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International School Parent Magazine - Summer 2019

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A-LEVELS<br />

A better choice<br />

than the IB?<br />

Flirt with some new<br />

foods this summer<br />

Hiking in<br />

Switzerland<br />

Explore this exciting<br />

landscape on foot<br />

ADVICE FROM<br />

IB EXPERTS<br />

Top Tips on getting<br />

the best start to<br />

the IB Diploma


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12<br />

46<br />

Contents<br />

05 Meet the Headteacher<br />

12 What makes the Inter-Community <strong>School</strong>’s Zurich<br />

(ICS) pre-school and kindergarten special?<br />

16 Hiking in Switzerland: the national pastime done right<br />

20 Helping Students and <strong>Parent</strong>s with Big Decisions<br />

22 Positive Education Some Lessons for Us All in<br />

Flourishing and Well-being!<br />

26 Help Your Teenager Learn from Failure<br />

30 The war of the Superbugs – time for a change in our<br />

antibiotic behaviour!<br />

33 Understanding and Supporting Gifted and Twice<br />

Exceptional Learners<br />

36 Extraordinary Answers to Improbable Questions<br />

about Switzerland - Part 2<br />

39 How international education can serve the African<br />

continent<br />

42 Non-employed parents<br />

46 Flirt with some new foods this summer!<br />

50 Retreat to Crete <strong>2019</strong><br />

52 A Levels – could they be a better choice than the IB?<br />

55 Top Tips to Help our Teens get the Best Start to the<br />

IB Diploma – Advice from IB Experts<br />

68 The case for learning etıquette<br />

60 Active <strong>Parent</strong>s, Active Children<br />

64 Swiss Group of <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>s – <strong>2019</strong> Annual<br />

Conference<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 3


Welcome to the <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2019</strong><br />

edition of <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

<strong>Parent</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>!<br />

This time of year is a period when many students are looking forward to an exciting summer following the<br />

gruelling exam season. Equally, lots of parents may be researching how to entertain their children over the<br />

long holidays.<br />

Luckily, there are so many fantastic places to go in Switzerland, and you can see a lot of them on foot for<br />

free. There’s no better way to spend a day as a family than to head off with a picnic in your rucksacks on<br />

a long hike. In this issue, we have a super article from an excellent resource for activities, Swiss Tourism,<br />

about hiking in Switzerland - including how to prepare, and options on where to hike. Websites like www.<br />

ballades.ch for the French-speaking part and www.wanderland.ch for the German-speaking part offer some<br />

truly breath-taking walking routes to try out. There are also many wonderful routes listed on the Swiss<br />

Tourism website, so make sure you check it out.<br />

The summer camps guide on our website (www.internationalschoolparent.com) has a huge variety of<br />

suggestions for day and residential camps in Switzerland and around the world.<br />

As usual, we have some great articles from educational experts in areas. We visited ISBerne to speak to<br />

Denise Coates at her wonderful school. Sandra Steiger looks at A-Levels when compared to the IB, and at<br />

the same time offers an excellent article on how to hit the ground running with the IB Diploma. Dr. Steve<br />

Sims is also on hand to offer his advice on how to help teenagers deal successfully with failure.<br />

We remain committed to the task of helping parents and children to make the most of the fantastic<br />

opportunities an education at an international school in Switzerland provides. I hope you have a fun and<br />

productive end to the term and a fantastic summer holiday.<br />

Work hard and be the best!<br />

Nick<br />

Nick Gilbert<br />

Editor & Publishing Director<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

Mobile + 41 787 10 80 91<br />

Email nick@internationalschoolparent.com<br />

Website www.internationalschoolparent.com<br />

Facebook facebook.com/internationalschoolparent<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 4


Valais is like no other – a paradise between heaven and earth. The majestic<br />

four-thousand-meter peaks not only create an impressive panorama, they also<br />

provide a unique setting in which to experience both summer and winter sports.<br />

Mouth-watering local specialties await in mountain restaurants and top hotels.<br />

And all the better if these can be enjoyed on a sunny terrace with breathtaking<br />

views of the scenic Valais mountains. visitvalais.ch


MEET THE<br />

HEADTEACHER<br />

Denise Coates - ISBerne<br />

Nick Gilbert, Editor of ISP <strong>Magazine</strong>, talks to Denise Coates, <strong>School</strong> Director at ISBerne and<br />

Lead Educator at the IB, who has worked in schools across the UK and Europe.<br />

What inspired you to become a<br />

teacher?<br />

I had an exceptional teacher, a Deputy<br />

Head of Primary <strong>School</strong>, who inspired<br />

me and demonstrated how education<br />

can transform people. When I went to<br />

university to study English Literature, I<br />

maintained my contact with the school, and<br />

returned to join classes and read with the<br />

students. Later, I decided I wanted to share<br />

my love of literature with secondary school<br />

students.<br />

My first job was as an English teacher<br />

in a school in Wales and from there I<br />

went to work in two different schools in<br />

Gloucestershire. I then moved to become a<br />

head of department in a school in Bristol.<br />

I joined international education when my<br />

family and I moved to Switzerland in 1998<br />

- I’ve been in Switzerland ever since and am<br />

proud to have Swiss citizenship.<br />

Have you applied skills and<br />

experience from teaching in British<br />

schools to international schools?<br />

I was part of a group setting up the<br />

secondary school at Haut Lac, in<br />

Switzerland. I put together the curriculum<br />

for English Language and Literature for<br />

the MYP programme and drew inspiration<br />

from my experience in the UK. However, I<br />

quickly realized that for the programme to<br />

have an international perspective I needed<br />

to review and revise the approach, the texts<br />

and the skills taught, to build intercultural<br />

understanding and multiple perspectives.<br />

“There’s a community feel here, so the<br />

students feel very comfortable and able to<br />

connect with the teachers, who are caring,<br />

compassionate and committed.”<br />

What have you learned from being<br />

a head teacher at an international<br />

school? What are your ambitions for<br />

students who graduate from ISBerne,<br />

and what characterises a graduating<br />

student?<br />

<strong>International</strong> schools are amazing at<br />

cultivating open-mindedness, intercultural<br />

awareness, and international mindedness.<br />

It’s incredibly important to celebrate<br />

similarities and differences in a global<br />

learning environment.<br />

I hope that our students are openminded,<br />

independent and confident<br />

learners and that they feel equipped to<br />

continue their learning journey beyond the<br />

school, in whatever shape that may take.<br />

Part of this is being able to make good<br />

choices for themselves.<br />

Other than this amazing building,<br />

what makes the learning environment<br />

here extra special?<br />

First of all, there’s a community feel here,<br />

so the students feel very comfortable and<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 6


able to connect with the teachers, who are<br />

caring, compassionate and committed.<br />

We have a very strong parent body,<br />

which puts a lot of energy into the<br />

school, organising a variety of events<br />

and welcoming new parents. We also<br />

have parent members on the board who<br />

represent the parents’ perspectives.<br />

We offer activities that build community,<br />

for example our ski and skate Fridays,<br />

which everybody looks forward to. Every<br />

Friday for eight weeks, we hire a private<br />

train and take our students, staff, and<br />

of course parents, if they want to come.<br />

Children in grades two and up go skiing,<br />

and we take our younger students ice<br />

skating locally. You can feel the atmosphere<br />

in the school really changes when the ski<br />

and skate season starts because it’s exciting<br />

for everybody!<br />

Switzerland is a beautiful country - it’s<br />

well structured, and organised, with an<br />

outstanding natural environment, which<br />

gives us the opportunity to do a lot of<br />

outdoor learning. We take advantage<br />

of host country languages and cultural<br />

possibilities, adding to the real-life learning<br />

experiences for our students in the local<br />

community. It’s also clean and safe.<br />

activities create a great community spirit<br />

because we can support each other and it<br />

brings us all together.<br />

Being in Berne, which is very central,<br />

with lovely premises and a new gym we<br />

are well placed to invite other schools to<br />

come to our campus. We are pleased to<br />

host various activities, professional<br />

development opportunities and sports<br />

competitions.<br />

How do you encourage children to do<br />

their best academically?<br />

The IB programmes give students agency<br />

to choose the areas in which they want<br />

to inquire. This motivates our students<br />

to learn. In addition, our teachers are<br />

exceptionally well trained and get to<br />

know the students really well because the<br />

community is relatively small. This helps<br />

our teachers to support and encourage the<br />

students to focus on their strengths and<br />

specific areas for development, for example,<br />

through setting targets for growth.<br />

How many people can you have in the<br />

school and how many students are<br />

there right now?<br />

At the moment we have 330 students and<br />

we can hold around 400. About 50 per cent<br />

of our students come from families working<br />

at international companies and about 30<br />

per cent come from those associated with<br />

embassies.<br />

Are there any other extracurricular<br />

activities that you’re developing aside<br />

from ski and skate Fridays?<br />

We run the full spectrum of after school<br />

activities and sports as you would find<br />

at any other international school. These<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 7


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 8


How do you personally make the most<br />

of your free time in Switzerland?<br />

I like to enjoy the mountains, both in<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> and in the snow. I live at 750<br />

meters in the Canton of Fribourg, so I<br />

do have a fair amount of snow at home,<br />

which means that I can step outside and<br />

snowshoe in the countryside and forest. I<br />

also love to read, go to the theatre and to<br />

art exhibitions.<br />

Tell us about your involvement in the<br />

IB programmes outside school?<br />

One of my main criteria for joining<br />

ISBerne was because it has three of the four<br />

IB programmes, so is a ‘continuum school’.<br />

The board is very supportive of the work I<br />

do in the IB arena and I think it was one of<br />

the reasons I was appointed.<br />

I am an IB Lead Educator for Africa,<br />

Europe and the Middle East, which means<br />

that I undertake projects for the IB on<br />

a regular basis. My current IB roles are<br />

training workshop leaders, site visitors and<br />

consultants as well as engaging in quality<br />

control for IB workshop events. I am also a<br />

chair for synchronized visits involving the<br />

IB, NEASC and CIS. Recently I was in the<br />

Hague for a week as I was invited to join<br />

an IB team to redevelop the IB ‘Head of<br />

<strong>School</strong>’ workshop in line with the new IB<br />

Standards and Practices.<br />

I bring all the learning from my IB<br />

activities back to my role as <strong>School</strong><br />

Director at ISBerne. This contributes to<br />

our understanding and appreciation of the<br />

new IB Standards and Practices, enabling<br />

us to embed them into the workings of the<br />

school.<br />

What do parents particularly like<br />

about ISBerne? How do you help new<br />

parents and new families when they<br />

arrive at ISBerne to integrate them<br />

and make sure they are happy?<br />

I think that parents feel that we have a<br />

committed staff and that their children<br />

are well cared for and provided for<br />

academically. We look at the pathways for<br />

each student, as the student goes through<br />

the school, to ensure that they are making<br />

progress and achieving well. We support<br />

students in making good choices for their<br />

future.<br />

The parents also appreciate the fact that<br />

they are encouraged to be involved in the<br />

school. When they arrive as new parents,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 9


our <strong>Parent</strong> Teacher Committee welcomes<br />

them and invites them to events. We have<br />

an induction day for new families and the<br />

chair of the PTC joins us. The children and<br />

parents meet the teachers and have a tour<br />

of the school. The children are assigned a<br />

mentor and our staff are very attentive to<br />

new children.<br />

Many of our students move often, so they<br />

perhaps find it less daunting than we think<br />

they would. The students are extremely<br />

supportive of each other, because they<br />

remember how they felt when they arrived.<br />

It makes me happy to see how our students<br />

take care of each other.<br />

Where do you think education is going<br />

and what are the challenges for the<br />

future? How do you equip students<br />

to make good choices for themselves<br />

and continue to learn?<br />

Change is rapid, so we do not yet know the<br />

types of jobs our students might be doing in<br />

the future. I think it is our responsibility to<br />

prepare our students to be good inquirers<br />

and researchers, with self-knowledge and<br />

self-management skills, able to identify<br />

their own areas of strengths and the areas<br />

they want to develop. We can equip them<br />

with skills and encourage them to be<br />

independent thinkers. Flexibility, resilience<br />

and a growth mindset will prepare our<br />

students for their future.<br />

Why choose ISBerne?<br />

• IB World <strong>School</strong> offering the PYP, MYP and IB Diploma<br />

• Happy students – surveys show our students enjoy school<br />

• Happy parents – our families appreciate and contribute<br />

to a strong, supportive parent community.<br />

• New, purpose-build campus.<br />

• Easy access by train, car or tram. Bussing can be made<br />

available for groups in Fribourg, Neuchâtel, or Solothurn.<br />

For more information visit our website at www.isberne.ch<br />

For questions, please call us at +41(0)31 959 10 00


© Roland Gerth<br />

UNESCO World Heritage in Switzerland<br />

Three outstanding natural phenomena and nine great cultural achievements in Switzerland bear the most<br />

sought-after emblem of UNESCO, as Natural and Cultural World Heritage properties. Each of them stands<br />

for authenticity, quality and diversity for many generations to come. These values are part of the identity and<br />

mentality of the Swiss population.<br />

1<br />

Convent of St. Gallen<br />

St. Gallen’s magnifi cent emblem is its sublime<br />

cathedral, which together with the Abbey District<br />

forms a historic ensemble. A visit to the Abbey<br />

Library is a must.<br />

2<br />

Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona<br />

Over millions of years the continental collision<br />

between Africa and Europe created a pile-up of<br />

peaks. The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona reveals<br />

the extent of this phenomenon.<br />

3<br />

Convent of St John at Müstair<br />

The monastery complex was founded by Charlemagne<br />

in the eighth century. It hides a fascinating<br />

blend of architectural styles and cultural treasures<br />

spanning 1,200 years of history.<br />

4<br />

Rhaetian Railway Albula / Bernina<br />

The spectacular 122 km stretch between Thusis<br />

and Tirano is a masterpiece of engineering from<br />

the early days of rail travel.<br />

5<br />

Three Castles of Bellinzona<br />

The three castles of Bellinzona – Castelgrande,<br />

Montebello and Sasso Corbaro – are among the<br />

most signifi cant examples of medieval defensive<br />

architecture.<br />

6<br />

Monte San Giorgio<br />

Marvel at perfectly preserved fi sh and marine<br />

reptile fossils at the Fossil Museum of Monte San<br />

Giorgio in Meride and be transported 240 million<br />

years back in time.<br />

7<br />

Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch<br />

Dramatic mountain ranges, valleys steeped in<br />

traditions and the largest glacier in the Alps entice,<br />

as does the region’s rich cultural heritage.<br />

8<br />

Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces<br />

The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces are part of Switzerland’s<br />

largest wine-growing region and are<br />

a shining example of how people harness their<br />

natural environment.<br />

9<br />

La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle,<br />

Watchmaking Town Planning<br />

The towns are important watchmaking centres<br />

and successful symbiosis of urban and industrial<br />

planning.<br />

10<br />

Prehistoric Pile Dwellings<br />

The site counts 111 prehistoric settlements in<br />

six countries – of which 56 are in Switzerland.<br />

The best way to experience them is to visit the<br />

Laténium near Neuchâtel.<br />

11<br />

Old City of Bern<br />

Founded in 1191, Bern features a historic Old<br />

Town quarter renowned for its medieval magic,<br />

impressive cathedral and attractive arcades.<br />

Discover<br />

Embark on a journey to these natural and<br />

cultural treasures. Take advantage of our attractive<br />

offers:<br />

www.WorldHeritageTicket.ch<br />

9 10 11<br />

1<br />

2<br />

Save the date<br />

World Heritage Days on the 8th & 9th of June<br />

<strong>2019</strong>. A weekend dedicated to the UNESCO<br />

World Heritage properties.<br />

www.WorldHeritageDays.ch<br />

8<br />

7<br />

5<br />

4<br />

3<br />

Share<br />

We are eager to know about your visit in the<br />

World Heritage sites in Switzerland. Share your<br />

best moments with us using:<br />

#WorldHeritageSwitzerland<br />

6


ADVERTORIAL<br />

What makes the<br />

Inter-Community <strong>School</strong>’s<br />

Zurich (ICS) pre-school and<br />

kindergarten special?<br />

Known as the Early Years (EY) Programme, the ICS pre-school programme for 3-to-6-yearolds<br />

offers a wide array of opportunities with a bilingual strand, nature activities, creative<br />

explorations, field trips and academic school preparation. This multitude of educational<br />

and creative offerings combined with the school’s holistic child-centred approach and<br />

state-of-the-art facilities make the ICS Early Years Programme unique.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 12


ADVERTORIAL<br />

“New and challenging learning experiences are custom designed for<br />

each individual student to meet their needs for growth.”<br />

Bilingual education<br />

Many scientific studies have shown that<br />

participation in bilingual programmes<br />

at an early age gives children distinctive<br />

cognitive, social, and academic advantages<br />

throughout life. At the EY Centre<br />

children are introduced to German in<br />

age-appropriate groups, through both<br />

immersion and structured teaching. As a<br />

result the German language is meaningful<br />

and it’s embedded alongside English in each<br />

aspect, every day in class. Activities include,<br />

discussing children’s plans, projects and<br />

ideas, conversations with teachers about<br />

curricular subjects, listening to stories in<br />

German, playing games, learning German<br />

songs and attending German language<br />

theatre productions. “The idea is to make<br />

the German language a normal part of<br />

everyone’s day,” says Julian Edwards,<br />

Primary Principal. Both English and<br />

German are used throughout the day<br />

by mother-tongue English and German<br />

teachers respectively. Children flourish in<br />

this setting. The preschool teachers, experts<br />

in the field of early childhood education,<br />

challenge students by changing the<br />

environment, introducing new materials,<br />

asking questions and consistently assess<br />

for understanding. New and challenging<br />

learning experiences are custom designed<br />

for each individual student to meet their<br />

needs for growth. Feedback from parents<br />

about the Bilingual strand has been<br />

extremely positive.<br />

Vibrant ICS community’s advantage<br />

The EY centre is located on ICS campus<br />

and benefits from an extraordinary<br />

abundance of ICS music, sport and<br />

cultural offerings. <strong>Parent</strong>s and children<br />

of all ages attend campus concerts,<br />

theatre productions, art exhibitions and<br />

inspirational workshops. All community<br />

members participate in ICS organised<br />

festivals and events, use campus libraries,<br />

sport facilities, dance studio and experiment<br />

at the ICS Research Garden. In just the last<br />

few months, the EY students have enjoyed<br />

<strong>International</strong> Mother Language Day “Drop<br />

Everything and Read” event, ICS ArtsAlive!<br />

shows, Winter Concert and a memorable<br />

performance by a visiting Irish storyteller<br />

Niall de Búrca among many exciting<br />

activities taking place on campus.<br />

The EY Centre also benefits from a<br />

weekly collaboration with students in Grade<br />

7. The older students read books to the<br />

younger children and participate in their<br />

learning experiences including construction,<br />

clay and gardening. The EY children enjoy<br />

those special relationships that help to build<br />

strong community bonds across grade levels.<br />

Stimulating learning experiences and<br />

child-centred programme accredited<br />

by the <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate ®<br />

Organisation<br />

The child-centred and inquiry-based EY<br />

Programme is focused on fostering learning<br />

and development across a range of spheres<br />

- cognitive, social, emotional and physical.<br />

The natural curiosity of children is nurtured<br />

through six transdisciplinary global themes,<br />

called Units of Inquiry. These themes<br />

expose students to big ideas about the world<br />

and themselves which are the building<br />

blocks for academic understanding. This<br />

framework is developed and accredited<br />

by the <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate ®<br />

(IB) organisation and is used by leading<br />

international schools worldwide. The Units<br />

of Inquiry, including ‘Who We Are’, ‘How<br />

the World Works’ and ‘Where We Are in<br />

Place and Time’ among others, promote<br />

play, discovery and exploration. “As part<br />

of kindergarten’s first unit of inquiry,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 13


