Embracing the Journey through YCIS

Written by: Matt GradyIB Diploma Coordinator

On May 31st our Year 13 class of 2019 officially graduated from YCIS Pudong and now are eagerly looking to the next chapter in their education. Hannah Gan (Singapore) and Oliver Robinson (USA), two long term YCIS students gave the student address at graduation reflecting on their time both academically and outside of classroom at YCIS Pudong. Both students were extensively involved in the life of the school and were humble in recognizing the importance of others in supporting their journey through YCIS.

Hannah reflected on her growth at YCIS, which culminated in her appointment as Head Prefect from 2017-18. Hannah emphasized the importance of time-management demands on the IB Diploma and people; recognizing and appreciating the excellent bond between students at YCIS in supporting each other. Hannah also noted her appreciation (in hindsight) for ‘ongoing past papers’, extensive support in Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay as she prepared for final assessment in the IB Diploma. Mixed in with this was a recognition of how much joy and laughter occurred during her journey through YCIS as her cohort formed their identity amongst the YCIS Pudongcommunity.

Oliver Robinson insisted on the importance of ‘persistence’ connecting with others, and seizing opportunities in his educational journey. He shared fond memories in ECE, Primary and Secondary of jumping up for a high-five whenever he saw our Co-Principal, Mr. Hehir – and not succeeding until Year 8 in Secondary! Oliver stressed the value of ‘getting involved’ in activities such as EOTC, SISAC Sports and Student Council and how these experiences were the foundation for skill development, rich friendships; and how YCIS ultimately taught him the importance of people, collaboration and trust in others.

Hannah and Oliver will now join their class of 2019 as they head out globally to undertake further studies in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong. Hannah Gan has applied to study Media and Communications / Journalism at the National University of Singapore.  Oliver Robinson is bound for Santa Clara University in the USA to study media and film. We wish these students and the cohort of 2019 all the best in the next chapter of their education.

Youngest Learners Celebrated in Special Week

At YCIS Pudong, the focus on creating a precious and relevant learning experience begins for each student on their very first day at the school, whether they are joining in ECE, Primary, or Secondary. Under the YCIS Mission, Principles and Practices, the school believes that “the core purpose of education is character formation, and it is the most important shared responsibility of the school and home.” It is, therefore, a priority for the school to form a close relationship with every child’s parents and family to fulfil this mission.

The Week of the Young Child is one such event. The annual celebration at YCIS Pudong focuses on our youngest learners who are currently enrolled in our ECE programme.The week is a celebration of the learning journeys the children have taken and the paths on which they will continue to travel. This year, there were activities throughout the week in classes, which culminated in an outdoor bonanza on the Friday where parents and other family members joined the children in a number of activities, including badge making, singing, sandpit and water games, guided and free play on specialist outdoor equipment, and a fun family picnic at lunchtime.

The final day’s events provided an excellent opportunity for parents to witness how their children are progressing in school, for teachers to interact with parents and discuss the school’s play-based approach to learning in ECE, and for parents to get to know one another, building stronger community links. At YCIS, we place great value on helping students discover the joy of learning and on setting a solid foundation for their learning from the first day they arrive at the school, and celebrations like the Week of the Young Child bring are a fantastic highlight of the school’s philosophy in action.

Secondary Students’ Art Draws Crowds

 

Everywhere we look in the modern world, art and design surround us: from the multitude of galleries featuring classical and contemporary artworks to the advertisements on our streets, the buildings in our cities, and even the phones in our pockets. Art and design can be the foundation for future careers, but even as an avocation, they are also areas that provide students with the chance to enhance their critical thinking skills and to explore their creative sides. At YCIS Pudong, students from K2 through Year 13 have the opportunity to participate in regular art classes in some form. For Secondary students with a particular interest in Art & Design, they may choose to formalize their studies by taking Art & Design examinations at the IGCSE or International Baccalaureate (IB) level.

 

Recently, YCIS Pudong Secondary Art & Design students had the fantastic opportunity to formally exhibit their work at Community Centre Shanghai’s (CCS) in Pudong. The exhibition, entitled “Ways of Seeing”, featured final project artworks in multiple disciplines by six Year 11 IGCSE students: Ann, Elina, Florence, Jen, Jenny, and Joanne; as well as three Year 13 IB students: Cindy, Mary, and Yolanda. The title of the exhibition was a reflection of the many ways we can see and interpret the world around us. Rather than focusing on a single theme, the exhibition encapsulated each student’s responses to, and unique perspectives on, a range of subject matters that interested them.

