Concord has been hosting its first-ever cultural exchange visit from China. A group of 10 students and two teachers from Beijing No.80 School spent a total of 17 days at Concord and were joined by their Principal for two of those days.
The school specifically asked Concord to arrange for the dual gender group of 15 and 16 year olds to stay in the homes of Form 4 and 5 students to obtain a good academic insight into the teaching and learning at the college as well as the opportunity to live with a British host family.
To engage them fully in the life of the college, the visitors were involved in the House Arts event. They also worked with Kari Butler, Summer Course Lead Manager, and Zoe Torsney, Course Liaison Co-ordinator, on a series of activities, culminating in a Dragon’s Den style presentation on their last day at the college.
The visiting teachers followed a different path, visiting each of the academic departments where they were hosted for the day, whether for lessons, meetings or outside visits.
On Wednesdays and weekends the visitors were out of college on trips, variously to Oxford, Cambridge and London. They also visited the local area.
Said Concord Principal Neil Hawkins: “It has been a real pleasure to host our friends from Beijing No. 80 School. We have certainly learned a great deal from the enthusiasm of the students and the interest of the teachers as well as Principal Li.
“I hope that this is a relationship that we can nurture and develop in the years ahead. I am extremely grateful to the staff, students and parents of Concord without whom this would not have been possible.”
Said Rachel Coward, Head of Lower School: “We have very much enjoyed having our Chinese visitors and it was lovely to see the development of the English language in the students.
“They have shared the culture and academic breadth of the college. It has been an extraordinary experience and everyone has had fun.”
Principal Li, through a translator, said: “We very much appreciated the warm and friendly reception we received at Concord. I was deeply impressed by the idea of running a school, the curriculum and management based on students’ development, the humour and rigorous style of teachers in the classroom and the pro-active and questioning attitude of the students at Concord.
“We learnt a lot from this trip. We believe this exchange will promote the reform of the curriculum, teaching ideas and methods of our teachers as well as the learning styles of our students.
“I sincerely hope that this exchange is the beginning of friendly co-operation between our two schools.”
It is the intention that Concord students will have the opportunity to make a visit to China and stay with host families there in the future.
To see more images please visit the Concord Photo Library - Beijing No. 80 Exchange