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International School Parent Magazine - Summer 2020

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Rega<br />

Are you prepared<br />

for an emergency<br />

in your family?<br />

Get Lost in<br />

a Great Series<br />

Some great book<br />

choices to ease that<br />

summer boredom<br />

Family<br />

Experiences<br />

Start planning<br />

some trips for after<br />

the lockdown


Discover Fribourg<br />

Located between Lausanne and Bern, Fribourg is one of the most<br />

picturesque and well-preserved medieval towns in Europe.<br />

Make the most of your visit with the Fribourg City Card:<br />

> 14 museums > Swimming pool<br />

> Urban Golf > Little train<br />

> Cathedral > Fribowling<br />

> Public transport and funicular > and many other activities…<br />

PRICES<br />

1 day 20.- 15.-<br />

2 days 30.- 25.-<br />

1 day 10.- 5.-<br />

2 days 12.- 10.-<br />

Winter: 01.11 - 31.03<br />

Extend your stay with<br />

the City Break package<br />

(City Card 2 days + overnight stay)<br />

From CHF 89.- per person<br />

Booking: info@fribourgtourism.ch<br />

www.fribourg-citycard.ch


37<br />

60<br />

26<br />

Contents<br />

06 Meet the Headteacher<br />

12 Transforming Lives<br />

14 Guide To Choosing A University - Part 2<br />

18 The Universal Learning Programme<br />

22 “My heart, my head or everyone else; to whom should I<br />

listen…?”<br />

24 Get Lost In A Great Series<br />

26 Family Experiences <strong>2020</strong><br />

28 KIBS: Learning Together Bilingually<br />

30 Developing Intercultural Competencies<br />

34 <strong>Summer</strong> Recipes<br />

37 Should Students Be Forced To Sacrifice Their Academic<br />

Grades To Pursue A Career In Elite Sports?<br />

40 Are You Prepared For A Critical Emergency In Your<br />

Family?<br />

42 Transferable Skills For More Career Options<br />

44 Depression And Suicide In Children<br />

48 Staying Ahead Of The Curve<br />

50 Is “Sharenting” Taking Away Our Children’s Right To<br />

Privacy?<br />

52 A Step Into The Unknown<br />

54 <strong>Summer</strong> Gardens<br />

58 Why A US University Could Be A Better Option Than<br />

Oxbridge<br />

60 Supporting Teenagers Through <strong>School</strong> Closure In A<br />

Pandemic<br />

64 From Library To Colab<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 3


Welcome to a New Year and a<br />

brand new <strong>Summer</strong> edition of<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> magazine.<br />

When we published the last edition of the magazine, we couldn’t have imagined how much<br />

our daily lives were about to change in just a few short weeks. I think it’s fair to say that all<br />

of our worlds have shrunk just a little. The family home is now an office, a daycare centre,<br />

a high school…the list goes on. And for some, it’s a lot to handle! While family members<br />

usually have different peaks and troughs of stress throughout the year, meaning we can<br />

lean on one another in turn, we now find ourselves all simultaneously under pressure, and<br />

unable to blow off steam as we normally would. So, in this issue, we’ll learn about how to<br />

support your kids if they’re feeling low (pages 44 and 60) and hear how schools are taking<br />

practical steps to keep kids learning through the lockdown (page 52).<br />

We’ll also take a look the origins of international schools (page 30), and their vital role<br />

in instilling open, tolerant values in the global citizens who pass through their doors. On<br />

(page 28) you can hear how bilingual education, even for kids as young as kindergarteners,<br />

can develop a strong foundation of cultural understanding, along with many other benefits.<br />

Looking forward, we’re acutely aware that while it may feel like time is standing still right<br />

now, before you know it, decisions about preschools and universities will need to be made,<br />

so we provide you with some thoughts on finding the best options for your child.<br />

And for those who just want a bit of escapism, we’ve got the latest summer recipes for you<br />

(page 34), a fascinating read on getting crafty to create your own dyes (page 54), and of<br />

course, some summer hikes for you to plan with the kids (page 26)…hopefully it won’t be<br />

too long before we find ourselves out and about again!<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 | Email nick@internationalschoolparent.com<br />

Website www.internationalschoolparent.com | Facebook facebook.com/internationalschoolparent<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 4


Your Swiss summer<br />

Family<br />

vacation<br />

With its stunning peaks and gently<br />

rolling hills, picturesque lakes and<br />

idyllic streams, mysterious caves and<br />

dramatic gorges, Switzerland provides<br />

a unique and alluring backdrop for<br />

unforgettable family holidays.<br />

Family destinations.<br />

Children want to let off steam, to explore new things and<br />

to be adventurous – especially on holidays. <strong>Parent</strong>s and<br />

other accompanying persons would like to enjoy a<br />

moment without the kids from time to time – but they<br />

need to be sure that the children are in a group of peers<br />

and well looked after. The Family Destination label is<br />

awarded to holiday places and destinations which know<br />

all about these wishes and needs and shape their<br />

services accordingly.<br />

MySwitzerland.com/family<br />

Family accommodation.<br />

The “Swiss Family Hotel & Lodging” accommodation label<br />

stands for stress-free family holidays. Whether it’s a simple<br />

mountain guesthouse, a comfortable holiday apartment<br />

or a luxurious hotel – all have one thing in common, namely<br />

family-friendly appeal and an approach that makes both<br />

children and their parents feel instantly at ease.<br />

MySwitzerland.com/familyhotels<br />

City experiences.<br />

Swiss cities are very family-friendly and offer numerous experiences for<br />

families. For example outdoor raclette. Raclette is one of THE Swiss<br />

specialities. To enjoy one in the open air is an absolute highlight. The<br />

wonderful ride on the MOB cogwheel train leads from Vevey up to the<br />

Restaurant des Pléiades, only 200 metres from the arrival station.<br />

Here visitors will find everything they need to enjoy an outdoor raclette.<br />

The restaurant is also the starting point for numerous hikes. A hiking<br />

map helps you to choose your favourite route. There is almost<br />

everything: from a short walk to a long hike.<br />

MySwitzerland.com/cities<br />

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

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


MEET THE<br />

HEADTEACHER<br />

Jonathan Taylor – Principal of<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Zurich North<br />

WRITTEN BY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT EDITORIAL TEAM<br />

Jonathan Taylor became Principal of<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Zurich North<br />

in Switzerland in August 2019. Prior<br />

to this Jonathan was Head of North Bridge<br />

House school in Canonbury, London for five<br />

years, which he moved to after leading one<br />

of Dulwich College’s five schools in China.<br />

Jonathan is married to Rachel, and<br />

has a daughter, Sophia. Under difficult<br />

circumstances, three weeks into our<br />

enforced COVID-19 quarantine, we<br />

interviewed Jonathan via video conference,<br />

with only minor interruptions from each of<br />

our children!<br />

Here’s what he had to say about his new<br />

school, what has shaped him as a school<br />

leader, and his vision for the future.<br />

When did you arrive in Switzerland<br />

and how have you found it so far?<br />

I arrived in August 2019 and have<br />

been really enjoying my new life here.<br />

Unfortunately, my wife and daughter have<br />

had to stay on a little longer in the UK due<br />

to complications with the sale of our house<br />

(and are now stranded due to coronavirus!),<br />

but that’s given me more time to focus<br />

on work in the first year, which I think is<br />

important. It’s also given me the<br />

opportunity to do a lot of exploring of<br />

Switzerland. I’ve been down into Ticino,<br />

across to Montreux, Lucerne and Bern,<br />

and up to Schaffhausen. I’ve really enjoyed<br />

getting to know Switzerland in all its<br />

diversity.<br />

Very nice. What’s your hobby?<br />

Well, from between the ages of 3 and 40 it<br />

was football. Unfortunately, for the last three<br />

years I’ve not played competitive football<br />

largely because of a serious operation on my<br />

back, which brought my playing days to a<br />

premature end.<br />

I’m still searching for a replacement. I do<br />

a bit of cycling, but it’s not quite the same.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 6


What inspired you to pursue a career<br />

in education?<br />

After studying History and Politics at<br />

university, I spent two years teaching<br />

English in Greece and had a fabulous time.<br />

I enjoyed the teaching and the experience<br />

made me realise that I wanted a career<br />

where I could work internationally, so I<br />

went back to the UK and completed my<br />

Post Graduate Certificate in Education<br />

qualification. I’ve worked in UK and<br />

international education ever since. I worked<br />

for 10 years in UK state schools and also<br />

spent time in New Zealand and China,<br />

before my current role in Switzerland.<br />

What was it like working in China?<br />

Were you playing a role in setting up<br />

Dulwich there?<br />

Yes. Dulwich have had international schools<br />

for a while, but in 2010 they set up a school<br />

specifically for Chinese students wishing<br />

to study GCSEs and A levels, which is my<br />

speciality.<br />

I was involved from year one of the<br />

project, and it was a really exciting<br />

opportunity. It was fascinating to see how<br />

the Chinese do a lot of things differently,<br />

things where you think there is only one<br />

appropriate approach, but over time you<br />

think, “I can now see the logic in that. Oh,<br />

that’s a really good idea.” It really shifted<br />

my thinking.<br />

I also completed a Masters in Educational<br />

Leadership while I was out there, which<br />

involved comparing Western and Confucian<br />

education, trying to find the best of both<br />

worlds. This heavily influenced me when<br />

I came back to London and was Head<br />

at North Bridge House. I tried to bring<br />

in some of the most effective ideas from<br />

Chinese education.<br />

Other than your time in China, how<br />

have your life and career experiences<br />

informed your approach to work?<br />

As I touched on with the experience in<br />

China, I think the more perspectives you<br />

can acquire, the better. If you look at things<br />

purely through a monocultural lens, it’s<br />

quite a limited perspective. I think the time I<br />

spent in Greece, China, and New Zealand,<br />

and even in the UK state and independent<br />

sectors, has changed my thinking, and<br />

probably made me a little bit more flexible<br />

and open minded.<br />

My Masters degree also allowed me to<br />

evaluate different approaches to education<br />

“I think bilingual education is going to be a<br />

huge growth area for international schools,<br />

with a need for schools to adapt and adjust<br />

to the fact that speaking only one language is<br />

incompatible with our globalised world.”<br />

and gave me a wider perspective. For<br />

example, looking at something like rote<br />

learning which in the UK we have a very<br />

negative perception of, compared to China<br />

where they see it as foundational level work<br />

that has to be done before students can be<br />

creative.<br />

I think my international experience also<br />

explains why the schools I lead have such<br />

a strong commitment to globalism and<br />

internationalism. It’s one of the things I<br />

like about working for Cognita. We have<br />

schools all over the world, and there are lots<br />

of opportunities that come with that. It’s led<br />

me to put additional emphasis on language<br />

learning, on international trips, and other<br />

things which promote students as global<br />

citizens.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 7


“Lesson time is finite so it’s critical<br />

that teachers spend time focusing<br />

on strategies that work effectively<br />

and discarding strategies that have<br />

low impact.”<br />

Within that framework, how do<br />

you personally think that you<br />

get children to do their best<br />

academically?<br />

First and foremost, through high<br />

expectations. We frequently underestimate<br />

what children are capable of. For example,<br />

in my previous school, we wanted<br />

to prioritise the children acquiring a<br />

proficiency in a foreign language. We<br />

decided that from Grade 7 the students<br />

would just learn one language instead<br />

of the usual combination of French and<br />

German, or French and Spanish. We front<br />

loaded the curriculum, with a view to the<br />

students sitting GCSE in Grade 9, and<br />

then by Grade 11 they would hopefully be<br />

at A level standard. Initially, some teachers<br />

felt that it wasn’t possible, because they<br />

were so used to Grade 7s working at a<br />

particular level in a language. But that<br />

programme is in its third year now, and<br />

it’s incredible. I remember one of the<br />

Spanish teachers telling me excitedly: “My<br />

Grade 8s are better than my Grade 11s.”<br />

Unlike the teachers, the students had no<br />

preconceptions about what Year 7 were<br />

expected to achieve in language learning so<br />

simply rose to the challenge.<br />

That’s a good example of how we often<br />

have particular expectations for children at<br />

each age, but they’re often capable of far<br />

more.<br />

In terms of your current school,<br />

at ISZN, what makes the learning<br />

environment special?<br />

We have a really strong community feel on<br />

both our Primary and Secondary campus.<br />

They follow different curriculums, starting<br />

with the <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate and<br />

then going on to GCSE and A level, but<br />

both have a high teacher to pupil ratio, so<br />

there’s a real understanding of the students<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 8<br />

by each of the teachers. That level of<br />

support and individual guidance between<br />

the teachers and the students, whether that’s<br />

in Grade 2 or Grade 10, is probably our<br />

biggest strength.<br />

Do you have any principles and<br />

philosophies that you’re bringing<br />

into the school, or that already<br />

exist in the school that you see as<br />

particularly valuable and that you<br />

want to keep?<br />

In Secondary, I’m trying to promote a much<br />

more evidence-led approach. One of the<br />

first things I did was to lead a session on<br />

evidence-based teaching; the principles<br />

behind it, what the science of teaching was<br />

telling us about good practice and less good<br />

practice in this area. Lesson time is finite so


it’s critical that teachers spend time focusing<br />

on strategies that work effectively and<br />

discarding strategies that have low impact.<br />

And are there any areas that you<br />

want to develop in the school, in<br />

terms of extracurricular activities,<br />

or other areas of education?<br />

The one thing I’d really like to see more<br />

of in the school is sport. I’m a frustrated<br />

sportsman at heart! Team sport has been<br />

incredibly good to me, wherever I’ve lived<br />

in the world it’s allowed me to integrate<br />

quickly and brought me enormous pleasure.<br />

Because we’re a small school, perhaps<br />

we’ve not always placed as great an<br />

emphasis on sport as we should have done,<br />

but I’m keen for us to be much more<br />

involved in local and national competitions.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 9


What do the parents value most<br />

about ISZN?<br />

I think two things. One, you know that<br />

your child will enjoy going to school. They<br />

will be supported, encouraged, and given<br />

opportunities. The other thing is the level<br />

of communication from the teachers, the<br />

school leadership and the administration.<br />

That is what parents feed back to us<br />

regularly. They really appreciate the<br />

opportunity to be very involved in their son<br />

or daughter’s education and contribute to<br />

the school.<br />

In terms of the future of education,<br />

what are the main trends that you<br />

see in education at the moment, and<br />

what are the challenges as a whole?<br />

I think bilingual education is going to be a<br />

huge growth area for international schools,<br />

with a need for schools to adapt and adjust<br />

to the fact that speaking only one language<br />

is incompatible with our globalized world.<br />

There’s an increasing desire from parents<br />

for their child to learn the local language. In<br />

Switzerland, it seems nonsensical to me that<br />

you wouldn’t want your child to become<br />

fully proficient in French or German.<br />

The other trend is that we’re probably<br />

moving away from the era of exams being<br />

almost the sole measure of education. I<br />

think exams will remain important, but<br />

a good education will increasingly be<br />

measured by other metrics, too. What<br />

those turn out to be remains to be seen, but<br />

we need to do more in terms of building<br />

skills and competencies, and adapting<br />

the curriculum model to prioritise what’s<br />

important for children, for example studying<br />

Mandarin, or learning about sustainability.<br />

Finally, how are you equipping your<br />

students for future success within<br />

that? Are you going to work on<br />

delivering what you’ve just said?<br />

A lot of that, as I say, comes through the<br />

curriculum. We’ve undertaken a radical<br />

overhaul of our Grade 6 to Grade 8<br />

curriculum, which will come into effect<br />

in August. We’ve also changed the school<br />

day slightly to take better account of the<br />

fact that teenagers have different circadian<br />

rhythms to adults, so we should be starting<br />

school later to get the best out of them.<br />

We’ve also introduced the <strong>International</strong><br />

Project Qualification (IPQ). Students<br />

previously undertook four A levels, but now<br />

they do three A levels and the IPQ, which<br />

strengthens skills of research, investigation,<br />

and critical analysis. I think getting a<br />

curriculum that really suits the needs of<br />

the future, and maximises the students’<br />

engagement and enjoyment is probably the<br />

single biggest thing that schools can do to set<br />

their students up for a successful future.<br />

Excellent. And how have you dealt<br />

with Coronavirus and do you think<br />

it will have a long-term impact on<br />

teaching methods?<br />

It’s been incredible how effectively we’ve<br />

transitioned to online learning. We took this<br />

seriously very early on and realised what<br />

was coming so we were well prepared when<br />

the time arrived.<br />

I do think it will change teaching<br />

methods, not dramatically, but teachers<br />

will have seen the benefits of what they<br />

can do online, and will be less sceptical of<br />

technology’s role in education, and more<br />

willing to embrace it.<br />

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ADVERTORIAL<br />

Transforming Lives<br />

Life at BHMS<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 12<br />

The two dates in the BHMS calendar that really showcase<br />

why it is such a joy to be working in hospitality and<br />

business education are those when our graduations take<br />

place. These celebrations, with their traditional gowns, pomp<br />

and ceremony form a perfect backdrop to the sense of pride,<br />

accomplishment and optimism that unites those in attendance.<br />

This however is the final chapter in each students’ journey. So<br />

where does it all begin?<br />

Each year, Switzerland welcomes approximately 10,000<br />

international students committed to pursuing a degree in<br />

hospitality management. For many, this involves leaving their<br />

families and flying halfway around the world. As their first step<br />

into tertiary education this experience will be approached with a<br />

mixture of trepidation and anticipation.<br />

As for all new students, making those all-important first friends,<br />

understanding the program requirements and expectations and<br />

being immersed into a new environment and culture all need to<br />

be navigated within a fairly short time. Additionally, hospitality<br />

freshmen are confronted with requirements to wear business dress<br />

and professional uniforms, meet personal branding and grooming<br />

standards as their studies will comprise of both vocational skill<br />

training and applied management learning as they move through<br />

the program.<br />

The global reputation of Swiss hospitality education excellence<br />

is well documented and undoubtedly intertwined with the Swiss


ADVERTORIAL<br />

culture which focuses on precision, attention to detail and high<br />

quality. For many new students, emulating these qualities is an easy<br />

transition but for those who find it a little harder, the first semester<br />

of studies provides a safe and supportive environment in which to<br />

understand their importance.<br />

Six months later, just as students become fully settled and feel<br />

comfortable with the academic requirements and operational<br />

standards, we challenge them to move out of their comfort zone<br />

and take on to an internship. This is an opportunity to demonstrate<br />

what they have learned, and require them to integrate into a<br />

new environment and show their value as a paid member of a<br />

team.<br />

When returning for their second year of studies, the student<br />

transformation process is evident: confident, independent and<br />

keen to continue the learning journey, building on the experience<br />

they have gained. At BHMS, students are required to do a paid<br />

internship in each of their 3 years of undergraduate study.<br />

Thus the process of learning and applying their knowledge and<br />

professional transferable skills is repeated over the next 12 months.<br />

In their final year of studies, students undertake a range of<br />

Capstone and management modules as well as a final placement<br />

to graduate. These tend to be geographically diverse as the<br />

soon-to-be graduates take this last opportunity to gain further<br />

exposure in different areas of interest, often across a range of<br />

different continents and countries. The graduation of a group of<br />

young adults who have lived, studied and supported each other<br />

over 3 years is therefore a milestone reunion and a confirmation<br />

of friendships and networks that will accompany them in their<br />

transition into aspiring managers and young entrepreneurs.<br />

The transformation is complete. As my esteemed father was<br />

often fond of telling me in my own teenage years ‘a degree is a<br />

passport to a future of opportunities’… and never before has there<br />

been quite such bountiful opportunities for hospitality graduates<br />

the world over.<br />

For more information, please check out their website here:<br />

https://www.bhms.ch/<br />

Heather Robinson is the Academic Dean at the<br />

B.H.M.S. Business Hotel & Management <strong>School</strong><br />

in Lucerne. She has enjoyed more than 20<br />

years’ experience in hospitality education,<br />

while living and working in over 11 countries.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 13