 

Along with their final pieces, the students’ creative processes were documented, with sketchbook pages and detailed descriptions of the works also on display. All of the exhibiting students were on hand to talk with guests, explaining the direction and journeys they had taken with their art. Parents, faculty, fellow students, and members of the public were in attendance, perusing the artwork, catching up with friends, and enjoying a selection of refreshments at this wonderful community event.

  

According to YCIS Pudong Secondary Art Teacher, Ms Jennifer Ormerod, another dimension was added to the exhibition by having the young student artists present at the event to interact with visitors. “It was great to have the students sharing their processes and themes, and it added value for the attendees by making the show more accessible,” Ormerod said. Having to describe their work to different people in a new environment was a positive experience for our young artists. According to IGCSE student Florence, “The exhibition was very enjoyable and helped me understand my work on a deeper level. Rather than just handing work over for examination, this allowed me to really reflect on the details of the work and the production process.” Ms Ormerod added, “The students did a fantastic job of providing clear, concise, and focused explanations of their work. They were confident and showed a lot of pride in their creations.”

 

This will be the last art exhibition for the IB students before they head off to university, so it was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the students’ hard work, for the students to be able to share their creativity with the visitors, and to provide inspiration for the IGCSE students continuing their Art & Design studies into Year 12 at IB level. Ormerod summed up the experience saying, “This was an excellent culmination of our students’ art & design experience in IGCSE and IB, and having their work exhibited all together in one place was a great opportunity and a very special moment to celebrate their artistic progression over the last two years.” This sentiment was reiterated by Year 13 student Mary, who said “I really liked the idea of having the two levels (IGCSE and IB) together, and it was also amazing to have our dedicated space. The venue was fantastic and had a really professional feeling!”

 

Once again, we would like to thank the Community Center Shanghai for allowing us to host this important event in their lovely space, and we are already looking forward to next year’s IGCSE and IB Art & Design Exhibition!

Power for a Brighter Future

Written by Amy Yang, Secondary Chinese Coordinator

One of our Alumni, Liping Lin, mentioned in his speech at Pudong 21 evening in January “Yew Chung provides us with a very unique cultural environment, so that we can study both English and Chinese. Because of this deep language learning experience, we will have a totally different world perspective, which will enlighten our future.” As you might know, Liping has been leading his team to explore how to blend Chinese and western culture since he was in university, and last year his team signed an official contract with Microsoft to provide Chinese design to Minecraft.

There are many other cases like Liping’s amongst our Alumni. The mastery of both languages and deep understanding of eastern and western cultures helps our graduates easily share their vision withothers and impact their community and the world.  Our students graduate with great confidence as they head off to university and then to join the workforce.

So how does learning Chinese at YCIS prepare our students for the ever-changing environment in the future. We believe in comes down to the following three aspects:

The importance of sharing the vision and how we make it happen in Chinese class

We know that all languages differ from one another by sounds, vocabulary and structure. The structure of Chinese characters deliver ancient Chinese philosophy and values to people in the modern society.  In Secondary, our teachers not only help the students develop their language skills, but also create a lot of opportunities to let them explore the fascinating aspects of language. Through these activities, students can feel how the language we speak shape the way we think.

But as teachers, how do we make sure all students in the class, who have different language backgrounds, share their different perspectives in the classroom?

Most of our Chinese teachers participated indistance courses offered by Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and had the chance to discuss this topic online with teachers from all over the world. They read professional books, put the theories into practice, and sharedtheir thoughts with other colleagues. So far, the Secondary Chinese department have finished three HGSE courses:” Creating Culture of Thinking”, “Visible Thinking” and “Differentiation Instruction Made Practical”, which are all part of Harvard’s “Project Zero”.

Participating teachers are encouraged to use the most current pedagogies to engage with the students and discover this long historical but vivid language together. The “Visible Thinking” routines they are using in class allow students to share different their views and their learning of studying Chinese no matter their cultural background. During this process, students’ cognitive ability and cultural awareness are also developed.

Collaboration and Approaches to Learning

If cognitive ability and cultural awareness can boost the students’ communication skill in our  global context, then collaboration skills is the key competency which can help them adjust to the working environment post studies.  In our Secondary Chinese classes, we place emphasis on fostering students’ collaboration skills through: observations, providing extra support, and measuring the impact on individual students.  From group reports to group projects, our students either use Visible Thinking routines to synthesize information or dig deeply and debate on a certain topic. We are trying to create an authentic environment, foster motivated and dedicated learners and prepare them to overcome unforeseen challenges in the future.

