CIS: Interview with Douglas K. Prescott

Interview in the Canadian School

Douglas K. Prescottdire CIS

Head of School

“Only a life lived in service to others is a life truly lived worthwhile”

“As educators we are privileged to touch a piece of eternity everyday as we work with children of all ages on their journey towards adulthood and responsible global citizenship.”

1. How is the Canadian education system?

At the Canadian International School we accept students from 18 months up to 19 years. We have the Montessori School which is a nursery and six Kindergarten classes. The School follows the MIP program but students do have the option to choose the Canadian program too. At graduation time, students receive two types of diploma: the official international bachelor and the High School diploma which has a high value because of the Canadian education system.

2. What values and points would you highlight?

Some of the main keys for the prestige of the Canadian School are not only the extra activities and the inquiries of the education tasks but also how deep the system goes. Students do not need to memorize everything but they also need to use the matter of the subjects in different situations in a logical way in order to develop their skills and being involved in the real world as a serious and responsible citizen. They develop several language skills, mathematics, social culture and arts without forgetting mature and voluntary attitudes towards problems, respect and tolerance. They learn how to work individually and also in small groups giving arguments, using technology and trying to respect others in their environment.

3. What subjects do students learn?

At the beginning with the age of eight, students start to learn different subjects but never in isolation. The School offers a complete education system matching different concepts and subjects in order to make them be useful and pretending to teach children how to think and how to learn and work together with other students. All lessons are linked one to another and do not stop when the exactly class time finished. Teachers work with students in order to make clear what they have learned and solved their doubts after each lesson to be ready to continue with new concepts during the next days.

4. What kind of extra activities does the School offer?

The CIS offers an extended plan of after School activities of all types of field such as sports, arts, music and also vacation trips around China. Teachers and students are closed to each other because all teachers should be involved at least in one extra activity during the afternoons. Inside the sport activities we can find basketball, football, volleyball, gymnastic, taekwondo, swimming and other dance activities such as ballet, rhythmic gymnastic and yoga.

Music is very important for students at the Canadian because they can practice their favorite instruments after school or join the school band. Education trips around China are also been offered by the Canadian School for grade 6-12 and 4-5 in order to enjoy a few days visiting different cities in China, learning cultural aspects and creating strengthen relationships between all students and their teachers.

These trips are organized first at School talking about the places and planning the sightseeing they are going to enjoy and what they are going to learn from it. Students also write a diary during these trip days in order to achieve what they have learned, seen and liked so they are able to give a presentation after arriving back to school. Some of the chosen places for grades 6-12 have been Tai Yuan, HangZhou & Wuzhen, Nanjing, Zhang Jia Jie and Qingdao. For grade 4-5 students spend two days in places like QinHuangDao, Mount-Tai in Qufu and ChengDe. The Canadian School also offers a summer camp which is completely different from the trips during the school period. In the camps children develop language and computer skills and take part in trips around Beijing.

5. How does the evaluation system work?

The evaluation system at Schools starts with different levels which go from 1-6 depending on the English skills each student has to develop. Level 1 is the beginner’s level and level 6 belongs to native English speakers. These groups have been organized in order to help every student improve the language and be able to achieve the hold Canadian education program. For students bellow level 5 there is one hour per day English support given, for children in level 4 there is one hour per 4-5 days of the week. All students are able to speak about 3 different languages but they have these extra English lessons to develop their language skills in order to score in other subjects.

After each lesson, a review with questions takes place which means each student is allowed to explain the aspects he does not proper understand so the teacher can explain the points again and have a clear idea about the general knowledge of the entire class. If they want to improve some aspects and most of the children need to double check them, they will include them in the next lesson. It is also important to mention that homework’s are also been checked at the beginning of each subject and at the end of each lesson children have to write down the general main points they have learned that hour. What the Canadian School really wants is to teach students how to be smart in the subjects and aspects they are clever. Everyone is able to show a special attitude in several forms such as sciences, art, sport or performances.

Every student is allowed in grade 12 to do the official bachelor exams depending also on the degree they want to study later. Most of our students that finished their bachelor at the Canadian School achieve finally in International recognized Universities.

6. Why is important to have an education in English?

English is actually one of the most important languages in the world and is used for business, traveling and covers a lot of countries. At school all subjects are in English but we also offers Chinese, Korean and French as main subjects in order to give every student the opportunity to speak at least three languages. French and Korean start to be subjects during High School years but Spanish is also a choice as an activity after School. The most important fact people need in the XXI Century is to be multi-linguistic so in this case, the Canadian School is a good choice because it offers this huge advantage for them at University and in their future carriers.

7. How is the relationship between teachers and students?

Relationships between students and teachers are really strong because first, all teachers must be involved at least in one activity after School which offers the opportunity to get closer with students and help them with their necessities and problems. It is an essential part of education to be responsible and respect each others not only during the lessons. Some students at our School need more support because of the fact of living abroad or maybe not with their parents which is an important point when trying to reach their academic aims, limits and afford the challenge they want. To put it in a nutshell, teachers become an adviser for children which helps them in their academic and personal lives.

8. Why would you recommend parents to choose the Canadian School?

First it is important to mention that there is not a bad School or a very excellent School to choose but parents have to decide what they want to offer to their children and how they want their education to be. Canadian people are popular for their values and for being very respectful and tolerant. They always work efficiency in clean environments with respect and trying to improve as much as possible. Teachers are well prepared with a doctor degree and the entire education system is International recognized. The Canadian School offers an impressive academic program, extracurricular activities, and new technologies in order to offer the best possible education. The Centre welcomes students from 54 different nationalities and offers a high and multi-linguistic education in English giving the possibility of reaching their academic purposes.

9. What type of services does the School offer?

The School offers Shuttle bus service, cafeteria, health insurance and a huge amount of sport, music, art and cultural activities after school. We have a lot of different bus routes for students to help parents with their children’s transport and also a strict security in each bus with ayi’s and video cameras in order to avoid incidences. Inside the School we can find a store where you can buy the school uniforms and other items with the logo of the CIS.

10. How far is the Canadian government involved?

There are several Canadian Schools around the globe but they are not directly associated with each other. The Education program is basically the same but some factors might change depending of the country of placement. The bachelor exams are official for Canada but the government does not decide the system or the teachers’ recruitment in the CIS in Beijing.

11. How does the selection process for teacher work?

What is important for us to see when the CIS hired teachers is not only the degree license or master in a specific subject but also International experience and the personal development during all the years of career. We assure you high qualified teachers with good personal values and totally involved with their students at CIS. The Canadian government has no process in hired teachers at this School but I have the final decision. Most of the teachers come from Canada and are of course English native speakers but others who teach several subjects are from China, Korea, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong or Malawi. Some foreign language teachers are not native English speakers but they also must have a high knowledge of the language because the CIS is an English School at first.

12. What abilities should children have in order to be successfully in the Canadian School?

What is really important for children inside the Canadian system of education is to have a closed and good family support in order to be able to achieve their academic results. It is important to have support at the end of the day when after arriving home they need to continue with their studies in form of homework or extra work to get better. Some students in Beijing may not life with their parents or stay without their brothers and sisters which is a difficult situation but in the CIS they support them creating a healthy and successfully environment.

To reach this education level they need rest and an equal organization of their time to attend school happy, sure and be able to give the best of them. In the Canadian School we all together show children how to organize their time, how to expand their knowledge and how to use them in real life.

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