin community, offering him or her the opportunity to air their views on a particular subject or simply to talk about something that is close to their heart. In this issue, David Clegg, Director of Education at Tanglin, talks about the concept of community.
As this new magazine was planned and realised we have been determined to widen our appeal and give a ‘voice’ to a broader cross section of what we routinely refer to as the ‘Tanglin community’. This in turn got us thinking about the notion of ‘community’; what it might mean, who it might include and why the idea of community resonates so agreeably with students, parents and teachers. I suspect that for many of us, the idea of ‘community’ invokes security, comfort and gives that vital sense of belonging that helps us all to make sense of our lives by giving it a context and grounding the ‘everyday’ in a meaningful way. But there are tensions in the notion of community. Communities can be both inclusive and exclusive and the idea of community may sometimes be at odds with individual freedom. It is these tensions that make building and sustaining a school community both fascinating and demanding. Everyone who arrives at Tanglin comes from a community of which they were a part, whether it is a family moving from another part of the world, students leaving one school community to join another or staff arriving from schools across the world. To compound the problem, there is an almost constant movement of students and families into and out of the school. The challenge therefore, for Tanglin, is to build and sustain a sense of community from a population that is both diverse and turbulent. How we do it is both simple and complex. It is simple because we do it by establishing a school culture and ethos that binds all of us together around shared values and aspirations. It is complex because values, culture and aspirations
are not fixed entities. Values change, the culture of the school - ‘the way we do things around here’ is dynamic, reflecting individual traits of those who make up the community; different people espouse different values . So building and sustaining a community under these circumstances must take account of change and diversity. In such circumstances a civilized and virtuous community must have at its heart a concern for the individual. The test for any community is how individuals, particularly those that may present a challenge to orthodoxy, are treated or regarded. It is this thinking that drives Tanglin to provide for every student in a bespoke manner, it is this that drives the determination to offer diverse opportunities beyond the classroom, ranging from fencing an opponent, to fencing an orphanage garden. What tenaciously sustains Tanglin’s identity are strong collegiate relationships at all levels. Students particularly, need significant adults who know them well and whose support and belief in them as individuals is as unconditional as possible. Community spirit is strong at Tanglin. It is palpable at any school event, from the PTA fun days to CEO meetings with parents. It is fiercely partisan at sports events and hugely enthusiastic at concerts and exhibitions. It will be manifest at the range of festive events as we approach Christmas. It is a spirit of which we can be proud. The strength of Tanglin’s community makes a lasting impression on students, parents and staff and assures Tanglin’s legacy. As people have often remarked, you can take the student out of Tanglin but you cannot take Tanglin out of the student.
The Last Word Community
95 Portsdown Road, Singapore 139299 www.tts.edu.sg Tel: 6778 0771 Fax: 6777 5862 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org