Open Morning: A Window Into Our Classrooms

Friday 6 Dec 2019

Nanwai King’s College School was proud to welcome parents of International School Grades 1 to 8 students onto our campus and into our classrooms for two very successful open mornings this week.

The visits saw nearly all of our students joined in class by either mum or dad. Many of the lessons held gave parents the opportunity to join in with the activity and challenge themselves to keep up with the pace of our International School classes.

While fun and exciting for both parents and students, our Open Days serve four key purposes for our school community:

Sharing: We want to celebrate the great work that happens in our school and also show the outcome of the dedication and commitment that our staff show towards their students. Work samples and classroom displays along with engaging and child-centred lessons are all aspects of our school that we are keen to share.

Insight: Many of our parents did not attend an international school themselves and often when children move to China, NKCS becomes a family’s first-ever experience with international education. Giving parents a chance to see a diverse classroom in action, how we support language learning in a practical sense and the way that different cultures are embraced and celebrated is an important part of our open mornings.

Context: We all learnt reading and mathematics at school, but so often when children return home and talk about their school day, their parents imagine it in the context of their own educational experience. By opening the doors to our classrooms, parents are able to see what a reading group is or understand that a mathematics relay is a great way of learning, and they understand more easily what their children do each day at school.

Conversation starters: By giving parents the chance to see the inside of the classrooms and experience how learning occurs, they can take home ideas that will assist them in talking to their child about school. “How was your day?” can become, “What was the Fact of the Day today?” or “What subject were you grouped in the animal groups for today?” Knowing the right way to ask about school can open up rich conversations that assist parents in sharing more easily in their child’s school experience.

It was a pleasure to see so many of our International School parents deeply involved in the lessons with their children and at times, working beside them to help solve problems and learn more about our curriculum.

Mr Matthew Conn
Head of International School

Parents’ Reflections

 

“I was so happy to be invited into the classroom today. It was lovely to get an insight into the day-to-day running of the classroom and being able to watch my boys in a learning environment and see how they are developing, not only academically but socially. I personally found this visit very useful and enjoyable. I am looking forward to the next one.”

 – G1, Harry and Edward’s mum

“Head of International School, Mr Conn gave us a warm welcome and a short presentation on the day’s schedule and the purpose behind running these open days. He also advised us how to observe the class and interreact with the class when invited. Students were having normal lessons, so parents tried to understand how they respond and think in class. Executive Principal Dr Kennard joked that it was students, not parents, who were having a math lesson and that parents should just relax and enjoy and see how our children are doing in class.

“Ms Zikmann led G5 students in solving one of the tough math questions from the homework the before. The question was fascinating and challenging, it asked: “What will the interest rate be in eight years if the current rate increases by 7% each year?”

“With the teacher’s guidance and help, I could see the students were trying to understand, figure out, and answer the question. In the next 20 minutes, students were given new tasks where they needed to search for any percentage related questions from the posters on the wall and try to answer them. During the lesson, Ms Zikmann led the students and the topics they learned were linked with real-life situations. Whenever Mr Wang saw a student feeling confused, he would quickly approach and help them.

“The second period was English. Students were doing historical fiction writing and proofreading. Ms Zikmann gave them some proverbs and then some cards to provide more information. The students were doing a really good job in expressing their own ideas. Ms Zikmann chose some students’ writings examples and read them out; she asked students to comment on how, and in what ways, the writing could be improved. She then gave feedback so that students could re-edit their writing to produce their final piece.

“Through the open day, I got to see how important it is for students to stay focused in their lessons. Also, I saw how balanced their curriculum is with various topics included in their learning. Some topics were really challenging, with students needing to keep up by reading more and enriching their life experience.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the International School and the teachers for a wonderful and informative open day. It was a real reflection of their actual classes and parents were so pleased to see their children’s life at school and see how devoted and hard-working teachers are. Thank you!”

— G5, Bruce’s mum

“I went to Mr Booth’s G6 English class today. The students in the class were very engaged in answering the teacher’s questions. The parents were very pleased to see this active class participation. We enjoyed the way Mr Booth delivered his lesson, and we could see our children enjoy learning too.

“I then attended a mathematics lesson. In this class, we were invited to work with students to solve a mathematics problem, we did the puzzle together. As a parent, I used to think learning was boring and difficult. From the open day today, I was able to see how much my children enjoy their learning here; I am so very happy for them. It was a great opportunity and I appreciated the teachers’ passion for teaching.”

— G6 and 7, Elia and Elly’s mum

 

Teachers’ Reflections

“It was amazing that so many of our parents took the time to visit Grade 1 International on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was extremely beneficial for the students to feel supported by their parents and to be able to showcase their learning. It was wonderful to see parents and students collaborating and communicating in the classroom.”

“The open day gave Grade 1 the opportunity to demonstrate all the amazing things they have learned throughout the year and to also share more detail about the topics we are discovering now. The day also provided an opportunity for parents to witness how students engage with the curriculum and teachers, and how they take ownership of their learning.

“We are extremely proud of Grade 1 and we are glad that we had the opportunity to share all that we have accomplished this term.”

“Nanwai King’s just had its second Parents Open Day and hearing the words “open day” is sometimes enough to send a teacher running for the hills. However, as soon as the day approaches and you have six to 10 excited parents sitting in your classroom, you realise that this is your chance to give them an authentic experience of what is really happening in your room on a daily basis.

“We do not always get to control the main point of reflection or conversation that goes home at the end of every day. We can only hope that we made a difference in a student’s life, that they enjoyed the lessons you prepared, that they feel they learned something and that they are excited to share all of that with their parents.”


“As teachers we want the parents of our students to be satisfied, we want them to feel confident about sending their children to us. Open days give us the chance to give that reassurance to parents. And as always, I had a great time bringing the best out of the students while their parents were there.

“I’m overjoyed when parents join in a lesson, and I can see how excited and proud the students become to have their parents there to witness their achievements.”

Well done to those teachers who advocated their love for teaching. Well done too to the parents who took the time and showed an interest in their children’s learning by joining us in the classroom and learning with us.

Thank you and see you next year!

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