Principal’s Words- about International Education (Author: former principal, Sister Agnes; Translator: Tr. Diane Ward)
Starting 2018, Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) will incorporate “global skills” as a benchmark for evaluating students’ capability of discernment and tolerance towards multicultural diversity and values while they are thrust into a world of complexity. Mr. Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills within PISA states that PISA is an evaluation test aimed at all youths across the globe for nowadays globalization is all the rage culturally, politically and economically. We have to preserve their energy and momentum in advance so that they can remain resilient, resourceful and flexible for any unforeseen circumstances. Cultivating our students to be equipped with global skills becomes indeed necessary and urgent in the era of globalization. Stella Matutina has actively engaged in promoting international education and building a learning environment with an internationally-oriented campus so that we can nurture our pupils to be globally-minded with mobility and resourcefulness. Our plan to cultivate students’ holistic global skills results in several phases as follows:
Cultivating Solid Foreign Language Skills
Being multilingual is one basic element for being international. English is particularly important. Stella Matutina has offered intensive and rigorously-designed courses ranging from creative class activity, specifically-assigned English reading, to English
Assessment tests so our students can excel in all aspects, be it listening, speaking, reading or writing. We have also recruited professionally qualified foreign
Instructors to be part of our teaching staff, having them focus solely on English conversation, expressive foreign language and communication skills.
Stella Matutina has meticulously built an English-oriented diverse learning environment with programs: “English Corner on Campus” ; international current issue reporting in the morning assembly; “One Person, One Talent”; cultural events in English Classes for junior grades; “Spelling Bee “contests; English Journal essay writing; and Mock United Nations (MUN). We have filled every nook and cranny of the campus with English so it is available to everyone any time.
Broadening Students’ International Perspectives
One of the indispensable elements of globalization is to gain international perspectives, which comprise of freedom, self-restraint, attitude and perspectives, and they need to be constantly learned, cultivated and accumulated. In order to broaden our students’ international perspectives and views, we have encouraged them to proactively participate in international events and venues. Thus our school has specifically designed several international programs and activities to suit this purpose and cater to students’ unique needs: international educational trips to Japan / Singapore; international volunteer groups to Mongolia, Cambodia and Northern Thailand; and overseas study tours in England and Canada.
We have also urged our students to sign up for international group activities such as Asia-Pacific Science Camp, International Air-Quality Monitoring Camp, Conference in Nan Yang High School Singapore, International Environmental Protection Organization – annual environmental education conference for middle-schoolers, all in hopes of helping our students to become more globally-minded with more experience in inter-country exchange. Participants of these activities have received well-designed education before heading off to their events. For instance, courses regarding cultural customs, traditions and local etiquette are taught to those who sign up for overseas educational tours in Japan or Singapore.
For volunteers to go to Mongolia, Cambodia and Northern Thailand, they are demanded to peruse relevant and related information, and to help these volunteers provide local pupils after-school assistance and guidance, a specific course is given to instruct them on how to plan their curriculum and how to make teaching materials and tools as well as other services.
All of the above amount to extremely thorough international education, which helps cultivate students’ capability to resolve their issues and concerns, to analyze their circumstances and to gather data. It also helps elevate students’ self-restraint and attitude while international perspectives are gained by osmosis.
Stella Matutina does not solely focus on unilateral but bilateral interaction. We have welcomed international friends to pay us visits. These visits include those by Fukushima High School, Shirayuri Gakuen Girl’s High School, Chikushidai High School, Singaporean Nan Yang Girls’ High School, and St. Andrew’s Secondary School.
Visitors are invited to join classes, seminars or literary exchange activity while here. Recently Stella Matutina just received guests from Singaporean Nan Hua High School, who immersed themselves enthusiastically in reading Taiwanese books and articles.
All the learning during these friendly visits has presented our students opportunities to become globally-minded.
Updating and Upgrading Information and Technology Skills
To be internationally mobile, fully in control of information data and applicable technology is not only imperative to our students, but also key to their success when facing various new challenges. In this regard, we have educated them by familiarize them with digital apparatus and application programs. In addition, technological skills do not apply only to application of information technology but also to students’ scientific analyses and learning.
Our school integrates various methodologies in all fields. We push and support our students to take part in intramural social science research competitions, natural science expositions, off-campus youth science competitions, world-wide robot competitions, innovative science competitions, Acer digital creation awards, etc. We have trained our student participants how to observe, glean, analyze, categorize and judge as well as collaborate with their peers and counterparts. These are all necessary and essential key skills when braving the impact of globalization.
Nurturing Character and Compassion towards Global Community
To be globally-skilled, we have nurtured our students to be ethically, morally, virtuously correct and decorous, socially responsible and humanitarianly compassionate. Our school has instilled six core values - respect, accountability, integrity, and appreciation, and self-discipline, simplicity - to our students through courses and activity teaching, cultivating them in all possible ways. We have also hosted charity events and community services so that they would learn how to be more appreciative and giving, and become the ones who sincerely and genuinely care for the weak, the minority and the society.
All in all, our school has created a diversified learning environment, incorporating different cultures in activities for learning so our students can go from recognition to comprehension, then to respect and tolerance towards all cultural differences, and further more to appreciation of these differences and to compassion for international issues.