Principal's Word

 

放眼中國STEM-STEAM-STREAM教育

展望香港未來

隨著中國一帶沿岸城市迅速發展,香港作為國際城市的角色日漸減退,面對激烈的競爭,香港持續繁榮,就必須發展成為國際智慧城市。而全球各行各業已邁進創科新世代,社會對STEM人才日益殷切。有見及此,直資學校議會今次組團前往杭州取經,以配合政府大力推動STEM教育的政顯現教育與時並進。

        我們在杭州走訪多所在STEM教育富經驗的學校,當中包括育才中學東洲中心小學浙江音樂學院杭州外國語學校。各校發展STEM教育不遺餘力,規模與設施,洋洋大觀確實比香港學校倍加先進。

杭州各校推行STEM教育,著重課程與社會連貫在一起,例如講解汽車結構解剖,是以整部汽車作為示範,亦連結道路上超速追踪器與航拍系統;在學生製造機械人向學生展示現今社會上機械人在醫療及建造業的效能;在教授3D打印技術時,亦向學生講3D打印怎樣用於工業產品製作及社區建設。而杭州學校的配套令我們大開眼界浙江音樂學院舞台後台面積竟大如本港學校禮堂,科技設施更令我們嘆為觀止此外,各校在推行STEM教育,亦具不同的特浙江音樂學院就在STEM教育中滲入了不少藝術元素(STEAM)杭州外國語學校,就在創科教育上加入了語文的元素(STREAM)特別注重閱讀,以提高學生的語文修養,讓教學走上通才教育的道路上。就我們觀課所見,老師皆鼓勵學生主動探索協作解難和勇於創新,學生亦樂於學習,教學成效可見一斑

杭州學校將學校STEM教育社會三方面緊扣連接,讓學生明白社會的進步與日常生活素質是息息相關的,這利於向學生灌輸STEM的重要性,提升學生學習創新科技的興趣。而杭州在2010-2020年的課程改革中,相應減少必修科的內容,而增加更多選修科目,目的是讓學生更有興趣的學習,配合STEM教育的發展。

隨團我們亦參觀了文化科技創意產業—中南卡通,該企業本以生產玻璃窗等建築材料為主,在2003年優化企業並轉型為科技動畫產業,促進科技、文化及藝術的融合,形成研發、設、製、行銷的科動漫產鏈,為國家帶來巨大的利及文化影。我們亦有機會在西湖欣賞由大導演張藝謀先生G20杭州2016峰會打造的世界級水上音樂聲光舞蹈秀—最憶是杭州,舞台是山、水、湖,演員就在中搭配奇幻的燈光和動人的音樂演出,表演極其夢幻,把科技、文化與藝術融合得天衣無縫,獲得國際間一致讚賞。由此可見,科技文化藝術融合有助推動中國「一帶一路」的發展,亦是社會發展的新趨向,STEM-STEAM-STREAM的教育必然是大趨勢。

        若期望本港學校發展STEM-STEAM-STREAM規模及進度能追得上國內學校,政府就必投放更多資源。在這方面,因為直資學校資源較官津學校充裕,而自主空間較大,所以本人認為直資學校可在STEM-STEAM-STREAM教育上發揮領導作用,為學界帶來更多的新衝撃,為本港教育發異彩。

可惜,香港STEM-STEAM-STREAM教育發展先天性受制於現行中學文憑試考試制度,由於偏重四大核心科目,以至其他選修科目,如科學、電腦及資訊科技淪為等科目,若不改變現行考試制度,恐怕影響STEM教育發展,以至香港發展成為國際智慧城市的願景,未容樂觀。

: STREAM

   S-科學(Science)

   T-科技(Technology)

   R-閱讀(Reading)

   E-工程(Engineering)

   A-藝術(Art)

   M-數學(Mathematics)

唐秀芬校長口述;鄧珮珊老師執筆

STEM-STEAM-STREAM Education

Eye on China

Prospect for Hong Kong

Following the rapid development of coastal cities in China, Hong Kong's role as an international city is diminishing. It is essential for the metropolis to strive to evolve into a global smart city for the sake of sustainable prosperity. Entering the era of innovation and technology, worldwide demand for STEM experts is growing bigger than ever. In view of this, the Hong Kong Direct Subsidy Scheme Schools Council organized a study tour for local school principals and teachers to Hangzhou (杭州), which fostered professional exchange in this area. 

We visited several education institutes noted for STEM teaching, including a secondary school (育才中學), a primary school (東洲中心小學), the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music and Hangzhou Foreign Language School. The scale and facilities of these schools, which lay great emphasis on teaching STEM, are much more advanced than those in Hong Kong.

STEM educators in the Mainland emphasize the link between curriculum and society. For example, when they disassemble a car, they use a real car for demonstration and also relate this to speed trackers and aerial photography. When they teach robot building, they display the efficacy robots can have in medical and construction sectors. When they teach 3D-printing, they explain how the technology can be applied to product manufacturing and community building. We were amazed at the supporting and technological facilities in Hangzhou schools, such as the backstage in the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music which is the size a school hall in Hong Kong. Besides, STEM education in different schools has different features. The Zhejiang Conservatory of Music adds art element (STEAM) into STEM while that in Hangzhou Foreign Language School encompasses language element (STREAM), aiming to promote reading to raise students’ language literacy for receiving all-round education. During class visits, students were encouraged to research, collaborate and innovate. As they enjoyed learning, teaching efficacy is reaffirmed.

