International School Parent Magazine - Autumn 2023

Welcome to the Autumn Edition of International School Parent Magazine! Autumn is such a busy time – school is back in full swing, and Christmas seems to be right around the corner. As the leaves slowly start to change, we look forward to the cosy winter months, while our schools in the southern hemisphere look towards long summer days and warmer weather. Once again, we are thrilled to present to you a magazine filled with interesting and informative articles, exciting experiences, and practical tips for parents. The Autumn/Winter edition of International School Parent Magazine 2023 explores topical themes such as AI, and highlights some of the amazing initiatives led by schools in our community. We had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Conrad Hughes, Director General of Ecole Internationale de Genève (Ecolint). In this piece, Conrad shares his passion for education and provides an insightful glimpse of Ecolint’s vision for education in the future. We also continue our discussion of children’s mental health, the impact of AI on our LGBTQI+ community, the importance of lifesaving first aid skills for children, and present many more interesting articles and commentary. Autumn is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors. Check out the article about the diverse activities on offer in Switzerland, special resources for children in the Zurich area, and learn about the stunning landscape of Interlaken. We remain committed to helping parents and children make the most of their international school experience. Have a wonderful autumn/winter period and we look forward to bringing you more content again in the spring.

Welcome to the Autumn Edition of International School Parent Magazine!

Autumn is such a busy time – school is back in full swing, and Christmas seems to be right around the corner. As the leaves slowly start to change, we look forward to the cosy winter months, while our schools in the southern hemisphere look towards long summer days and warmer weather. Once again, we are thrilled to present to you a magazine filled with interesting and informative articles, exciting experiences, and practical tips for parents.

The Autumn/Winter edition of International School Parent Magazine 2023 explores topical themes such as AI, and highlights some of the
amazing initiatives led by schools in our community. We had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Conrad Hughes, Director General of Ecole Internationale de Genève (Ecolint). In this piece, Conrad shares his passion for education and provides an insightful glimpse of Ecolint’s vision for education in the future.

We also continue our discussion of children’s mental health, the impact of AI on our LGBTQI+ community, the importance of lifesaving
first aid skills for children, and present many more interesting articles and commentary. Autumn is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors. Check out the article about the diverse activities on offer in Switzerland, special resources for children in the Zurich area, and learn about the stunning landscape of Interlaken.

We remain committed to helping parents and children make the most of their international school experience. Have a wonderful autumn/winter period and we look forward to bringing you more content again in the spring.


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Contents<br />

08 Meet The Director General – Interview With<br />

Dr Conrad Hughes, Ecole <strong>International</strong>e De<br />

Genève (Ecolint)<br />

14 AI And Chatgpt In The Classroom<br />

18 British Embassy Berne Presents: Ambassador<br />

For A Day Photo Competition<br />

22 Learning Beyond Classroom Walls: Nurturing<br />

Holistic Development Through Outdoor<br />

Education<br />

24 Bridging Industries: Shaping Future Leaders For<br />

Diverse Career Paths<br />

26 Experience The Magic Of <strong>Autumn</strong> In<br />

Interlaken: Your Unforgettable Adventure<br />

Awaits<br />

28 What Should You Do When Your Child Tells<br />

You They’re Feeling Burnt Out?<br />

30 Zermatt To Gornergrat: One Ride, Many<br />

Seasons<br />

32 The Power Of Words: Building Lasting<br />

Behavioral Change<br />

36 Nuturing Young Hearts: Creating Havens<br />

Of Belonging And Kindness In <strong>International</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong>s<br />

40 Kids Can Save Lives Too!<br />

44 Discover The Joys Of Kinderregion<br />

46 Overcoming Expat <strong>Parent</strong>ing Guilt<br />

50 Exploring The Diverse Landscapes Of<br />

Switzerland: An Adventure In Miniature And<br />

Beyond<br />

52 A World Of Worries: A <strong>Parent</strong>’s Passport To<br />

Teen Mental Health And Substance Use<br />

56 Artificial Intelligence: Friend Or Foe?<br />

60 How To Teach Your Child About Budgeting<br />

Before They Start University<br />

62 Your Guide to A-Levels<br />

Cover image courtesy of Switzerland Tourism / Jan Geerk<br />

Welcome to the <strong>Autumn</strong><br />

Edition of <strong>International</strong><br />

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

<strong>Autumn</strong> is such a busy time – school is back in full swing, and<br />

Christmas seems to be right around the corner. As the leaves slowly<br />

start to change, we look forward to the cosy winter months, while our<br />

schools in the southern hemisphere look towards long summer days<br />

and warmer weather. Once again, we are thrilled to present to you<br />

a magazine filled with interesting and informative articles, exciting<br />

experiences, and practical tips for parents.<br />

The <strong>Autumn</strong>/Winter edition of <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong> explores topical themes such as AI, and highlights some of the<br />

amazing initiatives led by schools in our community.<br />

We had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Conrad Hughes, Director<br />

General of Ecole <strong>International</strong>e de Genève (Ecolint). In this piece,<br />

Conrad shares his passion for education and provides an insightful<br />

glimpse of Ecolint’s vision for education in the future.<br />

We also continue our discussion of children’s mental health, the<br />

impact of AI on our LGBTQI+ community, the importance of lifesaving<br />

first aid skills for children, and present many more interesting articles<br />

and commentary.<br />

<strong>Autumn</strong> is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors. Check out the<br />

article about the diverse activities on offer in Switzerland, special<br />

resources for children in the Zurich area, and learn about the stunning<br />

landscape of Interlaken.<br />

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

of their international school experience. Have a wonderful autumn/<br />

winter period and we look forward to bringing you more content again<br />

in the spring.<br />

Nick<br />

Nick Gilbert<br />

Editor & Publishing Director<br />

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

Mobile + 41 787 10 80 91<br />

Email nick@internationalschoolparent.com<br />

Website www.internationalschoolparent.com<br />

@isparentmag<br />


Contributors<br />

Cian Taylor<br />

Cian Taylor holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree<br />

in English Literature, Literary Studies, and Creative<br />

Writing from the University of Aberystwyth, in Wales (UK).<br />

He is TEFL certified, having run TEFL lessons for one year in<br />

Montrisuksa school in Thailand, and has since focused primarily<br />

on the development of AI in the classroom as a focus for his PGCE<br />

studies, and his time teaching Language Arts and History at JFK<br />

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

Ioannes Giannakopoulos<br />

Ioannes Giannakopoulos holds a bachelor’s and<br />

master’s degree in Naval Architecture and Marine<br />

Engineering from the Technical University of Athens. He has<br />

worked as a technical superintendent and marine consultant in<br />

shipping companies. He has expertise in naval automation and<br />

robotic systems, and he participated in the HullSkater Programme<br />

at the University of Oslo to develop autonomous robotic vehicles<br />

and satellites for fuel efficiency in merchant ships. He teaches<br />

Design & Technology at JFK <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>.<br />

Korinne Algie<br />

Korinne Algie has over 20 years working in the<br />

international education sphere. She is the founder of<br />

<strong>International</strong> Education Marketing, a marketing and recruitment<br />

consultancy and Co-founder of the Education Marketing<br />

Collective, a membership platform providing digital skills training<br />

and support to education professionals free of charge.<br />

Kate Hatter<br />

Kate is a self-care advocate and loves to share helpful<br />

insights into how to foster positive parent-child<br />

relationships. She’s a mum of four, two boys and two girls, and<br />

she loves to spend quality time cooking with her family and taking<br />

woodland walks with their dogs.<br />

Dr. Laurence van Hanswijck de Jonge<br />

Dr. Laurence van Hanswijck de Jonge, Msc, PhD, is<br />

a Developmental Psychologist with a background in<br />

Biopsychology and Neuropsychology. She provides therapy as<br />

well as psychological assessments for children and adolescents<br />

at KidsAbility in the Cayman Islands. Her practice is rooted<br />

in Positive Psychology, and she is certified in Neurolinguistic<br />

Programming (NLP) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)<br />

amongst others.<br />

Martin Coul<br />

Martin is a mental health advocate with a focus<br />

on evidence-based prevention in schools and the<br />

workplace. With inspiration from his own lived experience, his<br />

purpose is to diffuse the negative narrative and bring a more<br />

human, compassionate voice to well-being & mental health for<br />

everyone, every day.<br />

Dr Michelle Wright<br />

Dr Michelle Wright is a British-qualified General<br />

Practitioner. Before moving to Switzerland in 2004,<br />

she worked in London seeing patients of all ages with physical<br />

and mental health problems. She continues her patient contact<br />

working in the Staff Medical Service of the <strong>International</strong> Labour<br />

Organisation, Geneva.<br />

Michelle helped bring the validated ensa Mental Health First<br />

Aid training in English to Switzerland which HealthFirst delivers<br />

to companies, schools, and organisations. She broadcasts a weekly<br />

show, Health Matters, for World Radio Switzerland. Passionate<br />

about health promotion and disease prevention, Michelle has a<br />

diploma in Lifestyle Medicine from the British Society of Lifestyle<br />

Medicine.<br />

Mette Theilmann<br />

Mette is a <strong>Parent</strong> Consultant who has supported<br />

parents for over 19 years. Mette helps navigate<br />

parenting with confidence so parents can raise independent and<br />

resilient children who can grow up to become well-adjusted adults.<br />

Mette is also the founder of Predictable <strong>Parent</strong>ing, and the<br />

creator of the <strong>Parent</strong>ing Community app. Her main area of<br />

expertise is consulting schools to create a confident parenting<br />

community based on the school’s budge, values, needs and<br />

challenges.<br />

Katie Greeley, LCSW<br />

Katie is a licensed therapist who founded Prevention<br />

Education Solutions. With over a decade of experience<br />

as an addiction counsellor and provider of prevention services<br />

to international schools around the globe, she brings extensive<br />

expertise to the field. Prevention Education Solutions takes a<br />

modern, evidence-based approach to alcohol and other drug<br />

prevention, offering prevention education in over 40 countries, as<br />

well as across the United States.<br />

Cath Brew<br />

Cath Brew is a global LGBTQ+ inclusion consultant<br />

and coach who helps parents to see queerly and get<br />

confident with raising LGBTQ+ kids. She also works with those<br />

who support families, providing guidance on how to navigate<br />

diverse genders and sexualities cross culturally.<br />

Robert Hughes<br />

Robert is a finance graduate who studied at a leading<br />

London university and has since gone into the world<br />

of education. He’s passionate about promoting the importance of<br />

financial literacy for young people and is always keen to share the<br />

knowledge he’s gained from over 20 years of research in his field.<br />


GES IS<br />


Our <strong>2023</strong> A Level graduates<br />

achieved outstanding results:<br />

• 100% pass rate<br />

• 47% A+-A grades<br />

and went on to study at top<br />

universities in Switzerland,<br />

the UK and around the world.<br />



Geneva English <strong>School</strong><br />

More than a school

MEET THE<br />


Interview with Dr Conrad Hughes,<br />

Ecole <strong>International</strong>e de Genève (Ecolint)<br />

For almost 100 years Ecolint has<br />

pioneered international education.<br />

From modest beginnings, it has<br />

evolved into one of the largest and most<br />

diverse international schools in the world.<br />

Today, Ecolint welcomes over 4500 students<br />

across their three campuses daily. Recently,<br />

Dr Conrad Hughes was appointed to the<br />

role of Director General - becoming only<br />

the second internal appointee to this role<br />

since 1949.<br />

Leading a school of Ecolint’s size,<br />

diversity and legacy comes with its<br />

challenges. However each challenge brings<br />

an opportunity for innovation, learning and<br />

growth - something Ecolint both welcomes<br />

and strives for. We sat down with Conrad to<br />

chat about his background, experience and<br />

his vision for Ecolint going forward.<br />

What brought you into the field of<br />

education?<br />

I was born in South Africa and my first<br />

schooling was a very unimaginative,<br />

dogmatic experience during apartheid<br />

times. I did not enjoy it - I remember<br />

frequently crying on the way to school.<br />

Then my life changed. I went to an<br />

international school in Eswatini (at the time<br />

Swaziland).<br />

From there, unconsciously, I became an<br />

educator. As is often the case, I was moved<br />

by some of the teachers that I had. One<br />

teacher in particular, a French teacher,<br />

was extremely passionate about what he<br />

was teaching. He seemed to be able to see<br />

potential in all of us, myself included. This<br />

marked out a major part of my educational<br />

philosophy, which is to see gifts in students<br />


“A relevant curriculum allows our students to<br />

contribute to a world where there is more inclusion,<br />

sustainability, and peace.”<br />

and work towards converting those gifts into<br />

talents.<br />

From there I went on to complete degrees<br />

in English and education. I started as<br />

an English teacher. I taught in India, in<br />

France, in the Netherlands and then went<br />

into school leadership and took on various<br />

roles: Diploma coordinator, Director<br />

of Education, Campus and Secondary<br />

Principal, and now Director General.<br />

So what has led me here? I think it is<br />

probably a desire to influence the lives<br />

of people through education. And when<br />

you’re in leadership, you can do that in a<br />

particularly powerful way. I love Ecolint and<br />

everything it stands for and so I’ve wanted<br />

to be part of that [leadership] since joining<br />

the institution.<br />

As the new Director General, what are<br />

your goals - both long and short term -<br />

for Ecolint?<br />

Getting to our strategic imperatives for next<br />

year has been a collective and consultative<br />

process. They are based around developing<br />

a relevant curriculum. We have to make<br />

a concerted effort to ensure that what<br />

children are learning is building them up to<br />

face planetary challenges. This means the<br />

following:<br />

1. Teaching and developing attitudes,<br />

understandings, and behaviors that are<br />

sustainable for the planet.<br />

2. Modeling, teaching for and developing<br />

inclusion. This means knowing how to<br />

navigate spaces where there is diversity,<br />

being an inclusive leader and follower,<br />

being interculturally competent, and being<br />

interpersonally sensitive.<br />

3. Education for peace, which is really<br />

Ecolint tradition. It goes all the way back to<br />

our origins.<br />

I would say that a relevant curriculum<br />

allows our students to contribute to a world<br />

where there’s more inclusion, sustainability,<br />

and peace.<br />

Alongside that there is the ongoing pledge<br />

of the educator, which is to make sure<br />

that children are flourishing. All schools<br />

are facing - post-covid - a spike in cases<br />

of mental health problems, anxiety and<br />

depression. It is our challenge to instill<br />

confidence, spark joy, create community,<br />


and allow students to enjoy the wonders<br />

of what it means to be a young person in<br />

school. The idea of flourishing is important<br />

to me. But not only for students, but for<br />

adults as well.<br />

On human flourishing, we are developing<br />

an appraisal system that is really going to<br />

be much more geared towards bringing out<br />

the gifts and potential of colleagues, while<br />

our alternative transcript is a rewiring of<br />

approaches to assessment so that students’<br />

non academic gifts are recognised and<br />

celebrated alongside more traditional<br />

intellectual constructs.<br />

To sum up, it is curriculum relevance<br />

and human flourishing. Those are the two<br />

drivers for next year.<br />

Long term, we are entering into an<br />

exciting phase of Ecolint history. In 2024-<br />

25 we will celebrate our centennial (100<br />

years of Ecolint) and it will be the first year<br />

of our 24-30 strategic plan.<br />

What are the most pressing challenges<br />

you are facing and how are you<br />

addressing them?<br />

It is interesting because there is the what<br />

and then there is the how.<br />

There is, for example, the use of<br />

technology. We believe that technology<br />

must be used in a creative and ethical way.<br />

We have to be much more innovative and<br />


creative in the way we integrate technology<br />

into pedagogy, especially generative open<br />

source artificial intelligence. We have to be<br />

constantly aware of the ethical implications<br />

of the use of technology as it becomes<br />

increasingly powerful. We are very lucky<br />

at our school to have world leaders in<br />

technology and excellent ICT campus<br />

partners.<br />

So, That is the what.<br />

But to answer your question, the how is<br />

equally important. It is about being clear<br />

and being kind. You might have heard<br />

of Brene Brown’s statement “Clarity is<br />

kindness”. I think one of the problems that<br />

many teachers face is the perception of<br />

initiative overload. That comes from a lack<br />

of roadmapping. It is easier said than done,<br />

but the better you plan things the more<br />

secure people feel. The more prepared they<br />

are, the better they can fold that into their<br />

day-to-day work.<br />

Then there is the question of kindness<br />

per se. It might sound trivial but it is<br />

actually quite important because it<br />

can really lift people in their work. It is<br />

something I think we all need to face in<br />

schools, not just for students and the way<br />

that they interact with each other, but<br />

between parents and the school. It is how<br />

we can continually show up as our best<br />

selves. We need to focus on being kind to<br />

each other because if we do that, a lot<br />

of the other objectives fall into place<br />

naturally.<br />

I surveyed a lot of people and had focus<br />

group discussions and what was coming up<br />

a lot was, “we just want to get together. We<br />

want to reconnect after years of pandemic”.<br />

We are making a concerted effort to<br />

celebrate cultural events together, to bring<br />

more students together around these events<br />

and rallying points. These are the things<br />

that make school memorable I think.<br />

You have worked very hard to build a<br />

robust school community. How do you<br />

keep that community going, especially in<br />

this post-Covid era?<br />

Some of the important themes that we<br />

are going to be looking at next year will be<br />

driven by design teams and those teams<br />

will have students, parents, staff and board<br />

members on them. It is about distributed<br />

leadership and getting everybody involved.<br />

Remember the old African proverb “If you<br />

want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go<br />

far, go together.”<br />

Every person in the institution - everyone<br />

- has to understand the values of the<br />

school and feel united by them. We are not<br />

separating teachers from the extracurricular<br />

activity coaches, or from technical services.<br />

We are all in this together.<br />

My job will be to ensure that everybody<br />

understands the apex of our pyramid<br />

because that will unite us. And it also gives<br />

a renewed sense of energy to everybody in<br />

terms of what they are doing - the higher<br />

moral imperative is why we are here.<br />

What is going to keep you at the<br />

forefront of innovation?<br />

The word innovation, I think, is very<br />

important in education today. Why?<br />

Because we essentially have the same<br />

assessment model that we have seen<br />

since the late 1800s, despite the rapid<br />

evolution of the nature of work. <strong>School</strong>s<br />

have remained fairly change resistant<br />

and one of our important projects is the<br />

Learner Passport, which is a broadening<br />

of assessment. We have put together a<br />

group called the Coalition to Honour all<br />

Learning with over 50 different schools and<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 11<br />

