Reflections on Visit To Shanghai Guang Ming High School
(May 22 - June 5 , 2011)
By: Ms Leong Wymin (SH Geography) and Ms Ng Xiao Wei (Coordinator ODP Committee)
The schools rich history is embodied in its 125 years old but very beautiful and well-maintained architecture. The block of offices added on later complements the old French building very well and there is a sense of an ancient elegance to the place that cannot be found in modern schools of today. The school has also managed to include IT infrastructure such as the school-wide wireless Internet, computers and large television monitors in each classroom without detracting from the old and elegant French colonial architecture.
All the areas below are the strengths and niche areas of Guang Ming High School and are important learning points for us at Pioneer Junior College.
Guang Ming High School has developed an impressive Arts Programme, where students are immersed in the Arts through the learning of the Chinese calligraphy for all J1s as part of their curriculum. Mr. Tao, the Art teacher, is himself passionate in the Chinese culture and arts, and he has created specialized materials for the teaching of the arts for the school. Through the Arts programme, students also develop an appreciation for the traditional Chinese Opera. Guang Ming has teachers and students who are very talented in the Arts, and were invited to perform in the event, 上海校園師生京昆演唱會 2008－2011. All this has been made possible and driven by Principal Mu, who is an ardent advocate of the Arts. Under his leadership, Guang Ming High School has been named a Model School for Chinese calligraphy.
Guang Ming High School is one of the main centers for the learning of the French Language in Shanghai. The school has a close working relationship with the French government and in recognition, Principal Mu has been awarded a medal by the French government. Guang Ming has French infused lessons for all J1s and students who wish to continue with the study of the French language can apply to continue studying in J2 and J3. Every year, many of the school’s graduates go on to enroll into top French Universities and to also read French in Shanghai’s universities. Guang Ming’s French Language programme is taught by three teachers, one of which is a native French, who has been working with Guang Ming for the last five years and who has chosen to stay on with the school indefinitely. This is testament to the school’s excellent working environment, which has successfully retained teaching talents.
Guang Ming High School has in place many exchange programmes, for both staff and students, with many local and foreign sister schools in countries such as Korea, Hong Kong, America, France, Japan, and Singapore. Guang Ming’s teachers and students have several opportunities to interact and learn with many foreign schools’ teachers and students and such exchange programmes are also very meaningful as they also serve as means through which other schools may learn from the best practices at Guang Ming High School.
4.Culture of Lesson Observations and Peer Feedback
Guang Ming High School has a very admirable culture of open-door lesson observations and lesson preparation sessions. All lessons are open to observations and teachers who observe lessons take down very detailed notes. Teachers are used to observing others and being observed. They are able to learn from one another and improve on their teaching. Observations may occur on several levels such as peer observations by colleagues in the same teaching level, cross subject observations by teachers of another subject, observations by visiting teachers from other schools or countries and cluster observations by teachers from all schools in the province. The teachers at Guang Ming clearly show their competence and professionalism in that at any moment in their teaching, their work is more than able to pass the scrutiny of others.
5.Student Character Development
The Character Development Programme is very well developed at Guang Ming High School. Initiative range from quotes promoting social etiquette and moral values found on campus to inculcate in students the right values and attitude, to service learning projects that encourage students to give back to the community such as projects for giving aid to the elderly. Another aspect of the student development programme that is admirable is the component regarding the students’ mental and emotional health. There are differentiated programmes for all three levels of students such as making friends in a new environment, stress management, relationships, communication skills and exams management.
6.Guang Ming High School Students
The school’s students are multi-talented and committed to their learning. Students were observed often coming into school earlier to revise material or for small class tests before the official start of the schools day. In addition, students are often found in the teacher’s staffroom, asking questions about lessons and working late with teachers after school. When faced with unfamiliar and daunting material such as the Globalisation notes in English for the Geography lesson that was planned by the Singapore teachers, the students did not give up and took the initiative to cover the material before the lesson and to also seek help from both their own teachers and the Singapore teacher. Students are not just committed to their academic studies, they are also involved in giving presentations in school for various events, such as class presentations, assembly presentations and also in cultural performances such as the one mentioned above. The Guang Ming student is a confident speaker, a committed learner, who can appreciate traditional arts and has ambition and perseverance.
Guang Ming High School has an excellent archive of all school events, lesson observations, meetings, research, etc. Ms Cao is a full time archive staff and the archives are crucial references for future research projects and a treasure trove of best pedagogical practices over the years. This allows for quality teacher learning to take place as new teachers can learn much from those who have come before them.
Guang Ming High School places great emphasis on the value of research work in education – for example, research in science, arts, PE, psychology, hygiene etc.
9.Contribution to the Community
Guang Ming High School organizes Arts French classed for the public and its teachers. This is very admirable given that Guang Ming High School teachers already have a full plate but they still ensure they give back to the community.
Guang Ming High School Teachers
Guang Ming High School’s teachers are very talented. They often wear many different hats, in that they are all not just competent in teaching, and are also involved in committee work, but they also have amazing talents such as singing Chinese Opera, acting and short-film making. They are often called upon to showcase their talents and they do so with gusto and aplomb. They are excellent role models for students on what it means to be a well-rounded person. It makes for a very enriching atmosphere in the school.
Guang Ming High School’s teachers are very friendly and hospitable. Over and above a very well planned exchange programme for the Singapore teachers, many teachers have taken their personal time to introduce Shanghai’s culture, sights and gourmet. It has been very heartwarming for the Singapore teachers, especially since we have observed how busy Guang Ming High School’s teachers have been in the revision and preparation for the national exams. We are deeply grateful and very touched by the warm hospitality of the teachers and the school.
This visit has been an eye-opener for the Singapore teachers. Though both of us have been to Shanghai before, the hospitality of Guang Ming High School teachers have allowed us a glimpse of the real Shanghai. It is a beautiful city with a rich history and culture. It is a fast developing city with its bustling economic centers and shopping malls. It is a gourmet city where one can taste flavours from all parts of China. It is a city of the future with all its modern infrastructure. Shanghai is multi-faceted and it has been an enriching and humbling experience for us.