In the past six months, we witnessed and experienced a historical moment. The Covid-19 epidemic has disrupted the normality; it forced the YCIS Qingdao community to adapt ourselves to the extra-long home-based learning time. However, finally, we welcomed back the long-awaited campus life!
For YCIS Qingdao, providing a high-quality and rigorous online learning environment is the basis to ensure our students continue to learn and grow during this global event. The past e-learning months required not only parents to supervise their children's "home school," but also teachers to re-design their teaching methods – Students moved from desks to screens, and teachers became "online celebrities." Through e-learning YCIS Qingdao and our families have been more tightly connected, which let our community improve, to learn from each other and to join hands fighting with the epidemic.
Our Faithful Minds
In the beginning, it was a different challenge for our teachers and students of varying year levels, to shift all classes online. On the one hand, the knowledge that can be mastered through teachers’ demonstration and classroom activities needs to be realised through the internet. Also, the usage of electronic devices at home, requires our students to pay closer attention. All of these called for higher requirements of YCIS teachers, including curriculum planning, transferring courses and materials online, making the lessons more in line with the digital environment, and improving teaching skills to present more eye-catching contents.
To ensure the students continually receive a high-quality education, our Chinese and Western Co-Principals lead all academic departments to transfer those challenges into opportunities by designing a set of multi-dimensional teaching models. Of course, this is not an easy process, but YCIS educators devoted themselves to the "trial and error".
Transforming into a thoroughly "virtual" school has required strategic planning and adjustments for our academic team. For example, practical lab work has had to be pushed back, with topics that lend to more theoretical investigations, have been pushed forwards in the curriculum planning. Our blended e-learning progamme, moreover, benefits from having one centralised virtual learning environment: Microsoft Teams. The platform allows staff and students to meet live for lessons, record and playback video tutorials, interact in both synchronous and asynchronous discussion boards, interact with a virtual whiteboard, share, collate and edit files collaboratively, etc.
Meanwhile, the ingenuity of YCIS teachers ensured a balanced family life. With specially designed home-based activities, students found themselves with more healthy choices, spending more time together with family members instead of sitting all day long in front of their computer and iPad. We have successively launched activities including online PE Challenges, weekly family teamwork competition, and Project-Based Learning opportunities such as "Our Hearts are with Wuhan and China" initialled by the Chinese Department. These all have enriched the students' home life during the epidemic.
An Established Shool
In 1932, Madame Tsang Chor-hang established the first Yew Chung School. Our passionate founder held a profoundly advanced vision, which became the root of Yew Chung’s philosophy today. Over the past 88 years, Yew Chung educators have experienced multiple challenges. However, no matter the difficulties, we always firmly adhere to our all-rounded education and character formation. In the face of the crisis, a Community of Shared Future for Mankind has become more crucial, and Yew Chung educators will take the responsibility to raise globally competent and compassionate leaders with a servant’s heart, who aspire to, and act for, a better world.
“International citizen” is our expectation for every ECE, Primary, and Secondary student. At YCIS Qingdao, our members come from more than 30 countries and regions with their own language, culture, and educational background. The YCIS curriculum aims to ensure that all students are provided with opportunities to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible global citizens, and caring contributors, ready for their futures ahead. Therefore, beyond our balanced curriculum, we hold a variety of school events and clubs to broaden our students' horizons, strengthen parent-school relationships, and encourage our community members to grow together.
Yew Chung educators regard the Covid-19 as an opportunity to bring the community together. Facing these many challenges, teachers strive to ensure the quality of online teaching. Due to the closure of the border, many foreign teachers got stuck overseas. However, YCIS Qingdao teachers have foreseen this upcoming situation and got back to Qingdao in March, fully prepared themselves for the campus reopening.
The special time is also another chance for our international education practitioners to rethink. With the accelerated globalisation, high-quality international education should be a blended programme of both the local and the world. We shall take root in the present as well as look forward to the future. And we shall not only train our students, but also highlight the importance of teacher training and parent workshops, to establish a truly international and diversified school community.
At present, the global situation has been changing dramatically due to the epidemic. It is indeed challenging to provide professional and efficient learning opportunities, especially in a future full of uncertainty. But one thing will remain the same; that is Yew Chung educators’ constant commitment to education.