universities - they have joined us and are<br />

interested in what we are doing and what<br />

we are seeking to reform.<br />

What does it mean to be educated? What<br />

does it mean to be a gifted, thriving person<br />

who can contribute to society? It is much<br />

more than your ability to perform on a<br />

handful of narrow, high-stakes assessments.<br />

We know that and yet our school system<br />

is not really doing much about it. Not in<br />

terms of summative assessment, not at<br />

the end of the student’s journey. We are<br />

presenting the world with Ecolint graduates<br />

who carry with them a passport that<br />

describes everything that they have done in<br />

school, outside of school, extracurriculars,<br />

academics, social impact work, arts, sports<br />

and so on.<br />

We have separated the Ecolint Learner<br />

Passport into seven competences that we<br />

call Global Competences. This is a project<br />

that we have designed with UNESCO’s<br />

<strong>International</strong> Board of Education, who are<br />

our historic partners since 1924. Excellence<br />

remains at the forefront of innovation<br />

and education with this very important<br />


We are pushing the sustainability<br />

agenda - really bringing it to the top of<br />

our list of priorities. We are designing a<br />

global citizenship education course with<br />

UNESCO and recently we have been<br />

joined by the United Nations Office of<br />

Human Rights on this project. This is a<br />

two-year mission that will see us develop a<br />

curriculum that will be available to other<br />

schools around the world if they want<br />

to use it, so that students are learning<br />

intentionally about social psychology,<br />

education for peace, and about sustainable<br />

development.<br />

What competencies are must-haves for<br />

today’s students to succeed in our rapidly<br />

changing world?<br />

Firstly we need to look at the word<br />

competence or competency. It is<br />

important to note our understanding of<br />

it as - and this comes from UNESCO - a<br />

unity of knowledge, skill and attitude.<br />

If you think about it, when you hire<br />

someone you have got their knowledge<br />

which is their experience and their<br />

qualifications. You have got their skills; what<br />

they can do. But then there is attitude. For<br />

example, are they trustworthy? Are they<br />

pleasant to work with? Do they have an<br />

entrepreneurial mindset? And those three<br />

things need to work together. The current<br />

assessment system does not really assess all<br />

three. It is more heavily weighted towards<br />

knowledge, and to a lesser extent skills.<br />

What are these competences for us?<br />

Lifelong learning: learning how to<br />

learn, curiosity, creativity, critical thinking,<br />

communication skills, problem solving,<br />

reflection, and innovation.<br />

Self-agency: initiative, drive/motivation,<br />

endurance/grit/resilience, responsibility,<br />

entrepreneurship, accountability, selfmanagement,<br />

exercising rights and<br />

responsibilities, self-value.<br />

Interactively using diverse tools and<br />

resources: impactful and efficient use<br />

of resources, responsible consumption,<br />

interfacing with tools.<br />

Interacting with others: teamwork,<br />

collaboration, negotiation, leadership,<br />

followership, conflict management, respect<br />

for others.<br />

Interacting with the world: balancing<br />

rights with responsibilities, balancing<br />

freedom with respect, balancing power<br />

with restraint, being local and global,<br />

environmental custodianship, global<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 12<br />

awareness.<br />

Multi-literateness: reading and writing,<br />

numeracy, digital literacy, data literacy,<br />

technological literacy, coding, media<br />

literacy, financial literacy, cultural literacy,<br />

health literacy.<br />

Transdisciplinarity: mastery within<br />

and across STEM (sciences, technology,<br />

engineering, and mathematics), the arts,<br />

the humanities, social sciences, religions,<br />

languages, and vocations.<br />

To be literate in the perfective tense<br />

means that you come out of school being<br />

really good at something. After 15,000<br />

hours at school, if a child is not really good<br />

at something, I think that the school systems<br />

failed them. We must identify these gifts<br />

and make sure that we do what we can<br />

to nurture them. Everybody can become<br />

excellent at something.<br />

The seven global competences are stable.<br />

They’re not going to go away and we need<br />

to educate students towards them.<br />

Are there any plans to collaborate with<br />

other international schools in terms of<br />

knowledge sharing?<br />

We have a close relationship with the<br />

schools in our coalition. We are looking at

ways of collaborating around alternative<br />

transcripts. One of our goals within the<br />

coalition is to set up a conference that will<br />

bring educators from around the world to<br />

work with us. We are part of Switzerland,<br />

so obviously, we are part of the Swiss<br />

Group of <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>s and I am<br />

quite keen on us building relationships with<br />

public schools. We have done this on a few<br />

occasions through our arts programme. For<br />

example, we put on a play that involved a<br />

number of students from the state system.<br />

We will be organising a sports competition<br />

towards the end of next year. That will<br />

allow students to play with students in<br />

cantonal teams. One of the challenges that<br />

international schools have always faced is<br />

putting our students into contact with the<br />

host country and making sure that they are<br />

not just growing up in a bubble.<br />

What legacy do you hope to leave at<br />

Ecolint?<br />

I think to me the most important legacy that<br />

anyone can leave behind them, is not their<br />

achievements. Rather, it is the anecdotes<br />

of how they were. So, I hope people can<br />

remember me as someone who was ethical,<br />

sincere and kind.<br />


AI and<br />

ChatGPT<br />

in the<br />

classroom<br />

The real question is not whether machines<br />

think but whether men do – B.F Skinner.<br />



Great skepticism on AI abounds,<br />

and many see it as a threat.<br />

Already, studies in universities are<br />

finding how technology may be disruptive<br />

in ways not intended: respondents note a<br />

rise in student plagiarism, cheating and<br />

distractibility, which they attribute to easy<br />

and ready access to mobile technologies.<br />

We are at a junction in time where the<br />

scholarly world and its attempts to curb<br />

plagiarism are not keeping up with the<br />

rapidly improving technology of the time.<br />

Therefore, should schools simply ban the<br />

use of AI tools, and trust that the students<br />

will work independently?<br />

Changing Times<br />

Marshall Mcluhan witnessed a contrast and<br />

a divide in education and technology, even<br />

as far back as the 1960s. He was observing<br />

that schools simply were not keeping<br />

up with rapidly growing technological<br />

mediums for educational purposes, and<br />

that traditional teaching methods could not<br />

coexist with new technologies, and therefore<br />

had to limit student access to mediums, as<br />

opposed to encouraging them to utilize all<br />

tools available to them in order to emerge<br />

with full understanding into a rapidly<br />

changing world. Technology has continued<br />

its rapid advancements, and now schools<br />

are far behind.<br />

American Political Scientist Simon A.<br />

Herbert famously commented on the<br />

changing world of information: ‘In an<br />

information-rich world, the wealth of<br />

information means a death of something<br />

else: a scarcity of whatever it is that<br />

information consumes’. The multitude<br />

of new mediums that now exist for any<br />

student with internet access to engage<br />

with, what information consumes is rather<br />

obvious: it consumes the attention of its<br />

recipients. Hence a wealth of information<br />

creates a poverty of attention. Students<br />

must understand the cost of information<br />

to properly develop their own learning<br />

strategies.<br />

ChatGPT in the classroom:<br />

revolutionising education or an<br />

imminent threat to the learning process?<br />

In recent years, the integration of artificial<br />

intelligence (AI) models like ChatGPT in<br />

educational settings has gained significant<br />

attention. ChatGPT, based on the GPT-3.5<br />

architecture developed by OpenAI, has the<br />

potential to enhance classroom interactions<br />

and revolutionise education. However,<br />

it is crucial to recognise and address<br />

the potential dangers associated with its<br />

usage. This article explores the benefits of<br />

incorporating ChatGPT in the classroom<br />

while highlighting the need for caution and<br />

understanding the potential risks involved.<br />

Enhanced Learning Experience<br />

One of the main advantages of using<br />

ChatGPT in the classroom is the potential<br />

for an enhanced learning experience.<br />

Students can engage in interactive<br />

conversations with ChatGPT, ask questions,<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 14<br />

and receive immediate responses, fostering a<br />

deeper understanding of the subject matter.<br />

ChatGPT can also provide personalised<br />

feedback and explanations, catering to<br />

individual students’ needs and promoting<br />

self-directed learning. These benefits<br />

have the potential to improve academic<br />

performance and make learning more<br />

engaging and accessible.<br />

Ethical Concerns and Bias<br />

As with any AI model, ChatGPT presents<br />

ethical concerns and risks of bias. The<br />

language model learns from vast amounts<br />

of data, including text from the internet,<br />

which can introduce biases present in the<br />

training data. This bias can perpetuate<br />

stereotypes, reinforce discrimination, or<br />

present inaccurate information. Educators<br />

must be vigilant and critically evaluate the<br />

responses generated by ChatGPT to ensure<br />

accuracy, fairness, and inclusivity. Proper<br />

oversight and continuous monitoring are

essential to mitigate the risks of biased or<br />

harmful content being propagated in the<br />

classroom.<br />

“Another significant concern with ChatGPT is the potential<br />

for providing unreliable or incomplete information.”<br />

Privacy and Data Security<br />

The usage of ChatGPT in the classroom<br />

raises concerns regarding privacy and data<br />

security. AI models like ChatGPT require<br />

students’ interactions to generate responses,<br />

which means that user data, including<br />

personal information and conversations,<br />

are stored and processed. Educational<br />

institutions must prioritise data privacy,<br />

ensuring that students’ data is protected,<br />

securely stored, and used solely for<br />

educational purposes. Transparent policies<br />

and explicit consent mechanisms should<br />

be in place to safeguard student privacy<br />

and prevent the misuse of their personal<br />

information.<br />

Limited Human Interaction<br />

While ChatGPT can enhance classroom<br />

interactions, it also presents the risk<br />

of reducing the importance of human<br />

interaction. Education is not solely<br />

about acquiring knowledge but also<br />

about developing social skills, emotional<br />

intelligence, and collaborative abilities.<br />

Relying too heavily on AI models like<br />

ChatGPT may hinder the development of<br />

these essential skills. It is crucial to strike a<br />

balance between utilising AI as a tool and<br />

maintaining human connections, ensuring<br />

that students have ample opportunities for<br />

face-to-face interactions and discussions.<br />

Unreliable or Incomplete Information<br />

Another significant concern with ChatGPT<br />

is the potential for providing unreliable<br />

or incomplete information. AI models<br />

like ChatGPT do not possess real-time<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 15<br />

knowledge or the ability to fact-check<br />

information. Consequently, there is a risk of<br />

students receiving incorrect or misleading<br />

answers, which could lead to confusion<br />

or the reinforcement of misconceptions.<br />

Educators must encourage critical thinking<br />

and provide students with the necessary<br />

tools to evaluate and verify information<br />

independently, complementing the<br />

usage of ChatGPT as a supplementary<br />

resource rather than a primary source of<br />

information.<br />

The New Normal<br />

ChatGPT has the potential to transform<br />

the classroom by offering enhanced<br />

learning experiences, personalised<br />

feedback, and increased accessibility.<br />

However, educators and educational

institutions must be cautious of the<br />

potential dangers associated with its<br />

usage. Ethical concerns, bias, privacy,<br />

limited human interaction, and unreliable<br />

information are critical issues that need to<br />

be addressed. By acknowledging these risks<br />

and implementing appropriate safeguards,<br />

educators can harness the benefits of<br />

ChatGPT while mitigating its potential<br />

dangers, creating a balanced and effective<br />

learning environment for students.<br />

Though it may be preferable to ignore<br />

it, AI tools have found their way into<br />

classrooms, whether teachers are willing to<br />

accept it or not. We believe that instead of<br />

ignoring the issue, or banning the use of AI,<br />

proper education on its risks and benefits<br />

must be undertaken, and students should<br />

make their own conclusions on how much<br />

they can rely on AI tools for their work.<br />

More than ever students must be tempted<br />

to actually desire for their own benefit to<br />

learn, as if a student can have an essay<br />

written for them by AI, then corrected to<br />

have perfect spelling and grammar, and<br />

submit it with no effort, then what is to stop<br />

“Though it may be preferable to ignore it, AI<br />

tools have found their way into classrooms,<br />

whether teachers are willing to accept it or not.”<br />

them?<br />

We believe it is critical that the students<br />

themselves reach the conclusion that, while<br />

the internet may have all the answers one<br />

would ever need to effectively formulate<br />

answers for almost any prompt a Middle<br />

<strong>School</strong> teacher may give them, they should<br />

still form their own conclusions on the<br />

work. If a teacher can effectively motivate a<br />

student to learn on their own, then they will<br />

develop far more than a student who learns<br />

only what they are told to learn.<br />

Adapting to these changing times is<br />

a difficult process, that will not happen<br />

overnight. However, we believe that with<br />

modern technology must come a more<br />

modern approach than simply limited<br />

the usage of the AI tool. For two classes<br />

of a total of 25 students (ages 13-14), I<br />

gave them the task of creating a short<br />

presentation, and I said that they could<br />

use any tools they wanted – The aim was<br />

to show how quickly a presentation could<br />

be prepared using AI, so that they could<br />

then revise the information in order to<br />

show understanding. However, one class<br />

agreed that I was ‘cheating’, and not a<br />

single one used ChatGPT at any point. In<br />

another class, one student used it, but failed<br />

to do any follow up research, and did not<br />

effectively present the information on the<br />

screen. These small pockets of analysis are<br />

part of a greater discussion of AI in our<br />

school, where students are encouraged to<br />

ask questions, and talking about or using<br />

ChatGPT is not taboo. Therefore, through<br />

concentrated discussion, we believe the<br />

students can come to their own conclusions<br />

on the benefits and potential risks of using<br />

AI for their schoolwork.<br />



British Embassy Berne<br />

Presents:<br />


FOR A DAY<br />


The British Embassy Berne is<br />

delighted to announce the launch<br />

of Ambassador for a Day 2024!<br />

The campaign is an initiative of the UK<br />

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development<br />

Office and is designed to empower young<br />

people with the skills they need to become<br />

our future leaders.<br />

To make a difference in the longer term,<br />

it is essential that young people are engaged<br />

in formal political processes and have a say<br />

in formulating the politics of today and<br />

tomorrow.<br />

Following its successful launch earlier in<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, the focus is once again on climate, a<br />



key priority for the United Kingdom.<br />

This year we are looking in more detail<br />

at the Cryosphere. Glaciers are keystones<br />

of life on Earth. As giant freshwater<br />

reservoirs, they support the planet’s life<br />

systems and influence our day-to-day lives,<br />

even for communities who live far away<br />

from them.<br />

However, glaciers are disappearing.<br />

Often considered the ‘Ambassadors of<br />

Climate Change’, this disappearance makes<br />

visible the invisible. It makes tangible the<br />

current climate change that can be hard to<br />

perceive in other ecosystems.<br />

And Switzerland’s unique landscape<br />

hosts some of the most dramatic glaciers in<br />

Europe.<br />

The “Ambassador for a Day” campaign<br />

throws a spotlight on this issue.<br />

Residents of Switzerland and<br />

Liechtenstein between 18 -25 yrs are asked<br />

to submit a photo and caption that answers<br />

the question:<br />

How have glaciers shaped your life?<br />

The winner of our photo competition<br />

will be invited to the British Embassy to<br />

learn about leadership, communication and<br />

advocacy from different Embassy members,<br />

including the Ambassador; to directly<br />

experience the working world of a British<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 19<br />

ambassador for a day.<br />

In addition, they will also win a trip to the<br />

University of Salford in March 2024, where<br />

they will join a field trip to North-West<br />

England and the Lake District to conduct<br />

research about the impact of glaciers on the<br />

regional geography.<br />

Ambassador for a Day <strong>2023</strong><br />

The launch of the initiative in Switzerland<br />

and Liechtenstein focused on climate<br />

and gender. After reviewing a multitude<br />

of submissions from right across the<br />

country, our Jury voted Ellie Tsai from the<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Basel as our winner.