ADVERTORIAL<br />

“Children write and draw their<br />

observations in journals and take<br />

iPads into the forest to film videos<br />

and take pictures.”<br />

‘Who We Are’, initial encounters between<br />

children and educators, as well as families,<br />

began with sharing information about<br />

ourselves, developing agreements and<br />

spending time together in the spaces of our<br />

learning community. The Arts are used as a<br />

natural entry point for a range of learning.<br />

Arts are used as a natural entry point for<br />

a range of learning. Dance, drama, music<br />

and visual arts play an important role in the<br />

Early Years curriculum. At the EY Centre<br />

children learn and develop through play,<br />

music, movement, art and other creative<br />

activities. They regularly go on trips to<br />

museums, theatres, parks and farms where<br />

the teachers promote curiosity and thinking.<br />

These opportunities also lead to students<br />

generating questions and investigations<br />

into other areas such as design, science<br />

or mathematics. Such child-initiated<br />

explorations stimulate creativity, critical<br />

thinking and collaborative skills.<br />

Forest time in any season<br />

The Waldkinder (Children’s Forest)<br />

Programme is an integral part of the EY<br />

Curriculum. Children go out into the<br />

forest every week throughout the school<br />

year. The EY Centre teachers have<br />

undertaken training in the UK to become<br />

qualified Forest <strong>School</strong> leaders. Each forest<br />

session includes discussions, inquiries and<br />

investigations. Children write and draw<br />

their observations in journals and take<br />

iPads into the forest to film videos and take<br />

pictures. Recently the young explorers felt<br />

so invigorated by their outdoor expeditions<br />

that they put together an entire “Insects &<br />

Fashion Museum” event, where budding<br />

insect scientists and fashion designers<br />

exhibited their model of insects, paintings<br />

and displayed their self-created costumes<br />

inspired by nature. <strong>Parent</strong>s and older<br />

ICS students were truly impressed that<br />

these young students could produce such<br />

an elaborate project. “Amazing that the<br />

children have been given the platform to be<br />

so creative,” commented one of the parents.<br />

Flexible schedule for busy parents<br />

The school allows students to be dropped<br />

off as early as 7:30 at the Early Morning<br />

Care Programme. Children enjoy a<br />

nutritious breakfast before they are<br />

accompanied to the EY Centre. The<br />

popular After <strong>School</strong> Care Programme<br />

runs from 15:15 every afternoon<br />

offering additional sport, forest, learning<br />

and creative activities. Flexible and<br />

complimentary pick up arrangements are<br />

available until 18:00.<br />

Join the ICS Pre-school/Kindergarten!<br />

The multifaceted bilingual Early Years<br />

strand greatly benefits children’s wellbeing,<br />

emotional development, academic<br />

preparation and intellectual growth, while<br />

fostering meaningful social connections<br />

and creating numerous happy moments for<br />

children and their parents. New families<br />

from all over the world are always warmly<br />

welcomed and supported!<br />

For more information, email contact@icsz.ch and<br />

see the ICS website at www.icsz.ch.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 14


Mountain High<br />

A Tale of Two Lakes<br />

No. 1 Adventure Destination<br />

Panorama – breathtaking, extraordinary, varied mountain scenery<br />

Endless views – pure, clear, healthy mountain air<br />

Iconic trio – the majestic Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks<br />

Sail away – relaxing cruises, turquoise Lake Brienz, deep blue Lake Thun<br />

Waterfalls – rushing, roaring, mighty water<br />

Castles – historic, romantic, magnificent buildings<br />

Adrenaline – exhilarating, thrilling, dynamic adventures<br />

Without limits – kayaking, white-water rafting, surfing, hiking, climbing…<br />

Safety – guided, tested, carefully planned tours<br />

Interlaken Tourism<br />

Marktgasse 1 | CH-3800 Interlaken | P 0041 33 826 53 00 | interlaken.ch<br />

Thunersee – Brienzersee


ADVERTORIAL<br />

Hiking in Switzerland:<br />

the national pastime done right<br />

Switzerland boasts some the longest, most varied and best kept hiking trails in<br />

the world. A staggering network of 65,000 km of waymarked trails winding their<br />

way into every corner of the Swiss countryside means that there’s something<br />

for everyone. Whether you’re looking for the thrill of an alpine peak or a gentle<br />

family forest stroll, we’re giving you our top tips to make it easy to explore this<br />

exiting landscape safely on foot.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 16


ADVERTORIAL<br />

Before you go…<br />

There’s nothing more liberating than setting<br />

out into the countryside with your hiking<br />

boots and a map, but the Swiss landscape<br />

can be dangerous without the proper<br />

consideration and preparation.<br />

Plan: Hiking is physically demanding, and<br />

careful preparation can protect against any<br />

unpleasant surprises. Preparing your route<br />

and having a realistic understanding of how<br />

long it will take you is a good first step, but<br />

be sure to take unforeseen circumstances<br />

into account, like route conditions and<br />

the weather, and give yourself some extra<br />

time. It’s also important to tell someone<br />

else about your trip, particularly if you are<br />

setting off by yourself.<br />

Assess: Overstretching yourself or those<br />

you are hiking with increases the risk of<br />

an accident and reduces your enjoyment<br />

of the route. Mountain hiking trails are<br />

marked white-red-white on the trail signs,<br />

and are at times steep, narrow and exposed<br />

to the elements. Set yourself a challenge but<br />

be realistic and assess your actual abilities<br />

when you are planning your route. Do not<br />

undertake difficult trips by yourself.<br />

Equip: Mountain hiking trails can be<br />

slippery and uneven, so it’s important to<br />

wear sturdy hiking shoes with a treaded<br />

sole. Wherever you’re hiking, make sure you<br />

take protection against the sun and rain as<br />

well as warm clothing with you; the weather<br />

can quickly change. An up-to-date map<br />

will help you orient yourself or can be used<br />

as a back-up if you’re relying on an app.<br />

Consider bringing along a first-aid kit and<br />

an emergency blanket, just in case.<br />

Evaluate: Being tired can impair your<br />

judgment. Make sure you stay hydrated<br />

and stop regularly to eat and rest. Keep<br />

an eye on the time and any changes in<br />

the weather that could affect your hike. If<br />

you get stuck and need rescuing, call 112<br />

(emergency services) or 1414 for Rega<br />

(mountain rescue emergency).<br />

Where to go?<br />

The choice of route is almost endless, so<br />

we’ve put together some of our favourites to<br />

suit all preferences, ages and abilities.<br />

Family-friendly trails<br />

One of the most family-friendly routes in<br />

Switzerland is the historic Water Route<br />

in Nendaz, which offers 98 km of trails<br />

following the routes of the largest network<br />

of ancient irrigation channels still in use<br />

for the growing of apricots and raspberries.<br />

The trails (or ‘bisses’) are free of long<br />

ascents or descents, as the channels were<br />

built on a level plane. Make sure you stop<br />

for local delicacies at the Auberge Les<br />

Bisses.<br />

For some magical routes, try heading<br />

north-west to Ajoie, where a charming hike<br />

leads from the village of Réclère to the<br />

magical underworld of the Réclère grottos<br />

and on to a dinosaur park situated in the<br />

Jura forest.<br />

As the weather warms up, go on the<br />

hunt for Switzerland’s oldest dwarf at the<br />

Adventure Dwarf Trail in Muggenstutz.<br />

The 5 km route is ideal for children<br />

between the ages of 4 and 10, and<br />

includes adventure stations like dwarfs’<br />

houses, a cableway and a suspension bridge<br />

for you to enjoy along the route.<br />

Circular routes<br />

There’s something satisfying about finding<br />

a route that takes you right back to where<br />

you started, cutting out the need to retrace<br />

your steps or organise your transport back.<br />

In Switzerland, the lakes particularly make<br />

for some logical and easy-to-follow circular<br />

routes, although these may take up more of<br />

your time than you want.<br />

If you want a manageable route, try the<br />

trail that takes in the moorland lakes hidden<br />

in the forest between St. Moritz, Silvaplana<br />

and Pontresina. Secluded hiking routes<br />

link these idyllic spots, which are popular<br />

bathing sites in summer, and there is a<br />

famous restaurant at Lej da Staz for a spot<br />

of lunch before you return along the edge<br />

of the St. Moritz Lake to St. Moritz Bad.<br />

If you’re after more of a nail-biting<br />

experience, try heading across the Trift<br />

Bridge, one of the most spectacular<br />

pedestrian suspension bridges in the Alps.<br />

At 100 meters high and 170 meters long, it<br />

is poised above the Trift Glacier and offers<br />

spectacular views. MySwitzerland.com/hiking<br />

Going long-distance<br />

If you’re looking for a challenge, the Via<br />

Alpina should be high on your list of trails<br />

to conquer. The 390km route crosses 14 of<br />

the most beautiful Alpine passes, running<br />

across Switzerland’s six cantons; there’s<br />

no better way to get to know the country’s<br />

diverse Alpine culture and landscape. The<br />

beauty of this route is that you can pick<br />

and choose a section, which means that it’s<br />

perfect for families and all ages and abilities.<br />

It is open to walkers from mid-March<br />

onwards. MySwitzerland.com/viaalpina<br />

Highlights along the route include<br />

experiencing traditional ‘Alpkultur’ with<br />

SWITZERLAND TOURISM / SWISS-IMAGE.CH/ANDRE MEIER<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 17


ADVERTORIAL<br />

SWITZERLAND TOURISM /<br />

SWISS-IMAGE.CH/CHRISTOF SCHUERPF<br />

a stop at one of the many Alps, or farms,<br />

some of which offer state-of-the-art<br />

showrooms and Alphütte, to see the animals<br />

and dairy processes and get a taste of the<br />

freshly-made Alpine cheese. At l’Etivaz, the<br />

cheese capital in the Pays d’Enhaut, enjoy<br />

the local hard cheese which is produced in<br />

around 130 mountain huts and was the first<br />

Swiss cheese registered in the Swiss Federal<br />

Register of Designations of Origin and<br />

Geographical Indications (AOC) in 2000.<br />

If you’d rather limit it to two days, try<br />

the popular Ridge walk from the Bernese<br />

Emmental into Entlebuch in Lucerne<br />

canton, with an overnight stay at the highest<br />

point. The Napf ridge formation can be<br />

climbed from all directions and, while it is<br />

a challenging route, it affords some of the<br />

most spectacular views which can only be<br />

seen by those willing to make the journey<br />

on foot. Stay at the renowned Berghotel<br />

Napf at the peak point of the walk for a<br />

memorable trip. MySwitzerland.com/hiking<br />

Safety signals en route<br />

All designated hiking routes in Switzerland<br />

adhere to a signage system, so you can be<br />

sure that you’re on the right route.<br />

Sign: Yellow sign with green information<br />

stickers<br />

Means: Most attractive hiking trails<br />

The most picturesque hiking trails in the<br />

country are marked with a green sticker;<br />

those with a single digit are national routes,<br />

two digits are regional routes or three<br />

digits or a logo are local routes. These are<br />

designated by additional signposts with<br />

green route information.<br />

Sign: Yellow sign with diamond-shaped<br />

blazes and direction arrows<br />

Means: Safe hiking trails<br />

These hiking trails are mostly wide but<br />

may have some uneven surfaces or steep<br />

sections, but safety rails and steps are<br />

provided to cater to this. General need for<br />

care and attention, but no need for special<br />

equipment or clothing on these routes.<br />

Sign: Yellow sign with white-red-white<br />

pointers and white-red-white blazes<br />

Means: Mountain hiking trail<br />

These trails may cross some steep, narrow<br />

or rough terrain and have some exposed<br />

points, but these more challenging sections<br />

are made safe with ropes or chains. Users<br />

on these trails must be sure-footed, have a<br />

good head for heights and be in very good<br />

physical condition, as well as having an<br />

awareness of common mountain hazards,<br />

such as rocks falling and rapid changes in<br />

weather.<br />

Sign: blue sign with white-blue-white<br />

pointers and white-blue-white blazes<br />

Means: Alpine hiking trails<br />

These routes may include glaciers, scree<br />

FUN FACTS!<br />

• If all the trails in Switzerland were laid<br />

end-to-end, you could hike around the globe<br />

one-and-a-half times<br />

• Hiking is Switzerland’s favourite sporting<br />

activity – around 50% of the population goes<br />

for hikes on a regular basis<br />

• The country boasts some 50 000 signposts<br />

• The hiking trails are looked after by a team<br />

of 1,500 volunteers<br />

• The hiking trail network is protected<br />

by its own set of laws<br />

slopes and snow fields, where the pathway<br />

may be unclear and there may not be any<br />

safety constructs in place. These routes<br />

require the same preconditions as mountain<br />

hiking trails; users must be sure-footed, have<br />

a good head for heights and be in very good<br />

physical condition, as well as having an<br />

awareness of common mountain hazards,<br />

such as rocks falling and rapid changes in<br />

weather. Depending on the route, they may<br />

also need some mountaineering equipment<br />

like rope, an ice pick and crampons.<br />

Sign: pink signposts and pole<br />

Means: Winter hiking trails<br />

These routes are only signposted in the<br />

winter season when the path may not<br />

be visible. While there are no particular<br />

requirements, the snowy or icy conditions<br />

may present hazards for users.<br />

You can find out more information at:<br />

MySwitzerland.com/hiking<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 18


Back to nature – in your hiking boots.<br />

Switzerland’s hiking trail network is<br />

record-breaking in many respects –<br />

in terms of its density, variety and<br />

signposting. Choose from more than<br />

65,000 kilometres of marked<br />

hiking trails along which to explore<br />

the whole of Switzerland in all its<br />

diversity on foot.<br />

A hiking paradise for everybody.<br />

Switzerland’s hiking trail network boasts interconnected hiking,<br />

mountain and Alpine trails, offering hikes in keeping with every level of<br />

experience and fitness. Around 50,000 signposts along the trails tell<br />

you about their difficulty, final destination and estimated time it’ll take<br />

you to get there. The routes are readily accessible by public transport,<br />

meaning that a safe and glorious hike is guaranteed provided you do<br />

some sound planning before setting off.<br />

MySwitzerland.com/hiking<br />

Via Alpina.<br />

The Via Alpina is a classic among the long-distance hikes in<br />

Switzerland and crosses 14 of the most beautiful Alpine passes.<br />

The 390-kilometre long-distance hike starts in Vaduz, takes you<br />

through six cantons and ends in Montreux. The entire route is<br />

broken down into 20 stages, which you can cover in the form<br />

of daily or multi-day hikes. Hiking along the stages takes you<br />

through a world of ever-changing fauna and flora – just what<br />

you need to relax and recharge your batteries.<br />

MySwitzerland.com/viaalpina<br />

Typically Swiss Hotels.<br />

These hotels combine regional architecture with a genuine Swiss<br />

atmosphere and are as diverse as Switzerland itself. But all of them –<br />

from city palaces and country inns to Alpine summer houses – are<br />

characterised by their hosts, offering local specialities and an authentic<br />

Swiss experience. The perfect starting point for the next hike.<br />

MySwitzerland.com/typically<br />

Find more inspirational experiences and tips: MySwitzerland.com/expats<br />

or contact expats@switzerland.com or phone 0800 100 200.


