Middle School in focus Measuring what matters Graduation 2013
Welcome to the last Dunia for the 2012/2013 academic year
By Richard Nies Vice Principal Middle School, East Campus
As is traditional, this edition features the Grade 12 graduation on Dover, a proud day for all of us at the College, but most particularly for the parents and families of the Class of 2013. I was moved to hear the guest speaker, Heron Holloway (Class of 2000), speak of her own experience at UWCSEA and tell the graduating class to “make personal, intentional, considered choices and create those changes you wish to see in the world.” It is excellent advice, and I’m confident our graduates will take it. Next year, we will have the pleasure of a graduating class on each campus, and look forward to two ceremonies for a Class of 2014 that is more than 450 strong. This edition also includes a series of stories about the Middle Schools. These serve to highlight the importance of the middle years, when students are making critical and complex choices that will ultimately determine their character and behaviour as adults. According to the National Middle Schools Association, “Young people undergo more rapid and profound personal changes between the ages 10 and 15 than at any other time in their lives.”1 It is vital that they are properly supported during this time, and that we tailor their educational experience so that it is both developmentally appropriate and responsive to the particular needs of this age group. We are fortunate that all our teachers and leaders in the Middle Schools understand this well, and are committed to helping students develop the values and attitudes that will best
Meeting in The middle years from ages 11 to 14 are a time of tremendous physical and emotional development. During these years, the brain undergoes significant changes toward maturity and efficiency.1 These changes and developments in students make the Middle School a unique place of learning for students, teachers and parents alike.
support them through these years and beyond. There is no doubt that the adolescent years are challenging years for our students, but they are also some of the most exciting, creative and optimistic years in their lives. We celebrate that each day in the Middle Schools and hope these articles give you some insight into the experience of the Grade 6, 7 and 8 students at UWCSEA. As another year comes to an end, I am once again humbled by the extraordinary achievements of students, by the commitment of staff and by the support of parents. It is wonderful to be part of this community. I wish you all a pleasant summer break. Julian Whiteley Head of College
National Middle School Association (2003) The Importance of Middle Level Education. In This We Believe: 2 Successful Schools for Young Adolescents. pp 1-7, Westerville, OH.
After attending last year’s regional Middle School Principals Meeting, Mike Johnston and Lisa Hewitt (Principals of East and Dover Campus Middle Schools respectively) returned ready not only to host the 2013 meeting at UWCSEA’s Centre for International Education (the Centre) but also inspired to organise a dedicated Middle School Conference for educators immediately following—the first conference of its kind in Asia. Over the past year, Mike and Lisa worked with Caroline Meek, Director of the Centre, to design a conference specifically for teachers of 11 to 14 year olds to address the unique learning and developmental needs and opportunities for this age group. They also decided to offer a parallel one-day mini-conference for Middle School parents. Held over 19 and 20 April on East Campus, the conferences were generously supported by IB, EARCOS, MAGES Institute, Far East Organization, V-campus and our own Parents’ Association on the East Campus. Indicative of the strong interest in learning more about teaching and parenting Middle School students, the conferences were attended by more than 200 teachers from 12 countries, including 6 international schools in Singapore. The nearly 300 parent participants were predominantly from UWCSEA.
Many articles in this edition have expanded content on eDunia (www.uwcsea.edu.sg/edunia) Look for the symbol as you read the magazine and visit eDunia for more photos, video and expanded content.
The learning objectives of the conferences revolved around the themes of ‘Middle School education’ and ‘Well-being for Middle Schoolers’ along with an additional third strand on ‘ICT (Information and Communications Technology) for Middle Schoolers’ for the teachers’ conference. Through a combination of provocative keynote speakers, engaging workshops and a roundtable session facilitated by UWCSEA Middle School students, the conferences proved invaluable.
The three keynote speakers addressed both conferences separately to provide focused messages relevant to educators and parents. Jack Berckemeyer, known as ‘Mr Middle School,’ focused on embracing the differences of all Middle School students and offered strategies for making positive social connections. Jack reminded parents, teachers and administrators how they can make a difference in the lives of young people.
Other stories featured only in eDunia:
Primary School Primary ISTA Festival East students participate in the first Primary-level regional drama festival G3 Trip to Cambodia Student perspectives and a slideshow feature on the Green Umbrella trip
Middle School successes and challenges with fellow Middle School colleagues from around the world.
Under the theme of well-being, Michael Carr-Gregg, a leading adolescent psychologist, engaged his audiences in informative and entertaining sessions on what teachers and parents of teens need to know about the latest developments in adolescent psychology. Dannielle Miller, an expert in teenage girls’ self-esteem, led a seminar exposing painful issues of the ‘teengirl’ world including body image crises, low self esteem and constant bombardment with toxic media portrayals of women, and in response, ways to support teen girls in being happy and confident.
The culminating event of the teachers’ conference was particularly impressive because our UWCSEA Middle School students facilitated a comprehensive session on digital citizenship. They addressed how today’s young people connect, collaborate and innovate media. The session also fostered discussion in response to the questions: who helps Middle Schoolers reflect on the implications of their actions, and who empowers them to make responsible, respectful and safe choices about how they use the powerful digital tools at their command? A strong point of emphasis was the need for schools to have a clearly articulated and wellimplemented digital citizenship plan.
The teachers’ conference also included 22 separate workshops facilitated by international school teachers and administrators that focused on specific strategies that improve student learning and social well-being. The total focus on ages 11–14 was extremely valuable as participants were able to discuss
Watching our students confidently facilitate honest discussion about the relationship between technology and learning left a lasting impression and further emphasised the importance of parents and teachers supporting our Middle School students through their transition from childhood to adulthood.
Judy A. Willis, M.D., M.Ed. Inspiring Middle School Minds: Gifted, Creative & Challenging. Great Potential Press. 2009.
Round Square Junior Conference Dover Middle School students participate in the international event Basketball gold East boys 14A basketball team win ACSIS gold medal
High School No Drive Day Leaf GC encourages the Dover community to go green Mathematics success East students shine in mathematics competitions
Community Green Wave Day Environmental service students mark the day with a tree planting Swim 4 Life The East community dives in to support SurfAid’s malaria programmes Front cover: East Middle School students performing in The Love of Three Oranges 3 (see p17).
Grade 8 Film Festival By Paul Brogden Vice Principal – Curriculum Middle School, Dover Campus
the skills and attributes that the students had developed during their time in Middle School.
films before the culminating Film Festival in the last week of the school year.
One of the things we know about young adolescents is that the Middle School age is a period of rapid physical, social and emotional development, perhaps the stage of most significant change since infancy and toddlerhood. The end of Grade 8 also marks an important transition into High School. It is a time when students are really beginning to ‘find themselves’ and seek ways to express this.
Students were posed the challenge of working in small groups to produce high quality short films about the theme of ‘Change.’ The students initially worked with Tom Soper, a professional photographer who shared his expertise and insights into the craft and skills needed for filmmaking. Students learnt about how to storyboard, film and edit creatively and about how lighting, focus, camera angles and sound are all important elements of effective short films.
Students filmed around the campus and on location in Singapore. It was common to see students and even teachers in corridors and classrooms around the school with cameras and tripods (and sometimes in costume) with directors shouting out ‘Action!’
With this in mind, in 2012, the Middle School curriculum team on Dover Campus decided to launch a Film Festival project and challenge for all Grade 8 students at the end of the school year. The project was designed as a chance to celebrate and showcase
“I learnt that you really need to manage your time well and that high quality work doesn’t just appear, you need to work extremely hard.”
With a very challenging twoweek deadline, students worked collaboratively, independently and displayed tremendous organisational and problem-solving skills to finish the
The completed films demonstrated a tremendous range of styles and genre, from music videos to dramas and documentaries. It was interesting to see how the theme of ‘Change’ resonated amongst the students and how they effectively used the medium of film to explore their thoughts, ideas and emotions. The films gave a real insight into what our Middle School students are interested in and care about.
