With the upward swing of confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 cases returning in our community, Hong Kong students once again are having to prepare themselves to switch back to online learning. ‘Going to school’ has started to take on a completely different meaning and format in these difficult times.
Naturally, many parents have concerns that learning at home is not ideal given the living environment in Hong Kong. Parents worry that their children may not be able to socialise with their peers in the way they would normally do at school.
Remote learning at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong is a well-planned and expertly implemented method of learning. Since closing our face-to-face teaching for younger years in the last week of November, positive feedback from parents has flooded in. Despite the very short notice of this most recent closure, our students have been enjoying the classes remotely almost immediately.
“It has been handled very well! Students are doing work and being challenged in their learning at home,” said a parent.
The school uses Microsoft ‘Teams’ to develop its online learning platform. This platform allows teachers, students, and parents to interact and engage in a creative and engaging way. By utilizing these latest technologies, both the teaching and learning levels have been elevated to ensure a seamless transition from face-to-face teaching to an online learning mode. Disruption to students’ learning has been kept to a minimum.
Technology undoubtedly helps provide critical hardware for online learning. However, the software is equally important. Parents at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong praise the school for its excellent adaptability. As a new school that only opened in 2019, amidst the societal turbulence of that time, followed closely by the pandemic outbreak, the school is focussed on continually adapting, constantly reflecting, fine-tuning and seeking opportunities for improvement, despite the challenging times we are living through.
Parents are delighted to know their children are caught up with a full day of interactive classes, including music, drama, iSteam and art. All of these subjects are presented in such a way as to encourage pupils to focus during their classes at home. There are even ‘wake-up & stretch’ sessions every morning with the whole class! The school is especially skilled at differentiating tailor-made solutions for each pupils’ specific academic abilities and designs individual learning programmes as pupils require them.
In terms of the social side of life, students are able to chat and talk to their friends and teachers online and can share their experiences gained during the day. Specifically, there is a one-on-one interaction session for teachers to facilitate and monitor each child’s learning progress. Homework is posted on Microsoft One Note. From here teachers will mark and give feedback on each piece of work completed.
Our pupils are at the heart of all we do. The school considers the needs of its pupils in supporting their online learning. Arrangements are made for iPads, headphones, and other necessary learning materials to either be collected from the school or from our school bus. Our famous white bus visits six well-advertised locations around Hong Kong Island each week. As well as delivering learning tools, the bus also delivers library books, to support our pupils’ continuous reading in Chinese and English. Our families can meet the bus at the most convenient location each week to pick up all their schooling supplies.
To specifically support our parents, a choice of ‘Learning Platform Tutorial’ meetings, hosted on Zoom with School’s Head of ICT are arranged and advertised to assist our parents who are new to the School’s online learning provision.
We are Wycombe Abbey Remote Learning.
Watch the full video on remote learning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMEl6lTPOSc
Our Year 5 and 6 pupils were on a trip to Cheung Chau on 20 November.
The purpose of the trip was to teach young people how to cope in real life situations and to develop the attributes of a leader and a team player during nature-based experiential challenges. These coping strategies are which we often referred to as ‘Life Skills’ – skills that will prove beneficial to our pupils for the rest of their lives.
The activities spread-out across this one-day trip enriched curriculum links and pupils’ understanding of the civilisation and heritage of Hong Kong. The trip also examined the unique geological formations, whilst hiking and bouldering along the coastline of Cheung Chau Island. The pupils also studied various living things and their habitats, such as examining inter-tidal zones as well as observing behaviours of small sea creatures.
They also looked at bush craft, examining art forms found naturally in nature and creating land art pieces, such as small sculptures during the lunch break on the beach area. Our pupils also created a shelter from found objects on the beach, such as bamboo and rocks, which developed pupils’ team building and logical thinking skills, by allowing them to think rationally when creating functional pieces on land.
During this trip, our pupils developed their navigational and map reading skills, learned how to study rock and intertidal formations, created a shelter which developed their basic survival skills, created land art in the natural environment to develop their wilderness skills, and learned to climb rocks and boulders, which for many was their first ever opportunity to experience such things.
There was plenty of positive feedback from the trip and our pupils have not stopped asking if a date has already fixed for another trip!
Christmas is a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. Since its opening in 2019, Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong has been celebrating this special festival with a significant musical production. Following the success of our Christmas Play last year, the school continues its tradition with a musical production titled “Christmas is Forever” this December.
Although social distancing measures are in force meaning a real-time performance is not possible, the musical will, however, be delivered in a different mode for which the entire production will be recorded and shared with the community as the joy and spirit of Christmas are celebrated.
Over the past few weeks, under the direction of our Head of Drama, Ms Nicola Rae and Head of Music, Mr Joseph Kim, students have been practising and rehearsing this annual Christmas production on different occasions including morning assemblies, as well as during music and drama classes.
Students from different grade levels worked on the two songs “Christmas is Forever” and “Here It Comes”. A lot of practising and resilience were required for them all to remember the lyrics, the choreography and more importantly, to perform in a synchronized manner within the group. Each class will have their performance recorded individually and then edited together at a later stage for a complete performance. We all look forward to viewing the final production!
Complementing the huge musical production was a Christmas Card and Christmas T-shirt Design Competition which took place earlier in the term.
Christmas T-Shirt Design Competition
Christmas Card Competition
In case you are not too familiar with ISTEAM, this acronym stands for Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. ISTEAM is an innovative educational approach that combines perspectives of different disciplines to inform a major project which reflects the developmental needs of individual learners and the society to which they belong.
ISTEAM at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong is one of fourteen structured primary subjects offered by the School. Pupils at each grade level have regular lessons three times a week, of which one is dedicated to coding and the other two are for ISTEAM.
Mr Shahzada Janjua is the Head of ISTEAM at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong. Coming from an engineering and physics background, Mr Janjua has been teaching in the UK for over 20 years. He was employed as a STEAM/Science teacher in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia before taking up the exciting position as one of the founding staff members of the Hong Kong School.
The curriculum for each grade level is designed in a way whereby pupils learn about algorithms and programming with blocks, followed by text programming at Years 5 and 6. In ISTEAM, activities range from building bridges, creating technologies, such as constructing walking machines, Robotics, Physical computing and drone flight. ISTEAM is taught through nine different themes that have been contextualised for Hong Kong. The ISTEAM classrooms at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, including 3D printers, Laser cutters, BlueBots, InoBots, Wedo Lego Robotics, EV3 Robot Kits, Raspberry Pi 4, BBC Microbit, and a Drone-Racing Room. Pupils can get hands-on experience flying a drone or using robots in design, building, programming, and developing algorithmic thinking.
“Each pupil has the opportunity to learn future ready and transferrable ISTEAM skills. Through these lessons, pupils develop into confident, creative, critical thinkers,” said Mr Janjua.
Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong’s students are also given the opportunity to increase their exposure in the ISTEAM world. “Our Year 5 students will be joining the Underwater Robot Competition with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 2021 next year. We are really looking forward to that challenge,” said Mr Janjua.
When asked how Mr Janjua keeps himself updated on all the development in the ISTEAM world, he replied that he keeps up to date with all current articles in print as well as on social media. Proudly, he is also awarded an MIEE (Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert) in 2020.
With an aim to have the best ISTEAM programme in Hong Kong, Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong is certainly moving one step ahead!