ADVERTORIAL<br />

Helping Students and <strong>Parent</strong>s with<br />

BIG DECISIONS<br />

As high school graduation dates loom closer and closer,<br />

many parents go into panic mode over supporting their<br />

children in their further education options. It is a big<br />

decision to make, which puts a lot of pressure on everyone involved.<br />

What if your child ends up with a “wrong” specialisation and gets<br />

disillusioned after a couple of years of study? They would have<br />

wasted time acquiring knowledge they cannot use in another field.<br />

This can be a frustrating and costly experience for both students<br />

and their parents.<br />

Hospitality management is a much safer bet in this situation, as<br />

it teaches ‘Life skills for professionals and professional skills for life’<br />

that can be applied not only to the broad variety of career paths<br />

hospitality offers, but also to professions in alternative industries.<br />

Hospitality is a steadily growing industry accounting for 1 in<br />

11 jobs worldwide and the career choices are vast: from event<br />

organisation to spa and wellness management, from marketing and<br />

sales to consulting, from customer relations to revenue and finance<br />

management, and much more!<br />

Swiss Education Group is comprised of 4 hospitality<br />

management schools and 1 culinary school with a total of 7<br />

beautiful campuses in Switzerland and a student body made up of<br />

111 nationalities and 6,000 students. Each of the 5 schools has its<br />

own unique focus: design and luxury hotel management, culinary<br />

arts, hotel operations and wellness management, hospitality<br />

business management and hospitality and entrepreneurship.<br />

Graduates benefit not only from a well-rounded and versatile<br />

education, but also from a large network of 21,000 alumni<br />

members to help them find a job anywhere in the world. It comes<br />

as no surprise that five years after graduating, 89% of Swiss<br />

Education Group alumni hold management positions or have<br />

created their own company.<br />

Swiss Education Group’s hospitality management programmes<br />

offer both academically challenging curricula and a practical<br />

hands-on approach where students experience masterclasses, live<br />

demonstrations and up to a year’s internship within the industry. In<br />

addition, a hospitality education fosters all-important life skills such<br />

as discipline, creativity, ambition and passion. Having been exposed<br />

to these core values throughout their studies, Swiss Education<br />

Group’s graduates have a definite edge in the marketplace, with<br />

many recruiters now considering soft skills a better indicator of job<br />

success than purely technical knowledge.<br />

Take the case of Camille Lee from Mauritius, a student enrolled<br />

in a Bachelor in Hospitality Management programme with Finance<br />

specialisation. Camille has just completed a 6-month internship at<br />

Rothschild & Co in Zurich, one of the world’s largest independent<br />

financial advisory groups. Hospitality education has helped Camille<br />

thrive in the workplace:<br />

“The soft skills we learn at school are useful in any industry:<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 20


ADVERTORIAL<br />

your communication and persuasion skills, being humble, really<br />

understanding your internal and external customers and the ability<br />

to work in a multicultural team”<br />

Additionally, living on campus with dozens of different<br />

nationalities and finding ways to function harmoniously as a<br />

team for various group projects develops invaluable aptitude for<br />

teamwork that is much sought-after by employers.<br />

To further prepare its graduates to successfully enter the global<br />

workforce, Swiss Education Group provides career guidance<br />

services all along a student’s journey from the first day till<br />

graduation. Students receive one-on-one coaching with career<br />

counsellors and discover valuable personal presentation tips and<br />

tricks, create their first CV and elevator pitch and have plenty of<br />

practice with mock interviews. All this preparation culminates<br />

in meeting potential employers at a twice-yearly <strong>International</strong><br />

Recruitment Forum organised exclusively for Swiss Education<br />

Group students. The event is attended by over 300 recruiters from<br />

100 companies, the industry’s “crème de la crème”. More than<br />

4,000 interviews are conducted over 2 days and students are hired<br />

for internships, management trainings and permanent positions in<br />

the most prestigious organisations.<br />

Interested to know more about the exciting world of hospitality<br />

management and all the opportunities it has to offer? Swiss<br />

Education Group welcomes prospective students and their parents<br />

for school visits during Bachelor Open Day events. Two more dates<br />

are available in the spring: 15th -16th April and 20th -21st May<br />

<strong>2019</strong>. To book your place or to learn more, please contact:<br />

Mrs Cristèle Mazza<br />

Mobile: +41 79 629 47 02<br />

Email: cmazza@swisseducation.com<br />

www.swisseducation.com<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 21


POSITIVE<br />

EDUCATION<br />

Some Lessons for Us All in<br />

Flourishing and Well-being!<br />

Before you read this article just take a few seconds to close your<br />

eyes and bring to mind your child or children and imagine what<br />

you want for them in the future. Great so now read on!<br />

Why Positive Education?<br />

I love my work! I hope you do too in<br />

whatever capacity you invest your time,<br />

strengths and energy either as a parent<br />

or professional. As a coach my job is to<br />

help people to flourish – to feel good and<br />

function well in work, school and ultimately<br />

life!<br />

Why is this important? The answer is<br />

simple.<br />

Few people really understand the<br />

scientific evidence-base for the requirements<br />

of well-being and flourishing across the<br />

lifespan. The very idea of flourishing can<br />

sound too ‘happy clappy’ and as a result<br />

some of the simplest things we can do to<br />

help ourselves and our families to feel good<br />

and function well are at worst dismissed or<br />

at best taken for granted!<br />

We also know that from a well-being<br />

perspective the reality is that although most<br />

adults and young people are doing ok,<br />

research tells us that only around 20% are<br />

likely to be truly flourishing. We also know<br />

that increasing numbers are experiencing<br />

higher levels of anxiety, stress and<br />

depression and there are all the associated<br />

challenges for mental health resources, the<br />

economy and society that go with that.<br />

What is Positive Education?<br />

Positive Education is all about promoting a<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 22<br />

focus on well-being in schools as a proactive<br />

drive to create positive mental health<br />

and flourishing communities and society<br />

rather than as simply a reactive response<br />

to increasing mental health challenges and<br />

their sometimes tragic consequences.<br />

Positive Education is about helping school<br />

leaders, teachers, support staff, students<br />

and parents understand better both the<br />

science behind well-being and what we can<br />

practically do to build it and sustain it. It’s a<br />

relatively new but fascinating area of study<br />

and over the last 10 years I’ve been taking<br />

my learning out to the world including<br />

work with over 25 international schools, to<br />

help them enhance flourishing within their


school communities.<br />

Positive Education draws on research<br />

from Positive Psychology – the ‘Science of<br />

What Makes Life Worth Living’. Positive<br />

Psychology focuses on what is right with us<br />

rather than wrong with us and it examines<br />

and studies how some people still manage<br />

to flourish in life despite facing the same,<br />

or more likely even worse, challenges that<br />

life inevitably throws our way. It is being<br />

applied all over the world including in many<br />

Fortune 500 multi-national companies,<br />

global institutions and agencies, national<br />

governments, the military and the world’s<br />

leading schools and universities.<br />

Over the last 20 years the Positive<br />

Psychology field has also produced<br />

hundreds of gold standard research studies<br />

through universities such as Cambridge,<br />

Harvard, Pennsylvania, Melbourne,<br />

Stanford, California that show that a<br />

framework called PERMAH can act as<br />

a foundation for flourishing. PERMAH<br />

stands for:<br />

• Positive Emotions – investing in<br />

feelings like joy, pride, gratitude, love,<br />

curiosity and the ability to manage and<br />

regulate other emotions that can derail us<br />

• Engagement – being active and<br />

energised by discovering and using our<br />

character strengths<br />

• Relationships – investing positively<br />

in building relationships and high quality<br />

connections with those around us at home,<br />

work and in the community<br />

• Meaning – having a sense of purpose<br />

in life, making a difference and adding real<br />

value to the world<br />

• Accomplishment – being able to set<br />

goals and strive towards them<br />

• Health – recognising the importance of<br />

diet, exercise, sleep and mindfulness<br />

Take a pause now to reflect back on what<br />

you want for your child or children in the<br />

future. From my many conversations with<br />

parents on this topic I’d wager that it’s very<br />

much in line with PERMAH!<br />

The global ‘Positive Education’<br />

movement has over the last decade been<br />

advocating a paradigm shift in education<br />

calling for a more balanced emphasis on<br />

academic achievement alongside a greater<br />

focus on well-being, character development<br />

and PERMAH. Since it’s launch in 2013<br />

the <strong>International</strong> Positive Education<br />

Network (IPEN) (http://www.ipen-network.<br />

“Many people think that Positive<br />

Psychology and Positive Education is all<br />

about being happy all of the time. This<br />

couldn’t be further from the truth.”<br />

com) has been leading the global challenge<br />

and following two global Positive Education<br />

conferences in 2016 and 2018 we are now<br />

seeing a real shift.<br />

There are many instances across the<br />

world where governments, scientists<br />

and educators are coming together to<br />

strategically plan for well-being in schools<br />

in the future – Bhutan, UAE, Australia and<br />

China to name a few. Two more very recent<br />

examples of this new focus on wellbeing<br />

would be the recent report from the ISC<br />

Research (https://www.iscresearch.com/<br />

resources/wellbeing-in-internationalschools<br />

) on Well-being in <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong>s and the latest UK OFSTED draft<br />

framework which specifically identifies<br />

wellbeing, positive mental health and<br />

character as requirements for personal and<br />

social development.<br />

How does Positive Education<br />

Work?<br />

Longitudinal research is telling us that<br />

PERMAH is a greater predictor of<br />

flourishing across the life span from<br />

childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood<br />

and through to older age, than our IQ, our<br />

GPA, our 1st class honours or our bank<br />

balance! Although these are all helpful,<br />

without well-being they become much less<br />

important and with well-being they become<br />

more achievable.<br />

Many people think that Positive<br />

Psychology and Positive Education is all<br />

about being happy all of the time. This<br />

couldn’t be further from the truth. Think<br />

about it – of course the ability to experience<br />

the positive emotions is good for us. But<br />

of equal importance is the engagement<br />

with our strengths and other people; the<br />

meaning we get by helping others and<br />

being stretched and challenged; working<br />

hard to overcome obstacles and set backs<br />

to reach our goals. Flourishing people still<br />

experience fear, anxiety, pain and stress –<br />

we all do and it’s normal!<br />

Hundreds of schools all over the world<br />

have been embracing PERMAH as a<br />

foundation to building flourishing in their<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 23


schools. Many are already doing some<br />

amazing things but first we have to help<br />

leaders, teachers and parents to LEARN<br />

about PERMAH and the evidence-base<br />

behind it. Then we have to give people the<br />

opportunity to LIVE it – try some of the<br />

interventions for themselves and experience<br />

the benefits. Then we need to support<br />

school to TEACH it to the students. Finally<br />

they can then EMBED it as good practice<br />

and as part of their school community and<br />

culture.<br />

Positive Education for <strong>Parent</strong>s<br />

As I have mentioned Positive Education is<br />

for parents too! You all know the rules on<br />

the plane when the oxygen mask comes<br />

down – you have to put on yours first and<br />

look after yourselves to be able to look after<br />

your children! Exactly the same applies to<br />

well-being. I regularly get to engage with<br />

parents in the schools with which I work<br />

and they love learning about well-being.<br />

Increasing research studies from<br />

scientists like Professor Lea Waters<br />

from the University of Melbourne are<br />

showing that when we support parents<br />

to understand more about their own<br />

well-being this enhances the self-esteem,<br />

confidence, school engagement and<br />

academic achievement of their children as<br />

well as buffers against anxiety stress and<br />

depression. Lea’s research on strengths use<br />

and mindfulness has been captured in her<br />

great book ‘The Strengths Switch’ (https://<br />

www.strengthswitch.com).<br />

Here are some simple things you can<br />

do as parents:<br />

1Check out what your school is doing<br />

in the Positive Education and wellbeing<br />

space and draw their attention<br />

to IPEN and the great work taking place<br />

around the world<br />

2Take a look at the Values in Action<br />

Character Strengths Survey (www.<br />

viacharacter.org ) and complete the<br />

free online character strengths assessment.<br />

Think about how your strengths play out<br />

in your life, how you can use them more.<br />

Do a strengths spotting exercise with your<br />

family spot them in your children too.<br />

3Think about getting a coach to<br />

support you to build and sustain your<br />

own well-being, mental toughness and<br />

capacity to flourish. It’s not selfish and can<br />

have real benefits for you and your family.<br />

Positive Education – Lessons<br />

for Us All<br />

As an organisational coach I know that<br />

the principles of PERMAH and Positive<br />

Education are as applicable in workplaces<br />

as they are in schools. Work, school and<br />

life are extrinsically linked. All three life<br />

domains will inevitably continue to be<br />

challenging, stressful and exciting. However<br />

I believe there are lessons we can all learn<br />

about how to navigate and balance each<br />

successfully and build the foundations for<br />

flourishing lives.<br />

Clive Leach works<br />

extensively within the<br />

corporate, public and<br />

education sectors as an<br />

executive, leadership and<br />

career coach. He applies coaching<br />

and positive psychology to enhance<br />

well-being, mental toughness and<br />

flourishing. Since 2010 Clive’s educationbased<br />

work has included interventions<br />

for leading international schools, high<br />

schools, special schools and universities,<br />

including schools in Australia, China,<br />

Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong,<br />

Malaysia, Mongolia, UAE, Switzerland,<br />

Spain & Hungary and the UK. In 2016<br />

Clive became a Global Representative<br />

for the <strong>International</strong> Positive Education<br />

Network (IPEN). Clive is lead author on<br />

the chapter entitled ‘The Integration<br />

of Coaching & Positive Psychology in<br />

Education’ in ‘Coaching in Professional<br />

Contexts’ (Sage, 2016) and has a chapter<br />

on ‘Coaching for PERMA’ in ‘Positive<br />

Psychology Coaching’ (Routledge, 2018).<br />

Clive is a graduate of the Master of<br />

Organisational Coaching Program at<br />

the University of Sydney Coaching<br />

Psychology Unit which is recognised<br />

as the world-leader in evidence-based<br />

coaching research and real world<br />

application. For more information<br />

please visit coach@cliveleach.com or<br />

see Clive’s LinkedIn profile and articles<br />

at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/<br />

cliveleachconsultancy/<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 24


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Help Your Teenager<br />

Learn from Failure<br />

are far more fearful of<br />

failure by the time they leave<br />

“Teenagers<br />

school than they were at<br />

14.” This was one of the findings of a<br />

survey of 1000 teenagers, conducted<br />

just over three years ago in the UK<br />

and published in The Independent 1 .<br />

Furthermore, the report goes on<br />

to suggest, fear of failure seems to<br />

be spread across society, seemingly<br />

unaffected by the socio-economic<br />

background of the teenagers<br />

surveyed.<br />

Fear of failure can, of course, be<br />

a crippling experience at any age. It<br />

can lead to a lack of openness to new<br />

experiences, a restricted vision of life’s<br />

possibilities and reduced hope. It can lead to<br />

a complete refusal to take on challenges in order to<br />

avoid failing in the attempt, and ultimately to reduced selfconfidence<br />

and depression. Such consequences would be serious at<br />

any stage in life, but for teenagers in the process of forming their<br />

life expectations and setting their life goals, its longer-term effects<br />

can be severely restrictive indeed and end in chronic life-long<br />

under-achievement.<br />

The prevailing culture of contemporary Western society is very<br />

much oriented around success and happiness. These are widely<br />

sought and almost universally lauded as fundamental elements<br />

of a good life experience. In this context, it is not difficult to<br />

understand how failure has developed the reputation of something<br />

to be avoided. However, success and happiness do not necessarily<br />

go together, nor does the presence of one imply the other.<br />

Furthermore, neither success nor happiness is guaranteed by the<br />

avoidance of failure, the experience and handling of which may<br />

actually make their eventual attainment more likely.<br />

A moment’s reflection will confirm that failure is a ubiquitous<br />

human experience. It is not the experience of failure in and of<br />

itself that is important, but how we respond to failure and learn<br />

from it. On one level, there is the learning from failure that enables<br />

us to do better next time. But at a deeper level, there can come the<br />

development of character, the growth of resilience and the ability<br />

truly to be empathetic with others.<br />

It is undeniable that parents often find it painful to see their<br />

teenagers experience failure. The desire to lessen the pain and<br />

to give their teenagers a wholly happy experience of life is<br />

understandable. However, I believe it is a mistake<br />

for parents always to rush in to try to shield<br />

their teenagers from the experience of<br />

failure. It is important to keep in mind<br />

what might be described as the<br />

fundamental purpose of parenting<br />

teenagers, namely, that of bringing<br />

the teenager safely to the point<br />

where they can take on the full<br />

responsibilities of adulthood. If<br />

our teenagers are given the false<br />

impression that life will always<br />

appear cloaked in happiness and<br />

crowned with success, then they are<br />

being fed a false picture of reality. Life<br />

is not like that. Happiness and success<br />

come bundled up with disappointment and<br />

failure, and for teenagers to be equipped to<br />

navigate a world of mixed experiences, they need to<br />

develop characteristics such as resilience and determination.<br />

When failure is faced and responded to constructively, such<br />

characteristics are allowed to develop.<br />

PRACTICAL ADVICE<br />

Avoid overly protective parenting. Overly protective<br />

parenting can contribute to the development of young adults<br />

who are ill-equipped to face the modern world with its mixed<br />

experiences, including failure. Of course, nobody would suggest<br />

that teenagers should be set up to fail, but when failure comes<br />

along, responsible parents help teenagers to find a way through the<br />

experience and to find ways to learn from it, rather than seeking<br />

always to shield them from it. When a chosen course of action<br />

does not work out, or subsequent developments show a choice or<br />

decision to have been a poor one, teenagers will learn more from<br />

being helped to face the natural consequences that flow from the<br />

failure rather than seeking ever more ingenious ways to try to shift<br />

the blame onto someone else.<br />

Resist the desire to define parental success in terms<br />

of your teenager’s success. There is a great temptation for<br />

parents to measure the success or otherwise of their parenting by<br />

the perceived success or failure of their teenager. This is reinforced<br />

by popular culture, which seems to regard successful teenagers as<br />

the natural outcome of good parenting. However, if we wish to<br />

consider parental success, we should look to the essential purpose<br />

1<br />

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/school-leavers-fear-failure-more-than-when-they-were-14-years-old-says-study-a6693816.html<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 26


“If our teenagers are<br />

given the false impression<br />

that life will always<br />

appear cloaked in<br />

happiness and crowned<br />

with success, then they<br />

are being fed a false<br />

picture of reality.”<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 27


of parenting as its measure, namely, the extent to which our<br />

parenting enables our teenagers to enter adulthood fully equipped<br />

to function independently and responsibly. The mistake of<br />

regarding successful teenagers as evidence of successful parenting<br />

simply increases the pressure to succeed on the teenagers, who are<br />

thereby rendered responsible not only for their own success, but<br />

also for that of their parents.<br />

Help your teenager develop their own understanding<br />

of success. Success means different things to different people.<br />

One of the reasons failure can become such a fearful ogre is that<br />

sometimes we accept other people’s definition of what makes for<br />

success even when their definition is inappropriate for us. Help<br />

your teenager develop the ability to evaluate their own strengths<br />

and weaknesses, to see where they have genuine potential and to set<br />

targets that are realistically challenging. If they encounter setbacks<br />

or failures on the way, help them pick themselves up and learn from<br />

the experience, re-shaping their goals if necessary.<br />

Build a family culture that applauds effort. Of<br />

course, success should be celebrated, but recognition of effort<br />

is as important. There is nothing even-handed in the way life<br />

distributes abilities, be they academic, sporting, musical or other.<br />

Consequently, success comes more easily to some than to others.<br />

Those who are not naturally gifted in a certain field, but who<br />

make progress through their effort, deserve recognition alongside<br />

those who excel. Helping teenagers appreciate the value of<br />

effort and determination in bringing about progress will help<br />

them understand that success and failure need to be understood<br />

differently for different people.<br />

Talk about failure. If discussion of failure and what can be<br />

learned from it becomes a normal part of family conversation,<br />

the fear of failure will be diminished. If teenagers see that their<br />

parents are not afraid of failure, be it their own or that of their<br />

children, they are more likely to face their own failures and see<br />

them as learning opportunities. Honest discussion of failure when<br />

it happens helps set this aspect of our humanity in a healthy<br />

perspective.<br />

Regard failure as part of the normal learning process.<br />

Those who accept failure as part of the process of learning are<br />

more likely to make progress than those who regard it as a matter<br />

for shame or embarrassment. Learning from failure helps develop<br />

resilience, which is regarded increasingly as an indispensable and<br />

valuable tool for survival in today’s world 2 .<br />

Recently, there has been an increased focus in Western society<br />

on the importance of mental health. This has been brought<br />

about, at least in part, by the recognition of a growth of anxiety<br />

in teenager s3 . Fear of failure feeds anxiety, stripping individuals of<br />

the desire to grow and learn, taking away openness to adventure,<br />

pressuring them to opt instead for the safety of mediocrity. <strong>Parent</strong>s<br />

have a vital role to play in helping their teenagers see failure as a<br />

positive opportunity. Turning failure from something to be feared<br />

into a learning experience robs it of the power to drain life of its<br />

enjoyment and challenge. As Carl Pickhardt expresses it, “… failure<br />

can either undermine effort or it can inspire determination. It’s the<br />

second response that parents need to encourage in their adolescent<br />

when failure occurs.” 4<br />

2<br />

https://www.internationalschoolparent.com/articles/promoting-resilience-in-teenagers/<br />