Linking with the learning principles In all, over 60 short films were created and the very best examples were shown in the final Film Festival. The Film Festival itself had a wonderful celebratory atmosphere as the entire grade enjoyed seeing their peers’ creations. This was a positive way for the students to showcase their talents and be together one last time as Middle School students. We believe that Middle School students thrive when their learning is holistic and encourages them to make links between different academic disciplines. Last year, as students moved from class to class in their English, Geography, History and IT lessons, teachers and tutors collaborated to support them through the process. This year, we expanded the project to include the Visual Arts, Music and Drama Department teachers and again invited Tom Soper to work with student groups to encourage a professional approach to the process. The theme for this year was ‘Connections,’ and it was fascinating to see how the students developed their ideas.
“I also learnt more about being cooperative in a group, because everyone’s input is required for the movie to work out.”
As part of the ongoing curriculum articulation project, we have worked to develop our definition of learning. We believe that learning is a lifelong process in which learners engage with and reflect upon information and experiences to construct new or modify existing understanding as well as develop and apply skills and qualities.
Learners are appropriately challenged. • The Film Festival project was appropriately challenging for students at the end of Middle School; to be successful, students had to collaborate, plan effectively, solve problems creatively as they arose and reflect on their progress.
The Film Festival project illustrates this well. Our learning principles state that we know learning is effective when:
Learners use timely and goal-directed feedback. • Students supported each other and received ongoing feedback from a variety of teachers and a professional to help guide them in the process.
Learners feel secure and supported. • Students were supported by teachers and an expert and encouraged to support and celebrate each other’s achievements and learn from their mistakes in making the films. Learners understand the purpose of the learning. • Students were given a clear rationale and guidelines for the criteria their film needed to achieve. Learners construct new understanding by building upon prior knowledge. • Students were encouraged to use their prior knowledge and experiences to explore the theme of ‘Change.’ Learners listen, talk and interact with others. • Students created their films in small groups and actively engaged with teachers, other students and the community to create their films. Learners construct meaning by making connections between knowledge and concepts. • The films were based around the concept of ‘Change,’ and students were encouraged to apply their existing knowledge and interests.
Learners have time for meaningful and deliberate practice. • Students were encouraged to develop and improve their skills and understanding in the creative process of making a meaningful short film. Learners have ownership of their learning. • The student groups were given guidelines and were assisted by teachers, but for most of the process they worked independently and were self-directed in their learning during the filming process. Learners think and act upon their learning. • The students were given opportunities during the filming process to develop strategies to plan, monitor, reflect and make adjustments to their learning as needed.
Powerful PSE in Middle School By Karen Cockburn Vice Principal – Pastoral Middle School, Dover Campus One of the core aims of our Personal and Social Education (PSE) programme in Middle School is to help students identify, celebrate and manage the many personal and social challenges they face while at school and in the future. Our developmental PSE curriculum, delivered through weekly Life Skills classes and tutor group sessions, deals with real life issues that affect students. It engages with the values, experience, attitudes and emotions which students bring to their learning, together with their knowledge and understanding. Because of this, it is often said that PSE starts where the children are. Young people need to be emotionally and socially healthy if they are to be able to learn. In Term 2, we were fortunate to have two of the leading experts on adolescence from Australia work with our Grade 7 students. Dannielle Miller spent a morning with the Grade 7 girls, while Michael Carr-Gregg worked with the Grade 7 boys. Their sessions complemented the workshops they delivered to Middle School teachers and parents during the accompanying Middle School Conference in mid-April (see pages 2 and 3). Has your Grade 7 son been asking for blueberries after Michael’s talk? Michael covered the Pieces of Life Advice You Need to Get Through School with the boys. In his very entertaining manner, he explained how the brain works and
listed some key ‘brain foods.’ He also looked at what happens when we sleep, and parents will be pleased to hear that one of the key take-away messages reported by the boys was that the average teenager needs 8¼ hours sleep. The greatest impact, however, was his message about resilience and the importance of positive thinking. Feedback from the boys reflects this: • “I thought the most important advice was about staying happy and thinking about things the way you want. This is because unfortunate events are going to occur in your life so you need to know how to deal with them.” • “I think that the ‘if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it’ advice was the most important because even if you experience a devastating thing, carrying on is really crucial.” • “Look at the world as it is, but focus on the good bits. I find this the most important because you can choose whether to be happy or not.” Dannielle Miller covered three themes with the Grade 7 girls: Forever Friends—Research tells us that friends are more important to teenagers than their parents or teachers. How do we make friends? Who should we make friends with? How should friendships be maintained? How do we decide if a friendship is helping or harming us? This workshop addressed these issues and equipped the girls with the necessary skills to make safe, important decisions about their friendships.
Love the Skin You’re in—Negative stereotyping, sexism, media images, the fixation on being thin—these are all issues today’s girls are facing. In this workshop, the girls were encouraged to consider and evaluate more critically the messages that bombard them every day and develop strategies that help them respond intelligently and objectively. Chill Out—Relaxation, visualisation techniques, massage and more. Learning how to manage stress effectively is essential for our modern lives. Relying on crutches like alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or other unhealthy behaviours is destructive and wasteful. In this workshop, the girls were encouraged to seek balance in their lives and learned some skills to achieve it. They also explored skills to help them cope with exam and assessment pressure to help enhance performance. Some of the girls responses afterwards: • “Forever Friends was the best part because it made me feel really good and special. I learnt that we need to trust each other, to be happy with who we are and everyone is beautiful inside and out.” • “My favourite part of today was exchanging comments because it was a good way to tell someone to believe in themselves. I learnt to respect myself; we don’t need to be a model to be pretty, we need to believe in ourselves, and that real beauty is on the inside.”
• “Forever Friends was my favourite part of today because I could see what I mean to others. I learnt about being myself, to love myself, to be confident, be assertive not aggressive and that a little insult can affect a person very strongly.” • “I liked Chill Out because it really helped me to relax and get ‘unstressed’—thank you! I learnt that models’ photos get Photoshopped a lot, that there are a lot of ways to relax and don’t be mean to yourself. It was awesome and funny!” • “I liked the part where we went into more detail about how the media is fake and how we should think better of ourselves. I learnt to just be me, not to get pressured to look perfect, to be real and to stay true.” Both Danni and Michael told the students that it takes 21 days to establish a new habit, and Danni gave the girls a wristband to wear to remind them of the key messages. When 21 days had passed, we held a special non-uniform day for Grade 7 and revisited the content and impact of the workshops. Did they really have an effect on the students? Had they changed any of their habits? The overwhelming feedback from both girls and boys showed they had taken away the core messages, and they were using them on many occasions. Powerful personal and social education indeed!
Measuring what matters By James Dalziel Head of East Campus In the early 1970s, Bhutan’s fourth Dragon King, Jigme Singye Wangchick, introduced the term ‘Gross National Happiness’ to impress on the world the need to expand our way of measuring a country’s success. Decades later, many other heads of state have initiated an expansion of the traditional measure of Gross Domestic Product per person, toward a series of metrics that provide a more accurate representation of how
a country, and its citizens, are doing as a whole. The question of ‘how we are doing,’ and the call for a shift in our understanding of what matters and what we should measure, are also being played out within our schools. Our understanding of what matters in education has changed dramatically in the last few decades. We have shifted from a focus on exams and university entrance towards a broader focus on what knowledge, skills and qualities our students need to develop in order to be successful. Exams and university
entrance are now only part of the whole picture of what a good education should look like. There is a common analogy used in business schools that can be helpful as we think about how to measure the success of a particular learning programme. When we purchase a power drill from the hardware store we are investing in more than a single item, we are investing in the promise of a hole. The drill is just a means to an end, and the value of the drill resides solely in its capacity to produce the
Sources “Measuring what matters,” Economist, September 2009. “How to Measure Anything, Finding the value of ‘intangibles’ in business” Hubbard, Douglas W, John Wiley and Sons Inc., 2010. “Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analysis relating to achievement” Hattie, John, Routledge Press, 2009.