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 14


PART 2:<br />

Years<br />

11-13<br />

Guide to<br />

Choosing a University<br />

WRITTEN BY SANDRA STEIGER<br />

It’s crunch time – that exciting but nerve wracking phase<br />

when your child is firming up what their next steps after<br />

school will be. There’s so much to consider – which country,<br />

which programme, which university. We talked to school Career<br />

Counsellors and Heads of international schools across Switzerland<br />

to compile their advice for making the best choice.<br />

Make sure the student is at the centre of decision-making.<br />

First of all, it’s about the students and who they are. So, forget<br />

about what country you might end up in, what institute you might<br />

end up in, what course you might take. What is their individual<br />

personality in terms of learning and environment? And it has to<br />

be individual. It has to be theirs. I encourage parents to help their<br />

child think about themselves, and avoid projecting what they want<br />

for them, which can be difficult! Once they research themselves,<br />

then is the time to think what subjects they enjoy the most, and<br />

why and what that might lead them to be doing in the future as<br />

a career. And then once that research is done, what institute will<br />

match them the best in terms of academic enjoyment and learning<br />

style. Because if they say, “I need to live by a lake, because I love<br />

to sail” and the top university is MIT for what they want to study,<br />

that isn’t going to necessarily match what they need in order to be<br />

emotionally healthy and happy, so it’s worth looking at alternatives.<br />

If we can let the student take the lead on their future planning,<br />

whatever that is - a career, university, or a gap year - then I believe<br />

that they will be more successful in whatever path they choose than<br />

if their parents have done it for them.<br />

Rachel Doell, University and Career Counsellor,<br />

Inter-Community <strong>School</strong> Zurich.<br />

Be realistic.<br />

I think probably the first tip is to be realistic about expectations.<br />

For parents, you shouldn’t expect miracles. And this includes<br />

understanding different evaluation systems so as not to put too<br />

much pressure on your child. Four A* at A level is not the same as<br />

the full 45 points at IB. You would never say to a child that’s doing<br />

four A levels, we want four A stars. But regularly, parents come in<br />

and say, “We’re looking for a 36. We want a 38.” And it can be<br />

a matter of reminding them that a 38 will get them into Oxford<br />

to do medicine. As for students, they are going to be expected to<br />

give up a lot of their time to achieve these sorts of scores. It’s well<br />

documented that every point above 32 is a significant number of<br />

extra hours. At an IB conference last year, it was said that if you’ve<br />

got a bright child that works relatively hard, they’ll get 32 points.<br />

If you’ve got a bright child that’s willing to put in the extra hours,<br />

willing to put in the leg work, willing to develop their bibliography,<br />

then they get the extra points. From 32 to 45, though, there’s still<br />

a big difference. We need to be, as a collective, managing that<br />

pressure and commitment together, parents, teachers, and students.<br />

Kate Bradley, Head of Secondary, & Andrew McLachlan,<br />

Deputy Head of Curriculum, La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

I often find that with decreasing admission rates in highly selected<br />

colleges, there is a perception that, “If I don’t get in, my life is<br />

over.” But there are lots of ways to achieve your dream. There<br />

are lots of roads that will lead there. Very successful people in the<br />

world often took alternative routes to get where they are today.. If<br />

you keep an open mind in the process, it’s going to be a lot better<br />

than if you zero in on undergraduate at university X. I also often<br />

wonder why students aren’t taking more gap years if they don’t<br />

know exactly what they want to do. You need to be very realistic<br />

of the reality that, for example, only four point something percent<br />

of students got admitted to Stanford last year, that means that 95<br />

percent were rejected. I would add that you also need to understand<br />

that US universities rarely take more than 10 percent of their<br />

cohort from outside the United States. So you’re actually fighting<br />

for 10 percent of that 5 percent who’ll be accepted. And maybe the<br />

demographics of international school communities are not<br />

the cohort communities that some of these universities are looking<br />

for in that 10 percent. So, just be really realistic. Have a plan A, B,<br />

C, D.<br />

Leanda Wood, Head of Counselling, Zurich <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong>.<br />

Keep an open mind about less traditionally prestigious<br />

universities.<br />

Don’t be afraid to choose a university that you’re not familiar with.<br />

Keep an open mind and don’t limit yourself to the country you’re<br />

from or what you know. Quite often students have well-known<br />

universities at the forefront of their mind. But for some subjects,<br />

they’re not necessarily the best institutions. With some research,<br />

what you’ll see is that a lot more universities in Germany, the<br />

Netherlands, and even Eastern Europe are now offering complete<br />

programmes of study in English as well. And if you’re factoring in<br />

the costs involved, and the U.S., U.K. might be prohibitive, why not<br />

explore those options.<br />

Something we’ve just introduced is BridgeU. It’s a programme<br />

that pupils can access and set their filter preferences including<br />

aspects like geographical location, programmes of study, and<br />

predicted grades. It then comes back with a selection of universities<br />

and programmes. In some cases, the programmes are obvious,<br />

but others can be surprising. For example, we saw one where it<br />

was a combined psychology and engineering degree in Bristol<br />

which, when you think about it, is quite a smart combination in<br />

the sense that graduates are going to create something that people<br />

really want, and understand why people want it, and why people<br />

are drawn to it. Based on your input, BridgeU can tell you, “Oh,<br />

someone with your predicted grades has a 5 to 10% chance.” And<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 15


you can always change the parameters when you get a new report<br />

card. The thing I love about this programme is that it’s making<br />

alternative options real to parents and students.<br />

Kate Bradley, Head of Secondary, & Andrew McLachlan,<br />

Deputy Head of Curriculum, La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

Empower the child to make the decision on their next steps as<br />

they’re the ones who are going at the end of the day. A great book<br />

for parents and their children to read is Frank Bruni’s, “Where<br />

You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be”. Then you’ve probably heard the<br />

phrase, “College is a match to be made not to a prize to be won,”<br />

by Frank Sachs. University is not a trophy, it’s all about the best fit.<br />

Why a student is great for the university and why the university is<br />

great for the student. I think most high school counselling offices<br />

have the best fit philosophy, because what is a great fit for one<br />

student, is not a great fit for another. Selectivity of a school does not<br />

equal the quality of the school. I think those two are often seen as<br />

synonymous and they’re not. You can have a great experience at a<br />

great university that isn’t as selective as maybe the Ivies.<br />

Joseph Amato, IB DP Coordinator & John Switzer, Upper<br />

<strong>School</strong> Principal, Zurich <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

Make the hardest choices first.<br />

We try to say to students all the time, do the hardest thing first. So,<br />

if the hardest thing for you and your family is choosing whether it’s<br />

America or Europe, do that first. Then start thinking, is it a campus<br />

or a city? Because if you start globally and then you narrow it<br />

down, it’s less scary. For every family it’s always something different.<br />

For example, the girl I sat with yesterday, she said Netherlands,<br />

U.K., U.S., but in her case, she’s thinking about a hockey<br />

scholarship. Sports with scholarships in athletics tend to be the U.S.,<br />

so location was important in the equation for her. But other times,<br />

it might be that a student’s heart is set on a particular programme.<br />

Looking at the reality of their predicted grades, where could they<br />

actually access that? So, I think it varies, but tackling that first,<br />

everything else will feel much more manageable afterwards. Or<br />

even start with, “What do you know you don’t want to do?”<br />

Kate Bradley, Head of Secondary, & Andrew McLachlan,<br />

Deputy Head of Curriculum, La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

Know the culture and requirements of the education system<br />

your child is applying within.<br />

Different systems look at very different criteria. It takes Europeans<br />

by surprise that an American university will be looking at their day<br />

to day grades from grade nine onwards and that they’re accepted<br />

by the time they’re finished their exams. That’s a really different<br />

mindset. On the other hand, Americans, who are really stressed<br />

about the GPA, may not realise that a European university won’t be<br />

looking at the GPA. I think the big surprise is that the high school<br />

diploma is worth something. Outside of North America, people<br />

have not heard of a high school diploma, generally. So, we have<br />

some parents who don’t realise that a North American university<br />

won’t take you without the high school diploma. It really is a useful<br />

document.<br />

Leanda Wood, Head of Counselling, Zurich <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong>.<br />

Do visit universities.<br />

If you can, go on a university tour, the summer before or two<br />

summers before. Definitely have that on your radar by the end of<br />

your GCSEs as that can add a bit of direction. Factor it in as part<br />

of your summer holiday even three years before. A student might<br />

have had dreams of studying in New York as there’s a certain<br />

glamour about NYU, for example. Then they get there and realise<br />

that NYU is in probably the roughest part of Manhattan, and<br />

think, “No, thanks.” Seeing the university, feeling it, can solidify<br />

your thoughts. And going on a rainy day is always better than a<br />

sunny day as well. See it at its worst. Start to narrow down what<br />

it is, or really consider what you’re after out of your university<br />

experience as well. It’s not just the programmes of study and the<br />

places, but it can be, do you want to live in a big city? Do you<br />

want to live on campus? Do you want to be somewhere with a real<br />

international demographic? Do you want to be somewhere that’s<br />

perhaps a bit more local or community based?<br />

Kate Bradley, Head of Secondary, & Andrew McLachlan,<br />

Deputy Head of Curriculum, La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

Consider finances very carefully.<br />

It’s important as a family to have an early discussion about things<br />

that they might not even think about, such as where is financially<br />

viable to study. That’s really important because what I don’t want<br />

to see happening is a student get really excited about going to a<br />

specific university, but actually they didn’t realise that they can’t<br />

because it’s not either financially possible or the family might not<br />

want them to live in that country. So I think that’s really important<br />

to discuss as a family early on.<br />

Rachel Doell, University and Career Counsellor,<br />

Inter-Community <strong>School</strong> Zurich.<br />

We recommend that you’ve actually already had this conversation<br />

with your child before this stage. It’s so important to have<br />

conversations early on so your child knows your financial<br />

limitations. Simply saying, “We can’t afford $60,000 a year” allows<br />

them to recalibrate and adjust their expectations. If a child gets<br />

their hopes up, and they go and visit Yale or wherever it is and,<br />

even if they get the grades, they can’t afford to go, that’s brutal.<br />

Kate Bradley, Head of Secondary, & Andrew McLachlan,<br />

Deputy Head of Curriculum, La Côte <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

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The Universal<br />

Learning Programme:<br />

an education for individual, collective and public good<br />

WRITTEN BY CONRAD HUGHES<br />

The <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> of Geneva’s La Grande Boissière<br />

is both the oldest and the largest of the three campuses of<br />

the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> of Geneva. Since its inception,<br />

important innovations in education have been designed here to<br />

empower students to navigate the world but also contribute to it<br />

and make it a more peaceful place.<br />

It was here that the Model United Nations and <strong>International</strong><br />

Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) were invented. The<br />

Model United Nations’ aim was to familiarise students with the<br />

highest standards of diplomacy so as to understand how negotiation<br />

can improve society whereas the IBDP started with an international<br />

history course invented and developed by La Grande Boissière<br />

teachers to broaden the minds and cultural references of students.<br />

Lord Mountbatten, who presented the first IB diplomas to students<br />

in our Greek theatre in 1971, said of that moment that it was his<br />

contribution to the prevention of World War Three.<br />

Today La Grande Boissière remains wedded to its original<br />

mission: to broaden students’ horizons and for them to impact the<br />

world positively. However, we are no longer in the 1960s, when the<br />

IB was conceived, and educational systems need to prepare young<br />

people for a far more complex world.<br />

Societal Challenges<br />

The three fundamental challenges that face humanity are:<br />

1. The Anthropocene era: human economic and consumerist<br />

activity, most especially in industrialised nations, is modifying and<br />

ultimately destroying the planet. Education needs to respond to this.<br />

2. Industry 4.0: high-performing algorithms, the exploitation of<br />

behavioural surplus by tech companies and the outsourcing of<br />

human labour by artificial intelligence is challenging what it means<br />

to be human and the skills that will be needed in the market place.<br />

Educational programmes should be taking this into account.<br />

3. Human relations: although in many ways the world is more<br />

peaceful than it has been in its history, the gap between rich and<br />

poor is widening, extremist ideology is on the rise in many countries<br />

and conflicts break out regularly across the globe. An educational<br />

response needs to bring people together for humanity’s and the<br />

planet’s future.<br />

Challenges in <strong>School</strong>s<br />

Most schools face a number of challenges that present educational<br />

structures do not accommodate well enough. The three essential<br />

challenges are:<br />

1. Not motivating students: we know enough about the way that<br />

the human brain functions, the role of emotions in learning and<br />

the importance of a growth mindset to understand that if students<br />

are not motivated to learn, little progress will be made. And yet,<br />

so many students do not feel inspired or challenged in their lessons<br />

and many classroom environments are dull places full of behaviour<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 18


egulation, regimes of silence and teaching to the middle. <strong>School</strong>s<br />

need to create dynamic energy for learning to be stimulating.<br />

2. Low standards: a number of educational reforms in the 60s<br />

and 70s, mostly influenced by the Romantic idea that too much<br />

knowledge retention and rote learning is a bad thing, has led to<br />

classroom practices where there is not enough corrective feedback<br />

on learning, not enough practice and insufficient testing for deep<br />

understanding. Many parents and students are frustrated with<br />

pedagogies that are full of jargon but don’t actually help students<br />

build up their general knowledge, literacy and numeracy.<br />

3. Not reporting what matters: in many schools, a curious situation<br />

exists where everyone agrees that a number of core skills and<br />

behaviours are required for success in life and employment, areas<br />

such as teamwork, good listening skills, creativity and leadership,<br />

but none of these skills are actually assessed formally by schools.<br />

Furthermore, for centuries schools have only reported on how well<br />

students perform in areas that schools deem important as opposed<br />

to reflecting students’ strengths, whether these strengths are in or<br />

outside the remit of the school programme.<br />

Designing the Universal Learning Programme<br />

La Grande Boissière has been supporting powerful learning<br />

since 1924. The Universal Learning Programme design was an<br />

opportunity to distil and synthesise the magic in our educational<br />

approach. Part of the Universal Learning Programme architecture,<br />

therefore, has been to articulate, clearly, what is important<br />

and effective in a quality 21st Century education based on our<br />

experience as an international school educating students of over<br />

100 nationalities for close to 100 years.<br />

At the same time, the school decided to enhance its vision<br />

by drawing on cutting-edge, research-informed best practice in<br />

education. To do this, we partnered officially with UNESCO’s<br />

<strong>International</strong> Bureau of Education whose work with think tanks,<br />

educational ministries, research hubs and universities presents a<br />

compelling evidence-based vision.<br />

Students, teachers and parents are part of a strategic group that<br />

is involved in measuring the success and impact of the programme<br />

and UNESCO audits progress officially as another measure of<br />

quality control.<br />

Importantly, much of the scope and sequence of the design has<br />

been done by the community, involving all stakeholders: every year,<br />

students and teachers vote on broad philosophical questions that<br />

are used in the classroom and the whole faculty collaborates on the<br />

creation of programme guides.<br />

So what exactly is the Universal Learning Programme?<br />

Deep Understanding<br />

It all starts with deep understanding. The design of our programme<br />

means that a considerable amount of time and effort is dedicated<br />

to ensuring that students understand what they are learning. Using<br />

the findings of cognitive psychology, which tell us that humans<br />

store and retrieve information better when it is grouped in units of<br />

meaning (“schemata”), our approach is to lead students towards<br />

broad definitional statements of what they have learned (which we<br />

call “universal understandings”). Universal Learning Programme<br />

students will come away from a class not just saying that they are<br />

studying “trigonometry” or “colonisation”, but will be able to say<br />

“trigonometric functions relate angles to sides of a right triangle”<br />

or “the effects of colonisation determine the balance of economic<br />

power in the world”. Guiding students to their own universal<br />

understandings takes subtle pedagogical strategy and the use of<br />

our universal understanding pyramids, which are teaching tools<br />

developed by researchers to model the architecture of learning.<br />

By viewing learning through universal understandings, students<br />

can make sense of what they know and apply it.<br />

Competences<br />

Deep understanding is foundational but the Universal Learning<br />

Programme goes well beyond this: we assess students not only<br />

on their academic knowledge but on the development of their<br />

competences. A competence is a unity of knowledge, skill and<br />

attitude: it is what determines the quality and impact of our human<br />

activity. By assessing competences through projects, feedback loops<br />

and reporting structures, we ensure that students become aware of<br />

what competences are and why they are important in life.<br />

We have grouped competences into four broad domains, each<br />

with a guiding question:<br />

Character (who am I?)<br />

Human quantum mind power often lies untapped in the recesses<br />

of the unconscious. Through coaching, positive psychology, setting<br />

values-based challenges and reflecting on outcomes, we bring out<br />

our true potential by developing character, associated with grit,<br />

intellectual honesty, accountability and humane moral values.<br />

Passion (What is my purpose?)<br />

Learning is governed by emotions and set in a social context. By<br />

designing emotional hooks and caring relations, by making learning<br />

personally relevant and by paying homage to the beauty of content,<br />

we develop passion for learning. This brings out traits such as selfrespect,<br />

curiosity, motivation, energy and vision.<br />

Mastery (How can I go further?)<br />

Higher order thinking and transfer emerge from strong domain<br />

knowledge. Combatting ignorance and prejudice requires<br />

multiliteracy and deep understanding of human history. Skills grow<br />

out of knowledge and both are harnessed through ongoing, spaced<br />

and deliberate practice. Mastery is core to our programme. Mastery<br />

enhances disciplinary and transdisciplinary fluency, learning how to<br />

learn, literateness, cultural awareness and depth of intellect.<br />

Collaboration (How can we work together?)<br />

What we learn must be put to a greater good that will reverse our<br />

anthropocene, selfish behaviour. This means much more emphasis<br />

on community service, learning to live together and, collectively,<br />

respecting resources and, ultimately, ourselves. Collaboration entails<br />

effective team work, balancing rights with privileges, responsible<br />

consumption, followship, leadership, listening skills, negotiation<br />

and interpersonal sensitivity.<br />

These are essential in life and need to be recognised formally and<br />

institutionally. The Universal Learning Programme identifies such<br />

lifeworthy, futureproof competences and makes them come to life<br />

in the classroom by assessing them formally.<br />

Social Impact<br />

The far-reaching purpose of our educational experience is to create<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 19


statistical modelling and apply this knowledge to indices related to<br />

wealth, happiness, mobility and demographics. This allows students<br />

to make meaningful connections between an academic domain and<br />

its relationship with society. Examples of mastery projects include<br />

the following:<br />

- The relationship between GDP and happiness.<br />

- The reliability of statistics on climate change.<br />

- The relationship between education and employment.<br />

good at an individual, collective and public level: students should<br />

leave school with more than grades but with the ability to make<br />

a positive impact on people around them, the environment and<br />

society at large. The Universal Learning Programme offers students<br />

the opportunity to do this while they are at school, embedded in the<br />

formal curriculum: students engage in specific Universal Learning<br />

Programme projects that have a meaningful social impact. Here are<br />

some examples.<br />

The Character Project: 13-year-old students are mentored in<br />

philosophical discussions that allow them to reflect on ethical issues<br />

around good character. They set themselves challenges throughout<br />

the year to push their endurance and grit and then reflect on the<br />

whole in powerful personal testimonies that they film. The project<br />

develops students’ tenacity, solution seeking, anti-fragility but also<br />

their moral compass, empathy and reflection on humanity. Students<br />

set themselves three personal challenges:<br />

- A physical challenge that develops mental toughness, self-esteem,<br />

and self-efficacy.<br />

- A cognitive challenge, based on the discussion and analysis of<br />

current affairs, that develops personality, identity and self-discovery.<br />

- An emotional challenge, based on community service action<br />

which develops humility, empathy and open-mindedness.<br />

The Passion Project: 14-year-old students take a personal passion<br />

(whether it is in school or out of school) and, in a student<br />

team, put it into a social impact project related to a sustainable<br />

development goal. This helps students learn about project design,<br />

entrepreneurship and connecting school with what they love.<br />

Examples of passion projects include the following:<br />

- Creating multi-lingual vocabulary resources for students.<br />

- Raising awareness of pollution through art.<br />

- Transforming plastic waste into a 3D-printer filament.<br />

- Creating a clothing exchange at school.<br />

The Mastery Programme: 15-year-old students follow an<br />

extended mathematics course and create their own transdisciplinary<br />

mathematics and social science project where they learn about<br />

Service Learning: every Universal Learning Programme student<br />

must be involved in a meaningful service learning project. Our<br />

philosophy about service learning is that you do not just learn to<br />

serve, but you serve to learn too by enriching yourself through<br />

contact with other people. Some examples of powerful service<br />

learning projects include the following:<br />

- A student Eco-committee dedicated to sustainability on our<br />

campus.<br />

- Raising awareness on women in leadership positions through the<br />

creation of a mini-summit.<br />

- Students designing, 3D printing and laser-cutting props for a<br />

fashion show.<br />

- Students curating an art exhibition for professional artists.<br />

Universal Questions: every year, students and teachers design<br />

four powerful transdisciplinary questions that are posted around<br />

the school and answered in the classroom. Students present to each<br />

other in science classes on scientific innovations in history as they<br />

answer one of the Universal Questions, hereby grappling with the<br />

important but often undertaught constructs of scientific argument<br />

and lobbying for the importance of a scientific idea. This process<br />

allows students to reflect on the social impact of science. Examples<br />

of Universal Questions that the school has designed and answered<br />

include:<br />

- What makes something beautiful?<br />

- What makes something meaningful?<br />

- What does it mean to be human?<br />

Next Steps<br />

The Universal Learning programme is in Year two of its<br />

implementation. Our dream is to see schools across the world adopt<br />

this approach and we are currently in<br />

the process of partnering with schools<br />

in Kenya, India and Australia to spread<br />

the magic and empower students<br />

globally. This project alliance will be<br />

structured formally from the next<br />

academic year.<br />

Conrad Hughes (MA, PhD, EdD) is Campus and Secondary Principal<br />

at the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> of Geneva, La Grande Boissière, where<br />

he teaches philosophy. He is a UNESCO <strong>International</strong> Bureau of<br />

