Keystone Magazine - Page 58

Interview Q: What are the differences between Keystone’s Chinese curriculum and the Chinese curriculum used at other international schools? And will the program be attractive to foreign students? A: For learners of Chinese as a second language, Keystone offers students a unique opportunity – most of Keystone’s students will be mother tongue learners – for language and cultural immersion. The Chinese program content that the foreign student will study will vary depending on the Chinese language level of that student at the time they enroll. The content will be more academically advanced, for example, for those foreign students who begin studying with us at an earlier age. To be sure, the Chinese program will challenge any foreign student, regardless of enrollment age. And is most suitable for families and students who see the value in receiving a world-class, international education in a predominantly Chinese community. “…we have to be careful that we are not just telling our children what we believe to be right and wrong, but also acting out what we teach.” Q: What type of Chinese teachers will Keystone recruit? What makes a Chinese teacher effective? And how will Keystone assess their work? A: At the very minimum, a Chinese teacher must have many years of teaching experience. And teachers should have the ability to work hard and possess a strong understanding of their profession and the responsibility required of them to succeed. Teachers should also be able to demonstrate a passion for their profession and ability to effectively interact with children. For our founding group of Chinese teachers, we are focused on recruiting seasoned professionals because they will be responsible for leading the team. After a culture of excellence is established, we will consider bringing in younger and relatively less experienced teachers because they can bring new thoughts, perspectives, and an infectious energy to the team. So you will have a staff that learns from each other and grows together. Chinese teachers at Keystone will be treated equal to their peers from other countries. This means that their work will be 56 The Keystone Magazine Dai Min reading to students on Keystone’s Ladybug Day assessed and compensation determined according to a unified set of processes and criteria. Just as we expect our teachers to cultivate a student’s passion to learn, similarly, we also place the responsibility on ourselves, as an organization, to create an environment or culture that encourages teachers in their professional development. So we anticipate that our Chinese teachers will react positively and use the treatment and respect that they will receive, here at Keystone, as an opportunity to improve professionally. Q: How will teachers approach teaching if their students have a large disparity in the level of their Chinese language skills? A: For students whose mother tongue is Chinese, a difference in their Chinese language skills will not be a big issue. Instead, what concerns us most is whether or not the student has developed their higher-level thinking skills, because this is what our tests are designed to assess. If two students read the same article, for example, and one student is able to understand the abstract concepts, while the other student can only obtain a literal meaning, then there will be a wide disparity in the quality of their academic performance. So the depth of a student’s understanding is more depend [