hole. So it is with a school’s learning programme. It is a means to an end, the promise of an education. But the value of the learning programme can only be judged by the impact it has on our students. So, if we say that our learning programme will educate individuals to embrace challenge and take responsibility for shaping a better world, how do we know that we are achieving this objective? What data do we use to measure it? Throughout the course of an academic year, schools collect an enormous amount of data. In order to know how our students are doing, we collect evidence of their learning in a variety of forms. This evidence can be organised into three broad categories: academic results, participation levels and measurements of skills and qualities. Data regarding academic results is easily gathered: internal and external assessments allow us to measure how well a student is doing against agreed standards and benchmarks. But this data is limited, partly because academic testing sometimes tells us more about the child’s performance than it does about the learning that is taking place in the classroom, but mainly because it is such a narrow measure of learning. Academic results do not take into account either the holistic nature of the programme at UWCSEA or the breadth of our ambition and objective. Participation levels tell us something about how involved a student is with the learning programme as a whole and are a useful guide to understanding the experience an individual student is having. However, they are only a measure of success if participation is the purpose of the programme. At UWCSEA, becoming involved is not enough; we must ensure that participation is having an impact on learning. If the objective of the sports programme is to develop teamwork and commitment in students, then knowing how many of them participate
in sports does not tell us anything about the success of the programme (or the students). But what of the third type of measurement—the development of skills and qualities as described in the UWCSEA profile? Unfortunately, this measurement, while arguably telling us more about the impact of the education we are offering, is more difficult than measuring academic achievement or levels of participation. Looking at a skill such as critical thinking, we can see that it can easily be embedded within a learning programme. But while we can measure a student’s critical thinking in a discipline such as mathematics, in order for us to be sure that a child was becoming a critical thinker, we would need to see that skill transferred into other areas, such as scenarios in outdoor education or service. Evidence of broad competence as a critical thinker can only be developed by monitoring students over years of application and in a wide variety of settings. The qualities within the profile present a different set of challenges. How can we measure the development of ‘resilience’ in students? A common example has been used to demonstrate this issue. Two students walking across the school grounds stop to pick up pieces of litter (observable actions); both place their litter in the trash bin (observable results). To make a judgement based on observable actions and results, we could conclude that each has demonstrated the quality of ‘principled,’ and put a check in that box on the next report. In reality, each student in the above scenario may be motivated by very different things: one may be picking up litter because they know it is the right thing to do, the other because their homework for the day is to pick up a piece of litter. This means we must invest in the cumbersome
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein and imperfect process of trying to understand an individual student’s motivation in order to know whether or not students are really developing the quality of ‘principled.’ All of these difficulties should not prevent us from trying to measure the immeasurable. At UWCSEA, we have designed a programme that offers multiple, age appropriate opportunities for students to develop important skills and qualities, and for teachers and students to be able to assess the outcomes. As the popular axiom states, “If you want to create change, you need to meet people where they are, and take them where they need to be.” We also need a series of measures so that we know when they have arrived. The College strategic plan includes a major focus and review of our assessment and reporting. This will include the creation of a system that will allow teachers to plan lessons, record student activity and report on student achievement against agreed standards in all five elements of the programme. While reporting may look different in each of the five elements (for example, assessment in service will probably be different to assessment in mathematics), it is important that we are accountable for student learning in all areas. The system should also allow for student reflection, particularly on those qualities in the UWCSEA profile that students develop through their whole time at the College. We are about one third the way through this review; it is a complex process, but it will have a positive impact on student learning.
Developing Global Perspectives By Jane Hirons Head of Global Perspectives Dover Campus
In Grade 9, all UWCSEA students have the opportunity to take Global Perspectives as part of their IGCSE package. This two-year course was developed at UWCSEA Dover in conjunction with the Cambridge Examination board, with the first cohort going through the course in 2010. A uniquely ‘UWCSEA’ course, Global Perspectives embodies the learning principles of the College whilst preparing students with academic skills needed in the IB Diploma. Our educational goal is to enable students to be global citizens, and in order to do this we have to give them an opportunity to explore world issues in the classroom.
UWCSEA students are expected to be aware, able and active, and to inspire others to work towards a common goal for the greater good. This is embedded in the curriculum of Global Perspectives as we cover units of study including ethics, poverty, wealth, conflict, human rights, environmental sustainability and religious belief. Students are expected to learn more about what’s being done to inspire positive change in the world today, and they’re given assessment tasks requiring them to make concrete plans of action. These tasks also enable them to develop skills necessary for success in the IB Diploma, such as taking part in debates, group work, presentations and writing a formal research paper modelled on the IB Diploma’s Extended Essay. One of the more creative assessment tasks near the end of Grade 10 requires students to explore the theme of
advocacy by creating a short film. This allows them to reflect on the course content and focus on an issue which is of great interest to them personally, and one for which they want to advocate a solution. This year, we entered several of these films in the THIMUN Qatar Northwestern University Film Festival. The judges were so impressed with our entries that they invited one of our film-making students, Madhulika Murali, to attend the festival premier in Doha, Qatar in the Term 2 break. She produced a film advocating change in the Singapore school system in order to relieve student stress and anxiety. Madhulika described the THIMUN Qatar Film Festival as “an amazing experience … meeting students from all over the world was wonderful, participating in the various workshops held and touring the Al Jazeera Network was amazing. Visiting Doha itself was incredibly fun. We attended workshops at Northwestern University and talked about various media issues, such as gender portrayal and racial stereotyping. Such discussions were extremely interesting not only because of the topic itself, but because of the different perspectives gained.” Madhulika will mentor Global Perspectives students next year when they are creating films advocating change, and we expect to have many more thoughtful and creative entries in the years to come. On a wider academic stage, the Global Perspectives course has been very successful and has been adopted by UWCSEA East and the English Schools Foundation’s Island School in Hong Kong with full approval of the CIE examination board.
A shocking collaboration By Martin Spreckley Middle School Science teacher East Campus Towards the end of May, Grade 3 students on East Campus began their final Unit of Inquiry: It’s Shocking! in which they were introduced to scientific concepts relating to electricity. As this Unit of Inquiry was taking place, the Grade 7 students were also studying electricity, providing the perfect platform for some scientific collaboration and an opportunity for students to practise and develop skills and qualities from the UWCSEA profile. Middle School Science teachers Martin Spreckley and Luke Haugen invited the Grade 3 classes to come up to the sixth floor science labs for a ‘hands-on’ and potentially shocking experience with their Grade 7 peers. Each of these sessions had two main areas of focus for the visiting Junior School students: static and current electricity. The collaborative classes began with an introduction to static electricity by the science teacher and included a simple introduction to electric charge. Students then carried out simple activities such as rubbing balloons on their heads to build up a static charge and then attracting little pieces of paper to the balloon. The highlight of the static electricity session was the description and Brainpop video of how lightning occurs, and the subsequent demonstration of the Van De Graaf generator. Here students witnessed this scientific equipment building up an electric charge before the teacher was ‘zapped’ on the elbow as the dome discharged. The students loved watching the blue spark leap from the dome to the teacher, and the brave ones lined up to experience this for themselves. It does not hurt and really did provide authenticity for the It’s Shocking! unit.
After this, the younger students joined Grade 7 students for a small group peer-to-peer learning session on current electricity. Using batteries, bulbs, wires and switches, the Grade 3 students were tasked with building basic electric circuits under the close guidance and supervision of their older peers. Starting with the simplest of circuits and looking at the basic requirements for an electric current to flow, the Grade 3 students were then instructed to systematically add more components to their circuit— additional bulbs and switches. By the end of the session they had all seen the difference between series and parallel circuits and had built circuits in which they could control the brightness of the bulbs as well as which bulbs lit through the placement of switches. The whole experience was positive for both ages and further developed the students’ communication and collaboration skills as well as building stronger ties between the Junior and Middle School curricula.
From the classroom to the jungle Middle School outdoor education on East 12
By Gareth Barlow Head of Outdoor Education East Campus Meeting many Middle School parents for the first time during parent-teacher conferences, I am often asked what it is that we do with Middle School students at East during their Exploratory class, Outdoor Education: Leadership and Challenge. They are usually quite familiar with the expedition programme at UWCSEA, but are sometimes unsure how outdoor education fits into a classroom-based curriculum.