Education Senior Fellow, research associate with the University<br />

of Geneva’s Education and Psychology Department, and member<br />

of the education board for the University of the People. Conrad’s<br />

most recent books are Understanding Prejudice and Education:<br />

The Challenge for Future Generations (Routledge) and Educating<br />

for the 21st Century: Seven Global Challenges (Brill).<br />

https://sites.google.com/ecolint.ch/ulp/ULP-EN<br />

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nearly-four-year-old and am making this<br />

choice alongside my wife. Choosing from<br />

a ‘shortlist’ of options is now the norm<br />

across the world, so the question is how to<br />

choose? We were both aware that practical<br />

factors of decision-making are unavoidable<br />

- location, finances (where applicable),<br />

‘official ratings’ etc - but herein lay our<br />

main initial confusion. Neither of us cared<br />

about those factors when compared to<br />

another; how each setting ‘felt’. For every<br />

school we visited, we took a seemingly<br />

uninformed intuitive ‘read’ on the place<br />

that seemed, to us, the most important<br />

factor. This felt unscientific, underresearched<br />

- almost childish.<br />

Eventually, however, we realised that this<br />

intuition and emotional ‘connection’ was<br />

a manifestation of things that cannot be<br />

measured empirically. We were searching<br />

for a ‘values fit’ with our family - a place<br />

where their definitions of certain elements<br />

of life and education married with ours.<br />

This is, inherently, intuitive. Below I<br />

have laid out some of the questions I<br />

wished I had considered previously; that<br />

subconsciously influenced that intuitive<br />

sense of ‘fit’. Armed with an understanding<br />

of these ideas, our decisions now feel secure<br />

and vindicated.<br />

I believe there are three prime drivers<br />

that need consideration. That parents want<br />

their child “…to be happy…” is a truism in<br />

every sense of the word. The challenge, we<br />

found, was defining it. ‘Happy’ can exist in<br />

a completely hedonistic form, playing with


ADVERTORIAL<br />

their favourite toy for eight hours a day with<br />

no interruptions or structure, for example.<br />

Many would not deem that ‘truly’ happy,<br />

however. Overcoming a challenge makes<br />

us happy, a sense of achievement makes<br />

us happy - for some the relief after a hard<br />

‘shift’ at work is great happiness. What<br />

does your ‘happy’ look like as a family?<br />

For us, we wanted some adversity, some<br />

challenge, some activity outside of our son’s<br />

comfort zone - to safely ‘push’ him when his<br />

mind was best suited to be pushed.<br />

The second concept, that some might<br />

feel could run against the first, is the idea<br />

of ‘success’. Different educational settings<br />

will define success differently on a spectrum<br />

- from a set of grades alone right through to<br />

a nebulous set of self-defined achievements.<br />

Again, what does that mean for you and<br />

your family? Are you happy for the “…<br />

achievement to come in time…” or are you<br />

keen on a firmer structure of development,<br />

especially in core literacy and numeracy<br />

competencies? These are your decisions<br />

to make, but be mindful of this ‘measure’<br />

before you begin.<br />

A third element of which we have<br />

become conscious is the idea of<br />

longevity and ‘establishment’. Again,<br />

having an understanding of the various<br />

“I believe the difference between<br />

good and great is the level to which<br />

decision-making is made based on<br />

the best interests of each individual<br />

child in a school’s care.”<br />

interpretations of how long something<br />

has existed is important. Although most<br />

of us, I would imagine, would have some<br />

nervousness about a Preschool that has<br />

only opened six months ago, they could<br />

equally bring ideas, modern facilities<br />

and exuberance that might surprise you.<br />

Persistence is not necessarily a virtue,<br />

and getting an understanding of what<br />

‘traditional’ or ‘established’ means in a<br />

modern world where the requirements of<br />

education are shifting so dramatically is<br />

vital.<br />

So how can one apply these ideas to<br />

any given setting when we meet them?<br />

We found the most telling indicator to be<br />

how much each organisation wanted to<br />

know our son. At a young age it is easy<br />

for people to treat children as homogenous<br />

and ‘not yet themselves’, but as parents,<br />

we are acutely conscious of their nuances<br />

and idiosyncrasies. From my own (wideranging)<br />

professional experience in<br />

education, I believe the difference between<br />

good and great is the level to which<br />

decision-making is made based on the<br />

best interests of each individual child in a<br />

school’s care. This manifests itself, often,<br />

in intense curiosity about each child. Are<br />

they telling you about themselves or asking<br />

about your child?<br />

Is this an over-simplification? Perhaps;<br />

but then intuition is often a simple<br />

response to a complex situation - and if we<br />

understand from where it has come it can<br />

be our greatest tool as parents.<br />

For more information, please check out their<br />

website here: https://www.iszn.ch/<br />

At the Inter-Community <strong>School</strong> Zurich (ICS), we ask about your child(ren) before we tell<br />

you how we can serve their specific needs. Contact us at contact@icsz.ch to find out more<br />

about the international school of first choice in Zurich. www.icsz.ch<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 23


Get Lost<br />

in a Great<br />

Series<br />

WRITTEN BY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT EDITORIAL TEAM<br />

Forget movie boxsets, with the summer holidays stretching<br />

out before you, it’s all about losing yourself in a book boxset.<br />

This summer we’re celebrating some of our favourite female<br />

protagonists as they take on dangerous missions, stand up to the<br />

establishment, make lasting friendships, and maybe even fall in love.<br />

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins<br />

1. The Hunger Games<br />

2. Catching Fire<br />

3. Mockingjay<br />

The Hunger Games has been read by million of teens over the<br />

last decade. The trilogy is set in the fictional country of Panem, a<br />

dystopian society where every year, children from different districts<br />

are randomly selected and forced to compete in a televised battle<br />

to the death, called the Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen, the<br />

sixteen-year-old protagonist volunteers to take the place of her<br />

younger sister in the games, and in the first novel we follow her<br />

through the ultimate challenge as she battles to save her own, and<br />

others, lives. This is a series about so much more than the gruesome<br />

battle it is named after though. It’s about defiance in the face of<br />

power, about human force beyond physical strength, about family<br />

and about love. It’s a gripping journey which shouldn’t be missed.<br />

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman<br />

1. Northern Lights<br />

2. The Subtle Knife<br />

3. The Amber Spyglass<br />

The enduring popularity of Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark<br />

Materials, is testament to the unique and riveting plot of Northern<br />

Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. The intricate<br />

fantasy worlds Pullman creates, through which a cast of characters<br />

led by the young Lyra Belacqua battle adversity, will leave you<br />

utterly absorbed. The action begins in Oxford, England, when<br />

Lyra hears of a plot to murder her uncle, Lord Asriel. This sets<br />

off a series of events including kidnaps, rescue missions, and travel<br />

to other worlds inhabited by creatures and forces unknown to the<br />

human world. With underlying themes of physics and perhaps even<br />

atheism, there are layers far beyond the storyline to explore and<br />

question. For a curious and imaginative mind, this is a must-read.<br />

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld<br />

1. Uglies<br />

2. Pretties<br />

3. Specials<br />

In Scott Westerfeld’s future dystopian world, everyone is considered<br />

“Ugly” until on their sixteenth birthday they have extreme<br />

cosmetic surgery to become “Pretty” and cross the river to the<br />

other side of the city where they can live without stress and<br />

responsibility. But everything is not as perfect as it seems. When<br />

Tally Youngblood sneaks across the river before her sixteenth<br />

birthday and becomes embroiled in a stand against society’s plans<br />

for everyone to conform, she discovers that taking your own path<br />

can have dangerous and terrifying consequences. As the series<br />

continues, Tally sees life from both sides, but ultimately, who will<br />

she fight to protect? With plenty of themes that will be familiar to<br />

teenagers, including facing change and questioning the superficial<br />

expectations of society, this is a series to make you interrogate the<br />

status quo.<br />

Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter<br />

1. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You<br />

2. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy<br />

3. Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover<br />

4. Only the Good Spy Young<br />

5. Out of Sight, Out of Time<br />

6. United We Spy<br />

This bestselling series follows the lives of students at the Gallagher<br />

Academy for Exceptional Young Women. The academy is no<br />

ordinary school – students here train in martial arts and codebreaking<br />

and communicate in 14 different languages as they perfect<br />

their espionage skills. But what happens when they’re faced with<br />

normal teenage challenges, as well as more extreme missions along<br />

the way? Follow Cammie Morgan and her friends as they grapple<br />

with kidnap plots, security breaches, terrorist organizations…and<br />

teenage crushes, in this pacey and thrilling series.<br />

The Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper<br />

1. A Brief History of Montmaray<br />

2. The FitzOsbornes in Exile<br />

3. The FitzOsbornes at War<br />

This trilogy follows the royal family of the fictional island kingdom<br />

of Montmaray through the late 1930s to the outbreak of World<br />

War II, as they are forced to abandon their home, endure sorrow,<br />

embrace love, and eventually, to dream of returning to their<br />

kingdom again. Similar to Dodie Smith’s classic novel, I Capture<br />

the Castle, the narrator is a young, penniless inhabitant of a<br />

crumbling castle, who tells the story from her perspective after she<br />

is given a journal on her sixteenth birthday. For those wanting a<br />

personal and touching fictional narrative, underpinned by deeper<br />

tensions building in the outside world, this is an excellent choice.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 24


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series Ann Brashares<br />

1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants<br />

2. The Second <strong>Summer</strong> of the Sisterhood<br />

3. Girls in Pants: The Third <strong>Summer</strong> of the Sisterhood<br />

4. Forever in Blue: The Fourth <strong>Summer</strong> of the Sisterhood<br />

5. 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Gorws<br />

6. Sisterhood Everlasting<br />

This touching series follows a group of high school friends, who<br />

decide to stay in touch by sharing a pair of jeans over the holiday,<br />

each wearing it as they experience a formative summer of travel,<br />

first love, and family upset. In the subsequent books, the girls are<br />

reunited with the jeans as they take on change and challenges, but<br />

always with their friends standing by to support them. For anyone<br />

looking for a book which celebrates the unbreakable bond of<br />

friendship, this is it.<br />

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Collection by Jenny Han<br />

1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before<br />

2. P.S. I Still Love You<br />

3. Always and Forever Lara Jean<br />

This series of bestsellers follows the story of Lara Jean, a high<br />

school student who is forced to confront her past crushes after the<br />

letters she wrote to them but never meant to send, are somehow<br />

taken from the secret box under her bed, and mailed out. Lara Jean<br />

faces up to past feelings and sees new ones blossom as she gets ever<br />

closer to the changes which high school graduation will bring. For a<br />

light, romantic read, this hits the mark.<br />

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot<br />

1. The Princess Diaries<br />

2. Princess in the Spotlight<br />

3. Princess in Love<br />

4. Princess in Waiting<br />

5. Project Princess<br />

6. Princess in Pink<br />

7. Princess in Training<br />

8. The Princess Present<br />

9. Sweet Sixteen Princess<br />

10. Valentine Princess<br />

11. Princess on the Brink<br />

12. Princess Mia<br />

13. Forever Princess<br />

14. Royal Wedding<br />

The Princess Diaries follows the life of Mia Thermopolis, whose<br />

world is turned upside down when she discovers that she is the heir<br />

to the throne of the fictional country of Genovia. Beginning in<br />

her freshman year at high school, we follow the likeable and dorky<br />

Mia through her diary entries as she learns about her new role as a<br />

princess, overcomes family obstacles and falls in love. With multiple<br />

books in the series, it’s definitely one to keep you busy!<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 25


ADVERTORIAL<br />

Family<br />

Experiences <strong>2020</strong><br />

Is your child adventurous, wildlife-mad, or do they love to get stuck into a<br />

challenging puzzle? With something for all interests, all ages and all weathers,<br />

you’ll be spoilt for choice this summer in Switzerland!<br />

For the Wildlife Expert…<br />

ASCONA LOCARNO<br />

See birds of prey soar at the Locarno<br />

Falconry<br />

With over 400 species of birds, Switzerland<br />

is a paradise for bird watchers. And<br />

this summer you can cut the wait, lose the<br />

binoculars and get an incredible up-close<br />

view of eagles, hawks, owls and vultures at<br />

the Locarno Falconry. Learn about the vital<br />

role these birds of prey play in maintaining<br />

our ecosystem, hear more about how these<br />

majestic creatures live, and see the art of<br />

falconry in action with a display from the<br />

Spanish Riding <strong>School</strong>. With wet weather<br />

options for rainy days, there’s no excuse<br />

to miss out on this unique chance to see<br />

Switzerland’s finest birdlife.<br />

PONTRESINA<br />

See the great migration of the ibex<br />

Every year the warmer weather brings a<br />

migration of nearly 2,000 ibex towards<br />

Pontresina. This huge colony congregates<br />

here to graze, rest, and playfight while<br />

visitors look on. You can stroll the 1<br />

kilometre trail (accessible with a pram)<br />

or catch the Languard chairlift up to the<br />

mountain-top Ibex Gallery to find out more<br />

about these wild creatures. Kids can even<br />

get a taste of mountain life, clambering<br />

through the themed playground near Alp<br />

Languard.<br />

GRÄCHEN<br />

Search for animals in their natural<br />

habitat<br />

For older kids and early risers who are keen<br />

to see more mountain wildlife in its natural<br />

habitat, an early-morning guided tour<br />

through the Zaniglas Valley at Grächen is a<br />

great option. Your guide will tell you about<br />

the local flora and fauna before venturing<br />

into the forests at Grächen in search of<br />

chamois, marmots and ibex. There’s also a<br />

breakfast served at the Hannigalp mountain<br />

restaurant while you can relax and take in<br />

the views after your hike.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 26


ADVERTORIAL<br />

ZUOZ<br />

Take a train to the Swiss National Park<br />

If your family wants to go it alone, the<br />

Swiss National Park in the Val Trupchun,<br />

in the Engadine region boasts a stunning<br />

wilderness, bursting with life. Travel to the<br />

park’s entrance by catching the Express<br />

Parc Naziunel from S-chanf railway station.<br />

This quaint little train takes a relaxed route<br />

through local villages, giving you time to<br />

see the area and pull on your walking boots<br />

before your hike! Once you’re in the park,<br />

keep your eyes peeled for deer, chamois,<br />

ibex and marmots.<br />

For the Adventurer…<br />

ALETSCH ARENA<br />

Expedition into the world of the<br />

Aletsch glacier<br />

For families looking for something a little<br />

different from their hike, the Aletsch Arena<br />

offers a guided tour to the extraordinary<br />

Aletsch glacier. Allow plenty of time to take<br />

in the sparkling white landscape with ice<br />

sweeping down over 23 kilometres before<br />

you.<br />

For the Active Imagination…<br />

BRAUNWALD<br />

Follow the footsteps of Bartli the dwarf<br />

Hike through the fairytale forest of<br />

Braunwald with your kids, as they discover<br />

the trail of Bartli the Dwarf. The 4<br />

kilometre trail has exciting discoveries along<br />

the way, from the dwarves’ castle, to the cliff<br />

of precious stones, to the iron grotto, and<br />

more!<br />

ENGELBERG<br />

Discover a smugglers’ world<br />

Enter the world of Engelbert the smuggler<br />

at this themed adventure trail and<br />

playground, located at Trübsee. Explore a<br />

smugglers’ tower, treasure chests and rope<br />

bridges at the playground, or take an hourlong<br />

hike in the beautiful surroundings. Be<br />

sure to buy your smuggler card first at the<br />

Trübsee station for access to the adventure<br />

trail.<br />

NENDAZ<br />

Hike with Cheesy the Cow<br />

Search for treasure with Nendaz’s local hero<br />

Cheesy the Cow! Cheesy has his very own<br />

2.5 kilometre panorama trail where kids<br />

can stop along the way to learn about the<br />

local habitat, and search<br />

for treasure by solving<br />

the clues. Families can<br />

make a day of it with a<br />

picnic or restaurant lunch<br />

afterwards.<br />

For a Head for<br />

Heights<br />

TOGGENBURG<br />

Walk among the<br />

treetops at Neckertal<br />

See the forest from<br />

new heights with the<br />

Treetop Path looking<br />

over the Neckertal valley, near St.<br />

Gallen. This 500-metre, fully wheelchairaccessible<br />

path winds its way from the forest<br />

floor to a height of 50 metres, giving a<br />

unique view of the treetops and beyond, all<br />

the way to Toggenburger Churfirsten and<br />

Appenzellerland. Take a moment to absorb<br />

your surroundings with 40 stops along the<br />

way to discover, listen to, and observe the<br />

trees and animals around you. Whether<br />

you’re looking to exhale after a busy week,<br />

discover a new fitness trail, BBQ with your<br />

friends, or take the kids for a bistro lunch<br />

and afternoon at the playground, the<br />

Treetop Path at Neckertal has it all.<br />

And finally, for the Intellectually<br />

Curious…<br />

DAVOS-KLOSTERS<br />

Crack the code to find a hidden world<br />

Delve into the world of The Magic<br />

Mountain with this fox trail searching for<br />

the secret library where Thomas Mann<br />

is rumoured to have written his famous<br />

novel. Teams of families or friends must<br />

crack codes, solve puzzles and find hidden<br />

messages along the way in this outdoor<br />

challenge for all ages!<br />

SAVOGNIN<br />

Learn about alpine life while you hike<br />

Learn about alpine life and stop for some<br />

incredible photo opportunities along the<br />

way on this new 6.5 kilometre trail from<br />

Somtgant to Radons near Savognin. You<br />

can stop at information points along the<br />

way to read about work and life in the alps,<br />

and kids can get involved with a milking<br />

well and pitchfork swing at the themed<br />

playground.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 27


ADVERTORIAL<br />

KIBS: Learning<br />

Together Bilingually<br />

At KIBS in Zürich, we learn in two languages. Starting from August,<br />

the school will be expanding and making room for new class groups.<br />

During breaktime, when the<br />

corridors, the garden and<br />

the cafeteria are filled with<br />

laughter, balls aren’t the only thing being<br />

thrown around; there is also the effortless<br />

exchange of different languages taking<br />

place. A question such as: “Reichst du<br />

mir das Buch?” is followed simply by the<br />

answer “Of course, here you go.” Without<br />

thinking, the most natural thing in the<br />

world. At KIBS in Seebach, the children<br />

grow up bilingual; English and German<br />

is practically laid into the babies’ cribs.<br />

When the private institution opened in<br />

2008, there were only 21 kindergarten<br />

children in the classrooms at Oerlikon. Due<br />

to the ever-growing demand, what started<br />

out as a small day care and kindergarten,<br />

evolved into today’s KIBS for children of<br />

all ages: starting with daycare for babies,<br />

preschool and kindergarten, up to primary<br />

school. Around 200 children are growing<br />

up bilingual, learning English and German<br />

playfully without pressure.<br />

It is not just the children who are growing<br />

at KIBS, the demand for integrated,<br />

bilingual classes is increasing too. To<br />

address this, the school will be expanding<br />

in August, with both campuses being<br />

merged and a new floor being added. The<br />

simultaneous expansion and joining of<br />

both campuses to one location does not<br />

only benefit parents with both babies and<br />

primary school aged children, it offers the<br />

possibility of welcoming more students.<br />

Therefore, KIBS is opening five new<br />

groups in August. Interested parties can<br />

already sign up via the website or by phone.<br />

The children are being taught using a<br />

combination of the Canton Zurich syllabus<br />

and an <strong>International</strong> curriculum in small<br />

classes, where the needs of each child can<br />

be met and the pupils can help shape their<br />

lessons.<br />

In this global community which brings<br />

us all closer together, the importance<br />

of multilingualism is rapidly increasing.<br />

Excellent language skills are not just<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 28


