At our Global Education Leadership Summit we have some really interesting schools from around the world coming to share their story. Sometimes, though, you don’t need to go far to find examples of education innovation. One of the featured schools at the event is Chinese International School, specifically the Hangzhou program. Its Director Richard Pratt will be sharing the whys and hows of the one year residential program. You can read below an expert of their innovation journey.
Hangzhou CIS is not a school, although it has an international school licence in China and it is not not a school. It is part of the Hong Kong based Chinese International School (’CIS’) and yet in operation enjoys considerable autonomy. It looks a bit like a school: there are classrooms and laboratories and such like and sometimes you even see us working in them but not when the weather is fine or, as often happens, we have thought up something better to be doing with our time.
Hangzhou CIS is a boarding school that is part of a day school that is 700 miles away. It is a campus within the campus of another school, Greentown Yuhua School, a large, independent school in Hangzhou and is yet under entirely independent management from that school. It is a school within a school within another school. And it is entirely its own thing.
The idea for a residential, mainland China centre was developed with, broadly speaking, two objectives. Firstly, to further develop the dual-language mission of CIS by supporting the Mandarin Chinese development of students through a year resident in Mandarin Chinese speaking China. It has always been a paradox of CIS in Hong Kong that it is a dual-language school working in English and Mandarin set in a community where the main spoken language, Cantonese, is neither of those languages. For that reason, it is important that we develop a lived experience for students in which spoken Mandarin Chinese is the default in as many contexts as possible.
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