Theory-based learning The course begins with looking at how groups function together and the importance of building and maintaining trust, as well as the need to establish effective working norms. We use a variety of activities to support our ‘Challenge of Choice’ philosophy—the participant’s responsibility to choose his or her level of risk-taking in the learning experience—that underpins our whole Outdoor Education programme. A great deal of emphasis is placed on problem solving, cooperation and effective communication. In a world where ‘teamwork’ has become a mantra, we attempt to dissect what this entails and how it can be improved. Theories of leadership are discussed, practised and reviewed. Classroom sessions are interspersed with mental and physical initiatives, and students spend time analysing and reflecting through discussion and debriefs. As an example, students might be asked to resolve a classic problem-solving scenario, such as moving their group from point A to point B using a set amount of equipment, and trying not to fall into the ubiquitous shark-infested custard that lies beneath them! Such an activity might be framed within the context of studying leadership models, such as Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s Decision Making Continuum. Students observe other groups attempting to work through a problem together and analyse how their roles as leaders may change from democratic to autocratic, depending on the situation in hand.
Practical skills development Another major aspect to this module is the development of practical skills relevant not only to the expedition programme, but also in life outside of school. Orienteering plays a big part within the outdoor education curriculum, building on skills practised in the Junior School PE curriculum. Grade 6 students complete an exercise where they map a part of the campus, before completing an orienteering event around the school grounds, following a campus map and trying to locate control markers. These skills are expanded upon when they attend their trip to Pulau Tioman; part of the week involves navigating their way up a dry river bed, traversing across granite boulders and following a map in order to reach a jungle waterfall and plunge pool.
When we combine the classroombased curriculum with the experiential learning that takes place during expeditions such as the Grade 6 trip to Tioman, all of the skills and qualities of the UWCSEA profile are developed. This integration and focus on learning distinguishes our Outdoor Education programme—and to me, is the true value of outdoor education at UWCSEA.
Students also enjoy learning first aid techniques, such as dealing with common ailments and how they can assist an unresponsive casualty. In the pursuit of lifelong learning, it is difficult to think of a more valuable and altruistic skill than the ability to save a life. Campcraft skills, such as learning to pitch a tent, how to pack a rucksack and cooking a nutritious meal on a small stove, are useful on many of the trips that students undertake during their years at UWCSEA. In tandem with the Leadership and Challenge course, the three Middle School expeditions are designed to encourage students to develop independence and resilience, before they head off on various expeditions in the High School.
Integrating theory and practice During April and May, 172 Grade 6 students visited Tioman Island, Malaysia. Each mentor group was supported by two outdoor education specialists, one mentor and two gap year students. The learning and skills developed in class were put directly into practice through activities including kayaking, sailing, the waterfall walk, snorkelling, beach art, problem solving activities and more. Leadership and teamwork were tested and developed while the practical skills such as orienteering were practised in an unfamiliar outdoor context.
“We learnt about setting goals and that really helped in Tioman. While doing the large hike to our cabins on the first day, I set a goal to myself to keep drinking water and to keep going. It really helped.” Akanksha Shukla Grade 6, East Campus 13
Graduation 2013 The College was delighted to welcome Heron Holloway (Class of 2000) back to Singapore as the guest speaker at the graduation of the Class of 2013 on Saturday, 25 May. Heron, who has qualifications in Sociology, Anthropology and International Relations, currently works for Habitat for Humanity, improving communications across Asia Pacific. She has also worked for British Red Cross and been seconded to the International Federation of the Red Cross. Her advice to our largest and most diverse graduating class to date (the 324 new alumni represented 62 nationalities) was both reassuring and inspirational:
might say the wrong thing, put you off and negatively influence the way you decide to live your lives.
In preparing for this, I thought back to what had been said at my graduation, and I couldn’t remember a single thing. Thirteen years ago I sat where you are now—not literally, as we graduated in a convention centre, there were only about 500 of us in the room, and Di Smart was my English teacher not High School Principal, but I am pretty sure I was feeling the same things that you are now.
And the reason I can be so absolutely sure of this is because you are graduating from United World College. You are already a fully paid-up global citizen, stuffed full of intelligence and drive, with a healthy dose of confidence and morality.
There is happiness. Happiness that IB exams are now behind you. Happiness that you’ve made it through school and are still alive. There is also sadness. Sad to be saying goodbye to great friends, teachers and a school full of memories. Sadness that your school days are behind you and you’ll never have them again. And there is an element of fear. The overarching and looming fear of ‘what am I going to do with my life?’ And that’s pretty much how I’m feeling now, all over again. Happiness in the pride of being the guest speaker at your graduation. Sadness because I wish I could relive my graduation celebrations all over again. And fear. Fear that I
In preparing to talk to you, two things came to mind. The first being something that I definitely didn’t know then and wish I had. The second, something that I actually did know 13 years ago, but didn’t realise just how important it was. The first thing I wish I’d had was reassurance. Reassurance that everything would be alright. And it will be. You will make new friends and you won’t lose your UWC friends. You will get a job and you will travel. You will love and be loved. And you’ll accumulate many great memories. In short, you will live an awesome life.
Which leads me on to my second point. In my last year at UWC, I wrote my personal statement for UCAS—part of the application process for entry to a UK university—and I started with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Thirteen years ago, this was a lofty ideal, an aspiration. Now it is a living part of who I am. The pattern of volunteering, nurtured at UWC, stuck with me. And I am pretty sure that those volunteering experiences helped me determine and confirm my career decision to work in the nonprofit sector. Why do I bring my personal mission statement up at your graduation? Precisely because you are graduating from a United World College. You have a unique status. A unique responsibility. You don’t need me to tell
you there are many, many people in the world who are nowhere near as lucky as you. Which organisations you choose to work for, the way you influence how they operate, the way you treat others, what you choose to give attention to and what you don’t, the way you vote and the way you choose to spend your spare time will all have a bearing on the lives of many others across the world. Your actions will change the world. So make personal, intentional, considered choices, and create those changes you wish to see in the world. Without getting too heavy on what is a congratulatory occasion in this triumphant educational setting, I’m not expecting you to remember what I’ve said tomorrow morning … but perhaps on some long car journey, hopefully in the not too distant future, you’ll think back to these two points: One, that everything will be okay, and two, that you make the decision to not just be a global citizen but an active global citizen. As one UWC graduate to another, don’t be a passive bit-part character, be the action hero. Without further ado, and with absolutely every ounce of my being, I wish you all the very best for your lives ahead.
Di Smart ‘graduates’ Di Smart, High School Principal, ‘graduated’ from Dover Campus this year after 20 years at UWCSEA. She is leaving UWCSEA to spend time with her family and hopes to remain involved in education. Prior to being named Principal of High School, she was Principal of the Senior School and prior to that, Head of English. She has also been a teacher of GCSE and IB English Literature, a mentor, a supervisor and a friend to a huge number of past and current students and staff. Di has this to say on her time at UWCSEA: “I feel blessed and privileged to have taught for the last 20 years here at UWCSEA and will always remember and value the students I was fortunate enough to get to know.”
Getting social at graduation This year’s graduation ceremony was live streamed and enjoyed by more than 700 viewers in 59 countries across 6 continents. We also went social via #uwcsea2013grads on Twitter and Instagram. Here are a few of the tweets from around the world: @RekhaKumar59 - #uwcsea2013grads Watching the event from India. Congratulations to everyone. Looking for Nitin Natrajan. @Milne62 - Gordon Muir Congratulations on your graduation see you soon from all of us here in sunny Scotland x @rtulshyan - Congratulations #uwcsea2013grads! @UWCSEA_Dover will forever be with you … The quest for a better world always remains with you …
Notre Dame de Paris On 12 and 13 May, 30 students from the Dover Campus Middle School presented a bilingual dance and drama performance of Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris. This was a highly ambitious production that incorporated the dancing and choreographic talents of the students involved, as well as director, teacher Sharon Tett. Many hours of intense rehearsing of individual dances in numerous different styles were woven into a seamless retelling of the story. Not only were the dancers extremely proficient, they were supported by the unsung heroes of sound, lighting and backstage crew. Both nights had large audiences who appreciated the performance. Following the production, students and parents commented: “Thank you for all you’ve done this term for the production. It was extremely enjoyable and a fun way to end the year. You have really opened my eyes to dance, and I am now more comfortable with a variety of dances.”
