Character Education: The Key to Successful Learning
Character Education: The Key to Successful Learning
Our students love to come to school! At dismissal time, teachers often hear students say, “It is time to go home already? I want to stay at school!” This is like music to a teacher’s ears. A grade one parent recently remarked that the reason they send their child to AISB - Hope International is because of the loving teachers and learning environment. Another parent recently described our school as their children’s “second home.” Our Lead Elementary Teacher can fully relate to these parents’ comments. Her four children enjoy going to school to be with their teachers and friends because of the positive learning environment. AISB-Hope teachers truly care about each student and share the desire to see every student succeed both in and out of the classroom.
At AISB - Hope International’s primary school, you will find a holistic approach to education. One of our core values is to provide a love-based environment for our students which helps them to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Teachers model care for students, which helps them to thrive academically, and positively influences their character. Character education is heavily integrated within an academically rigorous program. Students acquire the study skills necessary to succeed in all areas of life and become independent learners.
We believe that whether a student is with us for one year or thirteen years, students will show growth in the following areas:
Orally, in writing, with technology and other digital tools, in the creative arts, by listening actively, and by learning the host language.
Honoring And Respecting
Each other, and the natural environment, parents, laws of the land, school regulations, peers and spiritual leaders, other cultures, and themselves (by being authentic).
Responsibly Caring And Responding With Care
By taking care of others in the community and in the school, taking care of personal health, learning to serve, admitting error while being corrected, being willing to correct own behavior, being culturally sensitive.
To stand for truth, take initiative, develop personal gifts and potential, reflect, self-assess, demonstrate integrity and academic honesty, develop organizational skills, be resourceful and curious.
Striving For Excellence
By developing mature relationships, working hard and persevering, being well-rounded academically, practicing diligently, cooperating on teams, developing leadership.
Thinking At A Higher Level
Creatively, critically, independently, analytically, and “on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.”
Teachers receive training and professional development in how to integrate core values into classroom curriculum. Special activities are planned within lessons that help students develop these character traits and grow together. In addition to core values, we also focus on specific character traits that are integrated into lessons, use real life practical examples, and teach explicit lessons in our weekly elementary assemblies. Across elementary, teachers use “gotcha” cards when they identify a student practicing and applying the focused character trait. This small card has the name of the character trait, student’s name and grade, and the reason why they received the card. Each week, two cards are randomly picked and those students receive recognition and a prize! This tradition encourages and celebrates the character trait and challenges students to apply what they are learning in practical ways. At the end of each month in Elementary Assembly, character awards are given to students who have consistently grown or developed the trait throughout the month. Some recent traits from this school year include: boldness, creativeness, orderliness, and resourcefulness. Character education is not exclusively for school life. Parents often give positive feedback as they witness their child’s character transformation in the home as well.
In addition to character development, we also provide a rigorous academic program. AISB-Hope International is a standards-based school. Subjects use modified American-based standards and curriculum. Math, English and Social Studies are based on Common Core standards and Science is based on NextGen standards. All elementary students take English, math, science, social studies, philosophy, character, PE, music, art, library, and foreign language. Technology is built into core classes to naturally develop technology skills.
As mentioned, one of the core competencies is, “Think at a Higher Level.” We desire our students to develop high critical thinking skills and seek to develop their creativity in their approach to learning. Primary teachers ensure students have a strong foundation in all domains of the English language. Teachers use data to guide and inform instruction as well as ensure student learning needs are met. Support services include Foundations and English Plus. All classes, except foreign language, are taught in English. Primary students celebrate Dictionary Day and Reading Day each year, where students dress up like a new vocabulary word or literary figure. Primary students enjoy an annual Talent Show where they have the opportunity to share their talent with their friends and teachers.
Music is one of the strongest forms of communication as it crosses language, culture, class and emotional barriers as no other form of communication can. We start students using the instrument we all carry, our voice. Beginning in elementary school, our students learn solfege, vocal technique, pitch matching, and the elements of music.
Art curriculum guides the student through an encouraging and positive approach. It begins in elementary school by introducing the following elements of art: colors, shapes, textures, and lines. The journey of learning continues as the student discovers how to make all of these elements come together to create a work of art.
Students also engage in ASA’s (after-school activities). ASA’s are another way our teachers connect with students and invest in their character and academic development. Activities include sports, music, art, language, and drama. Many of our ASA’s also support learning standards, such as our Guided Reading, which supports the strong literacy foundation students already receive in the classroom.
Teachers at AISB-Hope International use assessment data to track student learning progress. Data-driven instruction is a method that relies on information to inform teaching and learning. Standard and formative assessment data guide teachers’ planning to ensure all students’ learning needs are being met. Teachers work with students to create learning portfolios. Teachers use these portfolios to conference with students, which gives students opportunity to reflect on their own learning and to set measurable and achievable learning goals. Taking the time to guide students and providing them time to process builds a student’s metacognitive awareness and improves their overall ability to learn. A mother of a student from a couple years ago, recently told a teacher that the skills her child learned in our primary program are helping him to be successful at his new school where they now live. She wasn’t only speaking of academics, but also the social and emotional skills he developed while he was in our care. In order for students to learn well, teachers must teach well. In addition, when teachers connect learning to real life with an emphasis on developing character, students won’t just remember academic content they learned in the classroom. They will remember the love and care of the teacher who taught them many valuable character lessons. They’ll remember how they felt when coming to school to be with their teachers and friends.
AISB-Hope International is ten years old. In the autumn of 2020, the school moved to a new campus in northeast Chaoyang district. We warmly invite you to come for visit and see for yourself how much our teachers and students love their school.
Images: AISB Hope International