His Majesty’s Ambassador James Squire’s<br />

wife, Kate Squire, presented Ellie with her<br />

certificate at a surprise event in the lead up<br />

to <strong>International</strong> Women’s Day.<br />

In the summer of <strong>2023</strong>, Ellie visited<br />

the British Embassy to meet Ambassador<br />

Squire and participate in a plethora<br />

of activities, workshops and meetings,<br />

including a lunch with the Polish<br />

Ambassador to Switzerland, H.E. Iwona<br />

Kozlowska. Ellie had the chance to learn<br />

key skills from our senior diplomats and to<br />

share her own ideas for change, particularly<br />

in the realm of climate and gender<br />

diplomacy.<br />

Feedback from some of the winners from<br />

around the world:<br />

“Thank you for giving me the self-confidence I<br />

needed and thank you for believing in me and my<br />

abilities. For the first time I feel significant and<br />

unique, capable of achieving my goals without a<br />

problem. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Without<br />

Ambassador for a Day, this would not be a reality.<br />

My words can change lives, destinies and move<br />

mountains… ”.<br />

All information can be found on<br />

www.ambassadorforaday.ch<br />


I’VE FOUND<br />


Our <strong>International</strong> A-Level programme is a<br />

gateway to some of the top universities in<br />

Switzerland and around the world.<br />

Email admissions@iszn.ch or call<br />

+41 (0) 44 830 70 07 to find out more.<br />

www.iszn.ch<br />



Learning Beyond Classroom Walls:<br />

Nurturing Holistic Development<br />

through Outdoor Education<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 22<br />

Aholistic education that develops the whole child should<br />

expose students to outdoor learning opportunities and<br />

offer pathways for deeper, sustained skill development<br />

toward independence in outdoor pursuits. We want every child<br />

to find their passions. Wouldn’t it be great if each found an<br />

outdoor activity to love? A love of outdoor activities also promotes<br />

ecological awareness and sensitivity toward environmental<br />

sustainability and responsibility, essential in a time that demands<br />

action to protect our climate.<br />

At <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Basel, our Vision 2030 is supported by<br />

four pillars, two mentioned above: Whole Child Development<br />

and Sustainability. In turn, active, physically fit students who<br />

seek time outside are caring for their own wellbeing - a third<br />

pillar. We know that we have years of hard work ahead to expand<br />

and develop our outdoor education programme at ISB, but we are<br />

building on a strong foundation of signature experiences.<br />

Strengthening the Teacher-Student Connection<br />

Outdoor learning and education at ISB connect our teachers<br />

and students in unique contexts, strengthening relationships, and<br />

expose students to the diverse natural environments of Switzerland,<br />

our neighbouring countries and beyond. While we value taking<br />

curricular learning beyond the classroom, we also believe that<br />

outdoor education teaches knowledge, skills, and understandings<br />

that have intrinsic value which is not measured on exams.


In fact, robust experiences in the outdoors test students in aspects<br />

of the IB Learner Profile, central to our approach to teaching and<br />

learning as an IB World <strong>School</strong>. Our learners might find balance<br />

on a bike, take smart risks on a multi-day hike, reflect on their<br />

technique in the snow park, or simply be open-minded in trying<br />

something new.<br />

As an outdoor educator myself trained in wilderness first aid,<br />

guiding backpacking and camping excursions, and teaching<br />

whitewater kayaking, I see a variety of ways to add value to<br />

the school learning experience through contact with natural<br />

environments.<br />

Learning Through Play<br />

For young people, play is serious business, and for adolescents and<br />

adults, seriousness can compete with play, squeezing out time that<br />

should be used for fun, for messing about, for trying and failing,<br />

and for entering flow states. From the earliest ages, we partake in<br />

outdoor learning and throughout all seasons and weather as part<br />

of our Waldkinder program. Weekly visits to the nearby forest are<br />

an integral part of our curriculum in the Junior <strong>School</strong>. Off-site<br />

‘expeditions’ and ‘adventures’ offer both children and adults a<br />

catalyst for play, conversations, and a variety of transdisciplinary<br />

learning experiences. Likewise, Middle and Senior <strong>School</strong> students<br />

seize the opportunity to throw acorns, get reasonably lost, seek out<br />

chainsaw sculptures, and try nibbling on wild ramps. Students can<br />

play around, make connections, and enjoy time outside, exploring<br />

their world in ways that make sense to them.<br />

Building Skills, Connecting with Culture<br />

Like our Swiss counterparts, our school sets aside one week of<br />

precious time to go to the Alps for Winter Camps. We take students<br />

of more than 60 nationalities into an immersive experience of<br />

Swiss and alpine culture, spending days on the slopes learning a<br />

sport for their lifetime, spending mealtimes learning local customs,<br />

and spending evenings engaging in a wide range of activities.<br />

Our Duke of Edinburgh’s <strong>International</strong> Award programme<br />

similarly works toward ever greater student independence in natural<br />

environments, spiralling skills of navigation and survival over<br />

several years. The numerous students who join each year<br />

develop real confidence to be on the slopes or on trails with a group<br />

of friends, not relying on adults, deeply absorbed in the experience.<br />

Deeper Learning Beyond the Classroom<br />

Outdoor learning of rigorous classroom content can extend<br />

and deepen inquiry. During field trips, students ask meaningful<br />

questions, collect data, and consider not only answers to questions,<br />

but potential actions and the implications of those actions on the<br />

greater human and physical systems at play.<br />

Outdoor learning also encourages interdisciplinary thinking.<br />

Walking trenches from World War 1 makes the abstract concrete,<br />

building empathy for what might otherwise be historical<br />

“characters” of history and poetry. Making art from found<br />

materials in nature or learning to identify edible plants, crafting<br />

recipes to feature foraged foods from the woods around school,<br />

enables teachers to link disciplines naturally. Global issues become<br />

local, and familiar contexts make learning both sticky and<br />

meaningful when we go outside with a purpose.<br />

Not every school has direct access to rural or wild natural<br />

environments - we are truly privileged to have a low barrier for<br />

entry into outdoor learning and education. For some schools,<br />

outdoor education happens on “Week Without Walls” trips or the<br />

like. It can also happen outside of school in urban settings, as well,<br />

sampling runoff water or doing impact surveys of foot vs vehicle<br />

traffic to a market, for example. It’s not always easy, but intentional<br />

outdoor learning is worth the effort!<br />

With our outdoor education programme, we are helping<br />

hundreds of students every year find what educator John Dewey<br />

termed “a worthy leisure” for their lifetime while becoming ever<br />

more familiar with Swiss culture.<br />


Ian Hoke is an international educator with an MAT<br />

in Secondary Teaching and an MEd in Organisational<br />

Leadership and Development, working as Senior<br />

<strong>School</strong> Principal at the <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Basel.<br />

Ian is passionate about collaborating to continually improve<br />

teaching and learning, and when he isn’t at school, he’s probably<br />

in the woods or on a river with his family.<br />




Shaping Future Leaders for Diverse Career Paths<br />

In a world that is constantly evolving,<br />

the hospitality sector emerges as a<br />

beacon of opportunities, nurturing<br />

the next wave of leaders equipped with a<br />

diverse set of skills and competencies that<br />

are applicable across various industries. At<br />

the Ecole Hôtelière de Genève (EHG), we<br />

are committed to fostering a generation of<br />

individuals who are not only proficient in<br />

the hospitality sector but are also primed to<br />

excel in fields such as the luxury industry,<br />

finance, business management, and human<br />

resources. In this article, we delve into how<br />

our comprehensive curriculum is shaping<br />

Generation Z to spearhead diverse<br />

career paths, with a strong foundation<br />

in both traditional values and modern<br />

competencies.<br />

The Expanding Horizon of Hospitality<br />

Careers<br />

The hospitality sector is blossoming into<br />

a vibrant field that serves as a gateway<br />

to numerous opportunities in booming<br />

industries. Generation Z, characterised<br />

by their digital nativity and global<br />

perspective, find themselves at the cusp of<br />

this expansion, ready to carve niches in<br />

sectors ranging from the luxury industry<br />

to strategic roles in business management.<br />

EHG stands as a nurturing ground,<br />

preparing these young minds to navigate<br />

diverse career paths with a customer-centric<br />

and entrepreneurial mindset.<br />

The Entrepreneurial Edge in Diverse<br />

Industries<br />

An entrepreneurial spirit is more vital than<br />

ever in the modern workforce. It equips<br />

professionals with the agility and innovation<br />

required to thrive in dynamic environments,<br />

whether it’s crafting bespoke experiences<br />

in the luxury sector or analysing market<br />

trends in finance. This adaptability, fostered<br />

at EHG, serves as a passport to a range<br />

of promising careers, opening doors to<br />

opportunities that are both rewarding and<br />

fulfilling.<br />

Soft Skills: The Universal Currency<br />

In a world that is increasingly automated,<br />

soft skills remain a universal currency.<br />

These skills, which include emotional<br />

intelligence, communication, and problem-<br />



solving, are nurtured at EHG to prepare<br />

students to excel in roles that demand a<br />

high level of interpersonal interaction and<br />

understanding, be it in human resources<br />

fostering harmonious work environments<br />

or in business management strategising<br />

organisational growth.<br />

A Customer-Centric Approach Across<br />

Industries<br />

A customer-centric approach, a hallmark<br />

of the hospitality industry, finds resonance<br />

in various fields. This focus on delivering<br />

exceptional service prepares students<br />

to excel in a range of professions, from<br />

customer relations in the luxury sector to<br />

devising client-centric strategies in finance,<br />

fostering professionals who prioritize<br />

customer satisfaction above all.<br />

Practical Training Meets Theoretical<br />

Excellence<br />

At EHG, we believe in offering a balanced<br />

blend of practical training and theoretical<br />

knowledge. Our association with esteemed<br />

places of application such as the Geneva<br />

Marriott Hotel and the school’s Restaurant<br />

Vieux Bois offers students invaluable<br />

real-world experiences, seamlessly<br />

complementing their academic learning.<br />

Furthermore, throughout their three years<br />

of study, our students undertake a total<br />

of three internships, amounting to 15-18<br />

months of work experience, thereby laying<br />

a solid foundation for their careers and<br />

nurturing skills that are highly regarded<br />

across various industries.<br />

EHG: A Non-Profit Organization with a<br />

Student-Centric Vision<br />

As a non-profit organisation, our primary<br />

focus is on the holistic development of our<br />

students. We are committed to fostering an<br />

environment where students are nurtured to<br />

become leaders who are not only proficient<br />

in their chosen fields but also embody a<br />

spirit of service and excellence that sets<br />

them apart in the competitive job market.<br />

Generation Z: Spearheading the Future<br />

with Hospitality Education<br />

Generation Z stands at the forefront of<br />

this exciting new era, ready to lead with<br />

a blend of traditional values and modern<br />

competencies. Their affinity for technology,<br />

coupled with a desire for work-life<br />

balance, aligns perfectly with the evolving<br />

dynamics of various industries. Here are<br />

ten compelling reasons why Generation Z<br />

should consider a career in the hospitality<br />

industry:<br />

1. Technological Integration:<br />

Harnessing the power of technology to<br />

enhance customer experiences.<br />

2. Global Networking Opportunities:<br />

Building connections with professionals and<br />

peers from around the world.<br />

3. Creative Problem-Solving:<br />

Developing innovative solutions to meet the<br />

dynamic demands of the industry.<br />

4. Leadership and Team<br />

Management: Cultivating leadership<br />

skills through hands-on experience in team<br />

management.<br />

5. Customer Service Excellence:<br />

Mastering the art of delivering exceptional<br />

customer service.<br />

6. Entrepreneurial Ventures: Gaining<br />

the skills necessary to launch and manage<br />

successful entrepreneurial ventures.<br />

7. Sustainable Practices: Learning to<br />

implement sustainable practices in business<br />

operations.<br />

8. Cultural Competency: Enhancing<br />

cultural competency through exposure to<br />

diverse customer bases.<br />

9. Career Flexibility: Enjoying a flexible<br />

career path with opportunities across<br />

various industries.<br />

10. Personal Development: Fostering<br />

personal growth through continuous<br />

learning and development.<br />

We invite prospective students to embark<br />

on a transformative journey with EHG,<br />

where education serves as a bridge to a<br />

world of diverse and lucrative opportunities.<br />





Your Unforgettable Adventure Awaits<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 26<br />

As the golden hues of autumn drape the Bernese Oberland,<br />

Interlaken unfurls a cornucopia of unforgettable<br />

experiences. Welcome to a world where nature’s splendour<br />

mingles with adrenaline-fuelled adventure, where the tranquil and<br />

the thrilling coexist, offering something for everyone in the family!<br />

Glide on the Mystical Lake Brienz<br />

Embark on a serene but invigorating kayak tour across the<br />

mesmerising Lake Brienz. As you traverse its tranquil turquoise<br />

waters, you’ll find yourself encased in a stunning panorama of<br />

mountains draped in vibrant autumn foliage. This is a chance<br />

to drink in the enchanting beauty of Lake Brienz from a<br />

breathtakingly unique perspective!<br />

Witness the Majestic Dance of Wildlife on Niederhorn<br />

The Niederhorn comes alive with the break of dawn, inviting you<br />

on a guided wildlife observation tour. Witness the vibrant dance<br />

of life as chamois, ibex, marmots, and sometimes rock ptarmigans<br />

scurry in search of food amid the majestic Alpine landscape. Make<br />

this experience more memorable by spending the previous night at<br />

Berghaus Niederhorn, watching the captivating sunset and waking<br />

up to a beautiful morning in the Swiss Alps.<br />

Swing Through the Trees at Ropes Park<br />

For those craving a hit of adrenaline, the Ropes Park in the heart<br />

of Interlaken promises a day of fun-filled adventure. With wooden<br />

bridges, Tarzan swings, and zip lines, this forest playground is<br />

perfect for individuals, groups, and families alike. Safety gear and


instructions are provided, so all you need to do is unleash your<br />

inner Tarzan!<br />

Explore the Mystical St. Beatus Caves<br />

If the weather plays spoilsport, the St. Beatus Caves offer a thrilling<br />

alternative. Explore a kilometre of the Niederhorn massif on an<br />

illuminated path, discovering stalactites and stalagmites formed<br />

over millions of years. Round off the day with regional culinary<br />

delights at the newly renovated restaurant Stein & Sein and<br />

broaden your knowledge at the fascinating cave museum.<br />

2 Nights -<br />

2 Adults -<br />

2 Children<br />

(under 16) - from<br />

CHF755<br />

This autumn, let Interlaken be your family’s playground. Book your<br />

adventure today and create memories that will last a lifetime!<br />

Relax at Hotel Seaside Spiez<br />

After a day of exploration, retreat at the Hotel<br />

Seaside Spiez, situated in Europe’s most beautiful<br />

bay. Our Family <strong>Autumn</strong> Adventure package includes<br />

two nights in a family room, a hearty breakfast<br />

buffet, a Spiez voucher worth CHF 100.00 for family<br />

activities, free Wi-Fi, parking, and more! With the<br />

PanoramaCard, your family can enjoy free use<br />

of public transport in the region, discounts on<br />

excursions, and other exciting activities.<br />


What should you do when<br />

your child tells you they’re<br />

feeling burnt out?<br />


It can be easy as an adult to think that<br />

kids have it easy – but they can feel<br />

just as stressed, overwhelmed and low<br />

as anybody else at times. Children and<br />

teenagers aren’t immune to burnout, and<br />

often they can struggle to label their feelings<br />

and reach out for help and advice.<br />

As a parent or guardian, it’s vital to<br />

recognise the signs of burnout when your<br />

child is struggling with their mental health,<br />

to enable you to support them through it in<br />

a positive way.<br />

By addressing, validating, and reassuring<br />

your child, you’ll teach them healthy coping<br />

skills and equip them with the knowledge<br />

and skills to better manage their mental<br />

health as an adult. Here is our guide on<br />

what to do if your child tells you they’re<br />

struggling.<br />

Validate their feelings<br />

One of the worst things anyone can do<br />

to someone who asks for help is to belittle<br />

or dismiss their feelings. Children and<br />

teenagers need to know that it’s normal to<br />

struggle with mental health sometimes – it’s<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 28<br />

just part of life. Between all the pressure<br />

of school, choosing a career and social<br />

expectations, it’s no wonder young people<br />

feel overwhelmed and stressed at times.<br />

Burnout is a state of mental exhaustion,<br />

which often comes as a result of ignoring<br />

the signs of stress for too long. If your child<br />

is struggling to try and stay ahead, keep<br />

up, or catch up with expectations, they will<br />

eventually burn out.<br />

Showing empathy and compassion is<br />

important and helps your child feel safe and<br />

able to open up about their feelings. Once

“Sugary and processed foods spike blood sugar levels and leave us<br />

susceptible to mood swings and crashes, whereas more balanced options<br />

rich in protein and healthy fats support positive wellbeing.<br />

you know the issues, you can start to create<br />

healthy coping mechanisms, adjust routines,<br />

and find solutions to prevent further excess<br />

stress.<br />

Rethink their routine<br />

Sometimes a simple change in routine can<br />

throw us out of our comfort zones. If your<br />

child has been getting less sleep than usual<br />

or trying to fit too much studying in without<br />

regular breaks, their mood will undoubtedly<br />

be impacted. Remind your child of the<br />

importance of taking breaks and taking<br />

care of themselves properly.<br />

It may be a good idea to sit down and<br />

map out their day to see where they can<br />

shift things around and create more time to<br />

relax and decompress. Creating time to step<br />

away from their routine and have fun is a<br />

great way to recharge and help heal feelings<br />

of burnout.<br />

Ensure they’re making enough time to<br />

rest, and perhaps look at how much screen<br />

time they are getting. Excess screen time<br />

can interrupt our cardinal body clocks and<br />

make it more difficult to get adequate, good<br />

quality sleep.<br />

Focus on building self esteem<br />

Low self-esteem is a risk factor for burnout,<br />

as people who have a low opinion of<br />

themselves tend to have a fear of failure<br />

and self-doubt. If you’re hearing negative<br />

self-talk, find some time to have fun, spend<br />

time together and encourage your child or<br />

teenager to see themselves for the incredible<br />

person they are. Setting a good example<br />

when it comes to self-care and speaking<br />

positively about yourself also helps to foster<br />

high self-esteem in your children.<br />

You could also help them to check over<br />

their study plans or schedule to check they<br />

are fitting in enough self-care time, and<br />

suggest where they are perhaps asking too<br />

much of themselves or need to set more<br />

realistic goals.<br />

Ask the school for support<br />

Whilst you may not be able to protect your<br />

children completely from the pressures of<br />

education, you can speak to their teachers<br />

and ask for support. There are a number of<br />

ways they could help to ensure your child is<br />

being encouraged and supported with their<br />

studies, from pushing back deadlines to<br />

offering additional learning opportunities or<br />

additional reading materials.<br />

Help your child or teen to feel reassured<br />

that it’s a good thing to ask for support<br />

and understand that they shouldn’t<br />

feel embarrassed to do so. Keeping<br />

communication lines open between yourself,<br />

your child and the school is the best way to<br />

ensure they are supported. It will also help<br />

you to all recognise if they begin to feel<br />

symptoms of anxiety or burnout again in<br />

the future.<br />

Celebrate non-academic achievements<br />

Whilst achieving good grades is a wonderful<br />

thing to do, there’s so much value to a<br />

person beyond their academic performance.<br />

It’s helpful to remind your child of this<br />

frequently, especially as they enter the<br />

higher education years where there tends<br />

to be a heavier focus on grading and career<br />

planning.<br />

Once they feel burnout, your child may<br />

begin to experience other symptoms of low<br />

mood such as anxiety and depression. By<br />

focusing on their achievements outside of<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 29<br />

school, you can help them to feel lighter.<br />

Also, by encouraging them to focus on<br />

their positive personal attributes, hobbies<br />

and interests they will naturally feel better<br />

about themselves and begin to heal from the<br />

feelings of burnout.<br />

Check their diet<br />

Everyone tends to opt for less healthy<br />

options when they are feeling stressed – so<br />

it’s worth enquiring what your teen has<br />

been fuelling themselves with if they are<br />

feeling burnt out. Sugary and processed<br />

foods spike blood sugar levels and leave us<br />

susceptible to mood swings and crashes,<br />

whereas more balanced options rich in<br />

protein and healthy fats support positive<br />

wellbeing.<br />

Keep communication open<br />

Naturally, once your child or teen shares<br />

their feelings of burnout it’s important to<br />

check in with them regularly in the future.<br />

Even if they seem happier and less stressed,<br />

reviewing their goals, plans and routines<br />

every so often will help to avoid them falling<br />

into a similar pattern again.