“Thank you for directing an excellent performance with such a huge variety of dances. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting the production to be so dynamic and professional! The effort put in by all of you was evident. I loved the simple yet vibrant colours of the costumes.” “We have been watching from afar all the drama and were amazed with the amount of work and long hours you all logged in. But all your hard work paid off! The show was amazing—setting, costumes, music, acting, dance … and the list goes on. We were very, very impressed!” Dance will be offered as a subject option at IGCSE (for students commencing in Grade 9) on Dover Campus from August 2013. The annual Middle School dance production will continue to see the development of skills and enthusiasm in students who are looking to take the subject at IGCSE and perform in the annual student-led High School dance production which takes place in Term 2 each year.
Senior School Forum By Aadit Gupta with Mathilde Huybens, Shreya Jaggi Forum facilitators, 2012/2013 After a year-long hiatus, Senior School Forum has officially made a comeback. Forum has come to symbolise what UWCSEA means to me. At times we’ve had very fierce (but always respectful!) debate, and every time I’ve left it’s been with the feeling that I’ve learnt something new. The media is very good at pushing a single point of view, and sometimes it just takes students from all around the world to put an event into perspective. This year’s Senior School Forum group evolved from a weekly seminar run by teacher Tim Davies called International
Forum. Building on the popular Upper School Forum, the idea was to give students in Grades 11 and 12 more opportunity to discuss global and current issues and greater responsibility for identifying and presenting international issues that fellow students care about. With the vision that it could be accessible to so many more students than the handful who were part of the International Forum, the team changed the name, time and venue, and the Senior School Forum was reborn! We’ve had many globe-encompassing debates—sometimes divisive but always interesting. One which particularly struck a chord in my mind was the discussion over what Hugo Chàvez’s death meant for Venezuela. We were
firmly divided into two camps. One was sure that Chàvez was a man to be looked up to—a man that stood firm in the face of neo-colonialist US influences—and the other took the view that he single-handedly drove Venezuela into the ground. Whilst I certainly believed in the latter argument (and continue to do so), the hour-long discussion taught me that it is rash to look at an issue without first understanding it in context. Forum’s power comes from how the discussion it creates can bridge gaps and create a mutual understanding—and for that reason alone I came to UWCSEA. I hope it lasts for decades to come, because the force of debate is one to be reckoned with.
The risk and optimism of comedy From 30 May to 1 June, a group of talented and dedicated East Middle School students performed the comedy The Love of Three Oranges by Hillary Depiano. Following months of hard work both onstage and behind the scenes, they were rewarded with a sellout season. Grade 8 students Kavya Deshpande and Aditi Poovaiah share their learning and experience. A Middle School production is a perfect example of positive risk. From the moment you sign up for an audition to closing night you are challenging yourself and testing your own boundaries. The performing arts are a journey, an opportunity to explore yourself through characterization, and being part of an exaggerated Commedia dell’arte play such as The Love of Three Oranges is the perfect opportunity to embrace the joys of colourful theatre and help an audience understand the merits of the lazzi, the group dance number and other classic comedic elements.
look at 420 vacant seats stretching out before us, and imagine the empty space brimming with the sound of laughter. Soon, we realised that the only way we could achieve this was with hard work and all the energy we could muster on weekday afternoons. The cast plunged into the script and dances until the dialogue was slick and the side steps in sync. It took a great deal of perseverance to produce a performance that everyone knew we could truly be proud of.
This year’s production motivated growth. We were submerged in a professional atmosphere, from theatre make-up to custom-made costumes. As the production evolved and matured, so did we as performers. The cast went from fumbling dance steps and delivering monotone lines to helping each other with cues and teaching all the mavericks the proper way to do a shimmy. And in the end, even when our nerves were shot, we learnt that we could carry through. Because, as Robin Williams once said, “Comedy is simply a way of acting out optimism.”
In the beginning, it was hard to conjure the bare, black walls of the theatre into a forest or courtroom. It was harder to 17
The art of science By Richard Forster High School Science teacher East Campus This year, High School students on East Campus have started a new activity that blends experimental science with the art of photography. The science photography activity has allowed them to conduct visually exciting experiments and ponder what creates these stunning effects. They have enjoyed combusting, freezing, refracting and illuminating a variety of substances. Aside from fulfilling their innate curiosity, the aim was to produce photographs offering an interesting take on the scientific world. Outside the normal constraints of a syllabus, science photography has created some marvellous photographs that elicit a response from the viewer evoke questions about how the
photo was achieved. Students spent the past two seasons delicately manipulating the chemistry of luminescent compounds to achieve that perfect shot or passing wavelengths of light through prisms to capture the classic textbook refraction image. Students had the opportunity to handle unique chemicals and perform unusual experiments such as making combustible bubbles or capturing the sublimation of dry ice. A particular favourite was the rainbow fire. In this study, students explored various salts and the colour they emitted when ignited. This allowed them to set up a rainbow made of flames. The latest project included making square bubbles, which, to much surprise, worked very well. We hope to continue to improve photography skills and test scientific understanding for years to come.
(Above left) Timothy Mok Light wavelengths passing through prisms to create refraction. (Above right and below middle) Luminol is an organic compound which, when oxidized, emits light—a phenomenon known as chemiluminescence—similar to the reactions that fireflies use to emit light and to those used in ‘glow-sticks.’ In this reaction, a small amount of luminol is dissolved in a basic aqueous solution, which also contains a small amount of copper(II) sulfate. (Above right) Timothy Mok Here the fluorescent reaction is initiated when two solutions are mixed together and allowed to run through a tube into a round-bottomed flask. (Below middle) Ben Driver Here the reaction is conducted in a petri dish and shot from above. (Below left) Krishan Naik Copper sulphate salt soaked in ethanol and ignited. The green colour flame comes from copper. (Below right) Fumika Azuma Dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) sublimates at -78°C. Carbon dioxide gas molecules are cold enough to cause the water vapour in the air to condense into very small droplets, which we see as a cloud. The blue colour is food dye.
Personal and social education
Why learning and multitasking don’t mix By Andrew McCarthy Digital Literacy Coach Dover Campus When technology is used well, it has the ability to transform both the types of learning activities that occur and the content which we teach. At the same time, the proliferation of laptops and other devices provide a constant temptation for our students who are looking for a distraction. The most recent research has highlighted the risks of trying to multitask while simultaneously trying to engage with the learning of something new.
The temptations of technology In research reported in the May 2013 issue of Computers in Human Behaviour, researchers at California State University, led by psychology Professor Larry Rosen, observed students studying over a 15-minute period and recorded the different tasks they were completing. Throughout the observation, students’ on-task behaviour began to decline at around the two-minute mark when the temptation of sending a text or checking their Facebook feed became too much. Over the 15-minute experiment, roughly 65% of the time was spent actually doing schoolwork. If parents were to complete the same timed experiment at home with their children, it is likely that some of this same behaviour would occur. Rosen and others mention this trait as a characteristic of the current generation of students. Parallel research is highlighting that successful students develop the ability to the delay gratification of posting an update or reading a message, and remain focused for longer periods of time. UWCSEA provides the access to a laptop or an iPad in a learning context from a younger age than many public European or American schools. We are therefore grappling with the fore
mentioned issues of distraction and multitasking ahead of most parts of society. We are quickly realising that our Personal and Social Education programme needs to help students develop their intuition to delay digital gratification and try to maintain a focus on learning by completing one task at a time.