ADVERTORIAL<br />

necessary for careers later in life, but for<br />

the understanding of different cultures.<br />

Countless studies have proven that<br />

multilingual people can concentrate better,<br />

empathise more easily with others, and thus<br />

successfully resolve conflicts. The brain<br />

remains flexible even when it ages. More<br />

nerve synapses are created and specific<br />

regions of the brain become more efficient.<br />

Building strong social connections are not<br />

only encouraged through bilingualism, but<br />

also through a holistic teaching approach.<br />

40 teaching staff from the US, England,<br />

Ireland, Switzerland and across the<br />

globe, provide an open and differentiated<br />

classroom environment by drawing on<br />

their diverse professional experiences and<br />

backgrounds. All the while, keeping the<br />

child at the center of teaching and learning.<br />

Instead of using traditional teaching<br />

methods, the students work together at<br />

large tables or in small groups, and are<br />

encouraged to ask questions and share their<br />

own ideas. “We want the children to have<br />

fun with learning, to be enthusiastic about<br />

it,” says Head Teacher Eimear Harris. “We<br />

practice inquiry-based learning and during<br />

the lessons we use the children’s ideas. As a<br />

result, thoughts flow more freely and there’s<br />

more interaction.” Unlike other schools,<br />

the children don’t have to change rooms for<br />

every lesson; instead the teachers and the<br />

teaching assistants respectively come to the<br />

children’s classroom, which are creatively<br />

decorated with children’s work and<br />

colourful displays. The lessons alternate<br />

between English and German, and the<br />

topics change every six to seven weeks.<br />

KIBS is a non-profit organisation; all<br />

school fees flow directly back into the<br />

school. That way the children benefit from<br />

dedicated and continuous care during their<br />

breaks, homework time and project weeks<br />

in the holidays. At lunchtime, the students<br />

can participate in different extracurricular<br />

clubs: from baking and cooking, to yoga<br />

and choir, logical thinking and chess.<br />

What’s more, the teachers help the children<br />

with their work, answer their questions and<br />

support them during the free time. Once a<br />

year a traditional sleepover takes place at<br />

the school. And at night after an exciting<br />

day in the fresh air, when the lights are<br />

turned off and new information is being<br />

processed, the phrase “Sleep well!” is<br />

accompanied by “Danke, du auch!”<br />

Find out more at: https://www.kibsz.ch/<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 29


DEVELOPING<br />

INTERCULTURAL<br />

COMPETENCIES<br />

How did the international school develop and how can it<br />

continue to evolve to support multiculturalism<br />

WRITTEN BY CHRISTOPHER CLYDE GREEN<br />

Apparently, the concept of an international school is<br />

nothing new. In 1855 the Exposition Universelle in<br />

Paris took place. Many ideas were discussed including<br />

“the advantages of educating together children of different<br />

nationalities” 1 . If we look back even further it was speculated<br />

that Prince Henry, the Portuguese explorer, set up a cartographer<br />

school 2 featuring students from around the world. It has been<br />

debated that the “first” schools with a hint of internationalism were<br />

found in London, with the help of the author Charles Dickens, and<br />

in Lesotho, founded by British missionaries 3 . Yet, the school that<br />

seems to have the best claim to be the first, modern version of an<br />

international school is The <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> of Geneva. It was<br />

founded in 1924 as a multilingual institute for diplomats and other<br />

fellow expatriates, post-World War I.<br />

An increase in diplomatic relations, multi-national corporations,<br />

military movements and globalisation in general has seen a rapid<br />

rise in the amount of international schools around the world. Now,<br />

there are reportedly 8000 international schools globally 4 . But what<br />

does “international” actually mean? From a historical perspective<br />

it seems an “international education” meant promoting ideas<br />

coming from predominantly Western educators that expressed their<br />

ideologies about the world. The methods seemed either to have a<br />

bi-lingual initiative or a programme that focused on Westernised<br />

cultures, so that the students were prepared for the international<br />

world they would face afterwards. Often the teachers in these<br />

schools helped “home” students learn the cultural and canonical<br />

1 Hayden, Mary. Introduction to <strong>International</strong> Education: <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>s and Their Commu-nities. Sage Publ., 2007.<br />

2 Prestage, Edgar. “Prince Henry the Navigator.” The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol 7. New York Robert Appleton, 1910<br />

3 Sylvester, Robert. The “first” international school. <strong>International</strong> Education in Practice. 3-17, 2002<br />

4 Wechsler, Alan. “How Demand for a ‘Western’ Education Reshaped <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>s.” The At-lantic, Atlantic Media Company, 16 June 2017,<br />

www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/06/the-international-school-surge/528792/.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 30


traditions of Europe. Even now, in schools that have large,<br />

ethnically diverse student bodies we find that there is a craving for<br />

teachers from English-speaking nations and for those who have<br />

been “Westernised”. Some schools even ask for photos on CVs.<br />

Speaking English is still deemed to be desirable for parents, students<br />

and educators alike. Of course, there are many dialects found<br />

within the English language. Gogate’s Globish was an attempt to<br />

simplify the English language for the masses, however, in the eyes<br />

of the ruling classes nothing quite beats “The Queen’s English”. It<br />

is no surprise that nations with burgeoning economies such as the<br />

UAE and China have had the biggest rise in international schools.<br />

However, does promoting the aforementioned methods truly<br />

support an international education? Whether done inadvertently or<br />

not, some international schools have become systems for supporting<br />

certain cultures and leaving others behind.<br />

Authentic international educators want to “help to create a better<br />

and more peaceful world through their intercultural understanding<br />

and respect.” 5 But, how do we enable this to happen in the context<br />

of a school where most stakeholders have taken the risk of being<br />

part of an international community, in an increasingly nationalistic<br />

and hostile environment? Furthermore, it seems throughout the<br />

modern manifestation of an international school there is a tension<br />

between promoting internationalism and endorsing the product<br />

that some of the stakeholders want, that is: to sell monoculture.<br />

Additionally, international schools are typically fee-paying and for<br />

certain socio-economic classes, which can alienate them from the<br />

local community. This can create a sense of “otherness” 6 . This<br />

feeling of otherness can affect the identity of some students who<br />

feel they are citizens of the world, but can be viewed unhelpfully<br />

as “citizens of nowhere” 7 from those that might feel threatened by<br />

their multiculturalism. Therefore, international schools can serve as<br />

“An increase in diplomatic<br />

relations, multi-national<br />

corporations, military<br />

movements and<br />

globalisation in general<br />

has seen a rapid rise in the<br />

amount of international<br />

schools around the world.”<br />

safe-havens but can also unconsciously promote their own worldsystems<br />

and polities, which can alienate “third-culture” people from<br />

their first, or even second cultures. We have all seen schools entitled<br />

“British, Canadian, Swiss and American international schools”. So,<br />

what is really going on? Why are nationalities being tagged onto<br />

school names and does this need to stop? We need to ensure that<br />

students, teachers and parents have well-developed intercultural<br />

competencies instilled in their day-to-day experiences with each<br />

other for real international relations to occur. If these competencies<br />

are not endorsed, the exclusivity and difference that is often seen<br />

and glorified in international education will counterintuitively<br />

be the very threat to the “international experience” that is being<br />

sought.<br />

Encouraging intercultural awareness can prove to be a challenge<br />

in a school which has perhaps had students coming from one<br />

5 Nicholls, John “<strong>International</strong>-mindedness in a one-nationality majority school” IB Conference ,October 25 2018, , ADNEC<br />

6 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. Vintage Books, 1979.<br />

7 Davis, Jonathan. “Theresa May’s Brexit Speech Had Shades of Hitler | Letters.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Oct. 2018,<br />

www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/12/theresa-mays-brexit-speech-had-shades-of-hitler.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 31


“<strong>International</strong> schools that create opportunities for the development of<br />

inherently diverse networks through acknowledgment and respect of<br />

multiculturalism are schools that will enrich wellbeing.”<br />

culture, or one that employs staff for the purpose of spreading<br />

“Britishness” for instance, but it isn’t impossible. To be sure that we<br />

are comfortable enough to create apposite versions of international<br />

schools we need to be sure of who we are first. Cosmopolitan<br />

people can go through numerous physical and mental transitions,<br />

which can leave them feeling vulnerable, so they either become<br />

deniers of change or complete chameleons. These are true<br />

examples. What they display is that we need to meet in the middle<br />

and recognise that we intersect with cultures every day, as soon<br />

as we leave the house. We cannot become caricatures of our own<br />

or another. Once we are aware of who we are culturally we can<br />

flex and adapt to a variety of cultures. This practice will avoid<br />

unwanted situations. I observed a class discussion once about the<br />

“burkini” between an American and a Saudi student. It nearly<br />

turned into a fistfight. I might add that none of the students were<br />

born in America nor Saudi Arabia, but it doesn’t matter they were<br />

fighting for their cultures unaware that there were multiple cultures<br />

within their nationalities in the first place. Sure, differences are fine,<br />

but if you are unprepared to have intellectual debates with those<br />

who oppose your views how on earth are you going to develop<br />

yourself as a person? Fortunately, the students settled and ended<br />

up respecting their differences through discussion and reflection. If<br />

only politicians and adults could learn to be as malleable as some<br />

international students, we may not be facing the surge of harmful<br />

nationalism we face today.<br />

What does it take to be truly culturally competent? According<br />

to Ann Straub it takes knowledge, skills and attitudes that are<br />

conducive to internationalism 8 . The knowledge of your own<br />

cultural identity, knowing what to do when cultures meet and how<br />

to react. Furthermore, the realisation that borders are arbitrary,<br />

and temporal will definitely help. Directors can make rational<br />

and diverse hires in their staff, to represent the world as much as<br />

they can. Pastoral leaders can incorporate citizenship into their<br />

curricula or create assemblies and celebrations that embrace<br />

multiple cultures. I created a Performing Arts exchange with<br />

8 Straub, Ann CIS Well-being conference, November 19 2018, ADNEC<br />

a school in Colombia at the <strong>International</strong> school of Geneva.<br />

The Colombians also stayed with host families from our school.<br />

Additionally, programmes such as the Model United Nations,<br />

which I organise at Institut Le Rosey, allows students to debate<br />

on behalf of cultures and nations that may not reflect their own<br />

through research, which encourages empathy. Educators can learn<br />

intercultural competencies through professional development such<br />

as language courses or teacher exchanges. From my experience<br />

I went to IC Beirut for two weeks, teaching and living with my<br />

Lebanese counterparts and learning French in Switzerland has<br />

enriched my professional and local interactions. Students can learn<br />

through literature, for example through empathetic writing in<br />

relation to a text from a cultural that is not their own or through<br />

the incorporation of epistemology and critical thinking within their<br />

classes. <strong>Parent</strong>s can have cultural exchanges. The <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong> of Geneva, for example hosts a “Kermesse” with traditional<br />

international food stands and entertainment made by the school<br />

community. Institut Le Rosey’s highly customised home language<br />

programme ensures that every student learns their home language<br />

from home language teachers. This unique experience helps the<br />

students stay in touch with their home culture despite being, in<br />

some cases, thousands of miles from home. <strong>International</strong> schools<br />

that create opportunities for the development of inherently diverse<br />

networks through acknowledgment and respect of multiculturalism<br />

are schools that will enrich wellbeing . They are schools that have<br />

more potential to be sustainable in a globalised world.<br />

If we, as educators, parents and administrators model genuine<br />

and positive intercultural competencies for our students and<br />

children we will show them and the world that an international<br />

school isn’t a fixed notion to be sold or promote further inequity.<br />

Instead, our open, flexible and adaptable attitudes we will engender<br />

curiosity, acceptance and most importantly respect for all cultures<br />

within the communities we serve and beyond them.<br />

Christopher Green is a teacher at the Institut Le Rosey<br />

specialising in Literature and Theory of Knowledge. He is also a<br />

workshop leader for the <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 32


James Bond - Package<br />

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Children (6-15) 84.00<br />

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<strong>Summer</strong> Recipes<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> holidays are a great time for baking and picnics, and ingredients like berries and rhubarb are at<br />

their most delicious. Here are a few delicious recipes for giving as presents or just enjoying in the park!<br />

WRITTEN BY BETTY GILBERT<br />

White chocolate &<br />

raspberry cookies<br />

(makes 20)<br />

140g unsalted butter, softened<br />

140g light Brown sugar<br />

100g caster sugar<br />

1 egg<br />

250g plain flour<br />

1 tsp baking powder<br />

200g white chocolate chunks or<br />

buttons<br />

100g fresh raspberries<br />

Cream the butter and sugar, then add<br />

the egg, flour and baking powder. Fold<br />

in the chocolate and raspberries and<br />

weigh out the dough into 40-50g balls.<br />

Bake at 180C for 12 minutes or until<br />

golden brown round the edges.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 34


ADVERTORIAL<br />

Focaccia<br />

Needed: Food mixer with dough hook<br />

250g 00 flour<br />

250g FARINA DI SEMOLA RIMACINATA- you can get<br />

it online and in most good delis, its finely ground<br />

semolina flour.<br />

2 tsp table salt<br />

2 sachets dried easy blend yeast<br />

3 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil<br />

400ml water<br />

olive oil, for drizzling<br />

flaky sea salt<br />

Rosemary or oregano for the top.<br />

1. Mix the flours, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml of<br />

the water into a large bowl. Gently stir with your hand<br />

or a wooden spoon to form a dough, then knead the<br />

dough in the bowl for five minutes, gradually adding the<br />

remaining water. Tip into a food mixer with the dough<br />

hook attachment and leave to knead for 10 mins until it is<br />

elastic and coming away from the edge of the bowl.<br />

ESSENTIAL STEP! This is the bit that gives the bread<br />

its final texture so don’t skimp! Cover with a tea towel and<br />

leave to rise until doubled in size.<br />

2. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Tip the<br />

dough out of the bowl and flatten onto the prepared tray,<br />

pushing to the corners. Cover with cling film but make<br />

sure it’s got room to expand as it proves. Leave to prove<br />

again for an hour.<br />

3. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Drizzle the<br />

loaves with oil, sprinkle with sea salt and poke the herbs<br />

into dents made with your (clean!) fingers, then bake in<br />

the oven for 20 minutes. When cooked, drizzle with a little<br />

more olive oil and serve hot or warm.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 35


FICO By Betty is a London based<br />

catering company, serving delicious<br />

Mediterranean food around the UK<br />

and Europe. Betty also runs cookery<br />

and yoga retreats in Crete and her<br />

custom made ceramics from Puglia<br />

are available to buy through her<br />

website www.ficobybetty.com<br />

Rhubarb, hazelnut & orange tart<br />

Needed: 28 cm loose bottomed tart tin.<br />

Baking beans<br />

Grease proof paper<br />

For the pastry:<br />

250g plain flour<br />

140g unsalted chilled butter<br />

2 egg yolks<br />

4 tablespoons water<br />

Pinch fine salt<br />

For the rhubarb:<br />

3 sticks rhubarb<br />

Juice of one orange<br />

1 tbsp sugar<br />

For the frangipane filling:<br />

200g sugar<br />

200g butter<br />

200g hazelnut flour<br />

(or hazelnuts blended<br />

in a blender until flour<br />

consistency is reached)<br />

1 tablespoon plain flour<br />

1 egg<br />

1 egg yolk<br />

Zest of one orange<br />

Make the pastry:<br />

Pulse the butter and flour in a blender until you have<br />

breadcrumbs consistency. Add the yolks and salt, and then<br />

pulse again, gradually adding water until it comes together<br />

as a dough. The less you move the dough the better! Remove<br />

the pastry from the blender and roll it out to just a little larger<br />

than the tart tin. Line the tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes.<br />

Meanwhile cut the rhubarb into chunks, sprinkle with 1<br />

tbsp sugar and the juice of 1 orange and roast in the oven for<br />

20 mins at 180C. Set aside.<br />

Place a sheet of grease proof paper over the pastry and top<br />

with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes at 180c then remove<br />

the beans and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes.<br />

Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170c.<br />

Make the frangipane:<br />

Using a hand whisk to mix the ingredients together until<br />

you have a smooth consistency. Add this to the cooled tart<br />

case and top with the rhubarb. Bake for 45 minutes and cool<br />

completely before slicing.<br />

Serve with crème fraiche, ice cream or double cream.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 36