3<br />

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/magazine/why-are-more-american-teenagers-than-ever-suffering-from-severe-anxiety.html<br />

4<br />

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201109/adolescence-and-failure<br />

Dr. Steve Sims is author of the blog<br />

Regarding Teenagers and Director of the<br />

Basel Learning Hub in Switzerland.<br />

https://regardingteenagers.com/


Their future<br />

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+41 22 879 00 00


THE WAR OF THE<br />

SUPERBUGS<br />

– TIME FOR A CHANGE IN OUR<br />

ANTIBIOTIC BEHAVIOUR!<br />

By Dr Michelle Wright<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 30


Back in 1928, Alexander Fleming<br />

made a breakthrough and<br />

discovered penicillin,<br />

the first antibiotic. But these<br />

drugs didn’t become<br />

widely available to treat<br />

bacterial infections until<br />

the 1940s. We’ve come<br />

a long way since then.<br />

Today we rely on antibiotics<br />

to save lives, using them to treat<br />

sepsis, tuberculosis, food poisoning,<br />

chest, urinary tract and many other<br />

infections. Antibiotics are also given during<br />

surgical procedures to prevent infection<br />

complications. They are used to help people<br />

having organ transplantation and to protect<br />

those with weakened immune systems due<br />

to autoimmune diseases or chemotherapy<br />

for cancer.<br />

But the world is reaching crisis point<br />

where antibiotics are concerned. The rise<br />

of bacteria capable of resisting their action<br />

is putting lives at risk. The World Health<br />

Organisation describes antibiotic resistance<br />

as one of the biggest threats to global<br />

health, food security and development.<br />

Why is antibiotic resistance a<br />

big problem?<br />

As with any evolutionary process, it is<br />

survival of the fittest where bacteria are<br />

concerned. Over time, they adapt, change<br />

and mutate in order to protect themselves<br />

from dying at the hands of an antibiotic.<br />

These resistant bacteria ‘go forth and<br />

multiply’ and can pass their skills on to<br />

others. This means that strains of bacteria<br />

are developing that are resistant to many<br />

of the antibiotics that we use today. And<br />

humans and animals can transmit these socalled<br />

‘superbugs’ to each other.<br />

Implications include prolonged, or even<br />

impossible to treat, infections which can<br />

lead to longer hospital stays, increased<br />

healthcare costs and even death. For<br />

example, multi-antibiotic drug resistant<br />

typhoid, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea are<br />

already causing major problems worldwide.<br />

Towards the end of last year, the<br />

Organisation for Economic Cooperation<br />

and Development (OECD) estimated that<br />

resistant infections could kill 2.4 million<br />

people in Europe, North America and<br />

Australia by 2050 if we don’t start to tackle<br />

the problem. Looking very specifically at<br />

Swiss statistics, 270 people died in 2015<br />

because of antibiotic resistance.<br />

What causes antibiotic<br />

resistance?<br />

In order to think about solutions to the<br />

problem, we need to look at the reasons<br />

why this surge in antibiotic resistance has<br />

developed. It isn’t a new phenomenon<br />

but a fact of science that when exposed to<br />

antibiotics, bacteria will evolve and develop<br />

resistance over time. However, not using<br />

antibiotics correctly in humans and in<br />

animals is accelerating this process.<br />

To start with, over-prescription and<br />

over-use of antibiotics is a practice which<br />

needs to be stopped. Taking antibiotics<br />

unnecessarily won’t make you feel better<br />

more quickly but will destroy the ‘good’<br />

bacteria in your body needed for digestion,<br />

defence against infection and healthy living,<br />

encouraging antibiotic-resistant bacteria to<br />

survive and thrive.<br />

A study published in the Journal of the<br />

American Medical Association (JAMA)<br />

in May 2016 found that during 2010-<br />

2011, almost a third of all antibiotic<br />

prescriptions in the United States may<br />

have been inappropriate. And a Public<br />

Health England study found that this figure<br />

was as high as 23% in England between<br />

2013-2015 with unnecessary antibiotic<br />

prescriptions for sore throat, cough, sinus<br />

and ear infections the worst offenders.<br />

Adding to this over-prescription of<br />

antibiotics, in 62% of countries globally,<br />

antibiotics are still available without<br />

prescription. <strong>International</strong> travel and<br />

mobility also increase the problem. A<br />

person can bring antibiotic resistant<br />

bacteria into the country, particularly if<br />

they were hospitalized during their stay<br />

abroad.<br />

“We need to increase public<br />

awareness that antibiotics<br />

work against bacterial<br />

infections only and<br />

don’t kill viruses like<br />

the flu, the common<br />

cold virus and most<br />

causes of gastroenteritis.”<br />

How do we tackle antibiotic<br />

resistance?<br />

Medical professionals need to take<br />

responsibility and only prescribe antibiotics<br />

when they are really needed. Further<br />

development and availability of rapid, nearpatient<br />

tests to check for bacterial infections<br />

during a consultation may help. Also, rather<br />

than prescribing antibiotics to begin straight<br />

away, perhaps increasing the use of ‘standby’<br />

prescriptions to start if symptoms are<br />

not improving could be another tool.<br />

We also need to increase public awareness<br />

that antibiotics work against bacterial<br />

infections only and don’t kill viruses like<br />

the flu, the common cold virus and most<br />

causes of gastroenteritis. They also don’t<br />

kill fungal or parasitic infections. Most sore<br />

throats and ear infections are usually viral<br />

but occasionally bacterial. Even if they<br />

are bacterial, they tend to get better by<br />

themselves within 7 days. Antibiotics usually<br />

make no difference in the duration of<br />

symptoms and have the potential to cause<br />

side effects such as diarrhoea.<br />

The overuse of antibiotics in agriculture<br />

since the 1940s is also a contributing<br />

factor to the resistance problem that we<br />

face today. In the past, antibiotics were<br />

given to livestock to prevent disease and<br />

promote growth - a practice which has been<br />

forbidden in Switzerland since 1999 and<br />

since 2006 in the European Union. Poor<br />

food hygiene practices, infection control and<br />

sanitation are also contributing to the rise<br />

of superbugs globally.<br />

The Swiss Antibiotic Resistance Report<br />

published in 2018 showed that the message<br />

was starting to get across in this country.<br />

In 2017, there were 29 prescriptions of<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 31


antibiotics per 1000 medical consultations<br />

compared to 34-40 per 1000 in the years<br />

2006-2013. The use of antibiotics in<br />

veterinary medicine also halved in the 10<br />

years since 2008.<br />

This has partly been an effect of the<br />

StAR National Antibiotic<br />

Resistance Strategy, first<br />

launched in 2015. A new<br />

facet to the campaign,<br />

“Antibiotics: use wisely, take<br />

precisely”, was launched in<br />

November 2018 to raise public<br />

awareness and includes TV<br />

spots, posters, on-line<br />

publicity and a dedicated<br />

website, also available in<br />

English: www.correctuse-of-antibiotics.ch<br />

The key<br />

messages from<br />

the ‘Antibiotics:<br />

use wisely,<br />

take precisely’<br />

campaign<br />

If you are given<br />

antibiotics:<br />

• Take them as prescribed – complete the<br />

course, even if you feel better.<br />

• Don’t skip doses.<br />

• Don’t share your antibiotics with others.<br />

• Return packs that are partially used<br />

to your pharmacist. Don’t throw them<br />

out with your household<br />

waste as they may get into<br />

the environment causing<br />

contamination.<br />

• Never use leftover<br />

antibiotics.<br />

And if you are not given<br />

antibiotics, important things to<br />

remember include:<br />

• This is for a reason.<br />

Antibiotics won’t<br />

fight viral infections<br />

and even if they<br />

are bacterial, many<br />

infections clear of their<br />

own accord.<br />

• If you take antibiotics<br />

when they’re not<br />

needed, this can lead<br />

to antibiotic resistance<br />

and make it difficult to<br />

treat infections when<br />

really needed.<br />

• Some of the existing antibiotics have<br />

already lost their efficiency to fight certain<br />

bacteria.<br />

• Antibiotics have side effects and if used<br />

when not needed, these can outweigh the<br />

benefits – they can weaken essential bacteria<br />

in the body and support the development of<br />

antibiotic resistance.<br />

There is no doubt that antibiotics save<br />

lives, but we need to get to a point where we<br />

depend less on them. If we don’t act now,<br />

in the future, what start out as essentially<br />

minor infections or minor injuries will<br />

undoubtedly lead to many deaths.<br />

Dr Michelle Wright is a British-trained<br />

General Practitioner and Director of<br />

HealthFirst, providing dynamic First<br />

Aid Training and Health Education in<br />

English throughout Switzerland (www.<br />

healthfirst.ch). She also has a regular<br />

radio show about health on World<br />

Radio Switzerland (www.worldradio.ch/<br />

healthmatters).<br />

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. All reasonable care has been taken in compiling<br />

the information but there is no legal warranty made to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. Dr<br />

Michelle Wright or HealthFirst is not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any form of damages whatsoever resulting from the use of the information contained or<br />

implied in this article.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 32


Understanding<br />

and Supporting<br />

Gifted and Twice<br />

Exceptional Learners<br />

There are many misconceptions about giftedness making identification difficult<br />

and misdiagnosis relatively common among gifted children (and adults).<br />

Identifying strong learners seems easy enough, but this usually only captures those<br />

students who fit the popular stereotype of being gifted; namely the high achievers.<br />

High achievers are, however, not necessarily gifted and underachievement is<br />

actually quite common among gifted students. So what is giftedness, really?<br />

By Stephanie Walmsley & Dr. Raphaela Carrière<br />

Characterisitics<br />

Formal definitions of giftedness vary to<br />

some extent but in general it is held that<br />

having a full scale IQ of 130 and above<br />

qualifies students for giftedness. This<br />

definition is limited because any number<br />

of factors can influence performance on<br />

an intelligence test. Leading researchers<br />

and gifted associations worldwide strongly<br />

recommend that thorough investigation of<br />

personality characteristics and educational<br />

background be considered as well.<br />

Giftedness is characterized by<br />

asynchronous development, which means<br />

that children develop unevenly in different<br />

domains. This can mean differences in<br />

cognitive vs. motor skills vs. emotional<br />

development, or it can mean differences<br />

in e.g. math vs. language development.<br />

Where on the one hand gifted students<br />

may discuss the origins of the universe, on<br />

the other they may still hold their parent’s<br />

hand to cross the street. They may be able<br />

to calculate difficult equations but barely<br />

be able to write a complete sentence.<br />

Further, gifted students have advanced<br />

cognitive abilities, for example they may<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 33


e able to reason well, have an extensive<br />

vocabulary or a wide range of interests,<br />

and often have an excellent memory.<br />

Moreover, gifted students have heightened<br />

intensity, often being very sensitive and<br />

easily hurt, but also compassionate and<br />

concerned with moral issues, fairness and<br />

justice. Taken together, these create inner<br />

experiences that are qualitatively different<br />

to the norm. They often have mature<br />

judgment for their age and are no stranger<br />

to questioning authority. Often having high<br />

energy, additionally, they can have a vivid<br />

imagination and be highly creative.<br />

Challenges<br />

But gifted students face real challenges.<br />

Some of the common characteristics<br />

of giftedness, when not understood in<br />

the context of giftedness, can easily<br />

lead to referrals to (mental) health care<br />

professionals, usually for behavioral<br />

problems instead of for identification<br />

and understanding of their giftedness.<br />

They are often misunderstood and<br />

misdiagnosed, for example with Attention<br />

Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD/<br />

ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder<br />

(ASD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder<br />

(ODD), Existential Depression, Obsessive-<br />

Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Bipolar<br />

Disorder. Moreover, learning impairments<br />

may also influence proper identification and<br />

needed support. These children are called<br />

twice exceptional.<br />

The term twice-exceptional (2e) learners,<br />

refers to those learners who are both gifted<br />

as well as having another ‘exceptionality’.<br />

This can be a learning disability (e.g.<br />

dyslexia), a learning difficulty (e.g. different<br />

learning style such as visual-spatial vs.<br />

audio-sequential), another developmental<br />

diagnosis (e.g. ADHD), and/or a large<br />

discrepancy between different domains<br />

in the intelligence profile (e.g. high fluid<br />

reasoning– low verbal comprehension<br />

or high fluid reasoning – low processing<br />

speed).<br />

The greatest problem by far with 2e<br />

students is that they often go unrecognized<br />

because their strengths obscure their<br />

weaknesses and their weaknesses obscure<br />

their strengths. Even in intelligence testing<br />

2e students’ advanced cognitive ability can<br />

go undetected.<br />

Risks<br />

The uniqueness of the gifted leaves them<br />

vulnerable. Particularly in the context<br />

of school, they require modifications.<br />

Underachievement is prevalent among<br />

the gifted all over the world and can<br />

have serious implications for personal<br />

development, self-esteem, performance<br />

and more. When insufficiently challenged,<br />

gifted students often fail to develop good<br />

learning habits, because a lot of what<br />

they learn seems effortless. As they grow<br />

older, however, and school becomes<br />

more demanding, they find themselves<br />

insufficiently equipped to meet expectations.<br />

Furthermore, gifted students rarely feel<br />

successful, as a sense of accomplishment<br />

is dependent on their achievement<br />

actually having been challenging to them.<br />

Perfectionism is also frequently seen among<br />

the gifted, building on their keen sense of<br />

how something could be and not wanting to<br />

settle for less.<br />

Socially, gifted students also often feel out<br />

of sync because they experience the world<br />

differently to their peers, and because they<br />

are more advanced than their classmates<br />

in important ways, their interactions can<br />

seem awkward. Moreover, their advanced<br />

cognitive ability may expose them to<br />

knowledge that they are emotionally less<br />

equipped to deal with. Psychological<br />

distress, rumination, anxiety and depression<br />

are all concerns for this population. Clearly,<br />

these issues also have implications for<br />

parenting and counseling.<br />

For the twice exceptional learner, these<br />

issues are exacerbated by their special<br />

learning needs, making them even more<br />

vulnerable. Going un(der)recognized in<br />

schools, they don’t receive all the support<br />

that they need. Apart from implications<br />

for academic achievement, this can also<br />

have deep implications for their long-term<br />

psychological well-being, their confidence,<br />

and their sense of self. Even if learning<br />

disabilities are recognized, the lack of<br />

attention for the gifted side seriously underaddresses<br />

the special needs of 2e learners.<br />

They suffer with inner confusion about their<br />

own abilities, being aware of their internal<br />

inconsistencies.<br />

Screening<br />

Screening for giftedness is not common in<br />

schools, and usually little is known among<br />

teachers about identifying characteristics.<br />

Many possible factors can obscure the gifted<br />

child in the classroom (and at home) but this<br />

has much to do with expectations from the<br />

environment and lack of knowledge<br />

and understanding about giftedness.<br />

Often, children present more challenging<br />

behaviour as well as emotional and learning<br />

issues, thus requiring appropriate support<br />

in school and outside. Early identification<br />

is crucial to facilitate the timely support<br />

necessary to prevent issues in emotional<br />

well-being, psychological distress, (further)<br />

learning difficulties, behavioural challenges.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 34


Inclusive <strong>School</strong> Support Systems<br />

High Learning Potential or Twice<br />

Exceptional is the term used to describe<br />

those individuals who have one or more<br />

special educational needs or disabilities and<br />

who also have high learning potential (or<br />

high ability). This is a sub-section of the<br />

SEND community that does not always<br />

receive the attention it deserves and that can<br />

be easily misunderstood.<br />

Although in the past there has been less<br />

known about students who fell under this<br />

umbrella and in addition students who<br />

were identified as ‘gifted’ also had to deal<br />

with the elitist stigmatisation. There is<br />

much evidence in recent years that many<br />

children present areas of additional need<br />

learning needs which contain identified/<br />

unidentified special educational needs (SEN)<br />

alongside identified/unidentified High<br />

Learning Potential (HLP), as reflected in<br />

their educational experiences. Students who<br />

have high learning ability can often mask a<br />

learning difficulty and in contrast those who<br />

have been identified as having a learning<br />

difficulty can often have their high learning<br />

ability unrecognized because of a learning<br />

disability.<br />

Therefore, in schools it is imperative that<br />

inclusion departments have the ability to<br />

screen, identify and support students who<br />

may have a learning disability but also have<br />

a high learning ability in one or more areas.<br />

Failing to do so results in students going<br />

under represented in the school community<br />

and without adequate academic and<br />

emotional support.<br />

Good programmes of inclusion should<br />

include a combination of equal support<br />

for strengths and difficulties. At GEMS<br />

we continue to build and develop strong<br />

support systems that are holistic in their<br />

approach to supporting high potential<br />

and twice exceptional learners by having<br />

solid educational plans that reflect a child’s<br />

academic needs as well as emotional support<br />

needs. It is important to have education<br />

plans that are well balanced in terms of<br />

building strengths and difficulties for the<br />

learner. We also collaborate with the outer<br />

learning community to provide additional<br />

experiences for high potential and twice<br />

exceptional learners, including offering<br />

workshops and experiences for learners<br />

to develop their capabilities whether in<br />

academics, music, sport or the arts.<br />

About the authors<br />

Dr. Raphaela Carrière is a developmental psychologist who supports smart, sensitive and<br />

intense people to navigate all the challenges associated with being gifted. Teaching gifted<br />

students is a frequently under-recognised challenge.<br />

She is a developmental psychologist and consultant, specialized in giftedness<br />

throughout the life span and in Early Childhood Development (ECD), President of the<br />

Executive Board of Directors for SENG Europe (NGO Supporting Emotional Needs of the<br />

Gifted). http://raphaelacarriere.com/<br />

Stephanie Walmsley is the Director of Student Support Services at GEMS World Academy,<br />

Etoy. Stephanie joined GEMS in August 2018, having worked in the Leman and Geneva<br />

region for 15 years developing inclusive education practices alongside wellbeing<br />

services. Stephanie has a Master’s degree in equality and diversity and is passionate about<br />

developing support services that incorporate both well-being and education.<br />

For more information about giftedness, high potential or twice exceptionality support<br />

please contact Dr Raphaela Carriere and Stephanie Walmsley at Gems World Academy Etoy.<br />

Web: www.GemsWorldAcademy-Switzerland.com<br />

Email: Registrar GWE registrar_gwe@gemsedu.com<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 35