A changing skill set As our students grow older and move through school, they will slowly develop the coping mechanism to ‘single task’ on learning. This trait develops in different students at different times. A key finding from research by Psychology Professor David Mayer at the University of Michigan is that “under most conditions, the brain simply cannot do two complex tasks at the same time. It can happen only when the two tasks are both very simple and when they don’t compete with each other for the same mental resources. An example would be folding laundry and listening to the weather report on the radio. That’s fine. But listening to a lecture while texting, or doing homework and being on Facebook—each of these tasks is very demanding and each of them uses the same area of the brain, the prefrontal cortex.” An important task for our students is to therefore make the distinction between simple and complex tasks and to realise when multitasking and juggling is ineffective. It might seem perverse, but our students can use technology to manage digital distractions and the temptation of multitasking. One new product called Concentrate fits very nicely with our philosophy around students developing strategies to remain focused. Concentrate allows students to develop a list of actions that they would like their computer to perform. The application allows students to block website access, stop applications from opening, block emails and set timers. Together, these tools
are a first step to help students develop coping mechanisms and a single tasking mentality. Over time, we anticipate that parents and teachers can use tools such as Concentrate as a discussion starter around what they think is acceptable, thereby encouraging students to buy in to the process. Concentrate is similar to other applications such as the aptly named SelfControl which is used to block
websites or the time management tool iProcrastinate, which are both very popular with our students. Moving forward, we hope that our Personal and Social Education and orientation programmes will help students develop positive routines both at home and in school. Adapted from a post on the Dover DLC blog: http://doverdlc. blogspot.com. References Adapted to the UWCSEA context and based on the following two articles recently written by Annie Murphy Paul and published on the Mindshift: How does Multitasking Change the Way Kids Learn? With Tech Tools how should teachers tackle multitasking in class Further reading: Facebook and texting made me do it: Mediainduced task-switching while studying Larry D. Rosen, L. Mark Carrier, Nancy A. Cheever, Computers in Human Behavior 29 (2013) 948–958. Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. Presentation available from YouTube. East DLC blog: http://eastech.blogspot.com
How do we know that Project Week is a worthwhile learning experience? By Kate Lewis Project Week Coordinator Dover Campus
25–28 March 2013 (Dover Campus) 3–7 June 2013 (East Campus) Project Week is a compulsory part of the IB Diploma programme for all Grade 11 students at the College, forming part of the CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) component of the two-year programme. It involves students travelling in small groups of three to five to embark on a worthwhile project, many of which are linked with Global Concerns groups. The aim is to encourage the students to independently organise a project with a worthwhile purpose which meets IB CAS requirements. This is best achieved by doing a project outside Singapore and the normal College routine, which challenges students’ resourcefulness and initiative, thus demanding greater self-reliance.
You need only read the students’ post-trip reflections to see that Project Week provides an amazing learning opportunity. However, when specifically linked to the IB’s eight key Learning Outcomes for CAS, the evidence becomes even clearer: 1. Increased their awareness of their own strengths and areas for growth “Project Week brought out the best and worst in all of us. Our team’s strengths and weaknesses worked together to make our time with the wonderful children at the Peace Village an amazing and unique experience.” Isabel Cheong, Peace Village GC, Hanoi Vietnam 2. Undertaken new challenges “Project Week was a life-changing experience for me. Before, I think I was too sheltered—I did not face enough challenges, and I felt that I lived inside a bubble. However, after the intensive student house renovation project, I felt I had accomplished something meaningful.” Sun Woo Kim, Blue Dragon GC, Hanoi, Vietnam
3. Planned and initiated activities “Spending five days in an orphanage with over-excited, enthusiastic children meant we had to be really prepared with lots of fun activities … this was a task that started in Singapore, trying to find fun games and activities to take with us to Bangkok. Not all activities would work out, 20 kiddies trying to play twister on one mat = disaster! So, we had to improvise new games; our initiative resulted in some great fun for the kids!” Chloe Kippax-Chui, Mercy Centre GC, Bangkok 4. Worked collaboratively with others “I went on Project Week with some people that I don’t usually hang out with on a regular basis, however it really helped in getting to know them. We ended up working really well together at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center and having a great time sharing the experience together.” Christine O’Donnell, Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre, Phuket, Thailand
“[Completing Project Week] shows how much we, as students, have evolved. It’s especially rewarding if you’re a student who has been at UWCSEA for a long time, because you’ve been through all the trips where there was a lot of control and guidance and assistance from teachers. In Grade 4, you don’t ever leave the teacher’s sight! Then in Grade 9, you find more freedom and it’s fun to relish this, though you still find teachers there who are making the decisions. And then in Grade 11, it’s all entirely up to you!” Grade 11 student who travelled to Coimabtore, India
5. Shown perseverance and commitment to their activities “Working from 6.30 in the morning until 5 at night was physically tiring— not to mention that the chores we were doing were labour intensive, like scrubbing pig pools or going on treks through the forest to deliver water to the monkeys. Although I was exhausted at the end of each day, I was proud that I persevered in helping the animals.” Elisha Beeston, Wildlife Friends of Thailand, PAW GC 6. Engaged with issues of global importance “Project Week opens your mind and your spirit of collaboration to world issues. In my case that was what happened to me; I became aware of the situation for many children in Nepal. The kids wake up early in the morning and have long walks to school, some of those kids don’t even have a family, but that is not a barrier for their education;
that is inspirational. The tears came down from my face the day that I left because I could see in that place that happiness is not what you have, it is what you are; those kids were amazing and they deserve a better future. Through this week, I realised that with some help, the world could be a better place.” Hector Poveda, Himalayan GC, Nepal 7. Considered the ethical implications of their actions “I found out that the children here were not incapable of anything that I was capable of doing. Yet they were treating me as someone special, simply due to the fact that I came from Singapore—a high-income country. I found this incredibly unfair, and it made me determined to try to reduce the amount of disparity in the world.” Hoe Jin Kwon, Bridges to Learning, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
8. Developed new skills “My week working in the Sharanalayam orphanages has provided me with so much more personal development than any experience I’ve done before. I’ve developed my planning, interpersonal and general life skills, not to mention superhuman levels of tolerance when dealing with travelling companions! I can honestly say that Project Week is a truly symbiotic experience; I got just as much out of my time at Sharanalayam as the wonderful kids and support staff there did from my assistance, if not more.” Jed Hull, Sharanalayam, Pollachi, India
Staff Scholarship Fund The UWCSEA Staff Scholarship Fund was set up 15 years ago to enable students to attend UWCs in their home country. The first scholar to attend UWC Mahindra in India has now returned to Ladakh as a practicing doctor, specialising in gynaecology. Five other staff-funded scholars from Ladakh have graduated from Mahindra, and the most recent recipient will begin her IB Diploma in September 2013. The scholars are drawn from the students at the Lamdon School in Leh, Ladakh. The expansion of the East Campus and the continuing generosity of staff has meant that the fund has been able to increase its efforts and is now supporting students at Waterford Kamhlaba UWC in Mbane, Swaziland. Two scholars have now graduated, and two others are currently studying there. The second recipient was Ruddy Paluku Ndina, whose early life was spent in a refugee camp in Swaziland after fleeing conflict in Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He has now graduated and is about to start further studies at university in Canada. The Staff Scholarship Fund also assists national committee scholarship students who have graduated from UWCSEA with the cost of visas and flights when they begin university.
Fun run fosters College unity
By Jaclyn Dolski Grade 11 East Campus Coming from a public school in America that centres around football, football and more football, the UWC philosophy of turning ideas into action was a whole new concept for me at the start of this year. At first, being told the world is your oyster was relatively intimidating. Nevertheless, I was inspired when the Focus Africa Global Concerns group challenged its members with the task of organising an event to raise funds for an AIDS charity in Swaziland and to promote awareness of both the needs and often-overlooked charms of Africa. I proposed the idea of a family fun run involving both campuses, which soon grew into ‘I am a Young Hero.’ Over the course of a few months, the event grew from a few ideas on a piece a paper to a successful charity run. Through the planning process, our group developed effective teamwork along with communication and management skills while striving to reach our goal. We learned the importance of commitment and have grown to understand the energy and effort needed to create a successful event. This experience not only allowed me to develop as a leader and push myself, but also to discover the power in taking an active role to pursue change.
The run was open to all members of our UWCSEA community from both campuses. We had over 200 participants including students, staff and parents, about one quarter coming from Dover Campus to join in the event. The run proved to be a perfect opportunity to bring our campuses together to foster College unity, while also building community spirit as a new school at East Campus. We were able to unite as one College and make an impact while taking a step towards shaping a better environment. Our event slogan, ‘A drop of sweat for a drop of water’ expresses the impact we can have on the world in helping communities to meet their basic needs. Our group raised $3,100, which we can proudly send off to the Young Heroes programme. But we also underestimated how truly rewarding the final outcome would feel. Not only did we accomplish our key goal of contributing to the efforts in Swaziland, but we also created an atmosphere that brought students, staff and families together to make a difference. With the ambition of making this run an annual event and a new UWCSEA tradition, we hope ‘I am a Young Hero’ will continue to build community spirit throughout the College.
