A bi-annual magazine for the Hong Kong Academy community.
ISTA at HKA by Laura Mitchell Hong Kong Academy has a long tradition of theatrical arts. Long before we had a beautiful theatre, the school’s plays, workshops and drama classes were an integral part of the curriculum and the life of the community. In the Primary School, children looked forward to seeing, and eventually taking part in, the Grade 4 play. In the Secondary School, plays have featured prominently in the annual calendar and over time, productions have become increasingly student-led. Theatre at HKA has been important for parents, too, as a way to support our students and spend time together as a community. John Altman performing at HKA. Over the years, HKA has been an active member of the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA). ISTA, a registered non-profit organisation in the UK with a global presence, offers a wide variety of theatre arts experiences around the world in ways that are highly aligned with HKA’s mission and which support the IB curriculum. ISTA believes that the future depends on confident, internationally-minded, collaborative and culturally literate young people who are empowered to engage with and change the world responsibly. HKA students have taken part in ISTA events here in Hong Kong, as nearby as Guangzhou and as far away as London. In 2017, HKA had the opportunity to become the local home for an ISTA Performing Arts Academy. HKA’s Director of Performing Arts, Anne Drouet, founder of the first ISTA Academy in Shanghai, serves as the coordinator for this programme as part of her responsibilities at HKA. HKA Secondary Students and sisters, Sonya Langley, Grade 8 and Eva Langley, Grade 11. The programme is already off to a great start with many exciting events, including several days with music legend John Altman. While on campus, John delivered masterclasses on Improvisation and Composition and Arrangement. He also performed live with students and faculty to the delight of an audience of parents, students and friends. During the evening concert, Anne interviewed John about his many decades in the music business, offering further insights into the world of the creative arts. Looking ahead, many more workshops are on the schedule, including a March weekend festival bringing together the two sister academies in Shanghai and Hong Kong to celebrate ISTA’s 40th birthday. Later this spring, HKA also anticipates a programme of workshops and masterclasses with the directing team of Evita and The Sound of Music world tour productions. For more information, visit www.ista-hongkong.com. John Altman on sax, Anne Drouet accompanying on piono, with Bianca De Leon, Grade 11, singing. 14
READY TO LEARN! by Maggie Taggart How do we help students to be calm, alert and ready for learning? Here is a look at how we support student self-regulation at HKA. Many of us have heard about the ‘marshmallow experiment’ from Stanford University in the early 1970s that cast light on the importance of self-regulation and control. Preschoolers were promised an additional marshmallow only if they could wait 15 minutes to eat the one they were initially given. The preschoolers who were able to wait 15 minutes for the additional marshmallow demonstrated a higher ability to cope with frustrations in adolescence, and also had better academic outcomes on standardised testing. 3ren – Savasana “3ren is trying out something new this year. After lunch/recess, students come back to the room and lay in ‘Savasana’ (a fully conscious pose usually at the end of yoga practice). Cool, moist towels soaked in essential oils are gently placed on their foreheads. During this time, students enjoy calm relaxing music and are led through a guided visualisation or are asked to practise some sort of mindfulness (listening, breathing, digesting). Students have found this experience to be really helpful in calming, cooling, refocusing for the afternoon.” — Neha Pall, 3ren Teacher 3ai – Mindfulness Coloring 3ai begins some mornings doing mindfulness coloring and listening to calming music. Students have shared some insightful feedback, reporting that mindfulness colouring “helps you get relaxed and more ready for class and makes them feel “comfy”. One student said, “It’s very calm. Sometimes I like using a lot of colour and sometimes just a little.” Recent research has also shown that self-regulation builds the foundation for a child’s long-term physical, psychological, behavioural and educational well-being. In 2013, Stuart Shanker, a research professor and advisor on early childhood development, wrote about the tendency to confuse self-regulation with discipline or self-control. Self-regulation is about much more than mere discipline. Self-regulation is one’s ability to identify and modulate emotions and energy, control impulses and make thoughtful choices. Just as we tend to feel most comfortable when our thermostat is within a certain range, children also have a range or ‘zone’ in which they can best engage within their social and learning environments and cope with stressors. Students are continually developing their self-regulation throughout childhood. Supporting student self-regulation is an integral role of teachers as they create a physically and emotionally nurturing environment. References: Shanker, S. (2013). Calm, Alert and Happy. Shoda, Y., Mischel, W., & Peake, P. K. (1990). Predicting adolescent cognitive and self-regulatory competencies from preschool delay of gratification: Identifying diagnostic conditions. Developmental Psychology, 26(6), 978–986. 15