©Haut-Lac by Pixien Photography<br />

Should students be forced to<br />

sacrifice their academic grades to<br />

pursue a career in elite sports?<br />

WRITTEN BY ISP EDITORIAL TEAM IN COLLABORATION WITH WORLD ACADEMY OF SPORT AND HAUT-LAC BILINGUAL SCHOOL<br />

Pursuing elite sports at school<br />

is a brave choice for any teen.<br />

Committing 100 percent to a<br />

career choice where there is no guarantee<br />

of making it, and where a social life and<br />

academic results may have to be put on the<br />

backburner, could be anxiety inducing for<br />

even the most committed student-athlete.<br />

And what happens if it doesn’t work<br />

out? If choosing hours training over hours<br />

revising turns out to be the wrong decision?<br />

How can schools support their students<br />

from the beginning to ensure that athletic<br />

ability is about opening doors, not making<br />

sacrifices with repercussions long after school<br />

graduation?<br />

The World Academy of Sport (WAoS)<br />

is behind a new programme which allows<br />

students to extend their IB studies so that<br />

they can excel in both academics and sports,<br />

at their own pace. We talk to Anne Louise<br />

Williams from WAoS about the programme,<br />

and hear from Anne-Marie Harwood at<br />

Haut-Lac Bilingual <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

about how they are embracing this new<br />

option for their budding athletes.<br />

Tell us a bit about how the WAoS works<br />

with schools<br />

Anne Louise Williams, WAoS: The<br />

world is an unpredictable place. Athletes get<br />

injured, they miss out on the national team,<br />

or other world events get in the way.<br />

That’s why WAoS developed the concept<br />

of the Athlete Friendly Education Centre<br />

to provide flexible learning pathways to<br />

continue to higher education and develop a<br />

professional future beyond sports alone.<br />

This includes a strong focus on welfare –<br />

advising schools to dedicate a point person<br />

to each athlete to hear any concerns – and<br />

introducing our extended IB Diploma<br />

Programme.<br />

Our dual career approach gives athletes<br />

a ‘plan B’ for life after competitive sport. It<br />

also gives them some headspace away from<br />

their training or away from schoolwork,<br />

which we’ve heard from the athletes<br />

themselves, gives them a performance boost.<br />

How do you think this form of flexible<br />

learning will continue to evolve?<br />

Anne Louise Williams, WAoS: Our<br />

long-term vision is that by 2028, our work<br />

in schools will grow from assisting 1,200<br />

current student-athletes to a network which<br />

supports 30,000 student-athletes in schools<br />

around the world with the tools they need for<br />

flexible learning.<br />

We also continue to innovate to shape<br />

not only the next generation of sports<br />

stars, but also the global sports industry.<br />

Our recently-announced partnership with<br />

Federation University to offer an IB careerrelated<br />

Programme in <strong>International</strong> Sports<br />

Management will allow students to turn<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 37


their passion for sports into a profession.<br />

This programme will be available to schools<br />

from January 2021.<br />

We’re also in the process of launching<br />

an athlete certificate which is designed for<br />

16-year-old student-athletes to help them<br />

prepare for life as a high-performance<br />

athlete after school. This is an online<br />

course with associated teacher resources,<br />

and we are aiming for this to fulfill some<br />

requirements of the IB DP and CP core<br />

coursework components in the near future.<br />

Haut-Lac <strong>International</strong> Bilingual <strong>School</strong><br />

was the first school in Switzerland to<br />

be accredited as an Athlete Friendly<br />

Education Centre by the WAoS. How will<br />

this improve life practically for studentathletes?<br />

Anne-Marie Harwood, Managing<br />

Director Academic, Haut-Lac: We were<br />

accredited by the WAoS in the 2018-19<br />

academic school year, so can now offer our<br />

students an extended IB programme to<br />

help them complete both academic study<br />

and sports training to a high level. We have<br />

more than 50 student-athletes coming up<br />

through the primary and MYP at Haut-<br />

Lac, and we wanted to be ready with a clear<br />

blueprint to support them. We are also now<br />

receiving an increasing number of enquiries<br />

from outside students interested in the<br />

programme, which we will start officially<br />

next academic year.<br />

Practically speaking, we treat each student<br />

as an individual and create a timetable<br />

that best suits them. Olympic hopefuls, for<br />

example, may even need a further-extended<br />

4 year programme, and we can do that for<br />

them. Generally however, students do 3<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 38<br />

subjects in the first year, finish 3 subjects<br />

and start 3 news ones in the second, and<br />

then complete those 3 subjects in the final<br />

year. They can also choose which subjects<br />

they do during which year, so they can<br />

get lengthy things like the Extended Essay<br />

done early, to alleviate some of the stress of<br />

having this hanging over their heads for the<br />

entirety of their studies.<br />

What are the benefits of this program for<br />

your students, beyond academic success?<br />

Anne-Marie: In the 21st century,<br />

education is no longer just about<br />

performance in the classroom, but about<br />

learning in general and I believe the<br />

life skills the students gain through their<br />

training are just as important to their future<br />

as having strong academic qualifications.<br />

However, if they are not given this extra


©Haut-Lac by Pixien Photography<br />

©Haut-Lac by Pixien Photography<br />

time, over 50% of student-athletes decide<br />

to give up on either their sport or their<br />

academics before they finish school. The<br />

extra year gives students the chance to excel<br />

in both their academics and their sport<br />

without having to let one slip.<br />

Do student-athletes get left behind<br />

socially during these formative years?<br />

Anne-Marie: The programme allows<br />

students to maintain a better social life at<br />

school, in spite of the fact that they are<br />

away regularly for their sport.<br />

To further support this, we allow the<br />

students doing the longer course to<br />

graduate at the end of the second year with<br />

their peer group so that they don’t feel like<br />

they have missed out on any milestones of<br />

school or teenage life.<br />

Going forward, we are looking to build a<br />

“The programme allows students to maintain a<br />

better social life at school, in spite of the fact that<br />

they are away regularly for their sport.”<br />

strong student-athlete section in our school<br />

to give student-athletes a better sense of<br />

belonging, knowing that they have a group<br />

of fellow athletes who understand their joys<br />

and trials. We hope that this will make the<br />

life of a student-athlete more sociable and<br />

approachable, giving them a wider support<br />

network upon which they can rely.<br />

What qualities do you hope to foster in<br />

your students by promoting participation<br />

in sports at an elite level?<br />

Anne-Marie: We would like to foster hope<br />

and self-belief in our young athletes. If<br />

they think that we believe in their ability to<br />

complete their schooling and carry on to<br />

a sporting future, then they will believe in<br />

themselves too.<br />

We believe that regardless of their future<br />

career, our student-athletes will have learnt<br />

to be level-headed, confident, determined<br />

and emotionally balanced. What they<br />

choose to do with the qualities that they<br />

have developed over the course of their<br />

sporting careers will be up to them, but<br />

hopefully school will give them a good idea<br />

of where they can channel them best.<br />

How do you work with parents on this<br />

program?<br />

We have always had a very flexible<br />

relationship with the parents of our young<br />

athletes, who help us to liaise with the<br />

students’ sports club and their coaches.<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>s bring us the calendar of the year<br />

and the student’s training programme,<br />

and we create their school timetable from<br />

there. We are planning to formalize this<br />

relationship this year, so that we have a solid<br />

3-way relationship between home, family<br />

and club to support the student-athlete at<br />

the centre.<br />

How do you ensure this particular focus<br />

on sports benefits the whole school, not<br />

just those enrolled in the programme?<br />

It’s known that sport helps to maintain both<br />

physical and mental health, the latter being<br />

an issue that we see increasing amongst<br />

young people nowadays. As we promote<br />

sport at school, we also see it increases<br />

school spirit. It helps students to form bonds<br />

and gives them new passions, places and<br />

people with whom they feel comfortable and<br />

valued.<br />

For more information, please check out their website here: https://www.worldacademysport.com/<br />

and Haut-Lac <strong>International</strong> Bilingual <strong>School</strong><br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 39


Photo: Rega<br />

Are you prepared for a critical<br />

emergency in your family?<br />

WRITTEN BY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT EDITORIAL TEAM<br />

Can you imagine the feeling of your own body warmth<br />

slowly melting the ice that was holding you, leaving you to<br />

slip further down the narrow crevasse you’ve fallen into?<br />

You’ve lost your phone, you’ve lost your flare. Your family will call the<br />

emergency services when you don’t come home but how will anyone<br />

find you in poor visibility with no idea of your exact location?<br />

Or maybe it’s something more pedestrian, like your daughter<br />

taking her horse out for its regular exercise…when she is struck in the<br />

stomach and hurled into the air.<br />

On October 25th, 2017, Lisa, who works at an international school<br />

in Geneva, got the call that no parent ever wants to receive. Her<br />

teenage daughter Anna was fighting for her life and being airlifted to<br />

hospital.<br />

The paramedic told Lisa to come to the hospital now, to drive<br />

straight up to the hospital doors and leave her car. Someone would<br />

be waiting for her. There was no time to waste, not minutes, or even<br />

seconds. The injuries could be fatal.<br />

Speaking to Lisa she is keen to impress that this was just a normal<br />

day. The series of events leading to her daughter being kicked and<br />

thrown from standing high into the air by her horse were in no way<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 40


emarkable. Her daughter wasn’t risk taking, it could have happened<br />

to anyone.<br />

Lisa’s daughter Anna had over a decade of experience with<br />

horses. After returning to the stables that day to fix the horse’s shoe,<br />

she had begged her friend to accompany her back to the field to try<br />

to exercise her horse again. As Anna led the horse into the field, and<br />

despite being an expert handler, the horse unexpectedly kicked back.<br />

The full force struck Anna in the stomach and threw her into the air.<br />

Her friend ran to her, but realizing it was serious, called their coach<br />

for help.<br />

The coach asked if she was moving. She wasn’t. Could she<br />

speak and respond? She couldn’t. The coach ended the call and<br />

immediately dialled Rega for an urgent air rescue. There was no<br />

time to call 144 and wait to be collected by ambulance. Rega had<br />

a helicopter already in transit from another mission and could<br />

be there in under 5 minutes. Before the coach could reach the<br />

accident from the stables just minutes away, a Rega helicopter was<br />

already descending towards Anna. The paramedic on board, who<br />

was a horse rider herself, understood the gravity of the situation.<br />

Other riders secured their horses as the helicopter landed, and the<br />

paramedics swiftly lifted Anna on board.<br />

When Lisa arrived at the hospital, Anna was surrounded by nearly<br />

20 doctors and nurses. Her ruptured liver was being assessed by an<br />

expert in gunshot wounds due to the severity of the bleed. The team<br />

watched and waited to see if the blood would coagulate sufficiently<br />

to save her liver.<br />

In the weeks following, through Anna’s multiple surgeries, Lisa<br />

remembers the exceptional care at the hospital, and she also notes<br />

the regular visits from Rega’s care team representative. Without the<br />

rapid response and exceptional emergency care of their colleagues,<br />

she is sure her daughter would not be alive today.<br />

Rega is a non-profit organization funded by paying members<br />

(called patrons), providing 24-hour emergency assistance by air<br />

to even the most remote locations in Switzerland. Their highly<br />

trained team of pilots and paramedics take on missions ranging<br />

from avalanche rescues to hiking accidents, reaching locations in a<br />

matter of minutes from the twelve helicopter bases located across<br />

Switzerland. Their cutting-edge equipment will soon include<br />

an all-weather drone which can search large areas day or night<br />

using infrared and phone tracking technology for missing persons.<br />

The 3,552,000 patrons paying an annual fee make an invaluable<br />

contribution to the provision of basic medical care by air in<br />

Switzerland, and in recognition of this, if a patron needs emergency<br />

medical assistance by air, Rega waives all or part of the mission costs<br />

where they are not covered by the patron’s own insurance policy.<br />

This, Lisa says, is why patronage is a no-brainer. Since the<br />

accident she has been a vocal supporter of the service but is<br />

concerned that many expat families living in Switzerland don’t<br />

understand what Rega offers and so miss out on signing up for<br />

something which could end up saving their lives. It’s not the skiing<br />

holidays, she says, families always get insurance for those, it’s the<br />

summer hike, or the family bike ride, or even the school run where<br />

something goes unexpectedly and horribly wrong when, like for<br />

Anna, the minutes it takes to be rescued and rushed to hospital can<br />

make the difference between life and death. Anna’s full recovery,<br />

against all odds, is testament to this.<br />

You can become a Rega patron using the online form found here:<br />

www.rega.ch/patron<br />

Photo: Rega Photo: Rega<br />

Rega in numbers<br />

70,000 New Patrons signed up in 2019<br />

16,782 Missions organized in 2019<br />

1300 - Patients transported from piste<br />

1600 accidents every year<br />

70 CHF annual membership fee for a family<br />

50 Patients repatriated from abroad<br />

in March <strong>2020</strong>, including multiple<br />

coronavirus patients, transported in a<br />

patient isolation unit<br />

31 Patients helped by Rega in Switzerland<br />

and abroad every day in 2019<br />

12 Helicopter bases located throughout<br />

Switzerland, meaning they can reach the<br />

most remote areas in just a few minutes<br />

3 Ambulance jets equipped as “flying<br />

intensive care units” to transport<br />

critically injured patients from abroad<br />

back to Switzerland<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 41


ADVERTORIAL<br />

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of hospitality, tourism and F&B, and 50%<br />

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EHL was the world’s first hotel school,<br />

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• Number 1 University of Hospitality<br />

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INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 42


ADVERTORIAL<br />

EHL<br />

FACTS & FIGURES<br />

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*EHL Lausanne campus<br />

A Hospitality and Business <strong>School</strong><br />

A degree at EHL is not the typical<br />

university experience, it’s an immersive,<br />

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students on a personal journey of<br />

professional development, self-discovery<br />

and entrepreneurship. It is based on<br />

dual excellence that balances premium<br />

hospitality training with academic courses.<br />

This combination prepares students to be<br />

well-rounded professionals who are attuned<br />

to customer needs.<br />

Equally important, EHL’s immersive<br />

learning approach inspires students to be<br />

entrepreneurs and gives them the tools<br />

to follow their dreams. The curriculum<br />

satisfies their desire to explore, create<br />

and interact, while building the soft and<br />

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In the first year, students explore every<br />

aspect of hotel operations and Food &<br />

Beverage concepts, they practice cooking<br />

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learn to manage themselves and others<br />

by planning and executing many types<br />

of events and projects, and that’s just<br />

the start. The degree also includes two,<br />

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Students can even choose to intern in their<br />

own startup. All of that on top of a strong<br />

business degree foundation.<br />

Professional Study Path<br />

EHL is constantly striving to offer new<br />

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meet the needs of the industry and<br />

students with different backgrounds and<br />

career aspirations. For students who enjoy<br />

real-world learning, culinary arts and<br />

hotel concepts, EHL has a new<br />

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degree. Based on the EHL campus in<br />

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hospitality training and work experience,<br />

alternating with management and<br />

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professional graduates who have<br />

solid work experience when entering the<br />

job market.<br />

A Global Education<br />

EHL’s new campus in Singapore allows<br />

students to gain a wider global perspective<br />

during the bachelor’s degree. With this<br />

option, students still get the immersive<br />

hospitality learning experience, by<br />

completing their practical training on the<br />

Lausanne campus in Switzerland. Plus,<br />

they get to experience Singapore’s big-city<br />

vibes and dive into the tech culture as they<br />

learn from the examples of multinational<br />

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options that abounds in Singapore.<br />

Students can also choose to enroll in<br />

Switzerland (Lausanne or Passugg) and<br />

spend a semester in Singapore, or viceversa.<br />

It’s an ideal course for those who<br />

dream of international careers in global<br />

business environments.<br />

University Preparation Courses in<br />

<strong>Summer</strong><br />

The best way to find out if hospitality<br />

is the right option for you is EHL’s precollege<br />

programs or EHL Academy. These<br />

one- or two-week courses are offered in<br />

summer, on the campuses in Switzerland,<br />

for students ages 16 and up. The program<br />

gives hospitality-curious students a chance<br />

to try it out through hands-on workshops<br />

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mindset and valuable soft skills, while<br />

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highlights.<br />

Get in Touch<br />

EHL has admissions teams in regional<br />

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their parents to choose a program and<br />

prepare an application. They also offer<br />

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guidance during open days on campus<br />