Extraordinary Answers<br />

to Improbable Questions<br />

about Switzerland PART<br />

2<br />

My latest book, Why Do the Swiss Have Such Great Sex? provides, as its subtitle suggests,<br />

Extraordinary Answers to 66 Improbable Questions about Switzerland. . In the Spring issue of<br />

the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> I asked and answered two of these questions: How<br />

Many Toblerones Would It Take to Make a Matterhorn and Could a Tsunami Strike<br />

Switzerland? The answers, if you missed them, were 20,000 years worth of Swiss chocolate<br />

production and a resounding Yes. (For explanations, dig out the Spring issue and have a look!)<br />

In this issue we look at a crucial question<br />

for the (very long term) future of Swiss<br />

tourism: Are the Swiss Alps Growing<br />

or Shrinking? It turns out that the answer is,<br />

Both. Here’s why and how:<br />

The Alps shrink because of erosion. Wind, water,<br />

glaciers and rockfall are constantly removing material<br />

from the tops of the mountains and sending it down<br />

to the valleys.<br />

In 1871 Edward Whymper, one of the two men<br />

to first set foot on the summit of the Matterhorn,<br />

described the forces of erosion on that mountain.<br />

He was responding to John Ruskin, the English<br />

art critic and mountain lover, who had called the<br />

Matterhorn “indestructible.”<br />

“There is no aspect of destruction about the<br />

Matterhorn cliffs,” says Professor Ruskin.<br />

Granted—when they are seen from afar.<br />

But approach, and sit down by the side of<br />

the Z’Muttgletscher, and you will hear that<br />

their piecemeal destruction is proceeding<br />

ceaselessly—incessantly. You will hear, but,<br />

probably, you will not see; for even when<br />

the descending masses thunder as loudly as<br />

heavy guns, and the echoes roll back from<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 36


SWITZERLAND TOURISM<br />

the Ebihorn opposite, they will still be pinpoints<br />

against the grand old face, so vast is<br />

its scale!<br />

So much for erosion. But why are the Alp<br />

simultaneously growing? You might think that the<br />

collision of tectonic plates that gave rise (literally)<br />

to these mountains millions of years ago is still<br />

ongoing, but you’d be wrong—while the Alps are<br />

a young mountain range, the Alpine area has been<br />

“dead” tectonically for some time now.<br />

And yet they grow. To picture the surprising cause,<br />

imagine you have a suitcase full of rocks sitting on<br />

a trampoline. The suitcase rises above the surface of<br />

the trampoline, but at the same time presses down<br />

on it.<br />

If you were now to take the rocks out of the<br />

suitcase, but place them on the trampoline right near<br />

it, you wouldn’t see much difference in the height of<br />

the top of the suitcase, because the rocks would still<br />

be pressing down the trampoline.<br />

If, however, instead of filling the suitcase with<br />

rocks, you were to place a large block of ice on top of<br />

it, things would start to happen. Imagine that the ice<br />

is in a lightweight plastic tub with a hose running<br />

out of it and off the trampoline. As the ice melts,<br />

the weight on the trampoline decreases because the<br />

water flows down the hose and out onto the ground.<br />

Gradually, the trampoline will be become less and<br />

less compressed, and the top of the suitcase will rise.<br />

Now you have to imagine a very, very slowly<br />

rebounding trampoline, by which I mean one that<br />

holds the impression of a weight on it for a long time<br />

after that weight has actually disappeared. And since<br />

there are no very slow trampolines, think instead of<br />

a carpet that has had a table sitting on it for years.<br />

When you take away the table, the impressions of<br />

the table’s feet remain. Eventually these compressed<br />

spots will rise up and the carpet will level out, but<br />

those dents in the carpet will often remain long after<br />

the table has been carried away.<br />

24,000 years ago, at the time of the Last Glacial<br />

Maximum, the Alps were like a suitcase full of<br />

rocks with a block of ice on top. The rocks in this<br />

metaphor simply represent rocks, while the block of<br />

ice stands in for the huge glacial dome that partly<br />

covered them. The trampoline itself represents the<br />

earth’s crust, which got compressed under all of that<br />

weight.<br />

When the mountains erode, the rocks they lose<br />

end up in the valleys. From there they continue to<br />

compress the earth’s crust as much as they did when<br />

they were at the top of the peaks—just as the rocks<br />

that were placed around the suitcase compressed the<br />

trampoline as much as when they were in it. But<br />

the massive amounts of ice—62,000 gigatons 3<br />

—that covered the mountains 24,000 years ago,<br />

melted and didn’t stick around, but flowed out to<br />

the oceans—like the water in the hose. The earth’s<br />

crust reacts VERY SLOWLY to this loss of weight,<br />

and is still decompressing today—like the carpet<br />

that had the foot of the table imprinted in it. This<br />

decompression of the crust lifts up the Alps just as<br />

the decompression of the trampoline lifted up the<br />

suitcase.<br />

The decompression of the earth’s crust, which<br />

“grows” the Alps, and the work of erosion, which<br />

“shrinks” them, almost completely balance each other<br />

out. Overall, the rising crust is slightly winning out<br />

over the falling boulders, and the Alps are gaining in<br />

height very slowly, to the tune of about a millimeter<br />

a year. Despite this, however, they still aren’t as<br />

high as they were several million years ago. Their<br />

current growth is, geologically speaking, a short-term<br />

reaction to the glacial melting since the Last Glacial<br />

Maximum, rather than the continuation of a longterm<br />

trend.<br />

Now that we know the Swiss Alps are both<br />

growing and shrinking, we might want to<br />

know how they compare to other countries’<br />

mountains. This leads to the next question:<br />

Is Switzerland the Most Mountainous<br />

Country in Europe? As you will see, there’s<br />

1<br />

That’s 62,000,000,000,000,000 kilos, or close to 10 million kilos for every person alive today.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 37


Development’s 2004 report entitled Mountain Areas<br />

in Europe—which also leaves out both Andorra<br />

and Georgia, lending credibility to our judges’ tough<br />

decisions.<br />

• For highest average altitude, the new<br />

winner is: Switzerland! With an average<br />

altitude of 1,350 meters, it handily beats out<br />

Austria (910), Macedonia (741) and Spain<br />

(660).<br />

• For greatest percent of mountain area, the<br />

new winner is: Switzerland! According to<br />

the report’s criterion for “mountainousness,”<br />

Switzerland’s percentage of mountain area<br />

just edges out Norway’s, 94% to 93%—with<br />

Greece a distant third at 78% 4 .<br />

• For greatest percent of mountain<br />

population, the new winner is: Switzerland!<br />

With a mountain population of 84%,<br />

Switzerland easily beats out Slovenia (65%)<br />

and Norway (63%), with Austria (50%) a<br />

distant fourth.<br />

a lot of competition for this title, but with<br />

a little shuffling and without any outright<br />

bribery of the judges, Switzerland comes<br />

out all right in the end.<br />

• Europe’s highest mountain is in Russia.<br />

The next two highest are in Georgia.<br />

• The European country with the greatest<br />

mountainous area is Norway, followed by<br />

Spain and Sweden.<br />

• The European country with the highest<br />

average elevation is Georgia, followed by<br />

Andorra.<br />

• The Alps are shared by eight countries,<br />

with the largest shares held by Austria<br />

(28.7%), Italy (27.2%) and France (21,4%).<br />

• Europe’s longest glacier is in Norway.<br />

• The highest mountain in the Alps is on the<br />

Italian/French border.<br />

• The European country with the largest<br />

mountain population is Italy, followed by<br />

Spain and France.<br />

• The country with the greatest percentage<br />

of its territory in mountainous terrain is<br />

Andorra.<br />

• The country with the greatest percentage<br />

of its population in mountainous terrain is<br />

Andorra.<br />

It looks like Switzerland is getting creamed. In<br />

many people’s eyes, it started out as the favorite<br />

in this competition. After nine rounds, however,<br />

there hasn’t been a single Swiss victory. The other<br />

contestants are neck and neck, with Andorra and<br />

Norway in the lead, and Russia, Italy, Austria and<br />

Georgia packed together just behind them.<br />

But what’s this? It looks like Switzerland is<br />

making a move!<br />

• Of the eighty-two 4,000-meter peaks in<br />

the Alps, 48 are in Switzerland. Italy comes<br />

in second (35) with France a distant third<br />

(26).<br />

And see now! Georgia has been disqualified!<br />

The judges are ruling that the border between<br />

Europe and Asia is formed by the Caucasus, which<br />

places Georgia firmly in Asia. This will make for<br />

some hard feelings, since many Georgians think of<br />

themselves as Europeans, and want to join the EU.<br />

But the judges are sticking by their ruling.<br />

And see again! Andorra has also been<br />

disqualified! The judges have learned that Andorra<br />

is ruled by two Co-Princes, and one of those princes<br />

is the president of France. This means Emmanuel<br />

Macron is competing with a double entry, which is<br />

completely against the rules.<br />

So we need to reconsider the points that Georgia<br />

and Andorra won—highest average elevation,<br />

greatest percentage of mountain area, and greatest<br />

percentage of mountain population. The judges are<br />

furiously reviewing the Nordic Center for Spatial<br />

THE FINAL RESULT: With the greatest<br />

number of 4,000-meter Alpine peaks, the highest<br />

average elevation, the greatest percentage of mountain<br />

area, and the greatest percentage of mountain<br />

population, the winner is:<br />

SWITZERLAND!<br />

What a comeback! What a match! Switzerland<br />

now reigns as the most mountainous country<br />

in Europe. Join us for the next version of this<br />

competition, scheduled for March 5 in the<br />

year 10,002,018—at which, given the pace<br />

of geological change, Switzerland will be the<br />

overwhelming favorite to retain the title.<br />

And join us in the next issue for a look<br />

at William Hill’s odds that Geneva will<br />

disappear into a black hole.<br />

Ashley Curtis is the author of four<br />

books recently or soon to be published<br />

by Swiss presses, as well as numerous<br />

articles and short stories. He works<br />

part-time as a freelance editor based<br />

in Switzerland. As well as “Why Do<br />

the Swiss Have Such Great Sex?”, his<br />

Swiss works include “Error and Loss”,<br />

“O, Switzerland!”, and the upcoming<br />

“Hexeneinmaleins”.<br />

https://ashleycurtis.net/<br />

4<br />

The analysis uses the following fairly liberal definition of “mountainous” (read on at your own risk): For altitudes less than 300 meters, an area is “mountainous” if the standard<br />

deviation of the 8 cardinal points surrounding it on a one-kilometer grid is greater than 50 meters. From 300 to 1,000 meters, “mountainous” means that altitudes within a<br />

7 kilometer radius vary by 300 meters or more. From 1,000 to 1.500 meters, if the slope to the 8 cardinal points surrounding it on the grid is 5 degrees or more, a point is<br />

considered to be in a mountainous area. From 1,500 to 2,500 meters, this slope only needs to be 2 degrees. Finally, any terrain over 2,500 meters is considered mountainous.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 38


HOW<br />

international<br />

education<br />

CAN SERVE THE<br />

African continent<br />

No matter how we define international education 1 , it is<br />

a fast-growing phenomenon in Asia and in Africa. In a<br />

thought-provoking article entitled, ‘<strong>International</strong> elite,<br />

or global citizens? Equity, distinction and power: the <strong>International</strong><br />

Baccalaureate and the rise of the South’, researcher Gardner-<br />

McTaggart explains:<br />

‘The 2013 UN Human Development report predicts the middle classes of<br />

‘The South’ a five-fold increase by 2030. Globalisation has resulted in national<br />

conceptions of business: education and identity being in flux. Emerging middle<br />

classes of the South are already embracing international forms of education for<br />

instrumental reasons of advantage and distinction.’<br />

I am particularly interested in the impact of international<br />

education in Africa, my continent of origin, where economic<br />

growth and the thirst for new global opportunities make a new<br />

brand of private international schools the first choice of ambitious<br />

parents and students. There is an increasing number of African<br />

children in international schools in Africa due to the rise of an<br />

African middle class. One of the main incentives for these families<br />

is no doubt the opportunity to study abroad, possibly in a renowned<br />

university, thanks to recognized certifications like the <strong>International</strong><br />

Baccalaureate Diploma or A Levels.<br />

How do we ensure Africans come back after studying abroad?<br />

This increase of international education schooling in Africa is<br />

certainly leading to a slow but steady rise in the number of African<br />

students in world class universities around the globe. It is difficult<br />

to argue against access to quality tertiary education and more<br />

visibility for African talents. The question remains, however, how<br />

much this will benefit Africa. Will the students come back? Will<br />

they invest in their continent? Can they readapt as repats (returning<br />

expats)? I believe the key to this is meaningfully acknowledging<br />

and honouring African heritages in international schools in Africa.<br />

This goes hand-in-hand with the international school system<br />

avoiding perpetuating destructive hierarchies that affect the selfesteem<br />

and identity of young Africans. Creating international<br />

school environments where everybody learns to know, love and<br />

work in Africa is for me the main condition for this type of school<br />

to be a genuine blessing for the mother continent. Key to this is<br />

valuing what the continent has to offer, instilling pride in its unique<br />

offerings and not allowing the stereotypes of a poor and helpless<br />

Africa to perpetuate.<br />

So how can international schools positively impact Africa and<br />

make the most of their experience there?<br />

1<br />

Reflecting carefully on charity work.<br />

The way international schools on the continent, and those<br />

visiting from abroad, interact with the community is worthy<br />

of deep reflection. Charity work is one way international schools<br />

engage with local communities. Through service projects, schools<br />

often strive to impact their surroundings in a positive way. The<br />

1<br />

Today international schools come in all shapes and forms. They might or might not be attached to international organisations. As private schools, they can cater for expats or<br />

the local middle class. They can call themselves international because of the number of nationalities in their student or staff body. The programmes taught do play a crucial part<br />

in the attractiveness of an international school. <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge Assessment <strong>International</strong> Education (CAIE) for instance are highly regarded by<br />

universities worldwide so teaching these programmes also gives schools access to an international badge. (Gardner-McTaggart 2014)<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 39


number of companies who support international schools in the<br />

planning of field trips and service experiences is also on the rise.<br />

Africa is a dream land for its landscapes and people. It seems ideal<br />

to conduct life changing experiences on this rich environment. Who<br />

would say no to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro while raising funds<br />

for impoverished children, building classes in West Africa together<br />

with local children or teaching for a week in an isolated village?<br />

However, we should be wary of such a trip design reinforcing the<br />

idea that Africa needs “saving”.<br />

2<br />

Scaffolding<br />

positive and constructive interactions with<br />

the community.<br />

During Service-learning trips, the quality of the learning<br />

and action on the ground strongly relies on scaffolding, reflection<br />

and the degree of genuine engagement of the companies, schools<br />

and teachers involved. I recommend for international schools in<br />

Africa in particular, to be extremely careful about the hierarchies<br />

that can be surreptitiously established between foreign helpers<br />

and the local communities that are visited and supported. The<br />

expression, “teach to fish instead of giving a fish” is often used by<br />

those working within Africa. However, to be truly constructive, I<br />

propose going one step further. Instead of trying to teach Africans<br />

how to fish, students learn how to fish from the local fishermen,<br />

discover how to cook from an African mama, understand the<br />

effectiveness of African medicinal plants with a traditional doctor,<br />

learn from Africa!<br />

The service trip would then become be a genuine journey of<br />

inner discovery and outreach. For the African students and all the<br />

other nationalities present in the school, it would be a journey into<br />

exciting territories, much more stimulating than building latrines<br />

for people who could very well do this for themselves. Walking<br />

in African nature and enjoying the beauty of it, maybe together<br />

with friends from the nearest village is a treat many international<br />

schools in Africa already enjoy. We need to see more of this, and<br />

scaffolded collaborations, and mutual friendships. But we also need<br />

less unilaterally planned help that can wind up scratching where<br />

there is no itch.<br />

3<br />

Avoiding<br />

“bunker syndrome”.<br />

The risk of the “bunker syndrome” – whereby international<br />

schools isolate themselves from the local context they exist<br />

in – is particularly high in Africa. This is a feature that may be<br />

found in international schools<br />

all over the globe. However, on<br />

a continent that may be seen as<br />

dangerous and unpredictable, the<br />

walls can grow even higher. While<br />

there is no compromise possible<br />

when the security of students is at<br />

stake, there are many ways of letting<br />

Africa in, many ways of opening the<br />

door. Let’s start with the visibility of<br />

African role models as teachers and<br />

members of the school leadership.<br />

If all the Africans seen in a school<br />

are cleaners and gardeners, then it<br />

is time to wonder what picture of<br />

Africa is given to the students.


4Being aware of the “hidden curriculum”.<br />

Visibility also happens through the curriculum. What are<br />

the main concepts inculcated about Africa in the classrooms<br />

of international schools? What does the hidden curriculum<br />

say? Absence and irrelevance of Africa or African diversity and<br />

promise? When African students leave the continent, never to<br />

look back even to invest or stay informed, it is a book of hope that<br />

is burned to ashes. Such attitudes are caused by self-hatred and<br />

the feeling that there is nothing worthwhile in Africa. Such ideas,<br />

whether they are kept unspoken or tactlessly articulated, can send<br />

the poorest of the continent to the bottom of the Mediterranean<br />

Sea and the richest to a place of personal struggle. And Africa’s<br />

wealth might then continue to be enjoyed exclusively by a<br />

smaller number of people who have understood the economic,<br />

environmental and social promises of the continent.<br />

Therefore, it’s essential that African students and those of<br />

other nationalities attending <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>s in Africa have<br />

experiences that leave them with a sense of pride and optimism.<br />

The young generation who grow up in and know Africa are best<br />

placed to move Africa forward. The quality of the connection<br />

they build with local communities will play an enormous role in<br />

determining their future, and their desire to return.<br />

5Instilling pride, honour, and respect for Africa.<br />

There are so many reasons why African families join<br />

international schools: the need for a rigorous education,<br />

the desire to travel, dreams of future prosperity, preference for<br />

child centred education and more. A host of reasons also drive<br />

a foreign child to an international school in Africa: continuity of<br />

programmes followed in other countries, emotional safety, main<br />

language of education. I believe that for local and foreign pupils,<br />

it is the duty of the school to make Africa visible, respected and<br />

understood in its complexity. Enriching children with a sense of<br />

pride, shared humanity, and adaptability to new cultures is an<br />

invaluable gift in a 21st century of accelerated global changes.<br />

Through respectful ties with the local community and a curriculum<br />

where Africa is honoured, international schools in Africa can reach<br />

further than the pragmatic considerations that might have governed<br />

the enrolment of their students. There are opportunities here for<br />

reflection, professional development and celebration!<br />

References:<br />

Gardner-Mc-Taggart, A. (2014) ‘<strong>International</strong> elite, or global citizens? Equity,<br />

distinction and power: the <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate and the rise of the<br />

South’. Routledge.<br />

Estelle Hughes, MAed, is from Cameroon and<br />

Head of Talent Development at Enko Education, a<br />

network of African international schools, present<br />

in 7 countries (www.enkoeducation.com). Estelle<br />

has taught Languages and Literature in renowned<br />

international schools (including the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> of<br />

Geneva, The Mahindra United World College of India, and Gems<br />

World Academy). Estelle is also a consultant for international<br />

education and teacher training on the African continent.


