During these visits families are always keen to know what makes us special and what makes us different from the other schools in Shanghai. Again and again one aspect we emphasise is our personalised approach to learning; recognising each child as unique and ensuring that we tailor teaching and learning to ensure that every child is empowered to reach their goals.
Of course this is easy to say but what does this actually mean in practice? Teaching is a bit like gardening. You have a group of individual specimens with their own precise needs and qualities and our job is to get them to flourish to the greatest possible extent. But, as with gardening, it is a complex business and lots of factors and approaches have to be taken to get it right. It is a constant challenge to ensure that the needs of every child are met and so our skilled staff are always working hard to get to know the children really well, to plan appropriately differentiated lessons, and to both apply well-used effective strategies and also try new ones.
Tailoring learning to individual needs can take many forms. It can mean grouping students in different ways with different tasks and different expected outcomes. It can mean providing support or extension tasks or asking different kinds of questions. It can mean directing students to produce responses at different levels of sophistication and it can mean the teacher or learning assistant working intensely with a small group or an individual. It is not one approach but rather the aggregation of the hundreds of subtly different interactions that teachers have with children according to their level of attainment and progress. Pushing, prodding, nudging, stretching…slow, subtle, nuanced, a step at a time, working around the class from lesson to lesson. It is not a science or a quick fix but something teachers work away at constantly in every lesson, every week and every school year. If you want to know more about our personalised approach to learning, do speak with your child’s teachers – they are the experts.
As well as visitors looking at joining our own school, over the coming months we will be hosting a number of information events for Chinese families interested in our new sister school which will be opening in August – The Nord Anglia Chinese International School. This new school will offer an international style education to Chinese nationals and we already know that there is huge interest and many families have signed up for these sessions. These information sessions will take place in The Gallery and Stage 1 so please don’t get a surprise if you see some large groups – you haven’t missed a performance or assembly.
Thanks as always for your continued support and do keep checking the school calendar to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the great events and exciting learning happening over the coming weeks.
Niki Meehan, Vice Principal