Zermatt to Gornergrat:<br />

One Ride, Many Seasons<br />

High mountain peaks, enormous glaciers and views that are second to none: Gornergrat embodies<br />

the Alps like no other destination. Take in the Matterhorn and join us on a journey with the oldest<br />

electric rack railway in Switzerland.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 30<br />

Imagine you are standing at the Gornergrat train station in<br />

Zermatt, just before 9 a.m. It is a cool October day and the last<br />

of the mist disappears, revealing the golden Larch forests.<br />

For many locals, this is the start of the most beautiful time of<br />

the year - The quiet weeks in October and November when the<br />

landscape around Zermatt shines in strong yellow hues while light<br />

dances in ways you cannot imagine.<br />

Today you will take a very special journey. Your train arrives<br />

on time to the very minute. 125 years ago, pioneers created a<br />

spectacular rail route into the mountains with the simplest of<br />

tools. Thanks to them, we are able to climb almost 1,500 meters<br />

in a mere 33 minutes. The inaugural journey to Gornergrat took<br />

place on August 20, 1898, and was the first electric cog railway in<br />

Switzerland.<br />

In honour of the anniversary of this first voyage, one of the first<br />

locomotives to make this journey has been carefully restored. Now<br />

the Lok 3003 sparkles elegantly and grabs everyone’s attention as<br />

soon as they enter Gornergrat station. The so called “Golden Spot”<br />

is the perfect spot for a souvenirphoto with the Matterhorn in the<br />

background. If you want to delve even deeper into the history


of the Gornergrat Bahn, you can visit the special anniversary<br />

exhibition in the “Matterhorn Museum” in Zermatt. There you<br />

will find photos, videos, and exhibits from times gone by.<br />

You relax in your train compartment, already high above<br />

Zermatt. Between the colourful Larches you catch a glimpse of<br />

the Matterhorn! It seems even more majestic as you travel higher<br />

and higher. The rocky peak, already covered in snow provides the<br />

perfect contrast to the golden landscape below. From time to time,<br />

you spot a hiker, sharing your enjoyment of this magnificent setting.<br />

Speaking of hiking, the cool autumn months are perfect for<br />

hiking through the Pine and Larch forests. There are also mountain<br />

lakes around Gornergrat, some of which reflect the Matterhorn<br />

on their mirror-like surfaces. Where there are many guests in<br />

summer, you are now almost alone on the road. But don’t forget<br />

warm clothing, enough provisions, good shoes, and rain protection<br />

- autumn weather can quickly change.<br />

Next stop: Riffelberg. Now you are already at over 2500 meters<br />

above sea level. We have long left the tree line behind us and rocks<br />

and glaciers now dominate the landscape. The view sweeps uphill<br />

through the large windows, where the first dusting of snow can<br />

already be seen.<br />

In less than two months, this area will become an enchanting<br />

winter wonderland, inviting you to go skiing, tobogganing, or<br />

snowshoeing. Together with Cervinia in Italy, Zermatt forms one of<br />

the largest contiguous ski areas in the world. In total, 360 kilometres<br />

of pistes await skiers of all abilities. The highest toboggan run in<br />

the Alps is also located at Gornergrat and is accessible with the<br />

Gornergrat Bahn. There are also pristine snowshoe trails with<br />

deep views of the glacier landscape. There is truly something for<br />

everyone.<br />

The train stops. You have arrived at the summit and realize that<br />

your seats on the right-hand side (in the direction of travel) were<br />

a fantastic choice, providing the best view of the Matterhorn for<br />

almost the entire journey!<br />

As an aside, if you would prefer a more meandering journey, the<br />

NostalChic Class offers unique views thanks to photo stops along<br />

the way. You travel in the newly renovated, historic railcar from<br />

the 1960s making this already exciting journey into an experience.<br />

You can also enjoy culinary delicacies along the way and a gourmet<br />

menu at Gornergrat.<br />

You have made it to Gornergrat! As soon as you get off the train<br />

you notice the clean, crisp air. From this vantage you can see a<br />

panoramic view of the Matterhorn and 28 other 4000m peaks. You<br />

make your way to the “Gornergrat Loop”, a short circular hike at<br />

the summit to make the most of the spectacular views.<br />

After spending a wonderful time outside, the best way to warm<br />

up is either with a hot chocolate in the restaurant of the legendary<br />

Kulm Hotel or in the new, interactive exhibition “ZOOOM the<br />

Matterhorn” where you use high-tech periscopes to zoom in close<br />

to the Matterhorn! Right next door, the view can be experienced<br />

from all perspectives in the immersive 3D cinema and a virtual<br />

reality paragliding flight.<br />

Time flies far too quickly up here and sadly it is time to descend.<br />

You comment to one another how much you would love to stay to<br />

see autumn turn to winter. But today there is only enough time for<br />

a quick snowball fight with the children. On the way down past the<br />

<strong>Autumn</strong> leaves you admire them one last time as you start planning<br />

your next trip: Gornergrat in winter!<br />



Building lasting behavioral change<br />


“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me”.<br />

As a kid born in the 70s, this<br />

sentence was commonly thrown<br />

around. The intention is clearly to<br />

help a young person develop a thick skin. As<br />

an adult, I’m not convinced that this saying<br />

holds any value at all. No matter how you<br />

slice it, words can be incredibly hurtful. Not<br />

only can they be hurtful, but also, when<br />

properly placed, very powerful. Funny<br />

enough, when you look at certain words,<br />

you can see other words embedded in them.<br />

Have you ever considered that when you<br />

add an “s” to the word “word,” you have<br />

the word “sword”? Words can be swords.<br />

However, rather than assessing words<br />

for the damage they can create, this article<br />

seeks to shed light on how we, as parents,<br />

can use words to create positive change in<br />

our children; how we can use these words to<br />

our advantage. Often, it is not our message<br />

that needs to change, but by changing one<br />

single word, the subconscious message<br />

and how our children interpret it can<br />

change the whole message. Neurolinguistic<br />

Programming is an entire field dedicated<br />

to subconscious influences and how our<br />

language can impact them. Similarly,<br />

therapies such as Dialectical Behaviour<br />

Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy<br />

understand the power of words. From<br />

these therapies, several words and messages<br />

warrant consideration. While not all will be<br />

revealed here, this article will address a few<br />

when it comes to behaviour modification or<br />

redirecting behaviour. Additionally, there<br />

are instances where using fewer words or no<br />

words at all can be more impactful, as we<br />

recognize that words can be superfluous.<br />

“No!”<br />

One word that is most commonly used,<br />

especially during the toddler years, is the<br />

word “no.” The word ‘no’ is crucial as it<br />

is a stopping word; it prohibits you from<br />

engaging in certain actions or moving<br />


toward specific things. It is important when<br />

a toddler is about to stick their fingers in<br />

a socket to keep them safe, it is short, fast,<br />

and effective. However, the word “no”<br />

is often overused in daily situations as a<br />

stopping word where a child is then left<br />

to think for themselves as to what now<br />

to do! For instance, when a child asks if<br />

they can watch tv and is met with a simple<br />

“no”, it becomes a blocking behaviour.<br />

Unfortunately, the child is then likely to<br />

persist in questioning, as they have not been<br />

provided with redirection. This can lead<br />

to escalation and meltdowns. Redirecting<br />

behavior in a positive and effective<br />

manner involves more than just saying<br />

“no.” It requires clear communication,<br />

understanding, and offering alternatives.<br />

Positive framing and offering alternatives.<br />

Instead of using a negative response like<br />

“no,” reframe your message in a positive<br />

light. For example, if someone is doing<br />

something you want them to stop, you can<br />

say, “I appreciate your enthusiasm, but let’s<br />

try doing it this way instead.” Alternatively,<br />

if they are met with “why don’t you go<br />

and draw or play Legos or build your fort<br />

instead”, they are now being directed to<br />

alternative activities which makes it more<br />

likely that they will give up on the TV line<br />

of questioning.<br />

Providing Choices. Empower children by<br />

providing options to choose from, so they<br />

feels more involved in the decision-making<br />

process. This approach fosters cooperation<br />

and engagement. For instance, you could<br />

say, “How about you choose between option<br />

A or B. What do you think?”<br />

“And” not “But”<br />

Instead of using “but”, which can negate<br />

the preceding statement, use “and” to<br />

add another positive aspect into the<br />

conversation. For example, you might<br />

say, “I like your idea, and I think we can<br />

make it even better by...”. This is a concept<br />

central to Dialectic Behaviour Therapy<br />

(DBT). The term “Dialectical” means<br />

trying to understand how two things that<br />

seem opposite could both be true. For<br />

example, accepting yourself and changing<br />

your behaviour might feel contradictory.<br />

However, DBT teaches that it’s possible for<br />

you to achieve both these goals together.<br />

By understanding dialectics, you start to<br />

see that there is more than one way to<br />

solve a problem and that two seemingly<br />

opposite ideas can be true at the same<br />

time. The simple summary of a dialectic<br />

in DBT is to remember the power of<br />

“AND”. People often try to provide positive<br />

feedback followed by constructive criticism.<br />

However, when we say, “you did a good<br />

job on your homework, but you could still<br />

do better”, that completely negates the<br />

positive statement and the child is left with<br />

the fact that they should do better, feeling<br />

disappointed. On the other hand, saying<br />

“you did a good job on your homework,<br />

and you could still do better”, validates both<br />

statements and leaves the child feeling more<br />

hopeful. Look at the differences between<br />

these examples:<br />

• I am disappointed in you, but I still love<br />

you > I am disappointed in you AND I still<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 33<br />

“The words “I love<br />

you” actually do<br />

not mean so much<br />

without the look or<br />

the touch, the hug<br />

or the tone.”<br />

love you.<br />

• I understand your point, but I am allowed<br />

to disagree with you > I understand your<br />

point AND I am allowed to disagree with<br />

you.<br />

• For those who are aware of the word<br />

“but”, they often try to replace it with<br />

various words to make it less negative, such<br />

as ‘however’, ‘nevertheless’, ‘conversely’,<br />

and ‘yet’ among others. These words have<br />

the same impact as “but” as they negate the<br />

previous statement. Using the word “and”<br />

will give you a positive outcome and a much<br />

more compliant child.<br />

I<br />

There are a few important points to<br />

consider here. When you find yourself


feeling upset with your child and formulate<br />

a statement along these lines “You make me<br />

feel upset when you ignore me while I am<br />

talking,” the likely outcome is putting them<br />

on their backfoot, and an argument could<br />

ensue. The problem with this sentence<br />

is that it implies that the child made the<br />

parent upset, which places blame on the<br />

child. However, from Cognitive Behaviour<br />

Therapy (CBT), we learn that our feelings<br />

do not depend on what the other person<br />

said or did; instead, it is what we think<br />

about what the other person said or did<br />

that makes us feel our strong feelings. This<br />

concept is truly empowering, as it means<br />

that we are in control. While we cannot<br />

change what someone said or did, we do<br />

have the ability to change our thinking<br />

about it. This is a powerful understanding<br />

as it means that the other person is not<br />

in control of us. For instance, if I were to<br />

think, “Johnny is so rude, he can’t even<br />

be bothered to listen to me, he clearly<br />

doesn’t care about me”, I clearly am<br />

going to feel quite upset. However, if my<br />

perspective shifts to “Johnny is a typical<br />

teenager, probably has important things on<br />

his mind like exams or friend problems”,<br />

that would be equally true and such a<br />

perspective would lead me to feel calm<br />

and perhaps approach the situation in a<br />

different way. The moral here is that we<br />

own our feelings as we own our thoughts;<br />

thus, it isn’t really Johnny who made me<br />

upset. The statement “you make me feel”<br />

does two things; it disempowers me as I<br />

am giving my power away of owning my<br />

feelings, and secondly, it is blaming so will<br />

put Johnny on his backfoot. Johnny likely<br />

wasn’t trying to upset me; he was lost in his<br />

teenage thoughts (perhaps!). The alternative<br />

statement “when you ignore me while I<br />

am talking to you, I feel upset”, would<br />

give a different outcome. Johnny would<br />

not perceive it as blame, and understand<br />

that the feeling lies with me. If you can<br />

express your experience in a way that does<br />

not attack, criticize, or blame others, you<br />

are less likely to provoke defensiveness and<br />

hostility, which tends to escalate conflicts.<br />

It also helps prevent the other person from<br />

shutting down or tuning you out, which<br />

tends to stifle communication. Ultimately,<br />

using ‘I-messages’ help create more<br />

opportunities for the conflict resolution by<br />

creating more opportunities for constructive<br />

dialogue about the true sources of conflict.<br />

Taking it one step further, these are the<br />

steps to a more collaborative outcome and<br />

reduction of conflict:<br />

1. “When you _______________ ” state<br />

observation<br />

2. “I feel, or I think _______________ ”<br />

state feeling<br />

3. “Because _______________ ” state need<br />

4. “I would prefer that _______________ ”<br />

state preference<br />

Instead of saying: “I hate when you yell at<br />

the kids.”<br />

Say “When you yell at the kids, I feel angry<br />

because I need the kids to be treated with<br />

respect. I would prefer that you not raise<br />

your voice or curse in their presence.”<br />

This approach does not put the child on<br />

the backfoot as they are not being blamed;<br />

it explains the need and offers a solution.<br />

This is where a conversation starts rather<br />

than being met with a shutdown or an<br />

argument.<br />

You are<br />

This aligns somewhat with the concept of<br />

“I statements”, this is where we associate<br />

a behaviour with a child’s character,<br />

unknowingly. Many of the statements<br />

we make are not what we intend them<br />

to be, however, they embed into a child’s<br />

subconscious in ways we did not anticipate.<br />

This creates a situation where the behavior<br />

change decreases as the child seems to give<br />

up. The way in which we communicate<br />

can leave a lasting impact on their selfesteem,<br />

emotional well-being, and their<br />

willingness to learn and grow. We will often<br />

have to correct our children; this is part<br />

of parenting. It’s important to distinguish<br />

between criticizing the behavior itself and<br />

criticizing the child as a person. When we<br />

try to separate the behaviour from the child,<br />

it becomes more likely to effect change<br />

without adversely affecting our child’s<br />

belief in themselves or self-esteem. For<br />

example, when a child has a messy room<br />

and we say, “look at this room, Johnny, you<br />

are so messy and careless”, it implicitly<br />

indicates to the child that they are messy,<br />

and that is a character trait which can’t<br />

be changed. As such what happens is that<br />

Johnny is less likely to clean his room and<br />

more likely to believe the premise that he is<br />

messy resulting in lower his self-esteem and<br />

efficacy. However, when we say, “Look at<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 34<br />