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 42


NON-EMPLOYED<br />

PARENTS<br />

Make sure you protect both yourself and the family unit.<br />

If you are a non-employed parent do not<br />

underestimate your value to the family unit.<br />

Probably, you have given up a good career to look<br />

after your children and the family home. Perhaps, you<br />

may no longer bring an income into the unit, but how<br />

much would you cost to replace! How do you put a<br />

price on it?<br />

Imagine, the position of a highly paid executive,<br />

working long hours during the day, including many<br />

overseas trips lasting several days at a time. On the<br />

other hand, the partner does not work and looks after<br />

their 3 children aged 12, 9 and 4. The stay at home<br />

parent undertakes many, many roles, which include<br />

getting the children ready in the morning, transporting<br />

them to various schools, collecting them in the evening,<br />

taking them to after-school clubs, feeding them and<br />

looking after them during long holidays, periods<br />

of sickness and many more house chores. Imagine,<br />

something unexpected happens to the partner and they<br />

are no longer able to carry out the above.<br />

How would the situation be managed? How would<br />

the surviving partner be able to continue working?<br />

Alternatively, who would look after the children and<br />

accommodate all their needs and at what cost! The<br />

pension scheme of an employed person will provide<br />

some protection in the event of their death, but what<br />

about the non-employed party.<br />

You also need to provide for your own retirement. Do<br />

not rely on your partner to support you in retirement.<br />

Separation, divorce, illness and outliving their partner<br />

results in many people struggling in retirement. Start<br />

planning for your own retirement sooner rather than<br />

later!<br />

There are more than 15.000 divorces every year in<br />

Switzerland 1 , with an average duration of 15 years at<br />

the moment of the divorce.<br />

In addition, many statistics confirm that on average<br />

women earn less than men. This can be as the result<br />

of taking career breaks to bring up children or care<br />

for elderly relatives. When returning to work they are<br />

often forced to take lower paid jobs. This results in their<br />

pension pots being smaller… up to 40%. In addition to<br />

this, women also have a longer life expectancy, so they<br />

have to manage for longer on a smaller savings pot.<br />

Do not get caught out! Do not just rely on your<br />

partner to sort out your finances, it often creates<br />

unpleasant situations in the future. Become financially<br />

independent! Take action, protect your family unit<br />

and guarantee a financially independent retirement.<br />

Procrastinating on your pension planning can have<br />

dramatic consequences, not only in the case of divorce<br />

or death.<br />

Arrange a meeting with a Financial Planner and<br />

review your Financial Position. What are your current<br />

circumstances? What are your plans and aspirations?<br />

Are you on track to achieve them?<br />

Complete a Cashflow Forecast to understand your<br />

future financial position. Calculate how much you<br />

spend on essentials and luxuries and how much you<br />

are likely to spend when retired. This will show you<br />

the amount of retirement pot you will require and<br />

how much you should be saving now. Do not delay,<br />

every month will increase the required contribution.<br />

A financial planner will work with you to identify your<br />

investment goals and how to manage your savings to<br />

maximise the return.<br />

Taking action now could save you a lot of problems<br />

(and money) in the future.<br />

Richard has over 40 years of experience within the Financial industry. His extensive knowledge<br />

of underlying financial services and products made him one of the most recognized financial<br />

planners in in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, where he advises clients on investments,<br />

retirement planning, estate planning and many more financial milestones.<br />

He would be delighted to undertake a confidential review and assessment of your individual<br />

circumstances. For more advice please contact Richard Heath, Financial Planner at Blackden Financial<br />

based in Geneva.<br />

Telephone +41 22 755 08 00 | Email rheath@blackdenfinancial.com | Website: www.blackdenfinancial.com<br />

1<br />

Situation économique et sociale de la population - Office fédéral de la statistique, 14.12.2017


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Flirt with some<br />

NEW FOODS<br />

this summer!<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 46


I<br />

just love trying new foods. I largely have my<br />

parents to thank for constantly introducing us to<br />

different flavours. Growing up in rural Australia,<br />

we certainly had our fair share of lamb steak and<br />

three-veg. But with Bircher-müsli for breakfast (or<br />

sometimes dinner as used to be the tradition!), “Biscuits<br />

de Noël” at Christmas and fondue in winter, my father<br />

kept a little taste of Switzerland - his country of origin<br />

- alive in our kitchen. I can still hear the neighbours<br />

exclaiming: “Cheese soup is all we’re havin’? Where’s<br />

the steak?!”.<br />

As for my mum, she bonded with people over food.<br />

She learnt to cook a range of Indian, Indonesian,<br />

and Thai dishes from colleagues in Switzerland and<br />

Australia who soon became fast friends. The effect on<br />

my life was clear as I moved around and met people<br />

from different cultures who were amazed and delighted<br />

that I knew and enjoyed lesser-known favourites from<br />

their homes. I’d usually reply, “Well, my mum had a<br />

friend from…”. Invitations for dinner quickly followed,<br />

often developing into firm friendships - and the<br />

opportunity to add more recipes to my favourites!<br />

Living abroad often means letting go of edible<br />

family favourites from “home”, or they become a rare<br />

treat. What are you missing? Reese’s, Yorkshire tea,<br />

vegemite, peanut butter, unique tropical fruits, special<br />

herbs, spices and sauces? Leaving behind those familiar<br />

flavours can be difficult to digest, for you let alone your<br />

children. But a huge part of making a new country<br />

home is discovering what its food culture has to offer. What’s more,<br />

the international school environment is definitely a great place to<br />

share and learn new recipes! You may be surprised how quickly this<br />

can lead to new friends too.<br />

Learn your new home’s culture and history through its food.<br />

When settling into a new country, food is key to connecting with<br />

the culture and it also gives fascinating insight into its history. Have<br />

you ever considered that, while Switzerland is today a very rich<br />

country, its lack of food variety indicates a very humble past? With<br />

cheese, cured meats and potato the basic ingredients of most Swiss<br />

specialties, it’s clear that a majority of Switzerland historically<br />

interchanged very little with other cultures, nor did the geography<br />

allow them to experiment much with different fruits and vegetables.<br />

In October in Fully, there is a fascinating festival about the<br />

history of chestnuts in the area: the Fête de la Châtaigne. The<br />

trees were planted around 1200 C.E. before potatoes or grains<br />

were introduced. Today, the 17 hectares that remain protect the<br />

community from rock and mud slides. I never would have thought<br />

to take a tour about chestnut trees, but honestly, it is one of my<br />

most memorable in Switzerland. The guide was charming and<br />

passionate and the history remarkably interesting. I see why the<br />

community fought hard to keep their chestnut trees!<br />

For those in German-speaking Switzerland, why not try a Food<br />

Trail this summer? The trails combine a scavenger hunt with<br />

tasting of a half dozen or so local specialties – a family activity<br />

guaranteed to be fun and delicious! Don’t think you speak enough<br />

German yet? The beautiful city of Saint-Gallen is holding tours in<br />

English.<br />

Be open-minded at the market.<br />

When you move to a new country the supermarket, and even the<br />

local market, is an adventure in itself. Before going to the open-air<br />

markets in Europe I never knew there were so many varieties of<br />

tomato, or that strawberries could truly taste so sweet.<br />

Find out where and when a fresh-food market takes place near<br />

you and make a point of going as a family. Take advantage of<br />

your foreigner’s ignorance to ask questions about how to cook a<br />

vegetable you’ve never seen before. Modelling this curiosity to your<br />

children is a powerful way to invite them to overcome timidity when<br />

faced with newness. The market is also a great setting to discuss<br />

where the food is coming from. Is it locally grown, or imported<br />

from within Europe or abroad. Are the prices higher or lower at the<br />

market as compared to the supermarket? Is it worth paying a little<br />

more for locally grown produce? Make the experience into a little<br />

assignment for your kids – especially if you’ve recently moved and<br />

you’re still getting your heads around a new currency!<br />

Try some new recipes.<br />

In fact, this holiday, why not try aim for one new recipe per week.<br />

If your children are old enough, send them out on a challenge to<br />

find the ingredients. Reading the recipe, pondering the quantities,<br />

daring to ask for a product they can’t find and dealing with the cash<br />

are all life skills that will serve them well in the future. For the littler<br />

ones, simply involve them in the recipe-choosing and preparing<br />

certain ingredients.<br />

In the last Spring edition of the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>,<br />

Andie Pilot shared “5 Swiss recipes you probably haven’t tried yet”.<br />

The Papet Vaudois is a particularly easy dish to prepare. Quick,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 47


filling and tasty, this might be a good one to try! You can find the<br />

recipe on the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> website.<br />

Otherwise, what international recipes are your children raving<br />

about? What do their friends eat that they’d like to try? I’m sure<br />

that at every Kermesse or other school festival there have been<br />

international foods you and your children have particularly enjoyed.<br />

Some dishes definitely take some time to prepare. But don’t let that<br />

put you off. Make an event of the more elaborate dishes. Prepare<br />

them together on weekends or special occasions and they might<br />

even become a family tradition.<br />

A fun way to get everyone introduced to the cooking process is to<br />

take a cooking class together. One of my highlights in Geneva was<br />

a patisserie class at “Les Ateliers”, and the establishment has since<br />

grown to offer a wide variety of sweet, savoury and kid-friendly<br />

classes.<br />

Foster friendships through food.<br />

Being open to at least trying something new has opened so many<br />

doors for me into people’s homes, for fresh goat “Nyama Choma”<br />

in Kenya, “Mansaf ” in Jordan, and a special Romanian soup made<br />

from rooster’s… well I’ll leave that to your imagination! Clearly not<br />

all of these have made their way into my own list of go-to recipes,<br />

but some like Borscht (a to-die-for Eastern European beetroot soup)<br />

or Okonomiyaki (a Japanese omelette/frittata that’s an ultimate<br />

comfort-food) are now easy-to-make staples I turn to regularly.<br />

I’ve met a lot of people on my travels, but those I’ve shared a<br />

special meal with are faces I haven’t forgotten, and moments I look<br />

back on with particular fondness. Modelling an appreciation for<br />

trying new and different foods will teach your children this simple<br />

key to unforgettable experiences and relationships as they grow up<br />

to travel and study and work abroad. And in the short-term, it’s<br />

also a great way to make new friends in as you settle into your new<br />

home.<br />

So, who have you been dying to ask for a recipe? What “weird”<br />

food has your child come home talking about that maybe you could<br />

all give a go? Has someone expressed a curiosity for your native dish<br />

that you could invite them over to try? Or maybe even help cook?<br />

Develop curiosity and confidence in cooking this summer!<br />

A curiosity for cooking and eating good food – as well as learning<br />

where food comes from - should be considered an essential part of<br />

growing up. The summer holidays are a great time to take a next<br />

step in getting your children involved in recipe planning, shopping<br />

and cooking. You’re probably still working, but they have a little<br />

more time on their hands. What better opportunity to take those<br />

next steps towards food independence! We can all hope that by the<br />

time the next academic year starts, the younger ones will be able to<br />

help out and the older ones might even be cooking a dish or two.<br />

So use these summer holidays to build your list of go-to recipes<br />

and get your kids familiar with them. After a hard day at work,<br />

cooking dinner is not everyone’s favourite activity. But resist<br />

the temptation to rely on pre-prepared meals. With a little bit<br />

of planning, there are plenty of fresh and nutritious dishes that<br />

take very little time at all, especially with a few helping hands.<br />

And on a deeper level, this curiosity and appreciation of food<br />

will be nurturing an open-mindedness and sense of human<br />

interconnectedness that I’m sure will bring many beautiful<br />

experiences to your child in the future.<br />

A simplified Okonomiyaki Recipe<br />

When I’m short of time in the evenings, my go-to dish is<br />

“Okonomiyaki”. I have my Japanese room-mate from university<br />

to thank for what is now a family favourite. Okonomiyaki’s<br />

basic ingredients are eggs, flour, water and cabbage. But it’s<br />

actually a very versatile dish since “okonomi” means “what you<br />

like” and “yaki” meaning grilled. You can add meat or seafood<br />

or other vegetables. You can top it with bonito flakes or bacon,<br />

spring onion or seaweed. Okonomiyaki sauce can be found<br />

in most Japanese/Asian stores but if not, topping with a only<br />

little mayonnaise still does the trick on its own. Definitely buy<br />

a couple of big cabbages and they’ll stay fresh for weeks in the<br />

fridge so you can always have the ingredients on hand ready for<br />

a lazy evening or when you get home late.<br />

Ingredients for 1 person:<br />

1 egg<br />

~50g plain flour<br />

~50ml water<br />

a handful of shredded cabbage<br />

a dash of soy sauce (to replace salt and the special Japanese<br />

stock)<br />

chopped spring onions<br />

4-6 slices of bacon<br />

okonomiyaki sauce<br />

mayonnaise<br />

Method:<br />

1. In a large bowl mix the flour, water, cabbage, soy sauce,<br />

spring onions and lastly the egg. The mix should be quite wet,<br />

but excess liquid shouldn’t be obvious if you tilt the bowel.<br />

2. Add the mixture to a lightly greased frying pan, on medium<br />

heat, shaping it into a circle.<br />

3. Criss-cross the slices of bacon on top.<br />

4. When the edge seems to be cooked, flip the okonomiyaki and<br />

leave to cook for 5-7 minutes – usually if the bacon is ready, the<br />

okonomiyaki is ready!<br />

5. Put onto a plate, and criss-cross okonomiyaki sauce and<br />

mayonnaise over the top.


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INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 51


A Levels<br />

– could they be a better choice<br />

than the IB?<br />

A<br />

Levels are increasingly being chosen by international and<br />

Swiss families for their children’s final years of schooling.<br />

Highly-regarded by universities in the UK, Switzerland,<br />

and globally, they are considered by international school students as<br />

a serious alternative to the IB Diploma. A key decision for parents<br />

and students heading into the final school years is which route<br />

to take. While the IB Diploma is often the most popular option,<br />

an alternative is A Levels. So what makes them better for some<br />

students?<br />

Both qualifications are widely respected routes into university.<br />

However, the A Level qualification has its fans, largely because they<br />

offer the opportunity for students to continue studying only the<br />

subjects where their most passionate interests and talents lie. This<br />

can make the final two years of school a lot more motivating for<br />

some students and even give students a tactical advantage allowing<br />

them to score better in their final exams by dropping their weaker<br />

subjects.<br />

For students who are all-rounders, or for those who don’t have a<br />

very clear idea yet what they’d like to do after school, specialising<br />

in only a few subjects might limit their choices later on. However,<br />

for students who have a clear idea what studies they wish to pursue<br />

after school, A Levels allow them to focus their time on achieving<br />

the highest possible grades in the 3 or 4 most relevant subjects.<br />

As a result, the Swiss <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>s offering the A Level -<br />

including Hull <strong>School</strong> Zurich, Geneva English <strong>School</strong>, Brillantmont<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>, and the British <strong>School</strong> of Geneva - all agree<br />

that they are an excellent choice for many students. So, let’s take a<br />

closer look at A Levels – a programme available to students of all<br />

nationalities and educational backgrounds who meet the entrance<br />

requirements.<br />

What are a levels?<br />

The A Level, or “Advanced Level”, programme is the two-year<br />

course designed to follow the General Certificate of Secondary<br />

Education (GCSE) in the UK. However, it isn’t compulsory to have<br />

studied the GCSE to enter the A Level programme. It is open to<br />

students aged 16 and above of all nationalities and educational<br />

backgrounds. For those who have studied GCSE’s it’s generally<br />

necessary that a student has achieved a C or above grade in five<br />

subjects, especially in the subjects that they wish to study for A<br />

Level. The <strong>International</strong> A Level is a similar format, but framed<br />

in an international context rather than a UK one. <strong>International</strong><br />

schools can run either the UK format or the <strong>International</strong> format.<br />

Universities do not view <strong>International</strong> A Levels any differently to A<br />