in Switzerland and Singapore. Contact<br />

admissions@ehl.ch or visit www.ehl.edu to<br />

learn more.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 43


DEPRESSION<br />

AND SUICIDE IN<br />

CHILDREN:<br />

What are the signs and<br />

how can you help?<br />

WRITTEN BY DR. LAURENCE VAN HANSWIJCK DE JONGE<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 44


I<br />

remember clearly the first time I saw<br />

him, holding onto his skateboard, and<br />

smiling. He had been sent to me with a<br />

severe lack of motivation to do schoolwork.<br />

He sat and chatted with me politely, but as<br />

he talked to me about school and friends it<br />

became clear that there was more going on<br />

than a simple lack of motivation. His smile<br />

would fade and a certain darkness came<br />

over him. I asked him if he felt an emptiness<br />

inside, a dark hole. He immediately said yes,<br />

and tears welled up. He spoke about how<br />

no one saw his pain, and although on the<br />

outside he could pretend he was alright, he<br />

struggled inside with this deep emptiness.<br />

It wasn’t only schoolwork where he lacked<br />

motivation, it was also his friendships and<br />

everything else in his life. He couldn’t see his<br />

future and he didn’t have any drivers. He<br />

was an empty shell. To me, he was a bright<br />

spark: witty, extremely smart, and levelheaded,<br />

but every day he struggled with<br />

surviving this darkness inside.<br />

You may wonder if there were any<br />

environmental factors, but the answer is<br />

not really. He had a loving and supportive<br />

family who had reached out to get help.<br />

They had difficult conversations with him<br />

and were constantly vigilant. After I left<br />

the region and he was referred to a new<br />

Psychologist, his family fought constantly<br />

for him, telling the professionals that the<br />

medication was not working. He changed<br />

doctors 4 times in 9 months, but could find<br />

no relief.<br />

To my great sadness, at just 15 he lost his<br />

battle with the empty void he felt. We lost a<br />

beautiful soul far too early, but for him there<br />

was no other way out. It was the only way<br />

to get relief. Relief from a battle that far too<br />

many don’t understand.<br />

The importance of discussing this difficult<br />

topic<br />

It’s a misconception that talking about<br />

suicide causes kids and teens to think about<br />

doing it. It is impossible to know whether or<br />

not a child is having suicidal thoughts if you<br />

are too afraid to ask the question.<br />

The notion that children cannot get<br />

clinically depressed or have suicidal thoughts<br />

is also a common misconception. Research<br />

indicates that one in every four adolescents<br />

will have an episode of major depression<br />

during high school, and tragically the latest<br />

data shows suicide to be the second leading<br />

cause of death among individuals between<br />

the ages of 10 and 24 1 . Suicide does affect<br />

children and adolescents, and avoiding the<br />

topic won’t teach how to get help if they<br />

need it.<br />

What causes depression?<br />

Depression is related to changes in brain<br />

chemistry. The chemical most frequently<br />

out of balance in our brains is serotonin and<br />

norepinephrine. This can be hard to work<br />

with as we all have different neurochemical<br />

makeup and the medication that works for<br />

one does not necessarily work for the next<br />

child.<br />

Researchers still don’t completely<br />

understand the triggers, but most believe<br />

it’s caused by a combination of biological<br />

and environmental factors. Many people<br />

who are depressed have a family history<br />

of depression or other mental illness. For<br />

example, a child who has one depressed<br />

parent has a 25 - 50 percent chance of<br />

suffering depression themselves. If both<br />

parents have had problems with the disease,<br />

the likelihood goes up to 75 percent.<br />

Some depression is also due to traumatic<br />

life events, including divorce, abandonment,<br />

violence, or abuse.<br />

1 According to the latest data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 45


How do I know if my child is depressed?<br />

Depression often goes hand in hand with<br />

other physical and mental health problems.<br />

Some children may be depressed because<br />

of a chronic illness, such as diabetes. A<br />

youngster who has an eating disorder or<br />

a substance abuse problem, as well as kids<br />

who are constantly defiant, disagreeable,<br />

and getting into trouble with authorities,<br />

may also suffer from depression.<br />

There is also something called “smiling<br />

depression”. Smiling depression involves<br />

appearing happy to others and smiling<br />

through the pain, keeping the inner turmoil<br />

hidden.<br />

Some signs of depression:<br />

• Physical symptoms such as dizziness,<br />

headaches, stomachaches, neck aches, arms<br />

or legs hurt due to muscle tension, digestive<br />

disorders. (ruling out other medical causes)<br />

• Persistent unhappiness, negativity,<br />

irritability, bouts of crying<br />

• Apathy, lack of energy<br />

• Poor school performance (in contrast to<br />

performance in the past)<br />

• Uncontrollable anger or outbursts of rage.<br />

• Overly self-critical, unwarranted guilt, low<br />

self-esteem.<br />

• Inability to concentrate, think straight,<br />

remember, or make decisions, possibly<br />

resulting in refusal to study in school or an<br />

inability (due to depression or attention<br />

deficit disorder) to do schoolwork.<br />

• Difficulty sleeping<br />

• Sleeping too much, not interested in<br />

getting up<br />

• Slowed or hesitant speech or body<br />

movements, or restlessness (anxiety).<br />

• Loss of interest in once pleasurable<br />

activities.<br />

• Change in appetite, noticeable weight loss<br />

or weight gain, or abnormal eating patterns.<br />

• Chronic worry, excessive fear.<br />

• Preoccupation with death themes in<br />

literature, music, drawings, speaking of<br />

death repeatedly, fascination with guns/<br />

knives.<br />

• Suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempts.<br />

If your child exhibits any symptoms of<br />

depression, ask yourself three questions:<br />

1. Is this behavior new?<br />

2. Is it long-lasting (going on for several<br />

weeks or more)?<br />

3. Are the symptoms interfering with their<br />

ability to function at home, in school, or<br />

with their friends?<br />

“Smiling depression involves appearing<br />

happy to others and smiling through the<br />

pain, keeping the inner turmoil hidden.”<br />

If you answer yes to any of those<br />

questions, you should probably have your<br />

child evaluated by a child or adolescent<br />

psychologist or other licensed mental health<br />

professional trained to work with children<br />

and adolescents.<br />

Recognizing your child is depressed early<br />

on and seeking treatment can help them<br />

find the skills to get it under control. And<br />

if depression runs in the family, it can also<br />

help you and others get the same help.<br />

How do I know if my child is suicidal?<br />

Suicidal thoughts, also known as suicidal<br />

ideation, may not always be completely<br />

obvious to others, not even to a child’s<br />

parents. Part of the reason for that is<br />

that children with suicidal thoughts will<br />

probably not speak directly about them as<br />

an adult might.<br />

Trust your gut. If you notice behavioral<br />

changes that aren’t a one-time issue, take<br />

note. While suicidal behavior is often<br />

associated with symptoms of depression,<br />

you might also notice the following changes<br />

in your child:<br />

• An interest in and/or preoccupation with<br />

suicide or death.<br />

• Your child’s clothing may change.<br />

• The shows they watch on television may<br />

become darker.<br />

• The websites they visit on the computer<br />

can be suicide related.<br />

• Their writing in journals or even on<br />

homework may become darker and suicide<br />

related.<br />

• Drawings about death.<br />

• They identify with others who are<br />

depressed or have spoken of suicide.<br />

• Isolating from others.<br />

• Not communicating with friends or family.<br />

• Giving away possessions or writing a will.<br />

• Increased aggression.<br />

• Feelings of hopelessness.<br />

• Giving away favourite possessions.<br />

• Gathering materials (e.g. pills).<br />

On the other hand, sometimes a child<br />

will speak directly about wanting to die<br />

or a wish to kill themselves. They might<br />

even speak indirectly about wanting “to<br />

make it all go away” or thinking “the world<br />

would be a better place without me”, “I<br />

am a burden on everyone”, “my life has no<br />

purpose”.<br />

There are two types of suicidal statements<br />

or thoughts. An active statement might be<br />

something like, “I’m going to kill myself.”<br />

A passive statement might include, “I wish<br />

I could go to sleep and not wake up,” or, “I<br />

wouldn’t mind if I got hit by a bus.” People<br />

often ignore passive statements, but they<br />

should be taken just as seriously. Younger<br />

children might say something like, “You’ll<br />

be better off when I’m gone,” or, “No one<br />

cares if I’m here.”<br />

If your child hasn’t openly expressed any<br />

suicidal thoughts, it’s important to recognize<br />

the possible symptoms of childhood<br />

depression, since these are often associated<br />

with suicidal thoughts.<br />

Depression vs Suicide indicators<br />

Studies show that in general hopelessness,<br />

lack of optimism and overall anhedonia<br />

(inability to feel pleasure) were associated<br />

with depression with suicide ideation,<br />

whereas dissatisfaction and not feeling lively<br />

were associated with depression without<br />

suicide ideation.<br />

At what point is there a larger risk for<br />

suicide during depression<br />

Depression is complex, with something like<br />

a spectrum ranging from mild to severe. At<br />

the very severe end, it is exceedingly hard<br />

to function at all. Sufferers often stay in bed<br />

and are unable to get dressed or eat. It is<br />

often said that when these people start to<br />

get a surge of energy, and return to some<br />

of their daily activities - going to school,<br />

sitting down for dinner - that they have the<br />

highest risk of suicide as they have energy<br />

to put towards it. Kids and teens with<br />

so-called “smiling depression” are more at<br />

risk, hiding behind a smile but breaking on<br />

the inside. Often when they take their lives<br />

friends will say “I had no idea they were<br />

suffering”.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 46


acquaintance exhibiting any of these signs,<br />

you are not powerless to help them. Don’t<br />

hesitate to use specific language, such as<br />

asking, “Are you thinking about killing<br />

yourself?” If the answer is yes or maybe,<br />

ask them what they feel most comfortable<br />

doing, whether it’s calling a crisis hotline<br />

or scheduling a counseling or doctor’s<br />

appointment. If a person is thinking of suicide,<br />

it’s also important to ask them if they have a plan.<br />

If they say yes, assist them in seeking immediate<br />

help. They can walk straight into an emergency<br />

room or urgent care clinic.<br />

What should I do if my child talks about<br />

suicide?<br />

Always take this threat seriously.<br />

Be Compassionate<br />

• Your child needs to know that you<br />

recognize and respect their feelings.<br />

• Even if you do not quite understand their<br />

thoughts, don’t dismiss their feelings.<br />

• Avoid comments like “What do you<br />

have to be depressed about?” or “Don’t be<br />

ridiculous.”<br />

• Dismissive comments can cause a child to<br />

hide their feelings or become defensive.<br />

Be a Good Listener<br />

• Allow your child to talk openly and<br />

express their opinions and thoughts.<br />

• Avoid interrupting, judging or punishing<br />

them for their feelings.<br />

• Listening demonstrates that they have<br />

someone they can confide in to help talk<br />

through their feelings.<br />

how to ask for help.<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>al support, including listening to<br />

and comforting your child, is associated<br />

with a lower incidence of suicidal thoughts<br />

in middle school-age children.<br />

If there are any safety concerns, do not<br />

provide judgment or discipline; simply<br />

remove your child from immediate danger,<br />

do not leave them alone, and get them<br />

immediate help.<br />

Never dismiss suicidal thoughts in<br />

a child and never promise to keep<br />

them a secret. Any suicidal thoughts<br />

or behaviors should be brought to the<br />

attention of your child’s pediatrician or<br />

mental health provider immediately. If<br />

needed, bring the child to an emergency<br />

room or call an ambulance.<br />

What Can You Do Today?<br />

If you see a loved one or even an<br />

Through the lens of the mom of the<br />

bright soul we lost far too soon:<br />

1. Dont be afraid to talk about the most<br />

difficult subjects even after an attempt, the<br />

suicide note, the pain.<br />

2. Read and talk about suicide attempt<br />

survivors and family survivors. It would<br />

have helped us with internalizing and<br />

dialogs, especially with experts.<br />

3. Recognize you “default to truth’, you are<br />

wired to believe your child tells the truth<br />

not that they hide their pain.<br />

4. Insist on continuity between experts<br />

when there is change. Have previous<br />

doctors have an in-depth debrief with the<br />

new ones. Also be tough with the doctors,<br />

persist if you feel that something is not<br />

correct or that the medication is not right.<br />

Trust your gut.<br />

5. Importantly, understand that you can’t<br />

approach a sick mind with normal logic.<br />

Suicide is preventable, and people who<br />

feel hopeless can go on to live full and<br />

healthy lives. While you can’t control<br />

another person’s actions, you can be a<br />

powerful and path-defining force in their<br />

life. So what can you do today to help a<br />

loved one?<br />

H.O.P.E Hold On Pain Ends.<br />

Be Honest<br />

• Don’t make promises you cannot keep.<br />

• Don’t go into detail about topics that you<br />

are not certain of.<br />

• Do tell your child what you do know.<br />

Ask Questions<br />

If you are concerned, directly ask your<br />

child if they are thinking about suicide.<br />

Contrary to what was believed in the<br />

past, talking about suicide will not give<br />

your child ideas, instead it can help them<br />

recognize the problem and know when and<br />

Dr. Laurence van Hanswijck de Jonge, PhD Child Development<br />

https://www.laurencevanhanswijck.com/<br />

Laurence van Hanswijck de Jonge is a Developmental Clinical Psychologist with a<br />

background in Neuropsychology who provides developmental and psychological<br />

assessments for English speaking children between the ages of 3 and 18 at KidsAbility<br />

in the Cayman Islands. Her practice is rooted in Positive Psychology and her belief in the<br />

importance of letting our children flourish through building on their innate strengths.<br />

She is certified by the University of Pennsylvania, USA, to run the cutting edge resilience<br />

building programme for children. She is also a CogMed coach, an evidence-based<br />

Computer Training programme which sustainably improves attention by training working<br />

memory.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 47


ADVERTORIAL<br />

ISBERNE<br />

– STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVE<br />

Recent years have seen a shift in how people work and the<br />

importance of flexibility, mobility and multilingualism.<br />

ISBerne has been watching these trends and<br />

implementing new initiatives which will create inclusion for the<br />

local community and their growing globalisation giving a new twist<br />

on the concept, ‘think global, act local’.<br />

ISBerne was initially founded to accommodate embassy families.<br />

They did this by offering education in English for their children<br />

while they were living in Switzerland. Subsequently, multi-national<br />

companies started sending the children of their expatriate families<br />

to ISBerne as well. For 50 years, this was the model with which<br />

ISBerne thrived. However, with changes in technology, we have<br />

seen the family profile shift. In short, professional society is<br />

becoming more technology-dependent and using more English in<br />

the workplace.<br />

ISBerne is now offering more English language learning<br />

opportunities for the local community.<br />

English has been taught in local Swiss schools for years. However,<br />

the demand for a better command of the language is increasing<br />

with globalisation. In response to this, ISBerne has launched<br />

Kickstart English <strong>Summer</strong> Camp, added a higher level class to<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 48


ADVERTORIAL<br />

their after school English courses and is accepting students who<br />

have completed obligatory schooling in the Swiss system into the<br />

MYP Grade 10 to do a Brückenangebot-Passerelle in English. An<br />

opportunity for local students to do an immersive ‘year abroad’<br />

experience without leaving home!<br />

Students who complete the grade 10 year successfully can then<br />

either transition back into the swiss school system or they may<br />

opt to continue and follow the 2-year <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate<br />

Diploma. Upon successful completion, it opens doors to universities<br />

around the world.<br />

For local Swiss students who want to speak English fluently or<br />

dream of studying abroad, these opportunities are easily accessible<br />

here on the ISBerne campus. They can open, literally, a world of<br />

possibilities.<br />

Another initiative the school introduced was a 1:1 Device<br />

programme for our Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) and<br />

Diploma Programme (IBDP) students.<br />

All students have to have their own laptops and the school staffs an<br />

IT Integrator to ensure that not only are the students supported in<br />

accessing learning materials digitally but that our faculty is adept at<br />

the delivery. The school introduced the use of <strong>School</strong>ogy, a learning<br />

platform which supported a virtual classroom experience, allowing<br />

users to create, manage, and share learning resources.<br />

In the Primary Years Programme (IB PYP), students have access<br />

to computers in the classroom, as well as ipads, which enable<br />

students to become familiar with digital learning before they<br />

transition into middle school. The school introduced See Saw,<br />

a learning platform that allows teachers to share the classroom<br />

experience and classwork with parents. See Saw enables parents to<br />

stay informed. It also gives them an opportunity to partner with the<br />

school to support their child’s learning at home.<br />

With the recent COVID-19 world crisis, ISBerne teachers and<br />

students were well prepared to transition to Distance Learning.<br />

With school closure being announced late on a Friday afternoon,<br />

teachers met on Monday for a briefing of the situation and targeted<br />

training with our IT Integrator, and other ‘teaching experts’<br />

Tuesday was a day dedicated to final preparation for distance<br />

learning and by Wednesday, school was in session. From home.<br />

Feedback from parents and students has been overwhelmingly<br />

positive which is very encouraging for the school and the teachers<br />

who face the unusual challenge of working remotely.<br />

Our <strong>Parent</strong>s say it best:<br />

• Thank you for all of the efforts by the teachers. It was a quick<br />

change to go from face to face learning to digital learning.<br />

• I am AMAZED and incredibly impressed by the teachers and<br />

staff. We are in touch with friends all over the globe, and ISBerne<br />

has handled changes to distance learning EXCEPTIONALLY<br />

WELL.<br />

• Wonderful work done by teachers and the school staff to make the<br />

digital learning a reality so fast! We are impressed and the children<br />

love the feedback they get. I know it will be a challenge and many<br />

more days to come. However, I just wanted you to know that we<br />

appreciate all the efforts done by ISBerne!<br />

• We have a full day of school every day! Thank you for putting<br />

so much effort in our kids so that they can keep on learning even<br />

though they are just in ELC and Grade 1. Very different than [what<br />

is happening in our home country.] We are feeling blessed to be a<br />

part of ISBerne<br />

The virtual classroom has been a growth experience for teachers.<br />

ISBerne teachers have been utilising the wide variety of practical<br />

tools found on Google Suites to connect with students during the<br />

distance learning programme. The live video feed offers a unique<br />

view of students, their engagement and level of focus. Therefore,<br />

the teachers are able to experience this from a new perspective.<br />

Teacher comment:<br />

I just had my first hangout with my Advisory class. 18 of them joined. It<br />

was so nice to see and hear them. It genuinely lifted my mood. (I could see)<br />

their personalities shining through their comments and photos they post.<br />

Also, we went through expectations and clarified questions. It was a great<br />

opportunity for them to see and talk to each other as well. I will definitely<br />

request a live check-in for my other classes.<br />

-MYP German Teacher<br />

Students also are self-organising virtual meet-ups amongst<br />

themselves for work sessions and group projects. Feedback from<br />

our secondary school students has been positive. For example, they<br />

have been finding the challenges of Distance Learning similar to<br />

homework and group work under normal circumstances. However,<br />

all students, especially the younger students, find the lack of inperson<br />

socialising challenging.<br />

Despite the technological-savvy of ISBerne teachers and<br />

students, there has still been a steep learning curve for everyone in<br />

terms of exclusively using technology to teach, learn and socialise.<br />

The most immediate finding from this experience for ISBerne<br />

has been that technology, no matter how sophisticated, can never<br />

replace the value of face to face interaction in a school and in life.<br />

Forward-thinking across the school is a key motivator at ISBerne<br />

and has proven to be beneficial for not just their students, but for<br />

their families, their staff and the local community as well.<br />

For more information about Kickstart English <strong>Summer</strong> Camp<br />

or the Grade 10 Brückenangebot-Passerelle, see our website at<br />

isberne.ch<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 49


Is “sharenting” taking away<br />

our children’s right to privacy?<br />

WRITTEN BY SARA LLOYD<br />

My nine-year-old is quick to shout, “I hate you mum.”<br />

She is spirited to say the least and has never been one<br />

to hold back her opinions. This happened when I<br />

recently sent a picture of the two of us safely arriving in Geneva<br />

airport, to her granny and she was not happy about it.<br />

She said “I hate you mum, you should have checked with me<br />

first,” perhaps her wording was a little strong, but she was right.<br />

A young girl wanting control over her own image and what<br />

happens to it is a good thing, something to be applauded even.<br />

Saying that, I didn’t enjoy her verbal battering at the time. Despite<br />

it being a private message to a family member, I had not asked<br />

for her consent and unwittingly I had fallen into the trap of<br />

“sharenting.” The word for parents over-sharing or sharing without<br />

their child’s knowledge pictures or details<br />

about their lives.<br />

Later, I felt proud that she understood<br />

the importance of the indelibility of her<br />

digital fingerprint at such a young age. I<br />

was pleased that through the discussions<br />

we have had at home and the training<br />

she has had at school, she has already<br />

learnt ways to protect herself online. I<br />

just pray that it will be enough to see<br />

her through her teenage years in safety.<br />

Her generation is the first to be born<br />

into the glare of such public scrutiny<br />

and her experiences growing up will<br />

shape her understanding of privacy.<br />

She is part of a new generation,<br />

growing up in uncharted territory,<br />

where much of what was private is<br />

now public and we don’t yet know<br />

where this change will lead us.<br />

I am certainly not alone when it comes to being called out by<br />

our children. Gwyneth Paltrow posted a snap from her ski holiday<br />

of her and her daughter Apple Martin on a ski-lift to her almost<br />

7 million followers. Later Apple replied from her own Instagram<br />

account, “Mom we have discussed this. You may not post anything<br />

without my consent.”<br />

How often do we look at our own actions and ask ourselves are<br />

we over sharing information about our children?<br />

As educators and parents, we hear daily about the risky situation<br />

children put themselves in online, but how often do we look at our<br />

own actions and ask ourselves are we over sharing information<br />

about our children? We track our children’s whereabouts with the<br />

GPS on their phones, we post family images on face book<br />

and who knows whether Alexa<br />

may be listening into our kitchen<br />

table discussions? There is no doubt<br />

that today parenting has become a<br />

digitally shared experience.<br />

This is clearly a discussion which<br />

is long overdue as some research has<br />

found that the number of parents<br />

who post pictures of their children on<br />

Facebook reaches 98% (Bartholomew<br />

et al., 2012). At the same time the<br />

frequency of posts is growing in many<br />

regions around the world, so that now<br />

every 60 seconds 136,000 photos are<br />

posted on Facebook alone (zephoria.<br />

com). It is becoming a form of social<br />

voyeurism. Researchers have found<br />

a correlation between the number of<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 50


photos shared and the number of facebook friends someone has.<br />

It makes sense for us expats who want to keep in touch with<br />

friends and family back home, sharing pictures of our children often<br />

comes from the best possible intentions. As generation X parents<br />

we are not digital natives and have little in common with our<br />

ultra-connected children who are growing up in the wild frontier<br />

of the internet where the tech behemoths are relatively unfettered.<br />

Companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook have taken our<br />

personal information in return for the use of their services. Perhaps<br />

we were naïve and, not many saw where this would take us with<br />

Cambridge Analytica, Trump and beyond.<br />

In many ways perhaps we were the lucky ones. The bad haircuts,<br />

the spots and braces from our teenage years will remain hidden in<br />

our parents’ photo-albums, whereas millennials know they will have<br />

to live with their digital images forever.<br />

It is important our children know that their drunken escapades<br />

and inappropriate photos, when captured online, could get thrown<br />

up in searches by future employers who may decide not to offer that<br />

internship, or university place after all. None of us know what the<br />

google algorithms will choose to retrieve in the future.<br />

Did we realise that we were part of the problem? When we post<br />

about our children’s lives what should cross our mind before we hit<br />

“share”? Often the steps we need to take to protect our children’s<br />

data online are complicated and can be time consuming. Making<br />

sure we are doing the best we can is often not intuitive or common<br />

sense and requires a<br />

concerted effort to limit<br />

our digital sharing and<br />

change patterns we have<br />

already established.<br />

Are we setting strict<br />

limits for our children and<br />

then not following them<br />

ourselves?<br />

Here are some tips to<br />

keep your family sharing<br />

positive and as low<br />

risk as possible in our<br />

increasingly digital first<br />

culture:<br />

Sara has been an education consultant for TutorsPlus for<br />

over 10 years and is an expert on international education in<br />

Switzerland. She is also a parent of two lively children.<br />

If you would like to contact Sara to answer your educationrelated<br />

questions, you can contact her at info@tutorsplus.com.<br />

If you would like a tutor for our child and to be matched with<br />

one of our highly experienced professional teachers visit<br />

www.tutorsplus.com today.<br />

TutorsPlus - Top tutors for international families<br />

Working with the best teachers is our magic ingredient and<br />

TutorsPlus continues to be run by parents and teachers who<br />

understand international schools like no-one else. Since<br />

2006 TutorsPlus has helped thousands of students improve<br />

academically, get ahead and back on track. Whether students<br />

need IB , IGCSE or general school support we can help in all<br />

subjects. Many parents say that TutorsPlus has helped keep their<br />

sanity too.<br />

TOP TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR<br />

FAMILY’S PRIVACY ONLINE<br />

1Have a discussion and decide as a family what it is ok<br />

and not ok to share.<br />

We can all be tempted to put off the difficult conversations<br />

until an issue arises. However, starting these conversations<br />

early is a way of protecting your child. In the same way as<br />

you talk about being careful of strangers and crossing the<br />

road safely, we need to bring online behaviour into those<br />

childhood conversations too.<br />

2Be aware that it is near impossible to control what<br />

happens to online images.<br />

It is best to assume anything you share online could<br />

be published anywhere in the world. It is terrifying but<br />

children’s images have been taken from private facebook<br />

accounts have turned up on sites in China. There is a<br />

phenomenon called digital kidnapping where individuals<br />

download photos of other people’s children and post them<br />

as if they were their own.<br />

3Think, will I and my children be happy to see this<br />

online in 10 years?<br />

As we post a cute image of our child, it is hard to think that<br />

one day they will be grown up and may not appreciate<br />

that we shared the image. It is hard to project our<br />

thoughts so far into the future, but it is important<br />

to make sure we aren’t posting anything that could<br />

be embarrassing or controversial in the future.<br />

4Could any post be used to bully your child?<br />

An image that is cute to parents, may be<br />

mortifying for our children. With the complexity<br />

of connections within social media children in your<br />

child’s year at school may well be able to view the<br />

photo even if your settings are friends only.<br />

5Don’t share any information which could lead to<br />

identity theft.<br />

Yes, this happens to children too. Sharing the name,<br />

date of birth, location or uniform that will identify the<br />

school they attend could lead to your child’s identity<br />

being stolen. According to the UK report, Barclays bank<br />

forecast that by 2030 “sharenting” will account for 2<br />

out of 3 identity thefts, costing hundreds of millions each<br />

year.<br />

6Are your privacy settings maximised?<br />

This is an obvious question, but it can be surprising<br />

how many of our sharing platforms default settings can be<br />

improved to get higher levels of privacy and protection.<br />

7Is your geo-locator sharing more data than you are<br />

aware of about your family?<br />

If you share your GPS location data with your family, be<br />

aware of the risks of that data being shared or hacked into.<br />

Researchers at MIT and the Catholic University of Louvain<br />

found that just four time-stamped locations could uniquely<br />

identify 95% of individuals.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 51