this room, Johnny, you are being messy”, all<br />

we changed is “you are being” from “you<br />

are”, we changed one word. This one-word<br />

change conveys a different message to the<br />

child. Now, it reads as a behaviour that<br />

Johnny is having, and Johnny implicitly<br />

understands that it’s a behavior that can be<br />

altered. Consequently, he becomes more<br />

inclined to make the change. One step<br />

further is to be more specific, e.g., “Your<br />

toys are scattered all around your room;<br />

people can trip over them. Have a look at<br />

finding a better place for them”. This takes<br />

all the emphasis off Johnny’s character,<br />

explains why this is a problem, and offers a<br />

solution. One step further is to ask Johnny<br />

how he plans to solve this problem. If he<br />

can’t come up with an answer, you can<br />

suggest a couple of options for him to<br />

choose from. This final step encourages<br />

accountability since suggestion came<br />

from him, so he is more likely to do it and<br />

continue to do so.<br />

Specific Praise<br />

From the work of Dr. Dweck, we now<br />

universally recognize the importance of the<br />

development of growth and fixed mindsets.<br />

We now understand how greatly important<br />

praise is in fostering a “can do” mindset.<br />

Such a mindset encourages persistent effort,<br />

willingness to tackle greater challenges, and<br />

personal growth. We can create permanent<br />

change by being specific in our praise as<br />

to what it is we want to encourage. This<br />

encourages the person to continue the<br />

behavior you want to see. For example, you<br />

might say “I really liked how you handled<br />

[situation]. Keep up the good work!” Or for<br />

those kids that struggle to sit for long, if they<br />

manage to sit for a given time, you could<br />

offer praise like “wow, you did such a great<br />

job at sitting for x amount of time, keep it<br />

up”. In doing so, the encouragement goes<br />

towards the child’s action, and the child<br />

will focus more on that action in the future.<br />

Likewise, this praise holds true for any<br />

work, homework, action, etc. that the child<br />

performs. Always make the praise about<br />

the content and not an ability praise. Praise<br />

that emphasizes innate abilities, talents, or<br />

static qualities can contribute to fostering a<br />

fixed mindset, e.g., you’re so smart, you’re<br />

so talented, you’re a natural, you’re the best.<br />

Praise that promotes a growth mindset,<br />

on the other hand, emphasize effort,<br />

improvement, learning, and resilience. E.g.,<br />

“I can see how hard you tried on these


“When a child asks if<br />

they can watch tv and is<br />

met with a simple “no”,<br />

it becomes a blocking<br />

behaviour. Unfortunately,<br />

the child is then likely to<br />

persist in questioning,<br />

as they have not been<br />

provided with redirection.”<br />

sums, your effort really shows”, “I love<br />

how you always ask questions, that is how<br />

you learn and grow, keep it up” etc. It’s<br />

about getting specific. Inadvertently, it also<br />

fosters a sense of connection. Because the<br />

praise is so specific, the child perceives it to<br />

be genuine and this means you have paid<br />

attention to them. At first, it is harder than<br />

giving a blanket statement, but it becomes<br />

easier as you practice. It also is rewarding<br />

as you see your child continuing to strive,<br />

push themselves further and grow. One<br />

addition to this section on praise is, it has to<br />

be genuine! Kids (and even adults) can feel<br />

ingenuine praise and it will have the inverse<br />

effect!! Here’s an example:<br />

Problem: Johnny never participates in class<br />

discussions.<br />

Desired Behavior: Actively participating in<br />

class discussions.<br />

Praise: “I really appreciate how you shared<br />

your thoughts, Johnny. Your input added a<br />

lot of value to the discussion.”<br />

A final note: words are important and<br />

can greatly impact lasting behavioral<br />

change. The way we deliver these words<br />

are equally important! Studies have shown<br />

that in communication, a speaker’s words<br />

are only a fraction of their efforts. The<br />

much-quoted work by Prof. Mehrabian<br />

quantifies that words account for 7% of<br />

personal communication, while tone of<br />

voice, and body language respectively<br />

account for 38% and 55% respectively. For<br />

instance, If I said “wow that is such good<br />

use of colours, Johnny” in a monotone<br />

voice, looking at the floor with my arms<br />

folded, how would that land? It would likely<br />

be quite confusing and not be met with<br />

much belief. Children are more sensitive to<br />

nonverbal cues and emotional signals, and<br />

these elements can greatly influence their<br />

understanding, behavior, and the quality<br />

of your relationship with them! Often,<br />

parents don’t need words to communicate<br />

their thoughts to their children. I have<br />

a few pictures of grannies and parents<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 35<br />

looking at their children/grandchildren<br />

with expressions of complete adoration, it<br />

is hart warming to capture. No words are<br />

needed; the child captures that look and<br />

responds with a smile, it is imbedded deep<br />

in their brain, they feel loved. Smiling at<br />

your children has a direct impact on their<br />

limbic system, the brain region responsible<br />

for processing emotions, social interactions,<br />

and bonding. Smiles are one of the earliest<br />

forms of nonverbal communication that<br />

infants respond to. When you smile at your<br />

children, it triggers feelings of attachment<br />

and emotional bonding. The words “I love<br />

you” actually do not mean so much without<br />

the look or the touch, the hug or the tone.<br />

We all do some of these things naturally<br />

in our day-to-day lives. This article<br />

hopefully adds some tools to your toolbox.<br />

We all need tools in our toolbox and some<br />

of these tools are mighty handy as we<br />

navigate parenthood without the proverbial<br />

manual that our child should have been<br />

born with.

Nurturing<br />

Young Hearts:<br />

Creating Havens of<br />

Belonging and Kindness<br />

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

Imagine for a moment, a place that<br />

should represent safety, growth, and the<br />

promise of a brighter future – a school.<br />

Now, envision an 11-year-old child<br />

named Tim, walking down its corridors<br />

with a heaviness that transcends his years.<br />

He should be full of excitement, curiosity,<br />

and dreams, but instead, his steps echo with<br />

the weight of an unbearable burden.<br />

Picture the heartbreaking scene as Tim<br />

becomes a target for relentless cruelty –<br />


beaten, kicked, and subjected to hurtful<br />

words that pierce through his innocence.<br />

The pain etched on his face is a stark<br />

reminder that the sanctuary of learning has<br />

transformed into a battleground of fear and<br />

despair.<br />

As a parent, you can empathise with the<br />

wrenching helplessness felt by Tim’s mum<br />

and dad. Their hearts ache as they watch<br />

their child’s spirit crumble under the weight<br />

of this senseless torment.<br />

They yearn to shield him from harm’s<br />

way, to wipe away his tears, and restore<br />

the light in his eyes. Yet, the grip of<br />

powerlessness tightens its hold, leaving them<br />

grappling with an agonising dilemma.<br />

This heart-wrenching tale is based on<br />

a true incident which recently graced the<br />

pages of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung aka<br />

NZZ, the oldest newspaper in Switzerland.<br />

It’s a stark wake-up call that resonates<br />

beyond the headlines.<br />

Such incidents underscore the pervasive<br />

issue of school bullying, a disturbing reality<br />

that casts a long shadow on a child’s wellbeing<br />

and overall development.<br />

The urgent need to address this issue is<br />

evident, and it starts with recognising that<br />

school bullying is the most widespread form<br />

of violence among adolescents.<br />

According to data from the UNESCO<br />

Institute for Statistics almost 1/3 of young<br />

teens worldwide have recently experienced<br />

bullying.<br />


“Bullying not only inflicts immediate<br />

harm but can trigger a cycle of<br />

vulnerability, leading to risky behaviours<br />

and substance abuse.”<br />

The Impact of Bullying:<br />

Bullying transcends mere physical harm,<br />

inflicting deep emotional wounds and<br />

isolation. Its repercussions extend beyond<br />

the immediate victims, seeping into the<br />

fabric of the school community and eroding<br />

a sense of belonging.<br />

The ‘Centre for Disease Control &<br />

Prevention’ (CDC) in the US defines<br />

bullying as “any unwanted aggressive<br />

behaviour(s) by another youth or group of<br />

youths, involving a power imbalance, and<br />

repeated multiple times.”<br />

Verbal harassment is the most commonly<br />

reported form of bullying, followed by<br />

social harassment, physical bullying, and<br />

cyberbullying. Further research reveals that<br />

globally, 27% of children aged 11–15 are<br />

involved in bullying as victims, perpetrators,<br />

or both.<br />

The Vicious Cycle and the Power of<br />

Belonging:<br />

Bullying not only inflicts immediate harm<br />

but can trigger a cycle of vulnerability,<br />

leading to risky behaviours and substance<br />

abuse. Herein lies the importance of<br />

fostering a profound sense of belonging<br />

within the school environment.<br />

A child’s sense of belonging is intricately<br />

linked to their ‘locus of control,’ influencing<br />

their perceived agency over their own lives.<br />

When adolescents feel disconnected,<br />

they often view their peers as the ones who<br />

control whether they are accepted or not,<br />

instead of feeling like they have the ability<br />

to influence their own sense of belonging.<br />

Some sample statements from the 20 or<br />

so we typically ask students to self-report on<br />

regarding their sense of belonging at school<br />

include:<br />

- People at school notice when I am good at<br />

something.<br />

- People at my school care if I am absent.<br />

- I can share my problems with my<br />

classmates.<br />

- I feel like my ideas count at my school.<br />

These statements are designed to<br />

assess various aspects of students’<br />

interactions, emotional connections, and<br />

overall experiences at school. By asking<br />

students to reflect on these statements<br />

and express their thoughts, educators and<br />

school administrators can gain a deeper<br />


understanding of how students perceive<br />

their school environment and their sense of<br />

belonging within it.<br />

This information can then be used to<br />

inform targeted interventions, policies, and<br />

initiatives that aim to enhance students’<br />

well-being, sense of belonging, and overall<br />

school experience.<br />

It allows educators and administrators<br />

to tailor their efforts based on the specific<br />

needs and concerns expressed by the<br />

students themselves, fostering a more<br />

supportive, inclusive, and conducive<br />

learning environment.<br />

A Holistic Approach:<br />

Addressing the intricate issue of bullying<br />

demands a multi-faceted approach. The<br />

pathways that hold the most potential<br />

in preventing bullying encompass a<br />

comprehensive strategy that engages every<br />

facet of the school ecosystem.<br />

Students, families, administrators,<br />

teachers, and essential personnel like bus<br />

drivers, nurses, and support staff can unite<br />

to weave a tapestry of respect within the<br />

fabric of the school.<br />

This collaborative effort, fueled by a<br />

shared commitment, can raise awareness<br />

and implement effective tools and strategies<br />

“When adolescents feel disconnected, they<br />

often view their peers as the ones who control<br />

whether they are accepted or not, instead of<br />

feeling like they have the ability to influence<br />

their own sense of belonging.”<br />

to safeguard the emotional and physical<br />

well-being of every child.<br />

By embracing a proactive and datadriven<br />

approach, we have the power to<br />

combat bullying, nurture a profound sense<br />

of belonging, and directly impact the<br />

mental well-being of both students and<br />

staff.<br />

This commitment extends far beyond<br />

the present moment, shaping their lives for<br />

years to come. Through empirical evidence,<br />

we possess the potential to not only enrich<br />

the lives of children and families, but also to<br />

lay the bedrock for a resilient, harmonious,<br />

and more inclusive society that thrives each<br />

and every day.<br />

At OTII, we believe that academic success can no longer be viewed as the only benchmark<br />

of a child achieving their full potential. Our unwavering focus is on fostering ‘whole<br />

school’ well-being, spanning across students from Grade 3 and beyond, teachers and even<br />

supporting the mental health literacy of parents.<br />

Driven by evidence-based practices and with prevention at the core, our insights are curated<br />

together with the Occupational Health Psychologist who has played a pivotal role in<br />

assessing the well-being of over 40,000 UN & ICRC staff members worldwide.<br />

If you share our values & aspirations to cultivate an environment that positively impacts<br />

the mental health of those you have a duty of care for, not just for now, but for a lifetime,<br />

please do reach out to us, hello@otii.io, and one of our team will be in touch with you<br />

shortly. Alternatively please visit our website: www.otii.io<br />


Are you raising an<br />

LGBTQ+ child?<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>s and carers of LGBTQ+ kids oen struggle to parent in the way they want to<br />

because they lack the resources and support they deserve.<br />

It’s common to:<br />

Feel confused and overwhelmed by terminology<br />

Have a million and one quesons, but not sure where to ask them<br />

Grieve the child they thought they had<br />

Worry about doing or saying the wrong thing<br />

Get anxious about not knowing what’s best for their child<br />

G <br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

1:1 programs and guidance for parents of<br />

LGBTQ+ kids<br />

Learn to make informed decisions<br />

Get confident with LGBTQ+ terminology<br />

Discover what your LGBTQ+ child<br />

needs from you<br />

Online LGBTQ+ allyship community<br />

L’ ?<br />

Cath Brew<br />

Global LGBTQ+ Inclusion Consultant and Coach<br />

E: admin@drawntoastory.com<br />


Kids can save lives too!<br />


Accidents and medical emergencies<br />

can happen when we least expect<br />

them. I think most adults have an<br />

idea of what to do in a scenario where first<br />

aid is needed or have undergone some first<br />

aid training at some point in their lives. But<br />

how about our children? Do they know the<br />

numbers to call in an emergency? Could<br />

they stem major bleeding? Could they<br />

give Basic Life Support, including Cardio-<br />

Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), to an<br />

unconscious person who is not breathing?<br />

This topic is thought to be so important<br />

that the European Resuscitation Council<br />

(ERC), the European Patient Safety<br />

Foundation (EPSF), the <strong>International</strong><br />

Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR)<br />

and the World Federation of Societies of<br />

Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) issued a joint<br />

statement, “Kids Save Lives”, back in<br />

2015. 1 The statement was also endorsed by<br />

the World Health Organization (WHO).<br />

Included in the statement was the<br />

recommendation that children from the age<br />

of 12 years in all schools worldwide receive<br />

two hours of CPR training every year.<br />

Sudden cardiac death claims the lives of<br />

around 2000 people every day in Europe<br />

and the United States and the figures are<br />

similar for other parts of the world. 1 It takes<br />

time for the emergency services to arrive on<br />

the scene. This means that bystanders can<br />

make an important difference to chances<br />

of survival if they have the knowledge and<br />

skills to provide Basic Life Support.<br />

Including resuscitation training in the<br />

school curriculum is a logical way to save<br />

lives. It is a bit like learning to ride a bike<br />

or learning to swim. If you do it when<br />

you are young, you are unlikely to forget.<br />

Young people have enthusiasm and desire<br />

for learning. They are also likely to pass<br />

on skills learned to other members of<br />

their family and so contribute to improved<br />

resuscitation skills in lay people overall.<br />

In countries where national initiatives to<br />

improve the management of cardiac arrest<br />

have been implemented, the statistics have<br />

been impacted. For example, in Denmark,<br />

the rate of bystander CPR almost doubled<br />

after five years. Over ten years, survival<br />

rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest<br />

improved threefold, and education of<br />

schoolchildren in resuscitation was thought<br />

to be a contributing factor. 2<br />

So, what are some of the essential skills<br />

for young people to learn?<br />

First and foremost, what number to call<br />

in an emergency. For very little ones, the<br />

Europe-wide emergency services number<br />

112 can be taught by counting their ‘one<br />

mouth, one nose and two eyes’. For older<br />

kids who already have a mobile phone,<br />


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN SUMMER <strong>2023</strong> | 41<br />


making sure they have the EchoSOS<br />

emergency App downloaded is essential. 3<br />

This literally allows them to have important<br />

emergency numbers at their fingertips and<br />

to transmit their location to the emergency<br />

services when they make their call.<br />

Then, for older primary school children<br />

and teenagers, a step-by-step approach to<br />

help a person in a medical emergency can<br />

be remembered by using the mnemonic<br />

DRABC, with teaching tailored to their<br />

age:<br />

Danger:<br />

• Your safety, as well as that of the<br />

person you are helping and any others<br />

on the scene, is paramount.<br />

Response:<br />

• Once you have made sure everyone is<br />

safe, check for a response.<br />

• Shake the person’s shoulders and ask:<br />

“Are you OK? Can you hear me?”<br />

• If they respond, don’t move the person.<br />

Find out what has happened and get help.<br />

Airway:<br />

• If there is no response, open the person’s<br />

airway.<br />

• With them lying on their back, use one<br />

hand on their forehead and the other hand<br />

under their chin to tilt their head back and<br />

lift their chin.<br />

Saskia (11years)<br />

‘I really liked the First Aid<br />

course I did with my friends<br />

and Dr Michelle. It taught me<br />

how to help someone in need<br />

- and even to save someone’s<br />

life! I think all kids should<br />

learn first aid because being<br />

prepared for things going<br />

wrong, means you can go on<br />

even bigger adventures.’<br />

Breathing:<br />

• Look, listen and feel for normal breathing.<br />

• If the person is breathing, turn them into<br />

the Recovery Position – a safe position with<br />

them lying on their side to maintain their<br />

airway open.<br />

• If they are not breathing, call for an<br />

ambulance. Ask another bystander to do<br />

this for you or use speaker function on your<br />

phone.<br />

• Send for a defibrillator if available.<br />

Circulation:<br />

• Use your hands in the centre of the<br />

person’s chest to start chest compressions.<br />

• Push hard and fast at a rate of 100-120<br />

compressions per minute.<br />

• If also giving breaths, provide cycles of 30<br />

compressions and 2 breaths.<br />

• If giving ‘hands-only’ CPR, give<br />

continuous chest compressions.<br />

• Continue CPR until a defibrillator arrives<br />

on the scene, the person shows signs of<br />

moving, opening their eyes and breathing<br />

normally, or a healthcare professional tells<br />

you to stop.<br />

These steps may sound scary, including to<br />

parents or teachers who may not feel they<br />

have the right skills themselves to inform<br />

their young people. Of course, appropriate<br />

training is needed for educators so that they<br />

feel comfortable and equipped to pass on<br />

their knowledge.<br />

As an additional reassurance, in my<br />

experience of delivering first aid training<br />

for over 12 years, children in schools, youth<br />

groups, sports clubs and scout troops alike<br />

are less restrained than adults when it<br />

comes to learning resuscitation skills. They<br />

grasp concepts quickly and love a hands-on<br />

approach, particularly when using realistic<br />

manikins to bring training alive.<br />

I firmly believe that you do not need<br />

to be an adult – kids can save lives too!<br />

Advocating for first aid and resuscitation<br />

training in schools could make a significant<br />

difference to survival rates and global<br />

statistics.<br />

1. Statement Kids save lives: Training school children in cardiopulmonary resuscitation worldwide: https://kids-save-lives.net/<br />

2. Wissenberg M, Lippert FK, Folke F, et al. Association of national initiatives to improve cardiac arrest management with rates of bystander<br />

intervention and patient survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. JAMA 2013;310:1377–84.<br />

3. EchoSOS: https://echosos.com/en/<br />


Write for us<br />

Yes, you. We’re always looking for new authors. If you’ve got an idea that will challenge our<br />

readers or provide some interesting insights, we want to hear about it.<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> was created to inform, inspire, and engage the<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Community through informative content. We always welcome<br />

having new writers join our contributor pool. You must have a strong desire to produce<br />

quality content with actionable advice that readers can apply in their own lives.<br />