Teachers supporting teachers in Cambodia very young teachers at Chumkriel. They are just out of university. The workshops are very important because they help my teachers to make their lessons interesting.” The impact on the participating teachers is realised not only when they return to their classrooms, but also over the course of the training. Primary School teacher, Nicole Tripp, said, “It took the better part of the morning for them to get comfortable and have fun with the activities. By lunch they were laughing, admitting mistakes and asking great questions.” When Margot Marks, Primary School service coordinator, began visiting Cambodia four years ago to identify Global Concerns partners for East Campus, she was moved by the dedication of the teachers she encountered, particularly at IndoChina Starfish Foundation (ISF). In talking with Kate Griffin, ISF’s country manager in Cambodia, she also quickly recognised that many of the teachers had limited training and little or no access to professional development or further education. Margot saw in these circumstances an opportunity to give back—teacher to teacher. She volunteered to visit classrooms to work with individual ISF teachers and their students. From there, the simple idea of teachers supporting teachers began to grow. Over the next three years, Margot and fellow UWCSEA teachers visited ISF over school holidays, first working individually with the teachers in specific curricular areas such as art, music and mathematics and later offering group workshops. With each trip, our teachers gained insights into how to improve the workshops as well as valuable learning and reflection on their own pedagogy. When the Kuma Cambodia School was preparing to open in May last year, their teachers joined the training session at ISF. By bringing together teachers from two NGOs, not only did more
teachers gain valuable training, but they also benefited from connecting with and learning from other Cambodian teachers and NGOs. This synergy struck Margot as an opportunity to further expand the programme. In planning four weekend trainings during the 2012/2013 academic year, she reached out to East Campus’ four other NGO partners in Cambodia (Green Umbrella, Epic Arts, Green Gecko and Chumkriel Language Centre) to find out about their teachers’ needs. As with ISF and Kuma, they welcomed the opportunity for professional learning for their teachers, and the teachers were eager to learn new strategies for engaging their students. At this year’s first weekend training, what was once one-onone volunteering had grown into a programme serving 36 teachers from six NGOs. Kate then connected Margot with NEP (NGO Educational Partners), a network of NGOs providing education services across Cambodia. Through NEP, many more NGOs have expressed interest in sending teachers to the programme. By the fourth training of 2012/2013 in early June, there were 86 participants from 15 different NGOs, including some who travelled up to eight hours by bus to attend. Thy, from Chumkriel Language Centre (linked with Kampot Khmer GC), talks about the importance of the programme for their teachers: “I have
Primary School teacher, Roxanne Walker, appreciates the opportunity to support fellow teachers. “I think this is a good example of paying things forward. We are extremely fortunate to work where we do and have all the opportunities we have for professional development … Sharing teaching strategies and ideas is one way to help the teachers from Cambodia improve their own teaching. Leading a workshop helps you reflect on your own practices.” The programme’s growth and development has been possible thanks to the partnership with ISF, financial support from the Staff Fund and the commitment of time and resources by the UWCSEA teachers. The teacher trainers must commit to leading at least two of the weekend trainings so they have an opportunity to learn and adapt from their first experience. Plans are in place for four weekend sessions in 2013/2014—two focused on language learning and two on mathematics. Margot aims to accommodate 100 teachers in each session, offering participants six different workshops. To do so, she hopes to identify individuals or companies interested in sponsoring some of the programme costs. Through collaboration and commitment, the programme will continue to make a difference—teacher to teacher. 23
Special Olympics Singapore Aquatics and UWCSEA Dover Phoenix Swim team From articles written by Gary Tan (Head Coach) and Sancha Hutchinson (parent and volunteer) The UWCSEA Dover Phoenix swim team started the year with the ‘two Cs’ Community and Competitiveness clearly identified as their main goals. And they were off to a good start with two invitational swim meets that raised funds for their adopted Global Concern ‘A Light For Sri Lanka’ and their adopted local charity, the Special Olympics Aquatic Programme. However, with the focus on community, the team was looking for greater involvement with a local partner through more than fundraising. This was the catalyst for the relationship with the Special Olympic Singapore Aquatics Club. The resulting Special Olympics Aquatics pilot programme allowed our students, coaches and parents the
opportunity to coach athletes with special needs. Following an introductory session conducted by the Special Olympics (SO) coaches for the UWCSEA swim team coaches and volunteers, work started to enhance the SO athletes’ techniques and tactics in a supportive learning environment. The Saturday morning sessions provided the SO swimmers the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, learn new skills and develop friendships. The sessions with the seven athletes from the SO aquatics squad were held during the weekly training schedule. Some of the SO athletes are part of organisations which UWCSEA works with in the local service programme, including MINDS and APSN (Chao Yang).
The programme culminated in the Dover swimming pool on Saturday, 1 June as the Aquatics events for the National Special Olympics were held with the help of over 80 volunteers. Nineteen organisations sent athletes, including one from the Philippines and one from Malaysia. After a year of Saturday mornings spent in the pool coaching the athletes, we are proud to say that this project is still going strong due to the support of the students, parents and coaches. And while the UWCSEA volunteers were giving the SO swimmers the chance to reach their potential, something special was happening in the pool. The camaraderie and friendship that developed between the coaches and swimmers was evident, and the learning went both ways.
Community Be the change you want to see in the world
Lee Hysan Foundation Scholarship
By Libby Orr Communications Manager UWCSEA Foundation
Towards the end of last academic year, Tim Davies, History teacher and Head of College and Local Service at the Dover Upper School, took a phone call from a friend who wanted to explore the idea of scholarships for students from ethnic minority groups in Hong Kong. Recent changes in the access to educational opportunities in Hong Kong have meant that it has become harder for students from ethnic minorities to gain access to high-quality secondary and post-secondary education.
The Budden Initiative
The Budden Initiative was established at the start of this academic year, through the UWCSEA Foundation, by Andy and Mei Budden, current parents and long-time supporters of UWCSEA. The initiative sponsors student-led projects that put UWCSEA’s mission and ethos into practice and make a difference to the College and/or the wider community. The first project to benefit from funding was construction of a composting area within the Dover Campus grounds. Put together by Grade 11 students Jochem Janssens, Siddharth Panandiker, William Sandlund, Alexander Smit, Antoine Vandenborre and Michael van der Mark, the project struck a chord with Andy Budden. “We had some really well thought out and articulated proposals, but we liked the fact that this idea would tackle environmental issues and potentially bring about a permanent change in waste management that had the potential to impact a large part of the Dover Campus community.” Since January, the students have worked with the Facilities Team to put their proposal into practice, identifying a location and, keen to make use of available resources, scouring the Mathematics Block building site for suitable rubble. In late February, the group began collecting vegetable and fruit peelings from Sodexo and, 50 kilograms of peelings later, the composting
programme was born. This will be extended to include planter boxes and a Community Herb Garden. “We saw the Budden Initiative as a fantastic opportunity to put what we have learned at UWCSEA into action and begin addressing a real concern— the amount of waste we produce. We are passionate about protecting the environment and promoting sustainability. This project allows us to educate others about where food comes from and make much better use of the waste we produce, so that it reaps benefits for our community,” explains Billy Sundland when asked why the group chose to focus on composting. Andy and Mei Budden are delighted that their initiative received such an enthusiastic response from the students: “We are firm believers in the UWCSEA mission, and we love the diversity in the College community. Our aim is to demonstrate what can be achieved when a diverse group of students comes together to share a common purpose that can enrich the broader UWCSEA community.”
Fast forward 12 months, and the UWCSEA Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of the Lee Hysan Foundation (LHF) Scholarship, with the objective to create long-term benefits to students of significant promise and potential from the ethnic minority community in Hong Kong. The LHF Scholarship will provide 100% support for two students from Hong Kong to join the Foundation IB programme and subsequently the full two-year IB Diploma course at UWCSEA. Initially, support will be for two scholarship students to start at Dover Campus in August 2013. Two additional scholars will then start in August 2014 and August 2015. A private family foundation established in Hong Kong in 1973, the LHF actively supports meaningful and impactful charity initiatives in Hong Kong, covering various sectors including education, culture, environment and health and social welfare. The goal for both LHF and UWCSEA is to develop a long-term relationship which has the ability to transform not only the lives of scholars but also those of their family, community and country.