Levels.<br />

How is the programme structured & assessed?<br />

A Levels are composed of 2 years of study: 1st year AS level and<br />

2nd year A2. You need to complete an AS level in a subject before<br />

you can move on to A2 and complete your full A Level. The A2<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 52


course builds on what has been learnt in the AS and many A2<br />

exams also test content from the AS course. It used to be that the<br />

exams after studying the AS level contributed 50% towards your A<br />

Level grade, but this is no longer the case. We’ll explain some more<br />

recent changes a bit further on.<br />

The recent changes also mean that the final A Level exams are<br />

more heavily weighted, which can be advantageous for students<br />

whose strengths lie in recall. A Level students are not asked to<br />

complete any significant piece of coursework - such as the IB<br />

Extended Essay - outside of their normal courses, which means<br />

they can fully focus their time on the subjects they’ve chosen.<br />

What type of student is the a level best suited for?<br />

Any student who studies A Levels needs to be prepared to be<br />

self-motivated to study independently and manage their workload.<br />

They should also have a very keen interest in the subjects they<br />

choose as the courses go deeply into concepts and skills related to<br />

these. We often explain to parents that one of the great drawcards<br />

of A Levels is that students can study as few as 3 or 4 subjects<br />

and go much more deeply into these. TutorsPlus tutors enjoy<br />

teaching A Levels as the courses often go deeper in to the subject<br />

matter. By contrast, the number of subjects in the IB, French<br />

Baccalaureate or Swiss Maturité can be much broader, anywhere<br />

from 6 to 11 subjects. When advising parents of students who<br />

have had interruptions to their studies due to illness or professional<br />

participation in sports or the arts, we find A Levels are an option<br />

that provides the flexibility they’re looking for. A Levels can even be<br />

completed by home-schoolers with the help of professional tutors.<br />

Many parents find themselves weighing the IB against A Levels<br />

so it’s important to understand the main difference between these<br />

two programmes. While the IB is designed for developing an<br />

all-rounded student, those studying A Levels can specialise. For<br />

example, the IB normally wouldn’t allow for students to study<br />

more than two sciences to give space for other subjects in the<br />

programme. However, students choosing the A Level route would<br />

have no problem studying three sciences - Physics, Biology and<br />

Chemistry, for example – especially if it would prepare them well<br />

for a particular course at university they have their heart set on.<br />

This route would prepare them well to have a very deep knowledge<br />

of these complementary areas of Science. So, for students whose<br />

strengths lie in a very particular academic area, A Levels give the<br />

opportunity to specialise earlier.<br />

Access to universities worldwide<br />

It is often assumed that A Levels are the best option only if you<br />

intend to study in the UK. However, you should certainly not feel<br />

that you will be limited to the UK by studying A Levels. A Levels<br />

are truly a globally recognised qualification. Universities typically<br />

require students to pass three subjects at A Level, and generally<br />

publish the letter grades necessary for admission (for example, one<br />

A and two Bs). However, it’s always recommended that you check<br />

the entry requirements of the universities that you are considering<br />

just to be sure of their expectations. In order for students to<br />

maximise their chances of achieving the standards sought by the<br />

universities of their choice, many A Level candidates will undertake<br />

four courses (perhaps even more in the first year) and apply to<br />

university based on their top three scores.<br />

A Levels are a great course of study to prepare students for<br />

university. Students need to exercise self-discipline as there is a high<br />

emphasis on independent study, much like at university. Lessons are<br />

often much more lecture-style also, which offers great practice for<br />

students to learn note-taking and revision techniques that work for<br />

them.<br />

We are often asked by parents if universities value the IB as a<br />

more competitive diploma. In reality, universities know that each<br />

pre-University programme has its strengths and weaknesses and<br />

they are unbiased toward any particular qualification. It’s much<br />

more important to make sure that the programme you choose is the<br />

right one for your child.<br />

What do i need to know about the recent changes to a levels?<br />

In 2015 the UK government began phasing in changes to A Levels.<br />

Exams for the last of the “old-structure” A Level subjects will be<br />

taken this May/June <strong>2019</strong>. So if your child is entering A Levels<br />

in September <strong>2019</strong> they’ll be fully entering the new system. Your<br />

school will be completely up-to-date with the changes, but just<br />

be careful if you’re reading about A Levels online to check the<br />

publication date of the article/blog as there is still a lot out there<br />

about the old system.<br />

Under the new system that has been introduced, all A Level<br />

exams will take place at the end of Year 13, with no marks from<br />

AS-levels (if you take these) contributing to the overall final grade.<br />

Instead the AS, if your school chooses to run the exam, will be a<br />

separate stand-alone qualification. This change does not, however,<br />

apply to <strong>International</strong> A Levels, which is a separate system.<br />

In general, there will also be less coursework and fewer practical<br />

assessments under the new system. This means having a solid<br />

revision plan in place to make sure learning stays fresh is of<br />

paramount importance. The grading system remains unchanged.<br />

Grades will continue to be awarded on an A*-E scale. The A*<br />

grade in A Levels differentiates the highest performing students<br />

and gives university admissions a better appreciation of a student’s<br />

academic achievement.<br />

Want to be best prepared for a levels?<br />

TutorsPlus can provide specialist A Level tutors, experienced with<br />

the curriculum and exam preparation. If you feel your child has<br />

any gaps ahead of moving into A Levels, we’d be happy to match<br />

them with an experienced tutor who will ensure they move forward<br />

with confidence and solid foundations. Additionally, if you have<br />

questions regarding school choice or the best curriculum to suit<br />

your child, TutorsPlus’ Education Consultants would be happy to<br />

guide you.<br />

You can reach TutorsPlus at 022 731 8148 or<br />

info@tutorsplus.com<br />

By Sandra Steiger - Academic Support Manager at TutorsPlus<br />

Sandra Steiger has over 10 years’ experience<br />

teaching English at various schools in<br />

Switzerland. She now works as Academic<br />

Support Manager at TutorsPlus. During her 6<br />

years at the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> of Geneva, she was also the<br />

Service Learning programme Coordinator, <strong>International</strong> Award<br />

Supervisor, a Homeroom Mentor and Head of Year 8.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 53


PERSPECTIVES FROM SWISS<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS<br />

OFFERING A LEVELS<br />

“Our school, Brillantmont <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong>, has been teaching A Levels for over<br />

60 years. We strongly believe that A Levels<br />

give students flexibility and freedom in<br />

their learning choices. Rather than having<br />

a fixed programme imposed upon them,<br />

students choose three or four A Level<br />

subjects, about which they are passionate.<br />

This freedom of choice allows them to<br />

develop depth of knowledge in their<br />

chosen subject, building critical thinking<br />

and academic skills. Students can focus<br />

on the subjects they love and are not held<br />

back by having to study subjects they do<br />

not enjoy. Similarly, service learning and<br />

extra-curricular activities are chosen by<br />

the students, rather than being imposed<br />

upon them, as is the case with other<br />

programmes. Students effectively take<br />

ownership for their learning. Furthermore,<br />

the fact that A Levels are recognised<br />

and held in high regard by universities<br />

worldwide is of utmost importance,<br />

since our students continue their higher<br />

education across the globe.”<br />

Sarah Frei, Head of External Relations,<br />

Brillantmont <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

“A-levels have become popular in Switzerland, a<br />

highly competitive private school market. One of the<br />

fastest growing private schools in Switzerland, Hull’s<br />

<strong>School</strong> Zürich, uses the UK system and teaches mostly<br />

Swiss adolescents. It opened its doors in 2004 and<br />

now counts 300 students, making it probably Zürich’s<br />

largest private sixth form college. Swiss students<br />

appreciate an alternative to the very broadly-based<br />

Swiss university entrance examination (Matura). They<br />

find the idea of an all-English high school appealing<br />

as they expect to do further studies and pursue careers<br />

in English. Many of them feel that their chances of<br />

getting into a Russell Group university are better with<br />

A-levels, because they are able to concentrate more on<br />

their best subjects. As Swiss universities also recognize<br />

A-levels, they get the best of both worlds.”<br />

Robin Hull, Principal, Hull’s <strong>School</strong> Zürich.<br />

“A Levels are globally recognized qualifications, highly<br />

respected by universities in Europe, America and around<br />

the world. A post-16 programme of study based around<br />

A-levels affords individuals the flexibility to choose<br />

courses that suit their skills, talents and interests, whilst<br />

also allowing the time to supplement their studies with<br />

elements that go beyond the confines of examination<br />

specifications, adding contrast, depth and breadth. Our<br />

A-level diploma programme will include critical theory,<br />

an extended individual project, involvement in the<br />

community and enrichment via a plethora of societies<br />

and clubs. It will prepare students for life in a rapidly<br />

changing global environment and give them a rich<br />

appreciation of our complex, interconnected world.”<br />

Tim Meunier, Geneva English <strong>School</strong><br />

“At the British <strong>School</strong> of<br />

Geneva, applications from<br />

students of all educational<br />

backgrounds are taken<br />

into consideration, based<br />

on their level of English<br />

and performance in their<br />

previous school. We offer<br />

students support and<br />

guidance at every stage<br />

of the programme, from<br />

selecting their subjects,<br />

to managing time<br />

effectively and becoming<br />

independent learners.”<br />

Sabine Hutcheson, Head of<br />

Sixth Form, British <strong>School</strong><br />

of Geneva<br />

“I frequently receive enquiries<br />

about the British <strong>School</strong> of<br />

Geneva’s A Level programme<br />

from parents who are looking<br />

for an alternative to the IB, the<br />

Swiss Maturité or the French Bac.<br />

It could be that their children<br />

struggle with certain subjects<br />

they would be required to<br />

take in an “all-round” diploma<br />

programme, or simply that<br />

they know the specific subjects<br />

on which they would like to<br />

focus. Either way, A Levels allow<br />

students to maximise their<br />

chances of success and to show<br />

themselves in their best light on<br />

university applications.”<br />

Christina Matillon, Principal, British<br />

<strong>School</strong> of Geneva<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 54


to Help our Teens get the Best Start to the IB<br />

Diploma – Advice from IB Experts<br />

If your child is starting the IB Diploma<br />

Programme next academic year, here<br />

is all the advice you need to help them<br />

get the best start possible. We often hear<br />

from DP Coordinators that parents and<br />

students alike can worry as the start of the<br />

IB approaches. It doesn’t matter whether<br />

students are coming from the MYP, IGCSE,<br />

or national curricula, there is always an<br />

adjustment period that students need to<br />

be prepared for. We’ve gone to the experts<br />

and spoken to IB DP Coordinators at<br />

top international schools in Switzerland<br />

to gather their advice on how your child<br />

can be better prepared to hit the ground<br />

running in their first Semester of the IB<br />

Diploma.<br />

TOP TIPS<br />

What advice would you give those<br />

who are about to enter the DP<br />

programme?<br />

“Once students have selected their courses,<br />

it’s about being organised and being able to<br />

work within a schedule in terms of getting<br />

the work done. I try to emphasise that you<br />

don’t need to be a genius to be successful<br />

at the Diploma. You just really need to be<br />

organised and have chosen the right classes.<br />

Students need to have thought through<br />

what they’re interested in studying at<br />

university, what countries they are thinking<br />

of studying in, and what their passions are.<br />

Their programme should have been put<br />

together from that.”<br />

Joseph Amato – IB DP Coordinator, Zurich<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

“They need to look at it as a really<br />

positive, exciting two years ahead. It’s a<br />

bridge between school and the next step,<br />

whether it be university or another road.<br />

Don’t listen too much to comments like,<br />

“Oh, it’s really hard. The DP programme is<br />

a lot of work”. Students need to experience<br />

the Diploma for themselves and a negative<br />

or fearful mindset can hinder their ability to<br />

enjoy the next two years. It’s a very personal<br />

experience.<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>s can help by guiding their<br />

child to refocus on themselves and their<br />

particular educational journey, as opposed<br />

to comparing themselves to others. At this<br />

stage of your life path and career path<br />

and journey, comparing yourself to others<br />

doesn’t mean anything. <strong>Parent</strong>s need to<br />

give students the space to follow their own.<br />

It’s far more likely that students will enjoy<br />

the Diploma and succeed if they’ve chosen<br />

options that they’re happy with, that they’re<br />

interested in and passionate about.<br />

If students find they’re not enjoying<br />

a subject, it’s better to talk with the DP<br />

Coordinator earlier rather than later and we<br />

will try to work with to find a way forward.<br />

Ideally, students will have been having these<br />

conversations before they start and will have<br />

chosen their subjects well.<br />

Lastly, we want students to understand<br />

that the DP is a collaborative endeavour,<br />

where they are immersed in a network<br />

of people who are very willing to support<br />

them and who they can learn from and<br />

should communicate with. We encourage<br />

students to be very open, to discuss their<br />

learning with their parents, to be open<br />

minded about discussion with staff within<br />

the school, but also with their peers. One<br />

of the best enrichments the IB can do is to<br />

allow a sense of shared learning as well as<br />

ind ependence. So, talking to one another<br />

avoids ending up feeling that you’re in a<br />

vacuum, that you’re working through things<br />

on your own.”<br />

Ann Lautrette – IB DP Coordinator, Inter-<br />

Community <strong>School</strong> Zurich.<br />

“I take a very IB mission statement<br />

kind of approach to starting the Diploma.<br />

The workload is a little less intense at<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 55


about setting good foundations and work<br />

habits in place.”<br />

Dr. Zoe Badcock - AP and IB DP Coordinator,<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> of Zug & Luzern.<br />

“At TutorsPlus we echo many of the<br />

sentiments of the IB Coordinators we have<br />

spoken to. It’s really important the student<br />

has chosen the subjects carefully and not<br />

been overly influenced by peers or what<br />

they feel they should be studying. No matter<br />

which school, we find that students who’ve<br />

chosen their subjects carefully are able to<br />

keep motivated and stay applied, even when<br />

it gets challenging. Our tutors say this is<br />

especially true with the Extended Essay and<br />

Internal Assessments where it’s so important<br />

to have a personal interest in the topic to<br />

inspire independent research”.<br />

Sandra Steiger - Academic Support Manager at<br />

TutorsPlus<br />

So, add these points to your pre-first<br />

semester checklist:<br />

• Remind your child that the IB DP<br />

experience is a personal one, that it will<br />

be a foundation for finding their place in<br />

the world and achieving their goals for<br />

the future. That’s exciting!<br />

• Make sure they’re truly happy with their<br />

subject choices. If they have any doubts,<br />

they should speak to their DP coordinator<br />

sooner rather than later.<br />

• Ensure your teen knows that they<br />

have the support of the school and their<br />

families, and shouldn’t hesitate to reach<br />

out for help or advice at any stage.<br />

“I try to emphasise that you don’t need to<br />

be a genius to be successful at the Diploma.<br />

You just really need to be organised and<br />

have chosen the right classes.”<br />

the beginning and I think that there’s an<br />

opportunity to dream a little bit, to explore<br />

and be critical about what you want to get<br />

out of the next two years. So, I encourage<br />

students to think beyond their subjects and<br />

imagine what they want the world to be<br />

like and their place in it. How would they<br />

achieve that? In the first weeks it’s also all<br />

What would you say are the most<br />

challenging aspects of the DP<br />

that maybe parents and students<br />

don’t fully appreciate at the<br />

beginning?<br />

“It’s different for all students. They come<br />

in with diverse amounts of talents and<br />

abilities. Some students like the Extended<br />

Essay, if they were lucky enough to get to<br />

work on their passion then it’s easy. For<br />

others the struggle is very real. It really<br />

depends on the student. Overall the biggest<br />

challenge I would say is going from ninth<br />

and tenth grade curriculum and having to<br />

ratchet it up two or three degrees in order<br />

to cope with the six courses, the Extended<br />

Essay, and doing CAS. It’s a big jump and<br />

certainly when we’re counselling tenth<br />

graders I try and emphasize that again and<br />

again. Some people listen and some people<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 56


get scared, which they shouldn’t. But some<br />

students don’t pay attention and they suffer<br />

the consequences.”<br />

Joseph Amato – IB DP Coordinator, Zurich<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

“They don’t anticipate how organised<br />

they will need to be, and how structured in<br />

their time they’ll need to be. That is a huge<br />

challenge for students. They often start the<br />

programme feeling like, “Oh, this is okay…<br />

what were they talking about saying it’s so<br />

hard and there’s so much work?” And then,<br />

often, there’s quite a steep increase, and<br />

they find themselves wondering, “How can<br />

I manage this?!” We always try at school to<br />

prepare students for that. We put in place a<br />

core curriculum programme that supports<br />

those organizational skills. But then they go<br />

from a really structured programme to one<br />

where they have study periods, where they<br />

have to learn independently. So, part of our<br />

job is to prepare them throughout school<br />

for that independent learning that we know<br />

they’re going to have to deal with in the DP<br />

and beyond. Because after these two years<br />

that’s it, they’re completely independent in<br />

terms of their own learning.”<br />

Ann Lautrette – IB DP Coordinator, Inter-<br />

Community <strong>School</strong> Zurich.<br />

“Every year, the start of the 2nd year is a<br />

surprise in terms of how challenging it is for<br />

the students, even if you prepare them. At<br />

that time there’s a convergence of deadlines<br />

and expectations. There’s the pressure of<br />

university applications while simultaneously<br />

completing Internal Assessments, and<br />

feeling like they need to show that they’re<br />

performing in tests in order to get good<br />

predicted grades for university. I think that<br />

the first semester of the 2nd year of the DP,<br />

any Diploma coordinator will tell you, is<br />

the most challenging. And I think that it still<br />

catches parents and students out.”<br />

Dr. Zoe Badcock - AP and IB DP Coordinator,<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> of Zug & Luzern.<br />

“There are certainly times of the year<br />

where we at TutorsPlus are inundated with<br />

requests for assistance for revision or getting<br />

started on essays with deadlines just around<br />

the corner. So the best advice we can give<br />

is that it is really important that students<br />

take their DP coordinators’ advice on<br />

timelines and schedules seriously to avoid<br />

very stressful moments for parents, students,<br />

teachers and tutors alike!”<br />

Sandra Steiger - Academic Support Manager at<br />

TutorsPlus<br />

If your child is struggling with ideas to<br />

get started or needs to revise structuring<br />

their coursework, encourage them to sit<br />

down with their teacher, a friend, you, or a<br />

tutor to help set their ideas out. While IAs<br />

and the EE are to be done independently,<br />

there’s no limit to how much students can<br />

talk their ideas through and receive advice<br />

how to move forward if they’re stuck. We<br />

recommend that:<br />

• Your child spends time over the summer<br />

reflecting on all the learning and feedback<br />

they’ve ever received on organisational<br />

skills. Put an action plan in place that<br />

works for them to be organised. Ask your<br />

teen how they organise themselves – and<br />

explore different methods if they haven’t<br />

yet found what works for them.<br />

• Stay in touch with the deadlines. If their<br />

teacher warns them of a “crunch time”<br />

where many deadlines will converge,<br />

mark it in red in the family calendar.<br />

Help your child get started extra early on<br />

any preparation needed for these tasks to<br />

avoid unnecessary panic and stress”.<br />

When students are thinking about<br />

organization and maintaining a<br />

healthy schedule, what should they<br />

bear in mind?<br />

“There isn’t a one size fits all formula. Some<br />

students would not do well if they didn’t<br />

have sports as an outlet, although physical<br />

activity is part of the IB programme.<br />

Some need the rush from playing on<br />

a very competitive football team and I<br />

would never want to take that away from<br />

them. If I see someone who seems to be<br />

overextended, I would talk to the family and<br />

advise them, especially in year two, to think<br />

about curtailing a little bit. However, most<br />

students do this on their own.<br />

As a school, we try to have an overview<br />

of what else students are doing, outside of<br />

academics. How many clubs they belong<br />

to, what sport teams they belong to. Many<br />

of our students belong to teams in their<br />

local communities, which the school may<br />

not know about. Overseeing all the students<br />

and getting the full picture of what’s going<br />

on in their lives helps us better understand<br />

when some students aren’t doing as well as<br />

they would like to do.”<br />

Joseph Amato – IB DP Coordinator, Zurich<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

“We’ve always said that the IB Diploma<br />

is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s really<br />

important that students pace themselves<br />

well. Towards the end, they need to be<br />

prepared to focus their remaining time and<br />

energy on the task at hand, while still eating<br />

well, and being active and social as this is<br />

well known to combat stress.”<br />

Sandra Steiger - Academic Support Manager at<br />

TutorsPlus<br />

Some final things to add to your pre-first<br />

semester checklist!<br />

• If your child has a very active life<br />

outside of school, make sure the school<br />

knows so they better understand your<br />

child’s situation and can help balance<br />

demands on their time.<br />

• Students should definitely keep active<br />

and involved in sports, theatre, music,<br />

and clubs that make them happy. It’s<br />

important to have these non-academic<br />

outlets. Just prepare them already for the<br />

idea that by 2nd year of the IB DP they<br />

may need to cut down on these to be able<br />

to manage the workload.<br />

TutorsPlus can provide specialist IB<br />

tutors, experienced with all areas of the<br />

curriculum, exam preparation, as well as<br />

organisation and time management. If<br />

you feel your child has any gaps ahead<br />

of moving into the IB Diploma, we’d be<br />

happy to match them with an experienced<br />

tutor who will ensure they move forward<br />

with confidence and solid foundations. The<br />

summer break can be a great time to review<br />

and prepare ahead of the IB Diploma<br />

journey.<br />

You can reach TutorsPlus at 022 731<br />

8148 or info@tutorsplus.com<br />

By Sandra Steiger - Academic Support Manager at<br />

TutorsPlus<br />

Sandra Steiger has over 10 years’ experience teaching English at various<br />

schools in Switzerland. She now works as Academic Support Manager at<br />

TutorsPlus. During her 6 years at the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> of Geneva, she<br />

was also the Service Learning programme Coordinator, <strong>International</strong> Award<br />

Supervisor, a Homeroom Mentor and Head of Year 8.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 57


ADVERTORIAL<br />

etıquette<br />

The case for learning<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 58<br />

Since the wedding of Meghan Markle<br />

and Prince Harry, a number of news<br />

pieces have emerged on how the<br />

American is expected to behave now that<br />

she is a member of the British royal family.<br />

Commentators have drawn attention to<br />

royal traditions that guide what to eat (no<br />

garlic), how a female member of the royal<br />

family should dress while in public with<br />

the Queen (favouring pastels and neutral<br />

colours) and how she should sit (preferably<br />

by crossing legs at the ankles or practising<br />

the “duchess slant”).<br />

Etiquette as a shared language<br />

As the above example show, etiquette<br />

matters. What’s more, etiquette spans<br />

a broad range of behaviours, choices<br />

and actions. It includes body language,<br />

manners, appearance, interpersonal skills<br />

and official protocol.<br />

In the public eye, following etiquette and<br />

protocol is key to both demonstrating and<br />

earning respect. But etiquette is needed not<br />

only by royals, politicians and diplomats.<br />

It is a universal language that facilitates<br />

daily interactions in business and in society.