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Tell us a little about yourself and what you do, which topic areas you have expertise in, and<br />

point us towards some of your existing written work.<br />

If you think this is for you, then contact us today: content@internationalschoolparent.com<br />



Discover the Joys<br />

of Kinderregion<br />

Whether you’re an experienced<br />

parent or a new explorer<br />

in the world of children,<br />

the www.kinderregion.ch website is your<br />

ultimate guide to unforgettable adventures<br />

and learning opportunities for your kids<br />

in the Zurich region - made up of Zurich,<br />

Rapperswil, Winterthur, Schwyz, Glarus<br />

and Baden. The Kinderregion online<br />

platform is packed with information and<br />

ideas tailored to the needs and preferences<br />

of children.<br />

The website has been thoughtfully<br />

designed to ease the planning of kidfriendly<br />

activities in the region. It offers an<br />

abundance of outing ideas categorized into<br />

various segments to assist you in finding the<br />

perfect activity. The categories span from<br />

summer outings, city experiences, sport and<br />

play, nature and animals, museums and<br />

culture, to learning & discovery, as well as<br />

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If you’re in search of summer outings,<br />

Kinderregion provides an impressive list<br />

of activities to make the most of the warm<br />

season. From frolic water games in the<br />

lakes and rivers to hikes on family-friendly<br />

trails, the platform has something for<br />

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For those favouring city life, the ‘city<br />

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However, Kinderregion.ch’s offerings go<br />

beyond simple outing ideas. The platform<br />

is also your source for up-to-date events<br />

targeted at children. From cultural festivals<br />

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sure to always stay informed about what’s<br />

happening in the region.<br />

Moreover, the website offers an<br />

informative blog covering a variety of<br />

topics of interest for parents and children.<br />

The blog provides valuable insights<br />

and tips addressing the particular needs<br />

and challenges of parents and children.<br />

Whether it’s about parenting tips, recipe<br />

ideas or the latest trends in children’s<br />

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The website also offers a newsletter<br />

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you can ensure you always stay up-to-date<br />

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Kinderregion.ch is more than just<br />

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unforgettable outings and activities for your<br />

kids. Discover the wonders of Kinderregion<br />

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INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 45<br />



Overcoming expat parenting guilt<br />


One thing that all parents have in<br />

common is that at some stage<br />

of their life they will experience<br />

GUILT.<br />

Guilt about what they’ve done or not done.<br />

Guilt about what they’ve said or not said.<br />

Even guilt over what their kids have done,<br />

said, not done or achieved.<br />

So, what does parenting guilt look like?<br />

It’s the feeling of having done something<br />

wrong that might have had a negative<br />

impact on our child here and now or in the<br />

future. Or when feeling torn between our<br />

responsibilities as a parent and something<br />

else that is competing for our attention<br />

i.e., work, our personal interests or just life<br />

admin. Often it’s a feeling of not being<br />

good enough, feeling inadequate at our job<br />

as parents or questioning the choices we<br />

have made that affect our child’s wellbeing<br />

and future.<br />

Why is parenting guilt bad for us and our<br />

child?<br />

When we parent our child out of guilt or<br />

fear, rather than doing what is right or best<br />

for them, we are in danger of rewarding the<br />

wrong behaviour in order to compensate or<br />

make ourselves feel better.<br />

When we do this, we run the risk of<br />

encouraging manipulation behaviours. Our<br />

children are clever scientists; always on the<br />

lookout to get what they want, get out of<br />

what they don’t want and will quickly tune<br />

into any weak point, and GUILT is a great<br />

target for them! For instance, if you have<br />

screamed at them or worked really long<br />

hours etc. you feel bad and will do anything<br />

to shake that guilty feeling and make the<br />

moment or your connection better. And<br />

your child knows how to get what they want<br />

by playing on that guilt.<br />

When living overseas, away from home and<br />

family and the life we left behind parental<br />

guilt can REALLY pile on. In this case it’s<br />

even more important to become aware of<br />

our guilt and know what to do with it so it<br />

doesn’t affect the way we parent and how<br />

our kids develop.<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 46<br />

Expat parents often struggle with<br />

additional guilt:<br />

1. Language barriers: maybe we never<br />

taught our kids one of their grandparent’s<br />

languages and now when we go ‘home’ they<br />

find it hard to integrate and communicate<br />

with their extended or close family. It<br />

might be as they grow older that they start<br />

blaming you and ask, ‘why didn’t you teach<br />

us?’.<br />

2. Local language: perhaps you feel guilty<br />

when your kids can’t join in as easily when<br />

the local kids are playing together. Or it’s<br />

hard to get involved with a local club or<br />

activity or feel comfortable going outside<br />

because they don’t understand what’s going<br />

on around them.<br />

3. Distance from family: we might have<br />

missed out on lots of family get-togethers<br />

and moments. I was talking to a mum who<br />

felt so bad that she had ‘taken her son’ so<br />

far away from her parents and deprived<br />

them and her son of seeing each other<br />

more often.


4. Living a different lifestyle than to<br />

those ‘at home’: it may be that living<br />

overseas has allowed you a more affluent<br />

lifestyle than you had at home, and it can<br />

seem remote from your friends and family’s<br />

lives. <strong>Parent</strong>s sometimes feel guilt over the<br />

way they can raise their children: private<br />

schools, expensive activities, the latest<br />

greatest gear, nice holidays etc.<br />

5. When relocating regularly: this can<br />

be a really hard one as you might feel that<br />

they never get to experience a stable home.<br />

You worry about what kind of kids you are<br />

raising, their emotional stability and how<br />

they will feel about the life you had as a<br />

family.<br />

6. When moving kids from a stable<br />

life to a new uncertain one: it can be<br />

so hard to make that decision to take our<br />

family away from their friends, schools etc. I<br />

was working with a family who was moving<br />

with their three kids to Spain to take up a<br />

big job opportunity. Their children were at<br />

good schools, had close friends, activities<br />

they enjoyed etc. so they felt really guilty<br />

uprooting them and taking all that away<br />

from them. We worked on the guilt and<br />

the HOW to relocate in a way that<br />

caused less instability and more positive<br />

opportunities.<br />

7. Splitting the family: maybe one of<br />

the parents has to work long hours or travel<br />

often which means that the family life you<br />

hoped for isn’t there anymore. I really felt<br />

this when my husband was suddenly not<br />

there most of the time Monday to Friday.<br />

Challenging your parenting guilt<br />

1. Identify the triggers to this guilt. What<br />

areas make you feel guilty? Long working<br />

hours? Your anger and reactions to your<br />

kids’ behaviours? Your child’s additional<br />

needs such as ADHD, ADD etc. – a<br />

physical need or emotional challenge –<br />

you might feel sorry for them and guilty<br />

that you might have somehow caused the<br />

situation? That you live far away from your<br />

own family? That your child has to move<br />

frequently? That you never spoke your<br />

native language to your child? That your<br />

life is so different from your friends and<br />

family back home?<br />

2. Then ask yourself: ‘how does this guilt<br />

affect the way I parent? Do you do too<br />

much for them? Allow them to get away<br />

with more screen time, eating too many<br />

sweets and junk food etc. Give them too<br />

much, i.e., mobile phones and tech devices,<br />

toys, money etc. Or worse, say YES when<br />

you mean NO, knowing that your child’s<br />

request should not be granted, but you<br />

say YES out of guilt. Unfortunately, these<br />

response behaviours from you can often<br />

make you feel MORE guilty – as deep<br />

down you know you are sometimes not<br />

doing the best thing for your child. And of<br />

course, we are then in danger of creating<br />

‘manipulation behaviours.<br />

How to tackle your guilt<br />

1. Don’t compare yourself to others:<br />

• It might be that when you look around<br />

it looks like everyone is looking so happy,<br />

doing well and has a perfect family life.<br />

Maybe they do, and good for them. But<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 47<br />

most likely they have their issues as well.<br />

And remember, all our kids are unique so<br />

what works for others might not work for<br />

you, your values, your child, or your family<br />

set-up.<br />

• Social media: Not everything you see on<br />

social media is the full story, people aren’t<br />

posting about the times they lost their<br />

temper, screamed at their child, felt bad<br />

over the life they live etc. Also, if we are<br />

living abroad and see families or friends<br />

at home getting together when we are not<br />

there, we really feel guilt and feel sorry for<br />

our child for missing out. But try to focus<br />

on those times when you ARE at home<br />

with family and friends and connecting<br />

and participating, i.e., Christmas, Easter,<br />

summer etc. – it’s OK to not be able to do<br />

it all. My brother and sister live around the<br />

corner from my parents, and they don’t go<br />

to every family gathering!

2. Reframe your thoughts:<br />

• I know how easy it is to get into a negative<br />

spiral but that is not helpful and can<br />

actually make the guilt worse. Remind<br />

yourself, ‘we can never get it totally right<br />

and become the perfect parent who raises<br />

perfect kids’. After all we are just humans,<br />

and humans make mistakes. I can only do<br />

my best and that is good enough. What is<br />

done in love IS done well. I AM doing my<br />

best (if you feel you aren’t then you will<br />

benefit from the last activity).<br />

• I am not alone with these feelings: remind<br />

yourself that most parents at some stage<br />

will feel guilty and that they are not good<br />

enough. You are not alone feeling this way<br />

– it comes with the job! No one said that<br />

parenting was going to be easy.<br />

• Put things in perspective: feeling guilt<br />

doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent.<br />

For example, if you are feeling guilty<br />

about living far away from family – put it<br />

in perspective and think that maybe when<br />

you DO see each other it is for a longer<br />

period of time, and you get to create a<br />

stronger connection. When my kids were<br />

growing up, we saw my parents three times<br />

a year (at Christmas, Easter and during<br />

the summer holidays) but it was often for<br />

weeks at a time. By just adding up the days<br />

they saw my kids more than their other<br />

grandchildren and that time was really<br />

special because they got to hang out for<br />

longer periods of time and really get to<br />

know them.<br />

And don’t forget, you are giving your kids<br />

an amazing opportunity to see the world,<br />

to meet new cultures, be exposed to new<br />

languages and input – how great is that?<br />

My kids often tell me that they love being<br />

‘international’. They don’t feel Danish or<br />

Irish, but international. They get along with<br />

all cultures, are open to travel and learning<br />

new languages. I did feel guilt along the way<br />

but they turned out more than fine!<br />

• Do it your way: there is no ‘right’ or<br />

‘wrong’ way of parenting. There is only the<br />

way that works for you, your values, your<br />

individual child and your unique family life<br />

and set-up. Right now, you are living this<br />

family life so make it work for you and get<br />

the most out of it. Be the best parent you<br />

can with what you have and where you are.<br />

3. Remind yourself of all the great<br />

stuff that you are also responsible for:<br />

• You are doing better than you might<br />

think: yes, we are good at taking the blame<br />

for so many negative things but we need<br />

to also start taking the ‘blame’ when it<br />

comes to all the good stuff in our kids’<br />

lives. Their successes, the great moments,<br />

the life experiences that you give them,<br />

the unconditional love and so on. I am not<br />

saying that you should take the credit for all<br />

your kids’ successes and achievements – but<br />

you can pat yourself on the back and think,<br />

‘maybe, just maybe, I helped them in the<br />

right direction, to get there, make the right<br />

choices’ etc.<br />

• What can you be proud of as a parent?<br />

What HAVE you done well – what are you<br />

doing OK? Remind yourself of these things<br />

every day, and every time parenting guilt is<br />

about to eat you up and make you do or say<br />

the wrong thing.<br />

• Practise self-compassion and praise: every<br />

day say to yourself the things you HAVE<br />

done right. Every time you are about<br />

to beat yourself up, STOP and remind<br />

yourself of ALL the good things you are<br />

also had a hand in.<br />

4. Can you learn and do better?<br />

Awareness of our ‘wrongdoings’: we are<br />

not perfect. Maybe we have done some<br />

things that are not OK. When these things<br />

happen, we need to apologise and think<br />

about how we can do better in the future.<br />

It’s OK to make mistakes as long as we are<br />

willing to admit them, apologise (if need<br />

be), and learn from them.<br />

What changes can you make to ease your<br />

guilt:<br />

• About your child not learning yours<br />

or your partner’s language: well, is it<br />

too late to start now? Can you start right<br />

NOW to teach them yours or your partner’s<br />

language? Or can they take language<br />

lessons? Listen to your music, watch films in<br />

your language etc. IF you feel it is too late,<br />

so be it, you did your best and we just can’t<br />

do it all and be perfect – remind yourself of<br />

all the other great things you HAVE done<br />

for them and with them.<br />

• Learning the local language: if your<br />

guilt is about understanding the local<br />

language, maybe you can start learning<br />

together; listen to the local radio, music etc.<br />

Kids learn really quickly, and it can be a<br />

fun thing to do together. When we lived in<br />

China, we had a teacher come to our house<br />

to teach us Chinese as a family.<br />

• Affluent family life: it might be that<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 48<br />

you can afford a better lifestyle than before<br />

or those at home, but you are still the same<br />

person. Remember, we don’t HAVE to spoil<br />

our kids just because we have the means to<br />

do so. Just because we can afford a cleaner<br />

doesn’t mean that our kids shouldn’t do<br />

their bit and learn to be independent.<br />

• Long working hours, away from the<br />

family: try to work on still having a family<br />

connection when you ARE together. Have<br />

regular family get-togethers/meetings (i.e.,<br />

once a week or when it suits your family<br />

life) where you talk about what everyone<br />

has done this week, what is new in people’s<br />

lives, and plan the week to come. You<br />

can create a weekly meal plan together or<br />

organise a family outing where you can<br />

all be together. Make sure you are fully<br />

present – not on your mobile phone or<br />

mentally distracted when you are together<br />

– this sends the signal ‘I DO love you’, and<br />

sometimes quality over quantity is OK.

• It’s never too late to change your<br />

parenting style: no matter how old your<br />

kids are or how far you are from being the<br />

parent you want and need to be it is never<br />

too late to start afresh. Set a long-term goal,<br />

then align your everyday behaviour. Get<br />

parenting support, read parenting books<br />

and tips and so on. I was working with<br />

a parent who had two teenage children<br />

and there was a lot that he was not proud<br />

of with his way of parenting so far – but<br />

we worked on this together and created a<br />

realistic, positive new plan for them.<br />

5. Talk to someone: talking really<br />

helps.<br />

Either with a friend or a professional. Don’t<br />

keep the way you feel inside. It might be<br />

that you are ashamed to tell others how<br />

you feel but remember they most likely<br />

will have experienced some level of guilt<br />

as well. When we talk to others about how<br />

we feel we automatically start analysing it<br />

and sorting it out. Sometimes all it takes is<br />

to hear yourself say it out loud and you can<br />

hear that you are a good enough parent,<br />

that others feel the same or get clear on<br />

what you need to do about the guilt.<br />

ABOUT ME<br />

I’ve supported parents for over 18 years, working closely with schools,<br />

companies and family solicitors. So, I can say with absolute confidence,<br />

that the <strong>Parent</strong>ing Community and my parenting coaching is based on a<br />

depth of experience and study, plus a huge passion for supporting parents.<br />

I am Danish, married to an Irish man and together we have 3 children (age 21, 23 and 25).<br />

We have lived in 4 countries and travelled all over the world. With years of experience<br />

supporting parents, my educational background and having raised 3 very different<br />

children I feel capable of supporting all family setups and challenges.<br />

I have a deep passion for nature, history, creativity, travelling and my family.<br />