A STEP INTO<br />

THE UNKNOWN<br />

How one school is embracing the challenge of remote working<br />

WRITTEN BY CHRISTELLE LONEZ<br />

In early January, as the world watched on in<br />

horror at events unfolding in Wuhan, it<br />

would have seemed unthinkable that<br />

just a couple of months later we would find<br />

ourselves in Geneva in semi-confinement,<br />

with our physical campuses closed to<br />

students for the first time in our 96 year<br />

history. And yet this week has been our<br />

first week of Online Learning for all 4463<br />

students currently enrolled at the Ecole<br />

<strong>International</strong>e de Genève.<br />

As the distant epidemic quickly showed<br />

signs of evolving into a global pandemic, it<br />

became clear we needed to start planning for a<br />

“what if ” scenario. At our Campus des Nations, as an<br />

IB Primary Years Programme school, our thoughts quickly moved<br />

towards how best to foster inquiry learning in an online model:<br />

One of the strengths of our programme is the meaningful<br />

integration of technology and the fact that every one of our<br />

students has access to a device while in school. Another key<br />

approach is our interactive method of teaching and learning,<br />

with students collaborating and building their understanding of<br />

new concepts, knowledge and skills through hands-on learning<br />

engagements. The big question we all faced was how to make<br />

online learning as interactive and collaborative as our regular<br />

lessons without overwhelming our primary students with tools and<br />

websites.<br />

We began by looking at which tools to use and settled on Google,<br />

which the students were familiar with as we already use Google<br />

for Education in our school. We were also already using SeeSaw<br />

in the classroom to document learning, so the jump to using this<br />

from home was a natural shift. Before closing school, our students<br />

experimented with Google Meet, spreading themselves around the<br />

school to have interactive lessons, and we ensured that we knew<br />

who would need to borrow a school device and who already had<br />

their own at home.<br />

As a pedagogical team, we felt it would be important to agree<br />

early on on the parameters for effective distance learning, so<br />

we designed our Principles of Online Learning and Essential<br />

Agreements. We included expectations from students and parents,<br />

knowing that online learning would be a shared responsibility.<br />

Teachers share plans and activities, parents ensure a safe and<br />

suitable place for students to work, and students and parents<br />

together develop a daily routine for learning at home. While<br />

encouraging independence, parents provide an appropriate level of<br />

support and redirect children if distracted, and whilst they<br />

need to provide a space which is visible to others when<br />

communicating online to ensure good child<br />

protection standards are met, they also need to<br />

know when to blend into the background and<br />

let their children’s self-agency and autonomy<br />

come to the fore.<br />

In order to give our primary students<br />

an active role in their learning, we devised<br />

what could best be described as a “weekly<br />

menu” of learning opportunities, with a<br />

column for “must do”, one for “could do”<br />

and one for “would like to do” - allowing<br />

students some agency in their schedule.<br />

The teaching team for each year planned this<br />

collaboratively, in order to ensure consistency of<br />

learning across the group.<br />

We were well prepared, but the switch to online lessons has<br />

still been a steep learning curve: after two days we realized that<br />

the amount of communication shared with parents needed to be<br />

centralized, which led us to the creation of a website for parents<br />

and students. After three, we decided that the teacher’s morning<br />

greeting which students were supposed to react to wasn’t effective<br />

and moved toward a morning plenary for the entire class through<br />

Google Meet, to facilitate registration. Four days in, we are starting<br />

to establish a rhythm, but now thoughts start turning to how we<br />

can continue to evolve and sustain online learning in case this lasts<br />

not for weeks, but for months.<br />

We are also thinking about how to ensure that screen time and<br />

digital tools for learning and sharing assignments are kept to a<br />

minimum; how to create a sustainable timetable that allows for<br />

small, focused group discussions; how we maintain social contact<br />

and group work between children, with both Switzerland and<br />

France (where many of our children live) in semi-confinement;<br />

and how we enable staff to continue planning and working<br />

collaboratively, when their days have already become so busy that<br />

asking for additional online meetings seems unreasonable.<br />

One thing is sure, when all of this is over, and we return<br />

to campus, we will all have learned new skills, new teaching<br />

strategies, built resilience, reflected on our practice, and will be<br />

better teachers and learners for it. But also, the lack of human<br />

contact over this period will have made us realize the importance<br />

of the people around us, and demonstrated that whilst learning<br />

can happen online, schools are communities of people who are<br />

stronger together, and that it is the small social interactions that we<br />

often take for granted which really create our culture and make us<br />

human beings.<br />

For more information, please check out their website here:<br />

https://www.ecolint.ch/<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 52


Christelle LONEZ’s 24-year career as an educator has taken<br />

her from her native Belgium to Louisiana (USA), Riyadh (Saudi<br />

Arabia) and Lilongwe (Malawi), and most recently to Geneva<br />

(Switzerland) in 2015. These experiences have enabled her to<br />

gain wide-ranging perspectives on educational best practice<br />

around the world.<br />

Early in her career, Christelle taught French in Louisiana<br />

public schools for the Council for the Development of French<br />

in Louisiana (CODOFIL), whose mission is to support and grow<br />

Louisiana’s francophone communities through scholarships,<br />

French immersion and various community and language<br />

skill-building programmes. This experience impacted her<br />

professionally and personally, increasing her existing belief in the<br />

power of language learning and caring relationships. Over the<br />

years, she has become a passionate advocate for international<br />

education, inclusion, language learning and education for peace,<br />

knowing the impact an education can have for success in life.<br />

Currently she is the Primary <strong>School</strong> Principal at Ecolint Campus<br />

des Nations, driving innovation through student-centred decisionmaking<br />

and a focus on inclusive education, inquiry-based and<br />

experiential learning.<br />

Christelle is an active volunteer in the <strong>International</strong><br />

Baccalaureate Educator Network participating and leading<br />

accreditation visits on behalf of the <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate<br />

Organisation.<br />

She is a Jacobs Foundation fellow, developing and enhancing<br />

her knowledge of Early Childhood Education, based on up to date<br />

research, and integrating innovative educational practices in her<br />

practice and that of her teaching team, with the aim to make her<br />

school an even better place for its students.<br />

Christelle is a keen photographer, enjoys hiking and skiing,<br />

international cuisine and cinema and enjoys travelling with her<br />

two children, the youngest of whom is a student at Campus des<br />

Nations Secondary school.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 53


Dyeing to learn<br />

about history!<br />

Gardens provide a unique insight into the colours of the past<br />

WRITTEN BY HESTER MACDONALD<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 54


Gardens are often used as outdoor classrooms for learning<br />

about nature and ecology, but did you know that they can<br />

play a part in learning about history too?<br />

One of the ways we can understand the past is to think about<br />

what people looked like, what they wore and how they lived.<br />

Exploring natural dyes from the garden is an easy and low cost way<br />

to do this.<br />

We have lots of evidence from tombs, paintings and scrolls about<br />

dyeing processes throughout history. It is possible to find out what<br />

cloth the Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks or Vikings wore, and<br />

use the produce from the garden, or the kitchen, to create the same<br />

colours. For older students it is interesting to consider why dyers<br />

were considered to be low in the social hierarchy, how many dyes<br />

and mordants (the product used to help keep the dye in the fabric<br />

after treatment) were poisonous, or which dyes were particularly<br />

precious.<br />

The Ancient Egyptians dyed various fabrics like wool and silk,<br />

with a complex system of overdyes and additional colours. Luckily<br />

for us they also left papyri detailling their dyeing methods. They<br />

used indigo, from several different plants, for blue and a wide<br />

variety of plants for yellows including henna, crocus as well as<br />

safflower. Safflower (Carthamnus tinctorius) is an easy annual<br />

crop, sow the seeds in April outdoors, with protection, or from mid<br />

May without protection. The Ancient Egyptians grew this as a<br />

commercial crop, and the flower heads were used to dye the cloth<br />

that mummies were wrapped in.<br />

Older students could research the most expensive dye in Roman<br />

Photo: Nathalie Pellissier<br />

times, Tyrian purple, made from mollusc shells, and so precious<br />

that only emperors and senior senators were allowed to wear<br />

it. The paler colours of reds and pinks were made with Madder<br />

(Rubia tinctorum) which you can easily add to a school garden.<br />

Sow seeds in spring or autumn, and dig up the roots for use in<br />

dyeing, but expect to wait at least 5 years for the roots to grow to a<br />

usable size for dyeing!<br />

The Ancient Greeks, like the Romans and the Egyptians, used<br />

dyes from all over Europe and sometimes further afield, but one<br />

of their best-recorded and most popular dyes came from the<br />

humble crocus. The frescoes from Akotiri show girls gathering<br />

crocuses, probably in order to extract the stamens for use in dyeing.<br />

Crocuses, whether used for dyeing or for making saffron, are a very<br />

labour-intensive crop, and anything made from them is expensive.<br />

The fine yellow cloth made with crocus dye was synonymous in<br />

Greek culture with wealth and power, and the epithet “kroko”<br />

which is used to describe many heroines and heroes reflects this<br />

connection. You can grow crocuses at home in pots or in the<br />

garden, plant in the autumn and see how many it would take to<br />

make a dye bath.<br />

The Vikings used lots of different vegetable and animal-based<br />

products to dye their clothes, including lichen. Lichens grow really<br />

slowly, so much so that the Italian dyeing industry in the early 15th<br />

century rendered extinct several species of lichen due to overcollection.<br />

Harris tweed, made on the Isle of Harris in the Outer<br />

Hebrides, still uses lichens collected on the island for dyeing the<br />

wool used in the cloth.<br />

Try it in the classroom or at home<br />

Growing vegetables for dyeing<br />

Easy grow vegetables that you can eat and use the remnants for<br />

dyeing include spinach, red cabbage, elderberries and both brown<br />

and yellow onion skins. You can grow all of these in a school<br />

garden, or at home in a garden. If you have a balcony, then all<br />

except the elderberries are easy to grow in pots.<br />

Spinach and red cabbage can all be planted as seeds or as young<br />

plants. Cabbage can be planted from February to April as a seed,<br />

or a young plant from April to June. Spinach can be sown any<br />

time, depending on the variety, outdoors from mid-March to May,<br />

and then for the winter varieties from August to October. If there is<br />

a risk of frost, throw some horticultural fleece over them, or invest<br />

in some cloches or mini poly-tunnels.<br />

Elderberries are very easy to add to any garden, if you have<br />

some space. The flowers make a wonderful cordial too, used as a<br />

cure for all kinds of ailments.<br />

If you don’t have a garden, or access to a garden, there are<br />

plenty of ingredients in your kitchen that you could try: tea leaves,<br />

pomegranate seeds and skins, avocado skins and pits or for a very<br />

vibrant colour, try using turmeric.<br />

We are used to the bright colours of artificial modern dyes, and<br />

natural vegetable dyes in particular, can look very disappointing<br />

in comparison, so prepare yourself and your students for more<br />

subtle colours than is usual today. Additionally, many vegetables<br />

and fruit that are suggested for home dye projects actually yield<br />

a muddy brownish-pink. Beetroot and raspberries, although they<br />

stain clothes, make for poor dyes. The other element to consider,<br />

particularly for in-classroom experiments, is that many vegetables<br />

and fruit used for dyeing require a mordant.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 55


Photo: Nathalie Pellissier<br />

Mordants can include<br />

Alum – readily available in pharmacies<br />

Nails in vinegar – rusted nails soak in vinegar for 3 days, but<br />

don’t put a lid on the container as it can explode<br />

Vinegar – make a vinegar solution with four parts water to one<br />

part vinegar (vinegar isn’t technically a mordant, but an additive<br />

that modifies pH, essential for those dyes that require an acidic pH<br />

to “strike” or adhere to the cloth.)<br />

Salt – 16 parts water to one part salt<br />

Without the fixative, the dye will just wash out again. See below<br />

for using the mordant.<br />

Good choices without a mordant<br />

Red cabbage<br />

Black tea<br />

Saffron<br />

Turmeric (with some vinegar in the dye bath)<br />

Using the mordant<br />

If your chosen vegetable requires a mordant, then start by<br />

simmering your fabric in the mordant mixture for about an hour.<br />

If you are doing this in class, you might want to prepare the fabric<br />

before class and keep it damp, as it works better when wet. If<br />

you’re doing this at home, you can easily do something else, like<br />

prepare the dye bath while the fabric is soaking.<br />

Making a dye bath<br />

Chop up and then gently simmer the chosen vegetables in the same<br />

volume of water for an hour, and strain. You can use the dye bath<br />

immediately by putting your textile straight into the same saucepan<br />

and simmering for another hour. If you don’t want to, or don’t<br />

have time to use the dye bath immediately, most will keep in a glass<br />

jar for a few days.<br />

Rinse the fabric in cold water and leave it to dry.<br />

What to dye?<br />

Animal fibres are the easiest to dye, but tend to be more expensive.<br />

Plain white cotton T-shirts that have been washed a few times are<br />

a good classroom option, as are old plain tea towels. Ideally the<br />

items fit neatly into the saucepan you will use without the need for<br />

messy removal.<br />

Any special equipment?<br />

For making vegetable-based dyes you will need a stainless steel<br />

pan that you plan to only use for dyeing (these vegetable-based<br />

dyes are all non-toxic, but it’s good practice to avoid mixing foodpreparation<br />

and dye-preparation vessels), a sieve, a wooden spoon<br />

that you don’t mind dyeing, and rubber gloves, to avoid dyeing<br />

your hands and possible irritation from the ingredients.<br />

You can enjoy the fabric as it is, or use it as part of a project,<br />

making a mixed media collage, or a historical display for the end<br />

of the unit.<br />

Gardens to visit for inspiration<br />

Here in Switzerland, you can see dye plants at the walled garden<br />

at the Château de Prangins in Canton Vaud. This newly created<br />

section of the garden was made in connection to the permanent<br />

exhibition “Les Indiennes”, a retrospective on the fabric known<br />

as chintz, and a look at the plants used to make the rich colours.<br />

Nathalie Pellissier, a guide at the Chateau and creator of the<br />

practical “plants for dyeing” course explained “ The new area<br />

allows practical observation of plants that are used for dyeing.<br />

They will be used in combination with plants growing in the Park<br />

and the Orchard in our hands-on dyeing classes. We look at many<br />

different aspects of dye colours, including indigos, yellows, and<br />

blacks, such as those usable in inks, as well as trialling different<br />

lichens that have been sustainably collected and work with different<br />

fibres, such as nettles.” If you visit the chateau gardens for yourself<br />

you’ll see plants like Coreopsis, as well as Madder and golden<br />

marguerites.<br />

Hester Macdonald is a garden designer, broadcaster, the founder of<br />

the Swiss Gardening <strong>School</strong> and the author of “Gardens Schweiz<br />

Suisse Switzerland” a trilingual guide to the 52 best gardens open<br />

to public across Switzerland, published by Bergli Books<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 56


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Why a US<br />

university could<br />

be a better option<br />

than Oxbridge<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>s need to look beyond the UK’s top universities when<br />

seeking a world-class education for their children, suggests Chloe<br />

Godsell, head of UK partnerships at Crimson Education.<br />

From the hallowed lecture halls of<br />

Ivy League institutions to the tech<br />

incubator labs of MIT and creative<br />

hubs of the liberal arts colleges, the top<br />

universities in the United States are looking<br />

for students who go well beyond academic<br />

strength alone.<br />

But can they rival an Oxbridge education<br />

as the perceived golden ticket to opportunity<br />

and success for your child?<br />

Understanding the very different<br />

learning environments offered by UK and<br />

US institutions through these formative<br />

years, could help your family make the<br />

right decision to see your child flourish,<br />

whichever side of the Atlantic that may be<br />

on.<br />

Keeping your options open<br />

For school-leavers who have relished the<br />

final years of school, studying several<br />

subjects and honing their extracurricular<br />

skills, US options for higher education may<br />

play to their strengths. Universities in the<br />

States allow students to keep their options<br />

open in terms of choosing their Major, with<br />

opportunities to try out, or switch courses<br />

through the first two years.<br />

So, a student might choose to study<br />

international relations, sociology and a<br />

foreign language in their first two years,<br />

even though they have applied to study<br />

English literature. This gives students<br />

huge flexibility to pursue their academic<br />

interests, however diverse they may be,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 58<br />

and means the decisions they make when<br />

leaving school aren’t set in stone for the<br />

duration of their university life.<br />

In contrast, Oxford and Cambridge<br />

offer students a deep dive into their<br />

chosen subject from day one. With<br />

the opportunity to be taught by world<br />

experts in your chosen field just weeks<br />

after leaving school, there is generally<br />

little room for changing courses once<br />

you’ve been offered a place. While this<br />

may be less appealing to school graduates<br />

who are still exploring where their<br />

strengths lie, for those with a particular<br />

passion, this full immersion into your<br />

subject from the beginning can be<br />

fascinating and fulfilling


Time for study and travel<br />

In the UK most courses take three years to<br />

complete, with exceptions in some subjects<br />

such as languages. Many students choose<br />

to take a gap year either before or after<br />

university, stay on to do a masters, or dive<br />

straight into work after this fairly short<br />

period of study.<br />

In the US however, a bachelor’s degree<br />

typically takes four years to complete, often<br />

with options for study abroad programs<br />

within this.<br />

Both options have their advantages for<br />

those wanting to take their time to study<br />

and explore, or for those desperate to get<br />

started with their career, but it’s definitely<br />

worth discussing with your child what their<br />

hopes and expectations are for time spent in<br />

higher education.<br />

A broader application<br />

Ben Schwartz, former Ivy League<br />

admissions officer and dean of leadership<br />

development at Sage Experience, advises<br />

students to start planning a US application<br />

much earlier than they would in the UK,<br />

even three or four years beforehand. That’s<br />

because US admissions teams evaluate<br />

students on much broader criteria than is<br />

typical in the UK.<br />

An Oxbridge application focuses heavily<br />

on academic ability. In the US, while the<br />

first half of an application must show<br />

academic strengths, universities are also<br />

looking for extracurricular impact and<br />

personal qualities alongside intellectual<br />

abilities. Unlike interviews for Oxford or<br />

Cambridge, there are non-academic as well<br />

as subject-based questions. Throughout<br />

the university experience too, sports and<br />

extracurricular life are a much stronger<br />

theme for the US student population as a<br />

whole. You only have to watch a televised<br />

US college football game to understand the<br />

huge role it plays in university life!<br />

A numbers game<br />

Students in the UK are permitted to apply<br />

to a maximum of five universities, and<br />

they can only apply to either Oxford or<br />

Cambridge, not both.<br />

The US system is less limiting in that<br />

students can apply to 10, 20 or more US<br />

universities. So, applicants can split their<br />

choices into three categories – aspirational<br />

Wavering on going Stateside? Here are two students who made the leap:<br />

Boris, a South London student of Russian and Armenian parentage, initially had<br />

his sights set on staying in the UK and studying maths at Cambridge. It wasn’t until<br />