ADVERTORIAL<br />

“Etiquette spans a broad range of behaviours, choices and<br />

actions. It includes body language, manners, appearance,<br />

interpersonal skills and official protocol.”<br />

After all, it’s harder to negotiate over a<br />

meal if you’re worried about which fork to<br />

use.<br />

Meanwhile, in today’s globalised world,<br />

knowledge of international etiquette is<br />

crucial to avoid miscommunication or<br />

committing a cultural faux pas. Greetings,<br />

punctuality and table manners are all<br />

examples of customs that vary across<br />

cultures. But how does one learn etiquette?<br />

Understanding the value of<br />

etiquette<br />

Etiquette — that combination of manners,<br />

emotional intelligence and soft skills, or<br />

savoir-vivre and savoir-être, as the French<br />

say — is not learned through books, but<br />

by practice. At Glion Institute of Higher<br />

Education, our hospitality management<br />

students internalise etiquette through<br />

practical experience, including service roles<br />

on campus and professional internships<br />

completed abroad. Certain guidelines also<br />

help: Anthony Durand, Senior Lecturer<br />

and Manager Banqueting, Events and<br />

Boutiques, identifies the following six habits<br />

as prerequisites to business protocol:<br />

• Be on time<br />

• Be discreet<br />

• Be courteous, pleasant and positive<br />

• Be concerned with others<br />

• Dress appropriately<br />

• Use proper written and spoken language<br />

Practice makes perfect<br />

“I strongly believe in learning by doing,”<br />

Mr Durand says. “At Glion, students<br />

develop their sense of etiquette naturally<br />

as they take on responsibilities such as<br />

welcoming visitors in our lobby or serving<br />

guests in our gastronomic restaurant.<br />

They learn to look their best as they follow<br />

our business dress code daily. They are<br />

mentored by our faculty, but ultimately,<br />

it is through experience that they come<br />

to understand l’art de recevoir, the art of<br />

welcoming, and how to act appropriately in<br />

a variety of contexts.”<br />

In the business world, first impressions<br />

are particularly important. For this reason,<br />

Glion’s dedicated careers department<br />

arranges mock interviews and advises<br />

students on business etiquette ranging<br />

from appearance to body language and<br />

communication.<br />

A process of continuous<br />

learning<br />

Of course, etiquette is also constantly<br />

evolving, influenced by shifts in technology<br />

and culture. “The paper invitations sent<br />

to announce social events in the past are<br />

today often replaced by social media invites<br />

or mobile messages, and ‘netiquette’ now<br />

has its own set of rules,” Mr Durand<br />

observes. “Meanwhile, globalisation has led<br />

to a wider appreciation of etiquette across<br />

cultures — for example, nowadays many<br />

business professionals in Europe know that<br />

in East Asian culture, they should use both<br />

hands when presenting business cards, but<br />

that awareness was less common just a<br />

decade ago.”<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 59<br />

<strong>International</strong> exposure is key to<br />

understanding cultural differences in<br />

business and social etiquette. At Glion,<br />

students learn alongside classmates who<br />

represent around 90 different nationalities,<br />

enabling them to exchange experiences of<br />

protocol and etiquette around the world<br />

and constantly learn from each other.<br />

The importance of etiquette is<br />

particularly evident in multilingual,<br />

multicultural Switzerland, which is home<br />

to many of the world’s international<br />

organisations. At global forums such as<br />

the United Nations, etiquette plays a vital<br />

role in preventing misunderstandings and<br />

ensuring that all feel welcome.<br />

From meetings to the dining table,<br />

protocol and manners pave the way for<br />

conversations to be had and decisions to be<br />

made. Far from old-fashioned, etiquette is<br />

a shared code of respect, an attitude and<br />

a lifelong skill – one from which we can all<br />

benefit.<br />

About the author<br />

Georgette Davey serves<br />

as Managing Director of<br />

Glion Institute of Higher<br />

Education, a leading hospitality<br />

management institution with campuses<br />

in Switzerland and the UK. She has<br />

more than two decades of experience<br />

in academic leadership and hospitality<br />

management.


Active <strong>Parent</strong>s,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 60


ADVERTORIAL<br />

Active Children<br />

The amount of physical activity parents do has a<br />

direct impact on their children’s participation in sport<br />

By Rachel Beacher<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 61


“Bouldering is ideal for parents and children because you don’t<br />

need any equipment apart from the climbing shoes, and it is very<br />

accessible for everyone.”<br />

T<br />

he amount of time children<br />

spend playing sport often means<br />

parents have less time to commit<br />

to their own physical activity. The higher<br />

your daughter or son climbs up the<br />

competitive ladder of hockey, horse riding,<br />

tennis or gymnastics, the more time you<br />

spend ferrying them to local or regional<br />

competitions, and cheering them on.<br />

While taking on all of these logistics is<br />

an inevitable part of bringing up sporty<br />

kids, there is something else that can have<br />

a dramatic impact on whether or not they<br />

are active enough: their parents’ own<br />

participation in sport and exercise.<br />

A growing body of research is<br />

demonstrating that in addition to the<br />

personal physical and mental health<br />

benefits for adults themselves of remaining<br />

active, creating an active family life gives<br />

kids a model for a healthy lifestyle they can<br />

emulate. In particular, a Portuguese study<br />

last year found that children who have two<br />

physically active parents are significantly<br />

more likely to be involved in sport. Girls<br />

who have an active mother, and boys<br />

who have an active father are especially<br />

likely to be engaged in more sports, and<br />

to practise more times each week. The<br />

study authors specifically recommend that<br />

projects to promote children being active<br />

should involve the whole family, promoting<br />

parents to be more active. Similarly, a<br />

2017 Canadian study found that a “child’s<br />

level of physical activity rises by five to ten<br />

minutes for every 20-minute increase in<br />

the physical activity of a parent”. Children<br />

involved in the study walked an extra 200<br />

to 350 steps a day for every 1,000 extra<br />

steps a parent walked.<br />

Policy makers are also speaking publicly<br />

about how active education involves parents<br />

as well as schools. As part of the European<br />

PACTE project, the think tank Sport and<br />

Citizenship recently organised a workshop<br />

on Active Education. EU Affairs Director<br />

Maxime Leblanc said: “<strong>Parent</strong>s need to be<br />

behind this idea of being more physically<br />

active at all times, especially mothers. In<br />

general research has shown that any big<br />

changes in society happen through women<br />

and a change in women’s behaviour. It’s<br />

good to target kids directly but parents<br />

should also be educated to include more<br />

physical activity in their own lives and as a<br />

consequence in their kids’ lives. We tend to<br />

focus more on schools as an institution, and<br />

what we can provide in schools and around<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SPRING <strong>2019</strong> | 62<br />

schools, rather than going at this micro<br />

level of parents, but it’s an absolute must if<br />

we want to go further in this.”<br />

The World Health Organization<br />

recommends that children aged five to<br />

17 should be doing at least 60 minutes<br />

of moderate to vigorous activity a day<br />

and adults aged 18-64 a minimum of<br />

150 minutes a week. So what type of<br />

activities can you do as a family that also<br />

work around full-time jobs, a commute,<br />

and weekends spent ferrying your young<br />

athletes to their matchdates?<br />

Family skiing in Switzerland<br />

One of the few sports that international<br />

families routinely and frequently practise<br />

together, skiing is a perfect activity for<br />

parents and children because it’s fun, it<br />

offers a complete day out with friends,<br />

and – unlike with running, walking or<br />

swimming – it is usually the adults who<br />

have to make the effort to keep up.<br />

Ski instructor Dave Burrows, founder of<br />

SnowPros Ski <strong>School</strong> in Valais and Vaud,<br />

said: “I can’t think of many sports you can<br />

do between generations. Skiing gives you a<br />

really good opportunity to do that, if you<br />

can get all family members to a similar level


– that is the biggest challenge.<br />

“Certainly it is possible. There is a guy<br />

here who is one of the best skiers on the<br />

mountain. I remember seeing him with a<br />

backpack with his 12-month-old in, and his<br />

young daughter and his wife. He was there<br />

in Telemark skis teaching his daughter how<br />

to ski. I thought that was lovely. I use that as<br />

inspiration for how I’d like my family to go<br />

forward.<br />

“My little one is hopefully going to be<br />

on skis next year. I can’t think of anything<br />

nicer than tootling around the mountains<br />

with her.”<br />

Bouldering and indoor climbing in<br />

Switzerland<br />

The popularity of climbing without<br />

ropes or harnesses, usually at much lower<br />

heights than traditional climbing, has a<br />

natural appeal to families. There are fewer<br />

technical skills to master before you can<br />

start, and of course there is far less distance<br />

to fall if someone does get into trouble.<br />

In any of the many indoor bouldering<br />

centres across the world, you will find a<br />

wide variety of difficulty levels on the same<br />

wall, which suit experienced - and taller<br />

- climbers as well as novice/shorter ones.<br />

Daniel Braillard, co-owner of Le Cube<br />

indoor bouldering centre in Lausanne,<br />

said: “Bouldering is ideal for parents<br />

and children because you don’t need any<br />

equipment apart from the climbing shoes,<br />

and it is very accessible for everyone. We<br />

have lots of parents who come for their<br />

children and realise that they can also do<br />

it because it’s easy, so they get the climbing<br />

shoes too. As a result, parents and children<br />

are active together, which is nice.” He<br />

added that bouldering particularly suits<br />

families because it is a communal activity.<br />

“Whether outdoors or indoors, bouldering<br />

by definition is done as a group because<br />

one person climbs while the others look out<br />

for the climber, so everyone takes part.”<br />

Walking and running in Switzerland<br />

While the ubiquitous family-friendly<br />

ParkRun has inexplicably yet to penetrate<br />

Switzerland, there are hundreds of<br />

organised races that accommodate<br />

children. One of the oldest is Geneva’s<br />

Course de l’Escalade, the biggest race<br />

in Switzerland, attracting nearly 50,000<br />

participants in early December each year.<br />

As well as the adult-only races, there are<br />

special categories for youngsters from the<br />

ages of six to 17. Older family groups (18<br />

upwards) are encouraged to enter teams<br />

into one of the main runs allowing for<br />

men and women to run together (Mix2<br />

and Mix3). On the Saturday evening,<br />

there is a fancy dress “Marmite” race for<br />

families with children over the age of six,<br />

and parents and children over the age<br />

of ten can take part in the 8-kilometre<br />

walking event from Veyrier to the centre<br />

of Geneva. Starting seven weeks before<br />

the race, there are organised trainings on<br />

Sunday mornings attracting up to 2,500<br />

people at a time, in different municipalities<br />

of the Geneva region. Michael Kleiner,<br />

head of media relations, said the Course<br />

de l’Escalade is popular with families<br />

because the course is compact, and runs in<br />

Geneva old town, with running distances<br />

of between 1.7 and 7.3 kilometres. “It’s a<br />

good way of bringing families together,”<br />

he explained. “Sport activities are very<br />

popular in Switzerland and everywhere;<br />

cities and countryside alike. There’s a lot of<br />

fun, there’s room for everyone and families<br />

really enjoy coming together.”<br />

Rachel Beacher<br />

@rachelbeacher is a freelance writer and editor who is a passionate advocate of active<br />

parenting. She is also Marketing and Communications Manager for InterSoccer, which runs<br />

bilingual football courses and Easter and <strong>Summer</strong> camps for two to 13-year-olds across<br />

Switzerland. intersoccer.ch<br />

Hayley Hay<br />

Hayley Hay is a lifestyle family and portrait photographer living in Lausanne. Although her<br />

work covers a diverse range of subjects, a lot of her focus is on photographing people, and<br />

children in particular. She is a true believer in capturing life’s most authentic moments in<br />

an unobtrusive manner, so she can create natural images that stand the test of time.<br />

info@hayleyhayphotography.com<br />

www.hayleyhayphotography.com<br />

www.facebook.com/hayleyhayphotography<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 63


SWISS GROUP OF<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS<br />

– <strong>2019</strong> ANNUAL CONFERENCE<br />

In early March of this year, the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> of Basel hosted the SGIS twoday<br />

Annual Conference. This represented both an opportunity for rich and<br />

thought-provoking professional development for schools and school staff, and<br />

also an important occasion for teachers working in international schools across<br />

Switzerland and beyond to meet, network, discuss and share ideas.<br />

we walk the talk?” was<br />

this year’s theme. Keynote<br />

“Can<br />

speakers and workshop<br />

leaders were all very inspirational. It was<br />

a privilege to welcome Andy Hargreaves,<br />

Danny Brassell, Kendall Koller, Alison<br />

Schofield and Jennifer Wathall, who<br />

spoke and shared their ideas on a range<br />

of important topics such as collaboration,<br />

multilingualism, well-being in schools,<br />

authentic communication, inquiry-based<br />

learning, maths and school leadership.<br />

The conference also included workshops<br />

on new accreditation protocols, which<br />

are hugely relevant to most SGIS schools<br />

given the recent changes in internationally<br />

recognised teaching and learning standards,<br />

offered by organisations such as NEASC<br />

and CIS.<br />

Thanks to these many excellent<br />

workshops and speakers, no doubt delegates<br />

are invigorated to “walk the talk” back at<br />

their home schools.<br />

SGIS – 50 Years<br />

This year’s conference also marks the 50th<br />

anniversary of SGIS, which now counts<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 64


VIEWS FROM THE<br />

SGIS BOARD<br />

49 international schools in its organisation.<br />

Thanks to the work of Geoff Tomlinson,<br />

Honorary Board Member and Jackie Chan-<br />

Kam, Executive Secretary, the Association<br />

has a beautiful book ‘Chalk and Cheese’<br />

on the history of its member schools, past<br />

and present. SGIS member schools were<br />

each presented with a copy of ‘Chalk and<br />

Cheese’ at this year’s conference.<br />

This important anniversary is not<br />

only an opportunity to celebrate past<br />

achievements but also to look to the future.<br />

How does SGIS continue to provide<br />

and support relevant and stimulating<br />

professional development to teachers<br />

and administrators? As the world is in<br />

constant change, SGIS like its schools must<br />

continuously adapt to best meet the needs<br />

of its member schools, their students and<br />

staff.<br />

Finally, a special ‘thank you’ to IS Basel<br />

for all their hard work in hosting a very<br />

successful conference and also to their<br />

student ambassadors, who over the two days<br />

supported delegates, introduced keynote<br />

speakers and entertained us with a musical<br />

interlude.<br />

http://www.sgischools.com<br />

The <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate’s IB World <strong>School</strong>s Manager, Rémy Lamon was also<br />

at the conference and provided reassuring information concerning the IB Evaluation<br />

process, which can often appear daunting. With high energy and a positive outlook,<br />

Remy outlined a clear and inclusive process to ensure a thorough self-study, enabling a<br />

school to both meet IB requirements and focus on continuous improvement. There was a<br />

strong emphasis on international mindedness, multiple perspectives and the celebration<br />

of strengths at the school. Student action and agency were highlighted, as in other<br />

conference sessions. With the new IB Standards and Practices on the horizon, Remy’s<br />

enthusiasm was encouraging and created a sense of eager anticipation. This session<br />

proved to be both inspirational and practical, a balance appreciated by all attendees.<br />

Denise Coates (Director of ISBerne)<br />

Kendall Zoller’s Keynote Address on Saturday 2nd March balanced wit, insight<br />

and relevance in inviting his audience to reflect on the significance of non-verbal<br />

communication, particularly in the context of meetings between professionals<br />

where a cognitive dissonance may exist between verbal messaging and unverbalised<br />

emotional cues. He provided practical and easily applicable tactics for recognising these<br />

dissonances and mitigating them in socially adept ways.<br />

Richard McDonald (Head Master, Aiglon College)<br />

Thirty-two educational companies from across Europe attended the conference and had<br />

a busy and productive two days interacting with teachers and other staff from a broad<br />

range of SGIS member schools.<br />

They left with a great deal of positivity about the new and renewed relationships<br />

they had forged and are already looking forward to joining next year’s conference at the<br />

Institut Florimont in Geneva.<br />

Exhibitors, delegates and other staff from ISB met after a busy day for a lively and<br />

stimulating gala dinner at the Radisson Blu Hotel. A Jazz Quartet provided high-quality<br />

entertainment, offering a relaxed atmosphere for networking and future collaborations.<br />

Andy Croft – SGIS Treasurer<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> | 65


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WINDOW TO<br />

THE SWISS ALPS<br />

A must for your bucket list:<br />

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food will be prepared freshly in the on-board kitchen and will be served directly<br />

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Excellence Class: the most<br />

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www.glacierexpress.ch/excellence-class


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Minutes to<br />

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