All the best, Mette<br />

www.mettetheilmann.com<br />

By managing parenting guilt, you can<br />

start to enjoy the life your family is living<br />

right now and get the most out of it. You<br />

can be kind to yourself and forgive yourself<br />

when needed and learn to be the parent<br />

that your children need, right now.<br />



© Switzerland Tourism / Christian Meixner<br />

Exploring the<br />

Diverse Landscapes<br />

of Switzerland:<br />

An Adventure in<br />

Miniature and Beyond<br />

In the heart of Europe lies a land<br />

of captivating landscapes and rich<br />

historical backgrounds, Switzerland.<br />

From the majestic Alps to the picturesque<br />

lakes, the quaint villages to the bustling<br />

cities, Switzerland has much to offer. But<br />

what if you could experience the essence<br />

of this beautiful country in a nutshell?<br />

Welcome to Ticino’s Swissminiature and<br />

beyond!<br />

Swiss Miniature: Switzerland in<br />

a Nutshell<br />

Located in Ticino, the Swissminiature<br />

is a marvel that presents Switzerland<br />

on a smaller scale. Spread across a vast<br />

expanse of 14,000 square meters, the<br />

park features 128 meticulously crafted<br />

models of houses, castles, and monuments.<br />

The authentic recreations, complete<br />

with intricate detailing, represent the<br />

architectural diversity of Switzerland and<br />

are nestled amidst a sea of vibrant flowers<br />

and plants. Swissminiature is a testament<br />

to the country’s architectural legacy and a<br />

delight for those who appreciate artistry and<br />

attention to detail.<br />

Elm / Glarnerland: The Elm Höhenweg<br />

Further up north, in the region of Elm /<br />

Glarnerland, lies the Elm Höhenweg. This<br />

hiking trail is a favorite among families,<br />

groups, and senior citizens for its scenic<br />

beauty and the few meters in altitude to<br />

climb. The journey commences<br />

with a bus ride from Elm to<br />

Obererbs, followed by an<br />

exhilarating descent<br />

from Ämpächli<br />

via a cable car,<br />

mountain carts,<br />

or kick scooters.<br />

Elm Höhenweg<br />

is a perfect blend<br />

of adventure and<br />

natural beauty,<br />

providing unforgettable<br />

memories for everyone.<br />

Aargau-Solothurn: A Journey Back<br />

in Time<br />

In the regions of Aargau and Solothurn,<br />

history comes alive. The ancient castles<br />

and palaces are a window into the bygone<br />

days of noblemen and knights. Visitors<br />

can immerse themselves in medieval life<br />

through dramatic re-enactments, guided<br />

tours, and exhibitions. The residential<br />

museums offer insights into the lifestyles and<br />

living conditions of former residents.<br />

For younger guests, castle<br />

dragons and adventure<br />

playgrounds add an<br />

element of fun and<br />

excitement.<br />

© Switzerland Tourism / André Meier<br />

La Chaux-de-<br />

Fonds: A Haven<br />

for Animal Lovers<br />

- Muzoo<br />

In La Chaux-de-Fonds,<br />

the Natural History<br />

Museum and the zoo came<br />



together in 2022 to form MUZOO, a mustvisit<br />

for animal lovers. MUZOO offers a<br />

fascinating insight into the diverse animal<br />

kingdom, making it an educational and fun<br />

experience for all age groups.<br />

Romont: The Vitroparcours –<br />

An Educational Trail<br />

The Vitroparcours in Romont is a unique<br />

trail that offers an educational tour for the<br />

entire family. The trail leads visitors over<br />

the fortress walls of the medieval town,<br />

providing a glimpse into the multifaceted<br />

world of glass. It’s an easy-going,<br />

educational, and enlightening journey into<br />

the heart of medieval times.<br />

In conclusion, Switzerland is a country<br />

that continually enchants with its diverse<br />

landscapes, rich history, and unique<br />

experiences. Whether it’s the miniature<br />

wonder of Ticino or the historical charm<br />

of Aargau-Solothurn, Switzerland offers an<br />

adventure for every traveler.<br />

© Switzerland Tourism / André Meier<br />


A WORLD<br />


A <strong>Parent</strong>’s Passport<br />

to Teen Mental<br />

Health and<br />

Substance Use<br />

The State of Teen Mental Health<br />



For the past few decades, parent’s<br />

concerns about adolescent health<br />

have shifted dramatically. Forty<br />

years ago, binge drinking, drinking and<br />

driving, teen pregnancy, smoking, and<br />

illicit drug use topped the list. But when<br />

asked about the most pressing issues their<br />

generation faces today, Generation Z<br />

and Generation Alpha—youth now 11<br />

to 24 years old— commonly cite anxiety,<br />

depression, suicide, self-harm, and other<br />

severe mental health concerns. Researchers<br />

echo these concerns. From 2001 to 2019,<br />

the suicide rate among American youth<br />

ages 10 to 19 increased by a staggering<br />

40%, and emergency room visits for selfharm<br />

rose by 88%.<br />

These numbers are not unique to the<br />

United States. Adolescents and young<br />

adults worldwide are facing similar mental<br />

health challenges. While the isolation of<br />

a global pandemic and the use of social<br />

media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat,<br />

and TikTok are implicated in the rising<br />

rates of anxiety and depression among<br />

adolescents, researchers have identified<br />

these factors as only part of a trend that<br />

began well before the current decade.<br />

Simultaneously, alcohol and other drug use<br />

continue to be major concerns for parents.<br />

Adolescent mental health and substance<br />

use are intertwined. In order to effectively<br />

support teens, parents must grasp the<br />

unique environmental and developmental<br />

challenges facing young people in <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

What Is Causing This Crisis?<br />

To fully grasp the teenage mental health<br />

crisis, it’s important to understand the<br />

developing adolescent brain. During<br />

puberty, the brain prepares young people<br />

to start to process new social information<br />

– keeping up with peers’ academic and<br />

athletic performance, dating, friendships,<br />

politics, climate change, and other<br />

global events. Teens are naturally asking<br />

themselves questions: How do I measure<br />

up to my peers? How do I fit in in my<br />

school community? Where do I fit into the<br />

world at large? Information and realities<br />

previously unnoticed or disregarded as<br />

children suddenly become critical to<br />

adolescents, and many times overwhelming.<br />

Today’s young people are exposed to more<br />

information at an earlier age than any<br />

other previous generation, but the realities<br />

of a developing brain remain unchanged.<br />

Additionally, in the past few decades, a<br />

notable mismatch has emerged: puberty for<br />

both girls and boys starts earlier. However,<br />

the rest of the brain, particularly the parts<br />

that help process this influx of stimulating<br />

information, hasn’t developed any faster.<br />

It’s like giving a young person with a<br />

learner’s permit the keys to a high-speed<br />

race car in the midst of a torrential<br />

storm. Teens hit puberty earlier and are<br />

inundated with information from peers<br />

and sources like social media, online<br />

streaming services, and the 24/7 news<br />

cycle—they’re navigating an accelerated<br />

and overwhelming journey without the fully<br />

developed skills to manage it. Most parents<br />

are focused on the fear of their child falling<br />

behind in the race. The more important<br />

question for parents is simpler: How do we<br />

prevent the crash?<br />

The Connection Between Mental Health<br />

and Substance Use<br />

Several decades ago, adolescents faced<br />

predominantly externalised risks in the<br />

environment—behaviours and activities<br />

like binge drinking, drunk driving, cigarette<br />

use, teen pregnancy, and lack of safer<br />

sex practices. These risks have markedly<br />

declined over the last four decades. Today,<br />

youth confront a new set of predominantly<br />

internalised risks— earlier onset of puberty<br />

experienced by many of adolescents<br />

combined with an influx of environmental<br />

and social information has resulted in<br />

mounting stress, anxiety, and depression.<br />

Numerous studies consistently highlight<br />

stress, anxiety, or depression as the primary<br />

triggers for young people to start using<br />

alcohol and other drugs. Why? Just as<br />

with adults, getting drunk or high provides<br />

immediate relief for young people trying to<br />

alter their mood or cope.<br />

The adolescent brain is uniquely<br />

vulnerable. Stress, sadness, and anxiety<br />

are experienced more acutely by teens on<br />

an emotional and neurological basis than<br />

by adults. The amygdala, the area of the<br />

brain responsible for processing emotions<br />

and stress lies in the midbrain, also known<br />

as the limbic system. The limbic system<br />

is the same area of the brain responsible<br />

for pleasure. In an adolescent brain, the<br />

limbic system is underdeveloped, making<br />

adolescents more reactive to stressful stimuli<br />

compared to adults and more driven to seek<br />

pleasure or reward in response.<br />

Additionally, the prefrontal cortex — the<br />

brain’s hub for judgment, decision-making,<br />

and assessing long-term consequences —<br />

is the final area of the brain to mature.<br />

The underdeveloped frontal lobe and<br />

an overcharged limbic system mean<br />

young people are more likely to seek out<br />

substances to quickly alleviate negative<br />



emotional states.<br />

The midbrain’s limbic system operates<br />

like a powerful magnet, irresistibly drawn<br />

to pleasures, while the prefrontal cortex is<br />

akin to a partially constructed dam, not yet<br />

fully capable of holding back the torrent of<br />

pleasure-seeking impulses. This makes teens<br />

more susceptible to impulsive, potentially<br />

detrimental choices rather than relying on<br />

healthy coping mechanisms that can help<br />

manage stressors. Elevated stress levels<br />

further amplify this vulnerability, creating a<br />

cycle that is a risk factor nudging teenagers<br />

towards substance use as an escape route.<br />

More concerning, if teenagers turn to<br />

alcohol and other drug use as a coping<br />

mechanism for anxiety, depression, or<br />

stress management in this vulnerable<br />

developmental stage, any substance use<br />

heightens their risk of developing an<br />

addiction. Additionally, alcohol and<br />

other drugs typically exacerbate the very<br />

symptoms teens are trying to alleviate.<br />

Substance use prevents adolescents’ stillforming<br />

brains from developing resilience<br />

over time to manage day-to-day stressors<br />

without alcohol or other drugs.<br />

The Solutions<br />

For Students<br />

At Prevention Ed, we collaborate with<br />

schools to bolster their existing socialemotional<br />

learning programs and engage<br />

students in meaningful conversations.<br />

One globally recognised, evidence-based<br />

therapeutic approach for supporting teens<br />

with mental health issues is cognitive<br />

behavioural therapy (CBT). Our curriculum<br />

introduces key CBT skills and concepts,<br />

focusing on the relationship between<br />

thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. We teach<br />

students to explore key questions: What am<br />

I feeling? What am I experiencing? How do<br />

I cope with that? Prevention Specialists aim<br />

to help students monitor these moments<br />

of intense emotion and provide them with<br />

evidence-based skills to pause, identify,<br />

and respond instead of react. These are<br />

the same skills used in high-quality, formal<br />

mental health treatment, but can be applied<br />

to keep healthy kids healthy.<br />

The goal is twofold: First, to reduce the<br />

likelihood of a young person making an<br />

unhealthy choice in a stressful moment and<br />

help adolescents recognise that feelings such<br />

as stress, sadness, or being overwhelmed<br />

are natural and often temporary, and<br />

second, to equip them with tools to<br />

manage these emotions, develop healthy<br />

coping mechanisms, and mature into more<br />

rational, reflective individuals.<br />

By establishing these skills during their<br />

formative years, teenagers are paving the<br />

way for future success. They are building a<br />

blueprint that will equip them, as adults, to<br />

confront challenges with grace, persistence,<br />

and healthy strategies that serve them<br />

throughout their lives.<br />

For <strong>Parent</strong>s<br />

The challenges faced by today’s adolescents<br />

are multifaceted and demand attentive,<br />

informed support from parents. Engaging in<br />

open dialogues, staying educated on current<br />

adolescent challenges, understanding<br />

the developing teenage brain, actively<br />

participating in their emotional and mental<br />

well-being, and promoting the delayed use<br />

of alcohol and other drugs is paramount.<br />

It’s vital for parents to view themselves as<br />

role models for preserving mental health—<br />

how you respond to stress plays a crucial<br />

role in shaping how your adolescent will<br />

manage their own. Provide teens with tools<br />

or strategies to handle intense emotions,<br />

and consistently reinforce the value of<br />

seeking help when needed. Ask yourself:<br />

What coping skills do I model for my<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 55<br />

teenager? Do I reach for a glass of wine,<br />

or do I get in a workout, call a friend, or<br />

take a relaxing bath? By openly discussing<br />

your own mental health and wellness in<br />

an age-appropriate way, you’re giving your<br />

teen some ideas about how to care for<br />

themselves. Encourage your teen to find<br />

activities that work for them and prioritise<br />

self-care as a family.<br />

Lastly, in a world inundated with<br />

misinformation, ensure your teen has access<br />

to accurate information. For example, make<br />

sure they recognise that using cannabis<br />

to address anxiety is not developmentally<br />

suitable, and recent research shows that it<br />

actually heightens their risk of experiencing<br />

anxiety or depression later on in life.<br />

Similarly, relying on alcohol to manage<br />

social anxiety can hinder the development<br />

of essential social skills needed now and<br />

in the future. Proper sleep, awareness of<br />

their family’s mental health and addiction<br />

histories, engagement in extracurricular<br />

activities like sports, art, music, and<br />

dance that produce natural highs, and<br />

understanding the symptoms of anxiety and<br />

stress—while normalising that seeking help<br />

when feeling overwhelmed is a strength—<br />

are the best protective measures for young<br />


Artificial Intelligence:<br />

FRIEND<br />

OR FOE?<br />


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a<br />

remarkable tool. We use it every<br />

day in many parts of our lives. It<br />

speeds up our processes, increases efficiency,<br />

and saves organisations money, but is it<br />

really the saviour of human endeavours<br />

that we think it is? With a third of internet<br />

users being young people, it’s impact on<br />

future generations is now more relevant and<br />

important than ever.<br />

We live in a global world where diversity<br />

and inclusion are valued, especially in an<br />

international school setting. Yet, artificial<br />

intelligence requires a little more inspection.<br />

How does it fare in the face of diversity and<br />

inclusion?<br />

We talk about AI as artificial intelligence,<br />

but in another context, AI stands for<br />

Asexual and Intersex to make up the fuller<br />

acronym LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay,<br />

Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex,<br />

Asexual). This simple adjustment of<br />

two letters changes the meaning entirely<br />

and alludes to the polarities of artificial<br />

intelligence - and more specifically where it<br />

falters.<br />

Searching for the God of Efficiency<br />

In <strong>2023</strong>, a Goldman Sachs’ report declared<br />

that AI could replace 300 million fulltime<br />

jobs in Europe and the USA. Whilst it also<br />

creates a lot of opportunity, that’s an awful<br />

lot of jobs no longer available to young<br />

people leaving school and looking for that<br />

part time job whilst at college or during the<br />

holidays.<br />

AI is sold to us as the golden ticket<br />

to efficiency; a way of doing ‘mundane<br />

activities’ quickly. As a result, people<br />

have systematically been removed from<br />

factories and other sectors - replaced by<br />

machines. Think of the self-service tills in<br />

supermarkets in various parts of the world.<br />

Generations of young people have paid<br />

their way through college working a till.<br />

This loss is also especially significant<br />

for LGBTQ+ youth because autistic<br />

people are more likely to be LGBTQ+ 1 .<br />

Whilst everyone has different skills, some<br />

common strengths of autistic individuals<br />

include precision and attention to detail,<br />

mathematical and technical abilities,<br />

learning and memorising information<br />

quickly, being able to concentrate for long<br />

periods of time when motivated, and an<br />

ability to problem solve differently. These<br />

are perfect skills for what other people may<br />

1) https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/autistic-individuals-are-more-likely-to-be-lgbtq<br />


define as ‘mundane’ jobs.<br />

It raises questions. What opportunities of<br />

employment are being lost for youth and<br />

specifically for LGBTQ+ youth? Will AI be<br />

able to ensure equal access to employment?<br />

Using AI to remove the implicit bias of<br />

the job market<br />

On the plus side, AI is also being used to<br />

increase opportunities for overlooked and<br />

underrepresented individuals to obtain<br />

work. Through AI, the UK recruitment<br />

company, Clu, is challenging the way in<br />

which businesses view talent. By removing<br />

long standing barriers in the job market,<br />

they are successfully helping people to get<br />

interviews, improve candidates’ experiences<br />

and save employers’ time and money.<br />

With the explosion of social media,<br />

influencers and online work in recent years,<br />

AI also offers students the opportunity to<br />

leverage their strengths through technology.<br />

Tech-savvy youth are finding their voices<br />

online, forming public identities and in their<br />

pursuit of making a living, are challenging<br />

the need for a degree. And for students with<br />

social anxieties, working from home is now<br />

a much more viable option thanks to the<br />

Covid pandemic.<br />

Artistic Intelligence?<br />

What if we were to call AI artistic<br />

intelligence? The recent popularity of AI<br />

profile picture generators on social media<br />

has meant that many trans and non-binary<br />

youth have felt more closely aligned to who<br />

they are, been able to explore their identity<br />

safely and reduce gender dysphoria, even if<br />

only temporarily. It’s been an integral part<br />

of preparing to socially transition.<br />

However, whilst the opportunity to<br />

visually reaffirm oneself is a positive<br />

step, the increase in using AI for facial<br />

recognition remains problematic. There’s<br />

a risk of real human experiences being lost<br />

in translation. AI is only as good as the data<br />

sets it accesses, and it’s white, cis gendered<br />

heterosexual men who produce most of<br />

the world’s information. Humans design<br />

within their own image. How do you codify<br />

characteristics to avoid implicit bias? Who<br />

decides what it means to look like a man<br />

or a woman, and even more pertinently,<br />

transgender, agender, genderfluid, twospirit,<br />

gender-neutral or genderqueer?<br />

And yes, it matters. Facial recognition<br />

software could deny trans youth access<br />

to gendered spaces like bathrooms and<br />

changing rooms, or women’s only events.<br />

In the USA we have already seen adults<br />

demanding to see a girl’s genitals at a<br />

sports event to prove she wasn’t a boy. With<br />

human interaction, common sense was<br />


“With the explosion of social media, influencers and online work in recent years, AI also<br />

offers students the opportunity to leverage their strengths through technology.”<br />

prioritised in this strange circumstance.<br />

However, the binary nature of computer<br />

data would not be so accommodating<br />

and assert a firm yes or no. Further, for<br />

international families, what happens when<br />

your child’s passport photo doesn’t match<br />

their gender at the e-passport gate?<br />

There is enormous potential for AI to<br />

benefit students and assist them in school<br />

and at home. It makes learning languages<br />

easier, helps communications with their<br />

teachers, and ChatGPT certainly helps<br />

generate ideas for homework projects<br />

too! In their personal lives, it provides<br />

students with avenues to research questions<br />

that are too embarrassing for parents. In<br />

Kenya, the website www.one2onekenya.org<br />

provides a safe place to find answers about<br />

menstruation, mental health, flirting, sexual<br />

health, bodies, relationships and so much<br />

more including access to counsellors. These<br />

types of websites and apps exist in many<br />

countries.<br />

Whilst for most young people talking<br />

about these things with a parent might<br />

be embarrassing, for many LGBTQ+<br />

youth being embarrassed would be their<br />

best outcome. In countries where being<br />

LGBTQ+ is illegal or culturally condemned<br />

asking a parent is simply not an option.<br />

Online platforms like these allow queer kids<br />

to access services safely and with minimal<br />

stigma.<br />

So, dare I say, it’s a yes for artificial<br />

intelligence? However, as parents it’s worth<br />

taking the time to understand its advantages<br />

and its pitfalls. It’s easy to focus on the<br />

benefits, but it’s the pitfalls that will be<br />

much harder navigate. My advice to you?<br />

Read, research, prepare.<br />


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How to teach your child about<br />