 

In Secondary, we have 7 Chinese teachers who teach IB DP language courses and among them, there are 3 IB DP examiners plus 1 Deputy Senior Examiner. They are familiar with the assessment criteria so that our average IB Chinese final scores always fall between 6.4 – 6.7 out of 7 every year, which is a remarkable result.

Student Autonomy

Yew Chung’s holistic education system inspires our students’ natural curiosity and provides them with a safe environment to explore, imagine and make ideas happen. In Chinese subject, we also believe that creativity and autonomous learning will help our students stand out in the future.

In class, our teachers understand each student has a voice and that their voice matters.  Out of  class, they also allow the students to work on their own personal reading or writing projects, to enable them a say in their own learning.

 

In our “Poetry meets Music” project in Chinese as a First Language (CFL) students walk into the studio and compose their own songs. Our “Cool Conversation” Video Competition in Chinese as an Additional Language (CAL) inspires the students to discover an interesting topic, interview local people and draw their own conclusions.

Moreover, the Secondary Chinese Talent Show has been boosting the student autonomy for eight years, and it shows both the Chinese language skills or the most creative ideas among our students. We believe thatautonomy is not only a construct of capacity, but also involves a willingness on the part of the learner to take responsibility for their own learning. To further understand what student agency in university looks like, our Secondary teachers also work with New York University Shanghai and East China Normal University, and get a clearer understanding.

No matter how the “21st Century skills” has been defined, “Multicultural Literacy”, “Collaborative problem-solving skill” and “Self-driven and personal management” still play a major role.   We are committed to fostering inour students an abilityto acquire those skills through our unique Chinese curriculum, and to give them thepower to enlighten their future.

Music & Drama Wrap

Written by Nick Adgemis, Performing Arts Director

At YCIS Pudong, April and May are undoubtedly the busiest and most prosperous months on the school calendar.  It is fantastic to think that all of our students from ECE to Upper Secondary have had multiple, memorable musical and dramatic experiences to add to their growing performance resumé throughout the last month.

Following the Qingming holiday, our Year 5 & 6 students stepped into the limelight and put on their annual spring musical. This year’s spectacle, The Dracula Rock Show, was met with all matter of chills and thrills, including a decent dose of trademark puns and a lot of laughs.  A huge congratulations must go Ms. Aliki Watson-Jones and Ms. Renae Livermore for their fantastic work with the 54-member student cast.

     

With a view to broadening the musical experience for all students at YCIS Pudong, April also saw the commencement of our annual K4 Introductory Violin Classes.  Our Violin teachers, Ms. Sophie Zhang and Ms. Mira Yu have been taking our K4 students through their paces, while they get to know the basics of the instrument and experience some of the joys of music-making from a new perspective.

Our In-School Individual Instrumental Programme (IIIP) has once again offered opportunities for a large cohort of students to learn music throughout the 2018-2019 academic year.  On April 22, 24 and 27, more than 180 students from IIIP gave individual performances as part of the annual IIIP Recital Series, which was a fantastic success for all involved. Additionally, our YCEF Musical Artist-In-Residence and Head of Instrumental Studies, Dr. Yeung Yu, visited from Hong Kong to be on-hand for the midweek recital, give his own performance and also offer a masterclass to some of our IIIP piano students.

 

Not a week later, focus was firmly in the setting of 1960s New York, with final preparations underway for this year’s Secondary Musical, Little Shop of Horrors, featuring a lead cast of students from Year 7-10, a Year 7 chorus, a student orchestra and stage crew.  Many long-timers at YCIS expressed that this was maybe the best show yet and it was a well-deserved accolade for all involved. Congratulations must go out to all the cast, chorus, band and crew that worked to make Little Shopan outstanding success, including Year 10 Drama student Natasha Shen (technical director), Mr. Neil Campbell (set construction), Ms. Aliki Watson-Jones (chorus/choreography), Ms. Gillian Skingley (music director) and Ms. Brandi Burtts (director).

   

As this month’s newsletter goes to press, we will have just held our YCIS Pudong Music Gala and K4 Musical for 2019.  Be sure to subscribe to the YCIS Pudong Performing Arts News Blog for all the latest information on our Music and Drama activities.

