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Mr Carl Mincher - Weekly Update 19/02/16

19 February 2016

Spring Serenade


Music is such an important aspect of life and no more so than here at AP2. Wonderful student and teacher musicians can often be heard playing as we walk the school. Our formal musical events are amongst the greatest pleasures in school. We have only to think back to our Christmas extravaganza or more recently to our IGCSE Students Performance Evening which were amazing.

The Music Department now present the Spring Serenade for our enjoyment.  Come along and join us for a wide variety of music including performances from all the AP2 ECA musical ensembles, from Concert Band to School of Rock, Chamber Choir to Jazz Sextet and also the first performance of our Irish Folk Group.  Repertoire will include music from Tchaikovsky to Ellington and so I am sure there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Read more here…


BIS Enrichment Talks back by popular demand

 As some of you may remember, in previous years BIS has run a program of enrichment talks for students. These talks were led by teachers, and also parents. The aim was to engage students with big issues and influential ideas that go beyond their formal curriculum. It was also a platform for teaching staff to introduce the students to ideas which were important to them.

This year our sixth form students have called for the return of the enrichment talks and so by popular demand today saw the first of the 2016 programme.


Leading the programme Mr Gamwell, ICT, Computing and TOK teacher says ‘Hopefully it will aid students’ critical thinking and encourage them to engage with contemporary issues. They are also really thought-provoking and a great opportunity to learn from other staff about areas they are interested in.’ 

Some examples of the talk topics and titles from the past are:

Free will and determinism.

Language and Power

Evolution: The history and evidence

Do we ever really learn from the mistakes of the past?

Philosophy:  An Introduction to Philosophy

The East Sea conflict

 Mr Gamwell's opening talk for the 2016 programme was an enlightened journey through the field of behavioural economics.

When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're in control. We think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we?

Inspired by studies of predictable irrationality he led the student  and teacher audience through our thinking around the decision making process,  illuminating the consequences for us and the world at large, of us being so much more irrational than we think.


He shared results from research which illuminated the process by which we make decisions and explained why so many end up as bad or irrational. He explained with vivid examples how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.
Students were animated in their engagement with lively reactions to the interactive aspects of the talk.


By the end of the talk students were demonstrating their understanding of how to move from the irrational to rational decision making. Our students hopefully left with a clearer sense of how to recognise their own innate irrationality and so navigate the choices we all face every day with a more rational approach.


 This year’s programme continues with:




The Mind-Body Problem

 Mr Coy

26 February 2016

Free will and determinism

 Ms Binnington

04 March 2016

The role of Faith in Science

 Mr  Lambert

11 March 2016


 Mr Luke

18 March 2016

The importance of Failure

 Mr McLoughlin

25 March 2016

…and more to follow.

If you are interested in delivering an Enrichment Talk in the future please contact Mr Gamwell danielgamwell@bisvietnam.com


University Fairs – save the date

March is going to be a very busy month for our senior students and the College and University Guidance team…

 Colleges That Change Lives Tour 

On Tuesday 1st March we’re hosting the Colleges That Change Lives [CTCL] involving 16 selective liberal arts colleges will be on campus and we’re organising a day of events:

 2.00 – 2.40pm :  Private audience for our Year 12 students

3.15 – 5.15pm :    All BIS community and other international schools in D2

6.00-7.30pm :      Open Event to the all other students and parents 

This is the first event of its type in Saigon and it is a real privilege for our students to be able to benefit from the expertise available . My thanks to the College and University Guidance team for their part in securing the event for us.

On Monday 21st March we’re hosting the second UK University Fair for International Schools. We started this last year with 12 universities visiting BIS. So far this year we have 25 universities on the list with the potential of more to follow.

The programme for this event:

2.00 - 2.40pm :  Private audience for our Year 12 students

3.15 - 5.15pm :  All BIS community and other international schools.

UK University Fair for International Schools March 2016

Read more here... 


International Award

‘Challenge yourself and discover the world around you’  says the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.


We said our farewells to the Year 10 International Award students earlier today as they embarked upon their practice expedition, we certainly expect them to face challenge and discover more of a beautiful part of the world as they travel to their expedition base in Kontum.


The Award provides students with the skills and experiences that are consistently recognised by employers and educational institutions worldwide. At the end of the programme our students will gain a globally recognised international accreditation. They will also have enjoyed many shared experiences that really help them gain independence as they have to plan, look after themselves  and become much more self-reliant. http://www.intaward.org/

Rube Goldberg

The 2016 Nord Anglia Education Global Challenge focuses on STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. It involves students from across our whole school collaborating and working together to build the biggest, most exciting and innovative RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE.


