A new school year,a new big season!For most students,the beginning of a new school year is just as big an event as a new year.This is the time to cast away some old and undesired habits,and to establish new routines or to set new goals,such as“to make this year's GPA rush up to 3.8','to join some extra-curricular activities that never tried before',or more generally,'to reopen my school life by shifting to this new school.'Meanwhile,NAIS has produced updated student handbooks,established detailed school rules,and set clearer goals for college admission.When NAIS is taking all these new steps,an old question is raised by Principal Fan:'For what reasons do parents send their children to an international school as ours?What can we really provide our students with?”
It is the third year for NAIS to accept new students,but the first time to have graduates,making it an important year for both NAIS and CCO.While trying our best to help students with college application,we have been thinking about Fan's'old question'under this new circumstance.NAIS is equipped with advanced facilities,comfortable campus environment,qualified teachers,strict management system,and rich resources for further education.All these could be reasons for parents and students to choose us in the first place.But is that all?What is the most important thing that we offer to our students?
We have been providing counseling to parents and students who come to talk with us during the whole summer.The most frequently asked questions deal with'which agency offers the most effective TOEFL training?”or“which agency goes with high marks in SAT exams?”We regret that we are not able to give a definite answer.As college counselors who studied and worked abroad for years,we are clearly aware of the role of high marks in college application,yet are even more sure that we are not pursuing only high marks as training agencies are.As long as we know,the design of all these tests,such as TOEFL,SAT and AP,is quite reasonable.The test score can reflect authentically,in most cases,a student’s level in this field.Therefore,we should focus on not only the results of learning,but also the foundation of basic concepts and the construction of knowledge structure.In fact,what we care about is the whole journey of learning.Starting with positive attitudes and good learning habits,our students should experience the whole learning process to discover that when they do one thing from beginning to end and sweat for every task as hard as digging for gold,the return is even better than gold itself.
Our counseling can often end with a parent’s comprehension like this:I thought studying in an international school could be an easier thing to do than that in a normal Chinese school.But now it seems to be more challenging since there are so much to learn and to develop in these years.Indeed,our students will experience a'challenging'journey in which they will learn with joy and will end with good performance in learning outcomes.The more important is that their experience at an international school could be repeated and applied in a similar way and navigate them to achieve in overseas colleges.Therefore,international schools are not only designed to provide a diploma to get you into western colleges,not also designed to prepare you well enough for overseas lives.Our teachers serve this purpose.By spending time with their western teachers as much as they can,our students can hopefully learn the western way of thinking and problem-solving,feel and understand its value system,experience the styles of social behavior,etc.What we really want to offer is to provide our children with such intangible assets as much as possible during their middle and high school studies,so that later,they could hold the right currency to buy everything they need in western universities and live well on overseas campus.
Here we go!The common goal of all teachers in NAIS in the new school year is to do our best to provide our children with a joyful learning experience with great potential,and to exchange the real currency that parents have paid into the intangible wealth that will make their children successful in the future.