Year 5 Overnight Trip to Visit Nanbeihu

Written byYear 5 Students and Teachers

Year 5 students recently returned from their first school camp: a two-night, three day excursion to Nanbeihu, in Zhejiang province. They took part in exciting activities including climbing, archery, rafting and the dreaded “leap-of-faith”. Camp is a key component in YCIS’ commitment to holistic education, encouraging students to go outside their comfort zone, working as teams, and developing their independence in a safe, fun setting. This is what the students had to say about the Year 5 camp:

 

“Year 5 camp was fun, exciting and challenging because of all the activities the leaders had prepared. One of my favourite things was being with my friends who encouraged me at the leap of faith or the climbing wall…it felt like a three-day sleepover with people you always wanted to have it with, but were never allowed!”Lucia, 5A

“I liked to do high ropes and low ropes because it was all about working together on low ropes and high ropes was all about encouraging and pushing yourself to higher achievements.”   Paul 5A

 

My favourite part of the camp was raft building because we learned how to tie knots and learned new skills. I particularly enjoyed the part where we raced each other!”  William, 5A

I liked the cargo net climbing because it is was hard and wobbly, I was one of the first girls to climb all the way.”  Dongying 5D

My favourite thing was the leap of faith because I think it is a good time to challenge yourself to try something new and face your fears.” Renin 5D

I really enjoyed the archery part (even though I missed every time!) because it was really fun, and we played games.” Rosanna 5D

“I usually feel better working independently rather than in a group but at camp… No! I was in a mixed gender group and many activities needed us to work in a team. At first, I chose to hide in the shadows of others but my team encouraged me and pushed me to get involved and do it too. For the first time, I felt I was in a team.”  Sakaya 5B

I think camp really helped me become more confident in myself and more independent.”  Ayaan 5B

I like how at camp they pushed you to do amazing things and encouraged you to see things through in the excellent activities.” – Gregson 5B

At camp we had a very good environment – if it was just a normal time at home, I’d just be playing iPad but we got to spend time outside instead! My favourite activity was archery because I hit the middle yellow section and hit Mr. Kitts’GoPro!”  Ryan 5C

“I liked the raft building, hiking and the cake I was given for my birthday!” Andrew 5C

I like that we had an environment that was different to staying at home where we are comfortable. We got to enjoy the outdoors!” Abbie 5C

Camp lets kids experience ups and downs you don’t normally experience at home. We had an activity where we were blindfolded so that we had to use our other senses to keep ourselves safe moving through the environment.” Riley 5C

Year 5 will, of course, become Year 6 next year, and they now have the Year 6 camp to Moganshan to look forward to, and a chance for more memorable learning experiences.

YCIS Pudong Becoming More Than Aware

Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

The participation of the Family Fun Run on May 11, 2019 was the culmination of this year’s YCIS involvement and contribution to More Than Aware (MTA), a charity organization and a healthy lifestyle support group that empowers women in China to be proactive in the prevention and recovery of breast cancer.   More than this, it aims at raising everyone’s awareness about how our health is precious and how we should take care of it regardless of our age, gender and origins.

Although this is not the first time that members of our YCIS community are supporting this charity organization, this is indeed the first time that three different entities representing YCIS have separately contributed to raise awareness on the cause of MTA, together making it an official support of our school as such.  From a wish to its accomplishment, from little steps to a common impact, let’s revisit YCIS becoming More Than Aware through the time capsule of this school year!

October, 22 2018 – MTA Luncheonat Kerry Hotel

In this huge charity event, there were many parents of YCIS. Some were in Shanghai Latinas Moms, others in Shanghai Mamas and many other different groups. Other people came as  representatives of YCIS.

There were three highlights at this event from YCIS point of view:

  • Tess Robinson, mother of 3 students at YCIS since 2005 was the Emcee of the event.
  • YCIS Pudong and YCIS Puxi parents came together as well
  • Culturally, it is difficult for Chinese people who had been sick to publicly share about their disease. Still, 200 survivors came on stage to showcase themselves – that is why at MTA, they are called “thrivers”.

December, 12 2018 – Pledge YourPonytail (PYP) mini-event by Year 6 Girl Scouts Junior

In this mini charity event, the 7 YCIS Girl Scouts Junior (Year 6, troop 5872) with the support of their Girl Scout Supervisor teamed up for the first time with a volunteer of More Than Aware (MTA) to organize their own Pledge Your Ponytail mini-event at Century Park Campus cafeteria. The aim was to collect hair donationsin order to support local women recovering from breast cancer: 21 ponytails allowing to make 3 wigs!  (with a minimum donation of 15cm of hair).

