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Day Four - International Lessons

After breakfast we headed over to the international department and went to the first lesson of the day.

After another busy day we were up and ready for breakfast, especially the staff whose McDonald’s orders were  the only ones that were somewhat messed up so Mr Cooke and Mr Barwise had to make our own burger out of one and a half Big Macs and no chips, we gave these to Miss Shirley as she had nothing. I had the added bonus of finding 5 chips in the bottom of one of the kids’ bags… which a student gleefully told me when I informed them of our dinner situation this morning, that those were ones that they had dropped on the floor! So breakfast was welcomed by hungry staff. Good to see that sponge cake and churros was back on the order again!

After breakfast we headed over to the international department and went to the first lesson of the day. We were told that this was a science lesson, but as it turned out it wasn’t. However it was great. Our students joined some Gold Apple students at their tables and worked in groups to learn about, or teach about, a variety of Chinese or English festivals. I was working with Lawrence and Kim, looking at St Georges day, this was a challenge as it is more recognised than celebrated, but we recounted the tail of his dragon slaying – careful to point out this this was a very bad and unpleasant dragon, not at all like the revered dragons from China! It was a really engaging activity. Soon all the students were busy discussing and sharing ideas and they learned a lot from each other. Once the planning was completed they stood up and confidently gave presentations to the rest of the class. When I first came out here the lessons were very much teacher led, we see a great deal of active learning and leading now, helping the students to grow and develop their confidence.

Next stop was to the gymnasium and now I’ll hand over to Mr Cooke…..

After the science / RE lesson we were taken over to the fantastic new gym facilities they have here at the school. Unfortunately as we were still in our uniform and suits we couldn’t have a go however we may be able to sneak in a visit next week! (Possibly not all of us Mr Cooke!)  The opening ceremony for the new gym is this coming Tuesday, they have shipped in all of the equipment from America and it is very impressive!

We then took the opportunity to take the students round to the front of the Gold Apple School for some pictures in front of the main entrance (hopefully we can send some pictures soon). Again we have beautiful weather here in Shanghai, this is Mr Barwise’s 15th trip to China and he has never seen so many days with blue skies!! Then we were back into lessons this time history with a teacher from the Gold Apple School called Dora. The lesson was on Chinese history and in particular some of the various Dynasty’s of which there have been 83 in total!! The students were in four groups working in partnership with Gold Apple students and were set the task of researching a dynasty and then presenting back to the rest of the class both English and Chinese students together. The teachers all loved the way Dora explained the task.

“The Chinese students know the history and the English students know the language so together you will be fine”.

It was fantastic to see the students working in partnership and delivering the presentations together so confidently obviously having learnt some really interesting facts about Chinese history and culture. As the lesson was taking place there were all 3 staff from Jack Hunt watching along with around 10 other Gold Apple staff watching. There is a real sense of collaborative working amongst the teachers here at school! They were also very impressed to hear that English was a second language for Karolina and Lawrence and were amazed at their fluency when giving the presentations.

After the history lesson it was time to get back to the rooms and pack in preparation for the home stay. Students were busy gathering the gifts for host families and excitedly packing in preparation to spend some time away from the teachers! Lunch today in the school was brilliant, on the newly refurbished second floor of the canteen there are some rice/noodle/bakery shops for students to purchase other food than what the Gold Apple would normally serve. The catering manager earlier in the week offered to let us try some of the fried rice which was absolutely lovely. We then headed over to meet the host families.

…. In the afternoon, we met with all the parents and students hosting on the homestay, Eugene - the principal gave a presentation to the parents and explained the expectations of the homestay, supervision etc. Mr Barwise expressed our sincere thanks for giving this amazing opportunity to the students. Then the students headed off with their Chinese partners. This is a very big undertaking and some students are nervous about this, but students gain so much from this part of the trip.

In the afternoon Mr Barwise led a training session with the staff from the international department. Miss Shirley led a model lesson to grade 9 students (15 years old) looking at improving creative writing, this was observed by 15 teachers, some of the teachers got involved, keen to develop their skills in teaching this, and students were especially pleased to learn the word ‘crumbly’ to add descriptive detail to their writing. Vital as they prepare for exams in the near future. It is so good of Miss Shirley to do this, it is an added pressure, but the Chinese teachers gain so much from seeing a English lesson delivered by a UK English teacher...

This evening we have been treated to a lovely meal with the General Principal – who oversees the whole school. Lots of lovely traditional food. The highlight for us was the duck tongues! Also interested to hear that the Gold Apple School has just spent $50 million dollars purchasing 2 schools in Los Angeles, California – think I may see another school partnership developing!