budgeting before they start university<br />


Our university years teach us<br />

so many valuable life lessons<br />

that stick with us long after<br />

graduation. One of the most important<br />

skills any student needs to have is money<br />

management. A typical student budget<br />

has to stretch a long way, covering daily<br />

expenses, textbooks, rent and social<br />

commitments.<br />

Naturally, the more someone is forced<br />

to make conscious financial decisions<br />

during their time at university, the more<br />

comfortable they’ll feel when it comes<br />

to managing money. However, it can be<br />

useful for students to get a head start before<br />

moving into their new digs – and that’s<br />

where parents can help out. By having a<br />

conversation with them about money, you’ll<br />

be empowering them to take control of<br />

their budget from the very first semester,<br />

and give them the foundations to build a<br />

more secure financial future. Here are four<br />

things you can do to support<br />

your child before they start<br />

their course.<br />

Help them to<br />

organise their<br />

accounts<br />

Banking can be<br />

a difficult area to<br />

navigate as a young<br />

person. Although<br />

you may have already<br />

set up a bank account<br />

in their name, it’s unlikely<br />

that children will need to manage these<br />

accounts on a regular basis while living at<br />

home. However at university, it’s crucial<br />

that they’re set up with the right accounts,<br />

to ensure that they can properly<br />

manage their own finances<br />

and get the most from<br />

their money.<br />

If your child is<br />

relocating to study<br />

at an international<br />

institution, help<br />

them with the<br />

necessary research<br />

to find out which<br />

types of accounts will<br />

be available to them<br />

throughout their time at<br />


university. Getting their banking in order<br />

before they move out will help to make the<br />

transition smoother, and ensure they can<br />

stay on top of their spending from day one.<br />

Discuss the importance of saving<br />

Once they’ve got their accounts set up,<br />

now’s the time to talk to them about the<br />

importance of saving and setting monetary<br />

goals. If your child receives a loan, grant<br />

or any other kind of financial aid while<br />

at university, they’re likely to receive large<br />

chunks of money at one go. It can be<br />

tempting to overspend when they receive<br />

these payments, but encourage them to be<br />

responsible.<br />

This money is primarily intended to<br />

cover basic living expenses such as rent<br />

and groceries. Spending it irresponsibly<br />

could create problems further down the<br />

line, so help them to form good habits from<br />

the start by discussing the importance of<br />

saving for the future. As well as physically<br />

saving money by using designated accounts,<br />

you could also encourage them to look for<br />

savings when spending their money. Make<br />

the most of any student discounts offered<br />

by companies they typically shop with, and<br />

encourage them to get into good shopping<br />

habits when buying groceries.<br />

Suggest budgeting techniques<br />

Between tuition, textbooks, and social<br />

expenses, it can be overwhelming to keep<br />

track of where your money is going as a<br />

student. Fortunately, budgeting techniques<br />

can help them to take control of their<br />

finances and even save some money along<br />

the way. There’s lots of different techniques<br />

for budgeting as a student, and it may be<br />

a case of trial and error until they find a<br />

method that works for them. One popular<br />

approach is the envelope system, where<br />

you allocate cash to different envelopes for<br />

specific expenses, such as groceries and<br />

entertainment.<br />

Or, they may favour a more modern,<br />

digital approach, and utilise budgeting<br />

apps to give them a clear overview of their<br />

finances. These apps can help with tracking<br />

expenses and providing insights on areas<br />

where you may be overspending. Some<br />

bank accounts even offer a digitised version<br />

of the envelope system, allowing you to<br />

divide money into certain pots with their<br />

own goals. Regardless of which technique<br />

you choose, the key is to find a system that<br />

works best for you and helps you to stick to<br />

your budget.<br />

At times all students may get the balance<br />

slightly wrong, but ensuring they’re<br />

conscious of sticking to a budget in the<br />

long-term will help them to get a grasp<br />

of this important concept. With some<br />

dedication and discipline, anyone can<br />

master budgeting as a college student and<br />

set themselves up for financial success in the<br />

future.<br />

Talk to them about using credit wisely<br />

As students transition from adolescence<br />

to adulthood, they may find themselves<br />

confronted with a new world of financial<br />

responsibilities. While credit can be a<br />

valuable tool, it can also be dangerously<br />

alluring to those who have only started to<br />

explore its possibilities. For this reason, it’s<br />

crucial to teach students the importance of<br />

using credit wisely.<br />

One of the best ways to do this is by<br />

emphasising the impact that credit has<br />

on their future financial wellbeing. By<br />

explaining how credit scores and interest<br />

rates work and the role they play in<br />

obtaining loans and securing favourable<br />

financial terms, students will develop a<br />

better understanding of why they need<br />

to be responsible borrowers. If your child<br />

has (or plans to get) a student credit card,<br />

knowing how to use it responsibly will<br />

have a positive impact on their long-term<br />

financial health.<br />

Start the conversation<br />

Money can be a sensitive topic to bring up<br />

in a family setting, but it’s imperative that<br />

new students feel prepared to take control<br />

of their money as they enter into this new,<br />

exciting phase of their lives. Ultimately,<br />

by talking to your child in a clear and<br />

compelling way, you can empower them<br />

to make informed choices and develop<br />

the financial skills they need to thrive in<br />

adulthood.<br />


Your Guide to A-Levels<br />

A-Levels are an internationally recognised university entrance qualification and yet<br />

there are many misconceptions about their academic rigour, the ‘freedom’ they afford<br />

students, and their outcomes. We sat down with Swiss international schools - Geneva<br />

English <strong>School</strong> (GES), Brillantmont <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong>, Academia <strong>School</strong>s Group,<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Zurich North (ISZN), and Lucerne <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> - to talk<br />

about the ins-and-outs of this important pre-tertiary certification.<br />



“Through studying the A-Levels I was able to fulfil<br />

my dream of studying medicine at the University<br />

of Zürich. The A-Levels were an excellent<br />

preparation for my university studies.”<br />

Lisa Carr, Graduate of Academia <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Zürich<br />

A-levels (Advanced Level<br />

qualifications) are a crucial part<br />

of the education system in the<br />

United Kingdom and are typically taken<br />

by students aged 16 to 18 during their last<br />

two years of Secondary school. A-Levels<br />

are the most frequently sat university<br />

entrance qualification with over 10,000<br />

schools in 160 countries teaching A-Level<br />

courses. This number includes British<br />

schools outside the UK that are increasingly<br />

offering either the UK A-Level or the<br />

international variant of this certification.<br />

Although A-Levels are recognised and<br />

accepted by tertiary institutions across<br />

the globe, there is still confusion amongst<br />

parents around what the programme entails<br />

and why it might be the best fit for their<br />

child.<br />

What are A-levels?<br />

A-Levels are academic qualifications often<br />

taken after completing General Certificates<br />

of Secondary Education (GCSE), either<br />

the UK or international version, though<br />

students can access an A-Level programme<br />

from other curricula, including the MYP,<br />

provided they have achieved sufficiently<br />

strong grades in their chosen subjects.<br />

A-Levels may have either a linear<br />

or a modular structure, with AS-levels<br />

(Advanced Subsidiary) usually taken at the<br />

end of the first year. AS-Levels on their<br />

own are also formally recognised academic<br />

qualifications accepted by universities in<br />

Switzerland, Europe, the US and UK.<br />

<strong>School</strong>s outside of the UK can offer<br />

the UK or the international version of<br />

A-Levels. The <strong>International</strong> A-Levels are<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 63<br />

in essence the same as the domestic (UK)<br />

version, however, provide broader examples<br />

more suited to the international context. For<br />

instance, where the domestic A-Level may<br />

pose a UK-based question, the international<br />

version may ask in broader international<br />

terms or provide global context. Some<br />

Swiss Universities such as EPFL will only<br />

accept the UK A-Level so it is important<br />

to understand which version schools<br />

offer. Geneva English <strong>School</strong> (GES), for<br />

example, only offers UK A-Levels but other<br />

contributing schools offer the international<br />

version.<br />

Typically, students select 3 to 4 A-Level<br />

subjects, which may include mathematics,<br />

sciences, humanities, and arts. Each A-Level<br />

takes approximately 300 hours of study to<br />

complete and allows students to develop

expertise in areas they are passionate about.<br />

A-Levels also include a number of<br />

self-study hours. In these times students<br />

are expected to study their chosen topics<br />

independently and use research, critical<br />

thinking, and analytical skills to deep dive<br />

into their subjects. Some students will also<br />

choose to study the <strong>International</strong> Project<br />

Qualification (IPQ) or Extended Project<br />

Qualification (EPQ).<br />

“We have been offering A-Levels for<br />

over 80 years, which demonstrates our<br />

belief in them and their ability to open<br />

university doors worldwide. We find that<br />

students studying A-Levels are extremely<br />

motivated, since they choose the subjects<br />

in which they are interested, rather than<br />

having an imposed curriculum. This<br />

gives them ownership for their learning<br />

journey. Although challenging, students<br />

studying A-Levels still have time to play<br />

sports, essential for well-being. Plus, they<br />

participate in service-learning projects<br />

by choice rather than obligation. As a<br />

result, we see a positive circle of virtue and<br />

success.”<br />

Sarah Frei, Head of Admissions & External<br />

Relations, Brillantmont <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

How are the A-Levels assessed?<br />

A-Levels are primarily assessed via a set<br />

of standardised exams, with some courses<br />

also featuring non-examined assessment<br />

(NEA) coursework. Some schools also<br />

offer the additional <strong>International</strong> Project<br />

Qualification (IPQ) or the Extended Project<br />

Qualification (EPQ). These are delivered<br />

and graded in much the same way as a<br />

university dissertation, only on a smaller<br />

scale. The grade for this qualification is<br />

based entirely on the research, written<br />

work, and presentation of the findings. At<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Zurich North (ISZN),<br />

the IPQ is compulsory for students studying<br />

A-Levels. Principal, James Stenning<br />

said: “The IPQ is crucial for students to<br />

develop the essential skills required for<br />

successful university study. At ISZN we<br />

provide students with a mentor to support<br />

them through the research, writing and<br />

presentation process, helping them to<br />

transition from the structured world of high<br />

school essay writing to the sophisticated,<br />

self-directed style of tertiary education.”<br />

How are A-Levels different from the IB<br />

Diploma?<br />

Deciding between A-Levels and the IB<br />

Diploma can be tricky. Both pathways lead<br />

to university admission and offer valuable<br />

skills and knowledge. Broadly speaking,<br />

A-levels offer ‘deep-dive’ learning into<br />

specific subjects of interest and develop<br />

independent learners. On the other hand,<br />

the IB Diploma provides a broader and<br />

more holistic educational experience.<br />

“When looking at the key differences<br />

between the A-Levels and the IB Diploma<br />

programme, the IB Diploma is all about<br />

breadth, whereas A-Levels are more about<br />

depth and focus. Students studying A-Levels<br />

select subjects they are passionate about<br />

and, as a result, can showcase their skills,<br />

knowledge and understanding of those<br />

subjects while leaving behind other subjects<br />

they don’t enjoy or where they may struggle.<br />

The IB on the other hand is generalist to<br />

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN <strong>2023</strong> | 64<br />

the end. One is not better than the other,<br />

rather they are different, and it comes down<br />

to which programme an individual student<br />

(and their family) prefers. However, that<br />

said, the format of an A-Levels programme<br />

is more similar to that of a university<br />

course, so students may be better prepared<br />

for that next phase of their education when<br />

they get there.”<br />

Matt Williams, Headteacher, GES<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>al Worries Around A-Levels<br />

The A-Levels are too focused. My<br />

child is too young to know what they<br />

want to study at university!<br />

Although the A-Levels are extremely<br />

focused, the core skills learnt during the<br />

course of study are easily applicable and<br />

transferable to a broad range of university<br />

subjects. This means that - with the

exception of degrees such as medicine and<br />

veterinary science (which require specific<br />

subject combinations) - students can apply<br />

and be accepted into any degree of their<br />

choosing.<br />

A-Levels are not academically<br />

rigorous enough.<br />

This is possibly the greatest misconception<br />

of all. Because students focus on subjects<br />

they are passionate about, they are<br />

motivated to think critically and deepen<br />

their understanding of the topic. A-Levels<br />

are in many ways similar to the first<br />

semester, if not year, of Bachelor study.<br />

In fact, oftentimes, students with A-Levels<br />

are able to skip first year courses or receive<br />

credits towards their degrees.<br />

The A-Levels, whether the UK or<br />

international version, enable students<br />

A-LEVELS:<br />

• Students choose 3 - 4 specific subjects to study in-depth.<br />

• Offers subject-specific flexibility - meaning there are no truly compulsory subjects.<br />

This allows students to focus on their academic strengths and interests.<br />

• Two-year programme taken after completing (I)GCSEs, if already in a British<br />

curriculum school, but accessible to all students, including those who completed the<br />

MYP, with sufficiently high grades.<br />

• Primarily assessed through final exams, which are externally graded.<br />

• Recognised globally for university admissions.<br />


• Students study six subjects.<br />

• Core Components: Includes the Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity,<br />

Service (CAS), and the Extended Essay (EE).<br />

• Emphasises interdisciplinary learning and connections between subjects.<br />

• Assessment includes coursework, oral exams, written exams, and internal<br />

assessments.<br />

• Two-year programme taken after completing the MYP.<br />

• Includes a mandatory service component (CAS).<br />

• Recognised by universities worldwide for admissions.<br />


to apply to the world’s best universities<br />

including Harvard, Yale, and other top<br />

universities across the globe.<br />

“<strong>Parent</strong>s often have questions about the<br />

academic rigour of the A-Levels. Many<br />

are afraid that the 3 - 4 subjects usually<br />

selected are not enough, especially when<br />

they see “independent study” as an integral<br />

component of the programme. The<br />

ability to specialise in subjects that the<br />

student wants to study is a huge positive<br />

for the A-Levels. Academic outcome is<br />

strongly based on the motivation to study,<br />

and by focussing on subjects that are the<br />

student’s strengths, it is a clear advantage.<br />

Given the status of A-Levels as being<br />

globally accepted by universities and the<br />

depth of study required, they remain an<br />

outstanding choice for academic growth<br />

and preparation for the specialist nature of<br />

undergraduate study.”<br />

Kamran Baig, Founding Director, Lucerne<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

A-Levels are only good for the UK<br />

While A-levels are known as a UK<br />

qualification, they are recognised and<br />

accepted internationally, from the United<br />

States and Canada, the Middle East,<br />

Europe, much of Asia, Oceania, South<br />

America and beyond. This makes A-Levels<br />

a valuable credential for students pursuing<br />

higher education abroad.<br />

“A-Levels are an important credential<br />

regardless of where you apply to university.<br />

We have had students that have studied<br />

A-Levels go on to top universities in<br />

the US and Switzerland - to name a<br />

few recent examples. In addition, the<br />

world of work is also becoming more<br />

international, which means that A-Levels<br />

with their global orientation and English<br />

are gaining enormously in popularity. I<br />

think it is important that students and<br />

families understand that A-Levels will<br />

take you wherever you want to go. They<br />

are academically rigorous, trusted and a<br />

renowned pre-tertiary qualification.”<br />

Dr. Ludovic Allenspach, Co-CEO Academia<br />

<strong>School</strong>s<br />

My child will have too much free time.<br />

Although your child will likely only study<br />

three or four subjects, the expectation for in<br />

depth research and understanding means<br />

that study must be taken seriously. Even in<br />

self-study periods students quickly learn that<br />

they need to use this time effectively.<br />

Another benefit of the structure of<br />

the A-Levels is that students have more<br />

flexibility. This means that they are able to<br />

participate in sports, music and other clubs,<br />

whereas a more structured programme<br />

might see students dropping these activities<br />

if they do not fit in with their schedules.<br />

Many schools also offer the <strong>International</strong><br />

Duke of Edinburgh Award which includes<br />

voluntary service, physical recreation, skill<br />

development and adventurous journey.<br />

For students studying A-Levels “Free<br />

time”, is rather a time to study or<br />

participate in activities which form part of a<br />

well-rounded education.<br />

If my child doesn’t pass, they are<br />

stuck having to repeat everything!<br />

The good news is, all participating<br />

international schools tell us that apart from<br />

a truly rare exception, all of their students<br />

pass the A-Levels. In the exceptional case<br />

a student does not pass, it is possible to sit<br />

the exam again without repeating the entire<br />

course of study. Luckily, with particularly<br />

high pass rates for students at international<br />

schools, this is an unlikely outcome for your<br />

child.<br />

Your child’s educational and career<br />

goals are almost as individual as they<br />

are. Learning about the options that are<br />

available to them allows you to help them<br />

navigate the breadth of choices they face in<br />

selecting the right study path.<br />

There are many reasons why A-Levels<br />

may be the best fit for your child. They<br />

allow students to specialise in specific<br />

subjects of interest, helping them to develop<br />

in-depth knowledge and skills in those areas.<br />

A-Levels are academically challenging,<br />

foster critical thinking, problem-solving, and<br />

the analytical skills needed for further study<br />

and life beyond.<br />

Academia <strong>School</strong>s Group - academia-group.ch<br />

Brillantmont <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Lausanne - www.brillantmont.ch<br />

Geneva English <strong>School</strong> - https://geschool.ch/<br />

<strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> Zurich North - www.iszn.ch<br />

Lucerne <strong>International</strong> <strong>School</strong> - www.lucerneinternationalschool.ch<br />


your<br />

IS<br />

SCHOOL<br />


www.internationalschoolparent.com<br />

• Talk directly to parents looking to enrol their children<br />

• Showcase your school with a detailed description, video, photos, and inbound<br />

links.<br />

• Access analytics reports to gain valuable insights into your school’s online<br />

performance.<br />

• Keep parents informed by sending school updates<br />

to our extensive database.<br />

• Stay up-to-date by updating your school guide<br />

with the latest information whenever needed.<br />

• Make use of our blog throughout the year,<br />

ensuring your school remains in the limelight.<br />



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