It was a successful event because of the aim was met and most importantly it raised awareness about the mission of this organization.

March, 3 2019 – MAD Run student-led event around Regency Park Campus

 

This year, the student organisers of the MAD Run eventchose to support the More Than Aware charityorganization. As with previous years, this event was well-attended by our YCIS families: from ECE to Secondary students, parents, staff and school leaders.

It was a great community event where the student organizing committee apart from raising RMB 27,000 also received great support from various community sponsoring companies: FitFam who offered a warm-up exercise, Fields who donated healthy snacks and drinks, Dragonfly vouchers and most importantly amazing donations for the raffle: hotel nights at the Marriott in Thailand, etc.!

After the event, at a school assembly organized at Century Park Campus, representatives from More Than Aware were invited to officially receive a cheque,  The students were able to meet and enjoy the 20 thrivers who performed their most popular dance on the song “Let Love Move You”, which tells about how love can heal people.

May 11, 2019 – MTA Global Family Fun Run

The participation of the Family Fun Run on May 11, 2019 was the culmination of this year’s YCIS involvement and contribution to More Than Aware (MTA). YCIS Pudong and Puxi was represented by around 70 participants, volunteers and helpers of the event. POP created and sponsored a special pink YCIS Spirit headband to give to the YCIS staff, parents and students!

If you want to know more about More Than Aware, please click here.   If you have any questions or would like to get involved in some of the events above, feel free to email: rpcp.parentrelations@sh.ycef.com

 Effective Teamwork Leads to Global Citizenship

Written by Rhena Gan, Year 9 Student

One of the great benefits of YCIS Pudong being such a tight-knit community is that we have the opportunity to work with and learn from students in other year levels. This is amazing, as we are able to gain from such a wide range of experiences. Alongside a Year 12 student, this year I have been privileged to co-lead the Singapore booth for this weekend’s Global Child Day. This role has pushed me far out of my comfort zone, and it has also allowed me to grow in areas I thought I was already fully developed in.

Planning for such a large-scale event has made me realise the importance of effective communication. Ongoing brainstorming and discussion has made our WeChat group a lively one, and I have seen the value of making sure everyone is on the same page. Thoughtful feedback strengthened our teamwork, which made this project enjoyable to work on, as we shared a genuine sense of fun throughout.

Working with a more experienced leader, I have also been able to improve my time management. Using a timeline, we were able to accomplish many tasks quickly and efficiently, all the while staying organised. This is one skill which many, including myself, need to work on. Most important of all, being efficient allows you to stay focused on the goals, which in this case meant coming together to celebrate the uniqueness of our different cultures. By bringing awareness about Singapore’s National Day, we hope that we are doing our little bit to help increase understanding and appreciation of other cultures, and to work towards global citizenship in our international community.

YCIS Pudong Alumni:  Annie Ieong, Class of 2018

                   

Annie Ieong’s YCIS Pudong experience began in 2011 when her family moved to Shanghai. Joining in Year 7, Annie spent the entirety of her Secondary education at YCIS Pudong, graduating in 2018 after completing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. The hustle and bustle of busy city life agrees with Annie, as she went from the sights and sounds of Shanghai to the vibrant English capital, London, where she is studying Philosophy at King’s College London (Class of 2021).

King’s College London is a prestigious British university with a long history and excellent reputation. Can you tell us about your studies?
My major is Philosophy, and my first-year modules include Ethics, Epistemology, Greek Philosophy, Modern Philosophy, Elementary Logic, Metaphysics, Methodology, and Political Philosophy. We have four modules each term, and most of these modules have exams in May and June.

What are you most enjoying learning about?
The modules that I enjoy most are Political Philosophy and Ethics as they require you to express your own philosophical opinion on political or ethical issues. I am motivated by these issues and feel that this expression is an essential outcome of education.

Why did you decide to study at King’s College London and choose your particular major?
Simply put, I think Philosophy explores the most fundamental questions that society faces, and it is fantastic for people who want to solve problems. There are a multitude of reasons behind choosing Philosophy as my major, but as most Philosophy students would say, “I just love it!”