Proud woman standing By Anthony Skillicorn Head of Service East Campus Hearing Australian Olympian Steven Bradbury explain recently that it was perseverance, focus, dedication and hard work over many years that got him to the position where he was able, at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002, to be the ‘last man standing’ and thereby win the gold medal took me back to a proud moment on a trip to Cambodia over the Chinese New Year break in February. There we were delighted to bear witness to another story of overcoming all obstacles to fulfil a lifelong ambition by a member of the UWCSEA community. The ‘proud woman standing’ in the front of an Angkor Air flight was none other than Srey Leak Peov who was a teacher assistant in the Infant School, working closely with Chris Fensom and Kathryn McKenna in 2007. As a small child, Srey Leak moved from rural Cambodia to Phnom Penh in search of a better life and ended up as a rag picker on the dumps of Cambodia’s
Srey Leak came to UWCSEA, lived in Senior House and attended French and English lessons with students far younger than she. In return, she helped as a Teacher Assistant in K1. There she won the hearts of the students and many parents, but returning to Cambodia brought her face to face with deep-rooted prejudices, which she would once again have to overcome. In Cambodia, some people view a young woman returning from a job overseas with suspicion—a situation that is further aggravated if she does not have a husband with financial means in tow. Choosing to live independently can contribute to slanderous assumptions, and Srey Leak had to stand up for her rights as a woman and an independent individual. Srey Leak got a position as a ground staff member of an airline, but was resented for having contacts in Singapore. A positive break came when she married and later had a lovely daughter. However, she had still not achieved her goal. The long-awaited opportunity finally came when her daughter was old enough to be left in the care of her mother-in-law, long enough to allow a return flight to Siem Reap or Ho Chi Minh City. We do not know who was more proud or excited when the Angkor Air flight to Siem Reap took off on 12 February and the immaculately presented and eloquent flight attendant was able to instruct two very emotional former colleagues to fasten their seatbelts.
capital. Rescued by the French NGO Pour un Sourire d’Enfant, she was sent to school where her strength and talent were recognised. A UWC Atlantic alumnus identified her potential and recognised that the most effective way for Srey Leak to realise her ambition of becoming a flight attendant would be to improve her English and French. 26
After 26 years at UWCSEA, Anthony (Skilly) and Thea Skillicorn are leaving the College. They leave an incredible legacy of dedicated service, as well as friendship to innumerable staff and students. From (the former) Senior House to the German Department to service, Global Concerns, Initiative for Peace and beyond, they have each contributed far more than can be named and will be deeply missed. We wish them well as they begin the next chapter in Berlin.
More ways to make By Danny O’Connor Vice Principal, High School East Campus If Kurt Hahn were still alive I’m sure he would have marked the occasion by hiring a boat and embarking on the 6,000-mile journey by sea from Singapore to Cardiff. However, given the ever-present pressures of the IB Diploma programme, the UWCSEA delegation to the UWC International Congress took a more direct route with Singapore Airlines, and a small team of staff and students including Amukelani (Amu) and Stein from East Campus and Rikka and Louise from Dover Campus travelled to UWC Atlantic College. The UWC International Congress is held every six years, and this time took place from 21–23 February at Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium. Focusing on the impact the UWC movement has, the theme for the 2013 congress was
Never give up Steven Bradbury, the first Australian Winter Olympic Gold Medallist, made a special visit to the College recently to talk to students on East Campus. Steven was dubbed the ‘Last Man Standing’ in a speed skating final that captivated the world in Salt Lake City in 2002. Cambodian scholar, Kimheang Chham, shares the inspiration she found from Steven and how his story of hard work and perseverance resonates with her own. By Kimheang Chham Grade 9 East Campus On my wall there’s now a poster that says, “How much do you want it?” and “Never give up!” I’ve heard these phrases in videos on YouTube, but since hearing the inspirational talk by Steven Bradbury, the phrases have stuck in my mind and are pushing me to succeed.
more impact on more people ‘more ways to make more impact on more people.’ Almost 300 people from all over the world used the three-day meeting to explore and debate issues of sustainability, diversity, resourcing and technology. The incoming chair of UWC International, Sir John Daniel, while praising the strengths of the movement, cast a critical eye to the future. He highlighted two areas in which he saw potential for investment to further the impact of UWC beyond its current scope—one was the expansion of the ‘whole school model’ and the other the use of technology to extend access to a UWC education. Reflecting on our own position within the UWC movement, this was heartening. The ‘whole school’ model of UWCSEA is arguably the best model to ensure a sustainable future for the UWC movement, as it exposes students to an education aligned with
His message is very powerful and I would love to thank him. On the day that he spoke on East Campus, my name was one of five that he called to go up on stage. We had to do a challenge that was similar to a squat, but you couldn’t move and you had to put your hands behind your back. You then had to sit on an invisible chair with your legs at 90 degrees, and my thighs hurt incredibly. At a certain point we got to jump up and relax, but had to immediately return to the same position. My brain and my thighs told me to give up a few times, but just before I did Steven told the audience not to give up if you want something. His words went into my heart and told my brain and thighs, “You can do this, don’t give up. Try your best and if you really can’t handle it, just fall, that’s not a big deal.” A moment later, Steven said that there were three winners.
the UWC mission and values from a young age. “Once you gather at such a forum, you realise that UWC is not this hypothetical dream that we constantly try to achieve and constantly convince ourselves that we are making a difference. It begins to be something you cannot afford to let go of, because it convinces a refugee that they have the power to go back to their country and influence change; it lives on no matter what age, race or ideological boundaries divide us.” Louise Okatch, Grade 11, Dover “It’s unbelievable how much happened in just five days, but I think what I took from the experience was that when young people inspire each other, great things happen.” Amukelani Muyanga, Grade 11, East
Danny O’Connor will commence as the High School Principal on Dover Campus in August 2013. He joined UWCSEA East in 2011 as part of the High School leadership team. From New Zealand, he began his teaching career in Auckland before spending three years teaching in the UK. He then moved to Hong Kong, where he taught for 10 years working at a large international school as their Head of Senior School and IB Coordinator. He has a Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Management, and believes passionately in the value of a holistic education based on strong core values. He is a keen sportsman and enjoys swimming, cycling and coaching rugby. Danny is married to Alison and is a proud father of two boys, Luke and Jack.
I was very proud that I held up and did my best even though I couldn’t really walk afterwards. He’s an amazing guy and has had a big effect on me and inspired me to do better. We also have a common story that I’d like to share. When he won the Olympic Gold Medal, many people said it was luck, which was true in part. I am one of four Cambodian scholars at East Campus and many people in my hometown said it was luck that I got the scholarship because my English was very poor compared to the others and I accepted that. However, there’s one thing that Steven and I did that not many saw. We worked hard and tried our best. People who really understood and supported me were my family, which was also true for Steven. Overall, I would like to say “Never give up;
fight through difficulty if you want something. You might not get it the first time, but you definitely will; don’t let anyone or anything stop you.”
Dunia is published by UWC South East Asia. Reproduction in any manner in English or any other language is prohibited without written consent. Please send feedback to email@example.com. Editors: Sinéad Collins, Kate Woodford and Courtney Carlson Design: Gregory Parker Photography: Ryan Bollhorn and members of the UWCSEA community 070COM-1213
Printed on 100% recycled paper with environmentally friendly inks. UWCSEA Dover is registered by the CPE CPE Registration No. 197000825H CPE Registration Period 18 July 2011–17 July 2017 Charity Registration No. 00142 UWCSEA East is registered by the CPE CPE Registration No. 200801795N CPE Registration Period 10 March 2011–9 March 2017 Charity Registration No. 002104 MICA (P) 119/04/2013
Grade 5 Exhibition Lend a Hand Grade 5 Exhibition 15–16 May 2013 UWCSEA East’s ‘Lend a Hand’ Grade 5 Exhibition featured students’ research on how ‘service organisations are established to help communities.’ The exhibition marks the culmination of the Primary School academic programme as students showcase their learning through presentations, displays and even video public service announcements. Projects explored issues such a human trafficking, empowerment of girls and education for children with disabilities.