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Education Is Not the Filling of A Pail, but the Lighting of A Fire

11 januari 2017

A warm welcome back to all of our BISS families and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year.  I hope that you have enjoyed your holiday and are well rested, particularly if you have travelled out of Shanghai to visit your friends and relatives. 

  • BISS

There are many new families that have joined our community this week and I know that you will be welcomed by other parents and students at the school through the opportunities on offer at BISS.  It will not take you long to settle in to your new lives in Shanghai!

It’s the start of a new year and a new term and I feel that the quote from Plutarch above is relevant as we refocus our efforts on the learning our pupils undertake in the weeks ahead.  Plutarch continues in his train of thought on education, suggesting that “the mind does not require filling like a bottle, but rather, like wood, it only requires kindling to create in it an impulse to think independently and an ardent desire for the truth.”

Teaching staff have been busy at BISS since the start of the week, preparing for the term ahead.  It is a relatively short half-term until the Chinese New Year at the end of this month, but there are lots of activities planned for our students, both within and outside the classroom.  

Next week also sees the start of our Extra Curricular Activities (ECA) programme with swimming, volleyball, football and boot camp fitness as just some of the options for sports, whilst rock, show band, orchestra and music technology are offered by the Music department.  Film Club, K-Pop, Art of the 20th Century, and Rainforest Rescue are also on offer.  There are many languages and revision classes available and I strongly encourage all students to be ambitious and challenge themselves to try something new.  It’s an excellent opportunity to meet other students across year groups that you would not usually work with at the school.  The focus on revision and support will be particularly important for our IGCSE and IB students as they focus strongly on the academic element in the next few months.  All pupils were working on holiday homework in the form of past papers in the last few weeks and the feedback that they receive on their progress should help inform their next steps in terms of revision and refinement.

This weekend sees our D1 basketball teams performing across Shanghai.  Our swimmers will be in Nanjing over the weekend on a residential visit and I wish them every success.

The Mandarin staff and students are currently planning different events in the classroom and activities across the school to celebrate the Chinese New Year and welcome in the Year of the Rooster.

Our Tanzania expedition begins next Tuesday – 29 students will be accompanied by Mr Van der Mynsbrugge, Ms Sharrock, Ms Selden and Ms Reen as they participate in what will become a truly memorable and personal experience for each member of the group.  We will receive regular updates on the progress that they make in their community action and explorations.

I very much look forward to seeing you at the school soon and wish you and your family a successful 2017 in Shanghai. 

Andrew Lancaster, Head of Secondary

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