Boris heard about the US liberal arts system that he realised he was more suited to<br />

US study:<br />

“I realised in the US you can do a bit of everything. You can double major.”<br />

He adds: “My first choice was Cambridge to study maths. At some point I realised<br />

I liked maths and I worked hard at it, did well in the Olympiad and basically enjoyed<br />

being part of that team. But while maths is my favourite subject, I like other things<br />

too and realised I wanted to explore as many subjects as possible.”<br />

He recently left London for New York City, where he has joined the very deserving<br />

5.1% of applicants who were accepted to Columbia University last autumn.<br />

Another student, Bluebelle, was accepted by both Oxford and Yale universities.<br />

She chose Yale for the following reasons:<br />

“I love maths,” she explains. “But then I also love English because part of me<br />

wants to be an author and there’s an amazing physics department at my school so I<br />

am also in love with physics, so as for my major, I am just not sure.<br />

“I’m doing English, maths, philosophy and physics for my A Levels and I am<br />

thinking about majoring in philosophy at Yale because it covers so many different<br />

areas of my interests but to be honest, I have no idea.<br />

“Luckily I have a couple of years before I have to declare,” she sums up.<br />

universities, where there’s a high level of<br />

competition to get in, choices which they<br />

have a good chance of getting into and<br />

safety options, where admission is virtually<br />

guaranteed.<br />

For the top universities however,<br />

competition for places is tough. For Oxford<br />

and Cambridge, approximately 25% 1 of all<br />

applicants can expect to land a place, but in<br />

the American Ivy League, just 7.25% 2 were<br />

accepted in fall 2018.<br />

Learning style<br />

While teaching at Oxford and Cambridge<br />

requires regular submission of work, with<br />

some students handing in one or two essays<br />

per week, these do not count towards your<br />

final grade and are generally considered to<br />

be a learning tool rather than a means of<br />

assessment. Exams at the end of the final<br />

year (of course with variation between<br />

different subjects) then decide what degree<br />

you will be awarded. Some subjects assess<br />

students in earlier years too, or require a<br />

dissertation to contribute to their grade, but<br />

in general, the pressure is loaded into the<br />

final weeks of university.<br />

In contrast, many US universities use a<br />

system of regular assessment throughout<br />

the course to award a degree grade based<br />

on performance throughout the student’s<br />

time at university.<br />

So if your child is a consistent worker, but<br />

finds the pressure of exams difficult, or vice<br />

versa, it’s worth considering how they will<br />

learn and be assessed through their years at<br />

university.<br />

Shaping the future<br />

University days are some of the most<br />

formative of our lives. With only a few<br />

years to savour the unique opportunities for<br />

learning and discovery which shape us for<br />

years to come, it’s no wonder that schoolleavers<br />

and their families feel pressure<br />

in deciding where to apply. But whether<br />

your child is set on studying medicine,<br />

wavering between humanities subjects, or<br />

passionate about travel or sport, there are<br />

fantastic options at prestigious institutions<br />

both in the US and the UK. It’s also<br />

worth remembering that this decision is the<br />

beginning of your child setting their own<br />

course for the future, so trust in their ability<br />

to make the best of their time, wherever<br />

they choose to go.<br />

Crimson Education has helped<br />

hundreds of students get into Ivy League<br />

and other globally recognised higher<br />

education institutions in 20 countries.<br />

Read Beyond Oxbridge – A parent’s<br />

guide to US universities or contact<br />

europe@crimsoneducation.org for more<br />

information.<br />

1 https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/chances-of-getting-into-oxbridge<br />

2 https://wtop.com/news/2019/09/what-it-takes-to-get-accepted-into-the-ivy-league/<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 59


Supporting<br />

teenagers through<br />

school closure in<br />

a pandemic<br />

WRITTEN BY DR STEVE SIMS<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 60


The last few weeks have seen people’s lives changed<br />

in ways few could ever have imagined. In one family<br />

after another, one or both parents now find themselves<br />

working from home, whilst care facilities for younger children<br />

have been withdrawn. With the closure of schools, older children<br />

and teenagers find themselves without the daily structure school<br />

provides.<br />

Until now, the focus has been on the necessity of drastic action<br />

to try to suppress the spread of the virus, the provision of finances<br />

to support businesses and the readiness, or otherwise, of various<br />

national health systems. How long will it be before other factors<br />

come to the fore? Things like, how do you cope with the tensions<br />

that can arise within a family when its members are forced to<br />

remain under the same roof for 24 hours a day, perhaps for weeks<br />

or months? Teenagers, so often renowned for their social activity,<br />

are now expected to remain in social isolation. Already, I have<br />

seen a variety of schemes and suggestions for parents of younger<br />

children aimed at keeping them entertained at home for extended<br />

periods, but nowhere have I seen anything that discusses how to<br />

help teenagers and their parents not just survive the pressures, but<br />

to come through the pandemic control measures stronger for the<br />

experience.<br />

Issues for teenagers working from home<br />

To a very large extent, a teenager’s life revolves around school. It<br />

is their place of work, and the nature of their work is the learning<br />

that takes place there. By necessity, school is highly structured:<br />

everyone knows where they should be and what they should<br />

be doing throughout the school day. Alongside the workload,<br />

which can be intense, friendship groups thrive within the school<br />

community, providing for many the basis for their social life outside<br />

school. Almost without warning, all this has been taken away. With<br />

schools closed, teenagers are expected to work from home. The<br />

support of their peer group, with whom they are used to spending<br />

the bulk of each day, has suddenly been removed.<br />

So, what are the issues parents should look out for?<br />

● Loss of structure. Even if your teenager’s school provides<br />

a full distance-learning programme, the structure will likely<br />

be considerably less rigid than the structure of daily school<br />

attendance, perhaps leaving significant periods for self-directed<br />

study.<br />

● Prevarication. The personal vacuum created by the loss of<br />

structure may lead to an inability to focus or to initiate meaningful<br />

work. Staring blankly at a computer screen, reading words without<br />

taking in their meaning, giving up the attempt to understand at the<br />

first hurdle, always finding something that needs doing to avoid the<br />

work that should be the focus – these are just some of the forms<br />

prevarication might take.<br />

● Lack of personal organisation and time-management.<br />

Of course, some teenagers excel both in their personal organisation<br />

and in the way they manage their time. But many do not. For those<br />

whose rooms seem to resemble a rubbish tip, and whose ability to<br />

store work in some form of retrievable system seems non-existent,<br />

working from home could develop rapidly into a nightmare.<br />

● Concerns about the approaching exam season. It is not<br />

unusual for teenagers to feel some apprehension as the summer<br />

exam season approaches. For older teenagers, their future direction<br />

depends on the outcome of their exams. Preparing for those exams<br />

in isolation is very different from preparing as a year group in<br />

school, and may increase concerns for some. Added to this, the<br />

question in the back of their minds will be whether the exams will<br />

actually take place this year and what will happen to their future<br />

plans if exams are cancelled.<br />

● Distorted balance between work, rest and social<br />

interaction. Maintaining a healthy balance between these<br />

different aspects of life can be tricky for teenagers at the best of<br />

times. The sudden change of parameters could make this more<br />

challenging than normal.<br />

● Anxiety. The issues outlined above, along with heightened family<br />

tensions arising from forced household isolation and a sense of<br />

loneliness, could lead to increased levels of anxiety. The danger<br />

will become more acute if the situation is prolonged, as some are<br />

suggesting will be necessary, for several months. There may be<br />

times when fears for their own personal safety, and that of their<br />

family and friends, dominate and anxiety peaks for a while. It<br />

will be especially important for parents to look out for signs of<br />

increased anxiety or panic and offer a calm response.<br />

How can parents support their teenagers?<br />

Many parents will struggle themselves to cope with the changes<br />

being imposed on them by the current situation. The normal<br />

pattern of going out to work each day, or their own social meetings,<br />

provides a measure of relief from family pressures. For the time<br />

being, such opportunities for relief have been removed, and the<br />

pressures will increase with each day of isolation within the home.<br />

Within that context, parents need to find ways to try to help their<br />

teenagers cope with, and gain from, the experience of isolation. So,<br />

what can parents do to offer support? Here are a few suggestions:<br />

● Expect and anticipate tensions. Tensions will arise, not<br />

necessarily in the first week, but probably sooner than we might<br />

expect. Everyone in the household is having to adapt at the same<br />

time to new circumstances that have been forced upon them,<br />

and with restrictions on movement outside the home, tensions<br />

will increase and erupt if not faced and addressed. Families who<br />

recognise the inevitability of tension, who anticipate where the<br />

points of friction will be, and who can work together to negotiate<br />

compromises, are more likely to find solutions that will work for<br />

the whole family. Honest recognition of tension and hard work to<br />

resolve them is a strong model that parents can give their teenagers<br />

in the current circumstances. One that will lay an excellent basis<br />

for any scenario in the future.<br />

● Establish a schedule. All members of the family will benefit<br />

if an agreed daily schedule can be established. This will give<br />

time for the work each family member needs to complete and<br />

provide time for other family activities within the home. For those<br />

teenagers whose planning skills are not yet sufficiently developed<br />

for them to be able to do this unaided, offer to help them draft<br />

a personal timetable each week for their schoolwork. This will<br />

contribute to the development of a valuable life skill as well as<br />

helping to compensate for the loss of structure felt due to the lack<br />

of traditional schooling.<br />

● Give responsibility. Encourage your teenager to take<br />

responsibility for the smooth-running of some area of family life,<br />

not just taking out the trash. Real responsibility will help your


and will help them keep a healthier perspective on the difficulties<br />

that have forced them together into household isolation.<br />

● Understanding the broader perspective. Teenagers<br />

sometimes lack the experience to see a broader perspective that<br />

extends beyond their own needs, fears and aspirations. <strong>Parent</strong>s<br />

have an important role to play here through their own reflection<br />

and discussion with their teenagers. For example, understanding<br />

that the need for family isolation is as much about protecting<br />

others in society by limiting the spread of the virus as it is about<br />

protecting themselves and their immediate family, is an important<br />

broader perspective. If teenagers can be helped to develop an<br />

appreciation of these broader perspectives through this experience,<br />

parents will have taken an important step towards producing<br />

something positive from a serious situation. Discussion around the<br />

subject of reliable sources of information might be a good place to<br />

start.<br />

And finally …<br />

Social media – help or hindrance?<br />

Social media offers a means for teenagers to keep in touch with<br />

each other during this time of physical isolation from their friends.<br />

In terms of school work, it offers a means of peer consultation that<br />

is essential to learning. It is also a medium through which teenagers<br />

can remain informed about the outside world. However, there<br />

needs to be a balance so that social media is not allowed to become<br />

the sole source for information or a means of procrastination.<br />

Helping teenagers to develop a sense of control over their social<br />

media use, rather than allowing it to control them, will be a further<br />

valuable way in which parents can support their teenagers through<br />

the present crisis.<br />

teenager feel they are a valued member of the household, and able<br />

to make a valid contribution to its shared life.<br />

● Be available to listen and talk. Often, teenagers do not<br />

want to talk with their parents about their difficulties, fears and<br />

hopes; but sometimes they do. Being available, without becoming<br />

pushy, so that teenagers can talk when they are ready to do so, is a<br />

valuable means of support in times of tension.<br />

● Give space, even where there is none. There will be times<br />

when your teenager simply needs space and permission to be on<br />

their own. If your household inhabits a small living space, this will<br />

be especially difficult, but recognising when your teenager needs<br />

such space and finding ways to create that space could be a hugely<br />

important contribution to the diffusion of tension. Helping your<br />

teenager to recognise that others within the household have similar<br />

needs and allowing others space (from their music for example)<br />

is another important aspect of learning to contribute to a strong<br />

family life.<br />

● Family conferencing. The development of a weekly family<br />

conference, where difficulties can be expressed and mutuallyowned<br />

solutions developed, could be an approach that some<br />

families might find useful. It is certainly a route to involving the<br />

entire family in recognising each other’s difficulties and promoting<br />

active participation in family decision-making.<br />

● Fun helps relieve tension. The global situation of a health<br />

pandemic is a serious situation. However, finding ways for the<br />

family to have fun together will help relieve some of the tensions,<br />

Supporting teenagers in the face of death. Given the number<br />

of deaths projected to result from the pandemic, most of us will<br />

know someone who dies as a result of contracting this virus. For<br />

our teenagers, this may mean the loss of an elderly relative, of a<br />

close family member, or of a friend. For many teenagers, this might<br />

be their first experience of being faced by the death of someone<br />

they know. In such circumstances, knowing they have permission<br />

to grieve in whatever way they find natural and helpful, to be sad<br />

at their loss, to mourn the person who has died, to express their<br />

grief, anger and sense of loss, is vital. Here, more than in any other<br />

area, parents who make themselves available to listen, comfort and<br />

talk, will provide valuable support to their teenagers at a point of<br />

genuine crisis in their lives.<br />

The importance of hope. Human beings need to know there is<br />

hope. The pandemic is the most serious global situation that most<br />

of our teenagers will ever have experienced. However, they need to<br />

know that it will not last for ever and they need to learn to see such<br />

events in perspective. Helping their teenagers to develop a realistic<br />

sense of hope in difficult times is yet another way in which parents<br />

can offer invaluable support through the present difficulties.<br />

Dr Steve Sims is author of the blog Regarding Teenagers,<br />

Director of the Basel Learning Hub in Switzerland, and Director<br />

of Learning Hub <strong>International</strong>.<br />

https://www.regardingteenagers.com/<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 62


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From Library<br />

to CoLab<br />

WRITTEN BY JAMIE WILLIAMS AND MICHAEL KEWLEY<br />

Despite pedagogical innovation being one of the key drivers<br />

of the Ecole <strong>International</strong>e de Genève’s foundation<br />

nearly a century ago, as the world’s first international<br />

school, it was only very recently, in 2018, that incoming Campus<br />

des Nations Secondary Principal Jamie Williams realised that the<br />

way the campus library was designed and used reflected an ancient<br />

tradition that was inconsistent with how students learn, especially<br />

in an IB Continuum school. Effectively a “book warehouse”, the<br />

library was laid out and furnished - as most libraries are - in such a<br />

way that made it easy to store and find books, and provide spaces<br />

to read in silence. However, it hadn’t taken into account changes in<br />

the way 21st century learners access knowledge and information.<br />

Williams realised that in order for the library to meet the needs<br />

of the campus’ 1000 students, and to enable them to become<br />

“inquirers” in line with the IB learner profile, the space needed to<br />

be redeveloped from the ground up to offer everyone the possibility<br />

to inform themselves, learn and co-create according to their<br />

interests, needs and desires.<br />

As Jamie Williams notes, “It seemed clear to me that if we<br />

wanted to create greater agility in the way of thinking among<br />

our students, we had to create spaces that were in line with those<br />

ambitions. The space needed to encourage and enable flexibility,<br />

teamwork and collaboration. We wanted to rethink the layout and<br />

the furnishings to allow for a beneficial experience for our students<br />

and remove the typical barriers that libraries contain. This would<br />

create a welcoming impression that encouraged students to come<br />

in. Previously students entered and exited through a single door,<br />

passing through security barriers under the watchful eye of the<br />

librarians, and entered a silent space. The furniture was functional,<br />

but not necessarily comfortable, and we realised that the large bank<br />

of fixed desktop PCs was no longer needed since we had become a<br />

Bring Your Own Laptop school. There was a real chance to send<br />

the signal that the library was an open and welcoming area where<br />

they should feel inspired to pop in and hang out, and provide spaces<br />

where they could browse through resources, read the magazines<br />

and journals, work with friends, or on their own, or just read for<br />

pleasure.”<br />

Working with architectural specialists Knight Frank, Jamie<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 64


Williams, the student council and campus facilities manager<br />

Martial Thévenaz developed a futuristic and student-centric<br />

proposition, which they presented to Director General Dr David<br />

Hawley. Formerly Chief Academic Officer at the <strong>International</strong><br />

Baccalaureate, David Hawley was inspired by the vision that<br />

proposed the development of “spaces that invite and inspire<br />

learning in many different ways, from silent spaces for reading<br />

and contemplation to collaborative spaces that optimise human<br />

interaction, design thinking and problem solving, real learning<br />

spaces, and inspiring and creative places for students to learn<br />

together”.<br />

Opened in September 2019, the library has been entirely<br />

rethought in terms of its space and composition. Gone are the<br />

security barriers, and single entry and exit point. Internal walls<br />

have been removed, creating a much larger, more airy space, and<br />

large windows promote transparency and help communication with<br />

the outside. Students can enter the library through several doors,<br />

removing the sensation of “checking in” and “checking out” of<br />

the space, and a dedicated area has been created for silent study.<br />

A range of new types of furniture has been introduced, including<br />

informal easy chairs that encourage students to relax and read,<br />

individual study carrels with power points and USB chargers<br />

for students wishing to work on their laptops, and soundproof<br />

collaboration booths that provide the perfect places to work in small<br />

study groups or conduct meetings with their tutors or mentors. The<br />

colour scheme is composed of neutral tones, and natural materials<br />

such as wood connect the library to the external environment.<br />

Library staff and IT technicians all share an open workspace in<br />

the centre of the library, so students and staff can see where they<br />

are and ask for help whenever they need it to find a resource, or<br />

fix a technical bug. The library has become a space of expression<br />

where the work between students is highlighted. Students were<br />

invited to participate in a contest to name the space, with the<br />

winning name - the “Co-Lab” - highlighting the importance of<br />

working together, but also the concept of research which is central<br />

to an inquiry-led approach to learning.<br />

Having been in use for six months before the Covid-19 pandemic<br />

caused the campus to close, the ultimate test would always be<br />

whether students would use the library more than before. Jamie<br />

Williams has no doubt: “I walk through the Co-Lab several times<br />

every day, and there is no question that this refurbishment has<br />

completely transformed the way students and teachers use the<br />

space. There is a palpable buzz all the time, and the area is pretty<br />

much full from 8am till 5pm every day. The Co-Lab is probably the<br />

most used area of the campus. You can literally see the learning<br />

happening before your eyes, and as an educator, there is nothing<br />

more inspiring. It is fulfilling our aim for it to become the heart of<br />

the school.”<br />

For more information, please check out their website here:<br />

https://www.ecolint.ch/<br />

Jamie Williams is Secondary <strong>School</strong> Principal at Ecolint Campus<br />

des Nations. He is a British national, with a rich experience in<br />

schools in the UK, Monaco and Geneva. Holding a Bachelor’s<br />

degree in Soil & Environmental Sciences from the University<br />

of Reading and a PGCE from the University of East Anglia,<br />

Jamie is a geography specialist. Having worked closely with<br />

the <strong>International</strong> Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) on the<br />

development of the IB Diploma geography syllabus, Jamie<br />

remains an examination writer and team leader, as well as a<br />

workshop leader, for the IBO. Jamie also previously served as<br />

Chairman of the Council for <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>s Environmental<br />

Education Committee.<br />

At Ecolint since 2004, Jamie was Assistant Principal before<br />

stepping into the Secondary <strong>School</strong> Principal role. Passionate<br />

about developing professional learning communities, using<br />

technology to improve learning and data to inform and monitor<br />

decision-making, Jamie has been at the heart of significant<br />

innovation and improvements at Campus des Nations.<br />

Michael Kewley is Director of Marketing & Stakeholder Relations<br />

at Ecolint. A dual British-French national, Michael read for a BA<br />

and MA in Modern Languages at Magdalen College, Oxford and<br />

has been resident in the Geneva area since 2004. Passionate<br />

about language and communication, Michael worked for 17<br />

years at Procter & Gamble in a wide variety of local, regional and<br />

global marketing roles. Alongside his professional obligations,<br />

Michael is a volunteer fire and medical first responder and has<br />

been an elected local councillor in France since 2008.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER <strong>2020</strong> | 65


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