Student and teacher imaginations across our 3 campuses have been ignited around the prospect of this international challenge.

Groups of students have been gathering, mesmerized by the videos of Rube Goldberg machines currently been shown on screens around the school - our student's curiosity is certainly raised.

AP2 is already seeing the arrival of some very unusual deliveries following the call for interesting unwanted objects and items of junk. Read more here to find out what will happen to all this junk and how students from TX, AP1 and AP2 will collaborate to build what we all expect to be an amazing feat of design and engineering. Read more...


Festival of Drama 

2016 marks 400 years since Shakespeare’s death and so we celebrate the work of the Bard by making his plays the focus and starting point of the 2016 FOBISIA Drama Festival.

Yesterday a group of enthusiastic Y7,8,9, and 10 students departed for Brunei to take part in the festival.

 Inspired by both the original touring style of early Shakespearean Theatre and the modern touring style of The Globe Theatre students will experience what it is like to be part of a Shakespearean ‘travelling’ company.  They will work in groups with students from other schools; each group will be exploring a different Shakespeare play. Over the course of the three days, they will participate in a variety of workshops which will equip them with skills and knowledge to perform a final presentation based on their play. Macbeth, Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tempest, Othello, Twelth Night, Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet will all be the inspiration for our students’ work during the festival.


Valentines revisited

This week we opened with a reflection on a day that has become more widely celebrated in Vietnam, Valentines Day. All students were entertained and intrigued by our team of Head Students who had prepared a Valentines assembly with an International flavour and several surprising twists.

   Whole school assembly4

Head Boy, Hikaru Hotta writes:

In our Valentine’s Day assembly, we aimed to encompass numerous aspects of the event—cultural, biological, friend and parental relationships—to broaden everyone’s understanding of what role love plays in our daily lives. The comic relief offered by JK Kazzi, our Deputy Head Boy, aimed to introduce what many people think Valentine’s Day is about. Gabby’s talk about how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in different cultures exploring  how one event is celebrated (or not celebrated) differently amongst cultures and that there are many ways in which the day is celebrated.  Hikaru delved deeper into the biological aspects of love to touch on the evolutionary theory behind love and the hormones and neurotransmitters associated with it. Finally, Wen Xin discussed how Valentines Day is not just a day to celebrate couples but also a day to celebrate love between great friends and, of course, family. She also aimed to convey how love for the people around us ties into a stronger BIS community. 

Thorough our assembly, we aimed to demonstrate that there are multiple levels of understanding that we can apply to almost anything, including Valentine’s Day! I hope we showed that it’s worth taking a look past the roses and chocolates to explore the multiple perspectives of the day and love itself.

Helmets for kids

Yesterday, was the first of our two Helmets for Kids fairs taking place this school year. Students from our community partner, Huynh Van Ngoi Government School, came for a fun afternoon of activities based around road and helmet safety. The events are designed and run by Year 9 students as part of their ILS programme. Read more and watch Year 9 video here…

Helmets for kids 1

Helmets for kids 2


Can I also take the opportunity to remind all parents that we expect all of our students to wear appropriate helmets when on bicycle or when on motorbike, travelling to or from the school.

Warm Clothing Drive


Warm Clothing Drive - You Can Help! 19th – 21st February 

Record-low temperatures in the northernmost region of Vietnam, where vulnerable children and the elderly live without heaters and hot water, are at risk of illness and possibly death.

Donate warm clothing* to Sapa O’Chau who will ensure equitable distribution through schools and village leaders. *Long pants, shirts, jackets, sweaters, shoes, blankets, scarves, hats, gloves, & toys welcomed.

We have been collecting warm clothes to donate this week. If you can please give any warm clothes donations to Snap this weekend. https://www.facebook.com/TheSnapCafe/


Monthly PTG meeting

During this month's meeting our discussions ranged from the school music curriculum and musical events to overseas opportunities for students to the recent year group trips and community service programmes.  An interest in arrangements for FOBISIA events and setting arrangements in subjects led to some lively and enjoyable discussion.

Updates on school activities recent and in the near future were added to by Maria Qamar, our PTG Chair, who reported back on the success of the Mai Tam Tet party and the new parent’s orientation tour, it was great to welcome one of our new parents to the meeting.

The PTG Cheese and Wine evening will take place at The Boathouse on March 3rd. Tickets are available from Susan Wilson (susanwilson@bisvietnam.com ) at AP2 Reception.

Our next PTG meeting will be held on March 11th and along with the normal school updates will also include a presentation from Hannah Moon our Korean Liaison Officer.


Thank you for reading this update, have a wonderful weekend,

Carl Mincher

Head Teacher