Living in an exciting, metropolitan city is important to me, and I find it very inspiring. I think this is true for quite a lot of Humanities majors, actually, because it provides opportunities to be exposed to the different values and opinions from a diverse group of people in the larger society. King’s also has one of the strongest Philosophy departments in the world.

What do your day-to-day studies entail?
For the current semester (UK second term), I have Mondays off and have classes from Tuesday through Friday. Usually, my week entails 12 hours of total teaching time, which includes a two-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar for each of the four modules. As Arts and Humanities courses require a lot of reading and self-motivated studies, for the rest of the week I can usually be found studying in either the common room in my accommodation or the library. When I need a break, I busily traverse London on the hunt for delicious food!

How did your experience at YCIS help prepare you for the transition to university both academically and beyond the academics?
I have found that studying at the University level requires a great deal of self-motivation, and it is advantageous if you learn how to develop a strong focus and curiosity in order to work in a fast-paced and challenging academic environment. YCIS Pudong prepared me well in terms of these skills; thus, transitioning from Secondary school to university was not as challenging as I expected.

One of the essential skills I took away from doing the IBDP at YCIS Pudong was the ability to prioritise tasks. Another vital skill that I am still adapting is the ability to cope with stress, whilst remaining dedicated to things you have to get done. The last two years of Secondary school certainly helped train me for this.

Do your current studies connect to what you learned at YCIS?
Learning requires accumulative knowledge from all the studies I have done in the past, so my current studies definitely connect to what I learned at YCIS over the years.

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What are some of challenges you have faced in moving to a new city?
Getting to know new people has required some careful attention. Being part of a broader community means that you may encounter people from significantly different backgrounds who may hold values with which you do not necessarily agree. Making the right kind of friends can make a huge difference in your adjustment.

How did your past experiences at YCIS help you cope with these challenges?
Being part of a diverse community at YCIS Pudong taught me how to respect others’ cultural backgrounds and values.

What are the most significant differences you have found between living and studying in Shanghai and London?
As both are large and culturally diverse cities, I think the social environments are quite similar. I think the everyday lifestyle you want really depends on you and your preferences. For me, there are few lifestyle differences between living in Shanghai and London.

In terms of my studies, there is an abundance of academic resources in London, allowing you to meet people who are at the top of their fields and giving you the chance to attend different talks every evening if you wish! Personally, I think the overall educational atmosphere is excellent in London.

Where are your classmates from?
I would say that around half of the student body studying Philosophy are from the UK. There is also a large number of international students from all over Europe, the US, and different countries in Asia. The cultural diversity is quite vast.

What do you plan on doing after you graduate?
I am planning on doing a Law conversion course and will hopefully continue my master’s study in Law at King’s College. I am also thinking of doing a PhD in a Philosophy-related field such as Philosophy of Law. However, plans are flexible, and I will have to see what happens in the coming two years.

Are you doing any summer internships, or have you had any other experiences you’d like to share?
I completed a programme at JP Morgan, Hong Kong the summer before university started and it was the first summer programme I’d done. Such programmes are definitely recommended, as aside from being able to witness the everyday functioning of such an esteemed investment bank, it was an excellent opportunity to talk with professional bankers, and to meet a bunch of exciting and brilliant people participating in the programme. No matter if you are interested in the financial field or not, this summer programme provided an outstanding opportunity to learn and to enhance my social skills.

This summer I will be doing two one-month internships at law firms in both Shanghai and Hong Kong.

   

What do you miss most about Shanghai?
I miss the family-like community we had at YCIS Pudong. It means a lot to me because it was a special period for me, and my classmates and I experienced so much together.

What do you miss most about YCIS?
Although the final year of Secondary school was challenging as we were concerned about our future and also had to finish IBDP, I am glad I was surrounded by a group of people who understood each other well and were on the same page. We had so many fun memories in the IB lounge at Century Park Campus! And, of course, I also miss all of our lovely teachers and the guided studies we did.

Are you in touch with your YCIS classmates?
Yes, of course! I am currently sharing a flat in London with one of my YCIS friends, and another YCIS friend, who is currently studying at Cambridge, frequently comes down to visit us in London, staying in our tiny flat. The YCIS Pudong Class of 2018 graduates are still best friends even after graduation.

Have you returned to Shanghai since graduation?
I haven’t been back to Shanghai since university started, however, I am looking forward to being there next month. I did have the opportunity to catch up with Mr Lee [YCIS Pudong IGCSE Coordinator] when he visited London in March.

