I am writing this week’s newsletter from Shanghai, China where I am visiting Chinese schools and international schools in the area, accompanied by Mr Matthew Goss, who was based here for some years.
We have spent time at East Shanghai Experimental School, Dulwich College and the Ivanhoe Grammar International School. In particular, we are interested in collaborating with Ivanhoe Grammar to bring a small number of students to Gippsland Grammar to complete their VCE in 2018. These students are currently completing Year 11 under the tutelage of Ivanhoe Grammar teachers in Shanghai.
While in China I have met with principals, teachers and foreign professionals who are living and working here. I have found it intriguing and illuminating to watch these global citizens interact with the Chinese community, both culturally and linguistically. While visiting Ivanhoe Grammar, I observed their Australian Principal interacting with parents and students in both English and Mandarin. He is a fluent Mandarin speaker who picked up the language whilst studying in Beijing, which I found incredibly impressive.
It was also great to see the children at international schools, who are genuinely global citizens. They are cultural translators and comfortably move between cultures and language with ease. These students will be highly sought after in their chosen future careers. They have a deep respect and understanding of diversity. They carefully and thoughtfully curate information available to them and develop deep and considered opinions.
Mr Goss and I presented to parents on Tuesday night and it was pleasing to speak about our school, its culture, its history and where we are headed. One of the Shanghai students acted as our translator and ably negotiated the nuances of our presentation for the families present. I proudly discussed the opportunities available at Gippsland Grammar and the parents were amazed at the depth and scope of activities offered at our School. I am hopeful that these relationships will eventually create opportunities for our students to develop their global citizenship capabilities and an understanding of what is required to become a cultural translator. These are the 21st century skills that they will require to be successful in the future.
Our Year 12 students have begun their exams. I would like to thank them for the respectful manner in which they celebrated their time at the school. As usual, they prepared a wonderful video that was witty and contained some great acting by myself and other teachers at our school. However, as is often the case, the students did make fun of their teachers in jest. I would like to reiterate that any comments made about our teachers were made in fun and in no way reflect the passion and hard work that our teachers dedicate to their profession.
I look forward to returning home tonight and discussing my China experience with the Board, staff and our broader community.