Can you please share any advice/suggestions for this year’s Graduands and our other Secondary students to help them prepare for the transition to university?
Get to know yourself better, as knowing where you stand on specific issues is vital. Work as hard as you can – you will never regret this in the future. A final practical tip would be to make sure you apply for your university accommodations sooner rather than later!

Staff Focus: IIIP Instructors

Written by John McEnhill, Primary Coordinator

The IIIP (In-school Individual Instrumental Programme) offered at YCIS Pudong provdes a fantastic opportunity for students to develop their musical skills in a one-to-one teaching environment. We currently have 243 students in the IIIP programme, across ECE,Primary and Secondary. The talent and hard work of our students was displayed in our recent IIIP recitals.  At the core of the programme are our team of highly skilled and qualified instructors. We caught up with four of our busiest instructors, Peter Pan, Natalie Wang, Benny Shi, and Jenni Tsai, to learn a little more about these very talented teachers and musicians.

Benny Shi

                             

Firstly, tell us about your musical expertise?
I am a violin teacher and play the violin in orchestras, but I also like to play the piano in my spare time.

What about your musical background….?
I was brought up playing the violin at school and decided to study professionally at university. I have played in several orchestras and bands in China and also in other countries. After my graduation, I worked as a personal violin tutor.

What do you enjoy about working with students at YCIS?
There are students from different ages, countries and cultures at YCIS. But music is an international language. While teaching them, I feel their enthusiasm.

What do you think the IIIP program brings to the students?
Good music education can promote development in other subjects and promote the balance of intelligence and emotion. In the IIIP program, the students’ music learning can be really well adjusted according to the students’ own needs – this is the beauty of one-to-one music tuition.

What do you like to do in your spare time other than play music?
Travelling. It helps me to enrich myself and play better music.

What advice would you give to anyone considering learning a musical instrument?
It is not easy to learn a skill well. You need not only hard work, but also patience and perseverance. There will be many lonely moments in our life. If we have music to accompany us, we will not be lonely.

Peter Pan

Firstly, tell us about your musical expertise?
I am a guitar teacher and play the guitar in bands, but I also like to play the drums and the bass and piano in my spare time!

What about your musical background….?
I love music, especially rock bands and jazz. Since I saved the money to buy my first guitar, I have fallen in love with this instrument. I have formed several bands with different styles, participated in many music festivals, and now I am also engaged in music production, song composition and teaching at school.

What do you enjoy about working with students at YCIS?
The students have such imagination, perseverance, and enthusiasm.

What do you like to do in your spare time other than play music?
I enjoy playing sports and travelling.

What advice would you give to anyone considering learning a musical instrument?Listen to many kinds of music, and try to understand the story behind the music. Also participate in some music festivals and performances to feel the charm of live music!

Natalie Wang

Firstly, tell us about your musical expertise?
I work as both a piano and vocal instructor at YCIS.

What about your musical background….?
I hold double Master’s degrees in education and piano pedagogy from China and the US. I am also active in teachings and performaning both in the California Bay Area and in Shanghai. During my 14 years piano and vocal teaching, I have always believed I can bring passion and joy to anyone who is willing devote their time to music.

What do you enjoy about working with students at YCIS?
Every student gets to practice violin which provides a good music foundation for other instrumental learning.  The kids are creative and enthusiastic about music and always understand musical concepts well.

What do you like to do in your spare time other than play music?
Traveling and language learning are my favorite two hobbies. These experiences inspire my teaching philosophy and teaching methods

 

What advice would you give to anyone considering learning a musical instrument?
Just come and register for IIIP! You will meet good teachers – then you need to take daily practice.

Jenni Tsai

 

Firstly, tell us about your musical expertise?
I am a flutist proficient in classical and jazz genres.

What about your musical background….?
I received a full music education from Taiwan and then received my Masters degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston. I am classically trained and have performed with several orchestras abroad: now I am mostly playing jazz music and have made appearances in several international jazz festivals including the JZ Shanghai jazz festival.

What do you enjoy about working with students at YCIS?
The students are hard-working and passionate about music. They have their own opinions in terms of interpreting music.

What do you think the IIIP program brings to the students?
A platform to learn an instrument from highly qualified teachers and an opportunity to perform in front of an audience during the annual recital.

What do you like to do in your spare time other than play music?
Spending time with my dogs and doing yoga, or hitting the gym to release some stress.

What advice would you give to anyone considering learning a musical instrument?
Stick to one instrument and get good at it!