Hangzhou schools interweave school, STEM education and society, which enables students to understand the close connection between technological advancement and daily life, underlying the importance of STEM. This effectively raises their interest in learning innovation technology. In the 2010-2020 curricula reform in Hangzhou, coverage of compulsory subjects will be decreased and more elective subjects will be opened so as to arouse students’ interest in learning STEM.

We also visited a company (中南卡通) featuring cultural and creative industries. In 2003, the company transformed its business into an animation industry focusing on research, design, production and marketing of animation that brings huge profits to the Mainland. During the tour, we were delighted to have a chance to enjoy a world class show directed by famous film director Zhang Yi Mou (張藝謀導演) – The Impression of West Lake (最憶是杭州). Melding light, water, dance and music, this internationally acclaimed show perfectly blends technology, culture and arts, and thus portrays the role of these elements in implementation of One-Belt-One-Road, as well as STEM-STEAM-STREAM education.

Looking back at Hong Kong. If local schools hope to catch up with the scale and pace of STEM-STEAM-STREAM education in the Mainland, our government must invest more substantially in the area. Since Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) schools have more resources and autonomy than government and aided schools, I believe that DSS schools can play a leading role in STEM-STEAM-STREAM education, which will bring forth new impact and shine in splendour for local education.

However, Hong Kong’s STEM-STEAM-STREAM education is handicapped by the HKDSE, the current public examination system that overstresses four core subjects, leaving elective subjects, such as science, computer science and information and communication technology, undervalued. Should this current practice be unchanged, I am afraid that the development of STEM education or even the vision of developing Hong Kong as a smart city will not be optimistic.

 

Note:       STREAM ( S – Science, T – Technology, R – Reading, E – Engineering, A – Art,

M – Mathematics)

 

Verbally by Ms Frances Tong, Principal

Written by Ms Tang Pui Shan, Chinese Language Chairperson (Chinese Version)

Translated by Mr Chan Chun Hung, School Librarian

 

 

  

 

 

 

Happy Education, do it the Finnish way

"Happy Education" was the idea that rang loud to me during my educational visit to Finland in early May 2017 with representatives of other DSS schools in Hong Kong. Every time I stepped into a Finnish school, I immediately felt an atmosphere of happiness pervading the campus, where our visiting group was enthusiastically welcomed by cheerful and smiling students. They expressed excellent skills of communication, introducing to us clearly the wonders of the campus and how much they enjoyed life at school.

We were also warmly received by the teachers who impressed us with their visionary insights on educating the next generation and their sense of pride choosing education as their lifelong profession. The teaching profession in Finland is as respectable and important in society as doctors, engineers and scientists for they contribute towards nurturing and producing the pillars of tomorrow’s society.

According to Finns, every child is a teachable and the purpose of education is for life. As early as in the Primary, children learn the skills and values of life, such as carpentry and verbal presentation. The correct values of life are instilled in students throughout the academic stages. The learning of English as a secondary language is greatly emphasized in the curriculum as it is viewed as the most important international language in world trade, science and politics. 

How to make a school a happy place where learning is stress-free, inspiring, fun and enjoyable? Here in Finland, students learn by interacting and collaborating with their peers, instead of scrambling and competing with each other for individual recognition or glory. The pressure from examinations and tests is reduced to the minimum throughout the academic career. And a lot of emphasis is laid on meaningful activities during the process of learning.

 

Finnish education is highly rated as of exemplary standard in the world. It is a wake-up call to Hong Kong’s educators. It is time we revamped the local education system, and relieved it from all those negative flaws and opened up stress-free learning avenues for students. In particular, life values and skills education should be strengthened as a formal subject in the curriculum because students should be adequately equipped intellectually, mentally and physically for life. And teachers, parents and students should play their part in building a happy campus where students enjoy growing and learning with purpose. Together we can make education a happy and memorable journey for the next generation!

 

The importance of breakfast

A very well-known phrase goes like this, “Breakfast is like a King, Lunch is like a Prince and Dinner is like a Pauper.” Let’s see why a good breakfast is so important for us. Needless to say, breakfast is undoubtedly the most important meal of our entire day. Some people have this misconception that skipping breakfast will help them in losing weight. As a result, they skip the most important meal of their day and then indulge in binge eating later in the day when they feel extremely hungry. However, the truth is that not having proper and healthy breakfast can backfire in the longer run and cause adverse effects on our body and mind. Let us learn about the real importance of breakfast.

 

Why is breakfast so important?

The first and foremost thing about breakfast is that it provides our body with the much-needed fuel and energy after an overnight of fasting. This is exactly why this meal is known as Breakfast i.e. breaking the fast. If an individual is skipping his/her breakfast, he/she is clearly trying to kick start his/her day without any fuel. Imagine this as starting your car every morning without any petrol in it. Generally, it is said that breakfast should be consumed within two hours of waking up.

Not only this, food that we consume as a part of our breakfast is also the first source of calcium, iron and Vitamin B that our body gets. Some very crucial proteins, fiber and nutrients are also supplied to our body when we consume breakfast properly and within a time frame of 2-3 hours after waking up. Studies have proven that people who skip breakfast not only fall short of all these nutrients, vitamins and fiber; rather it is also impossible for them to compensate for this loss irrespective of the fact that they may be consuming very healthy food later in the day.

A very good source of vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables are considered to be a prominent part of our breakfast. It is evidently observed that people who consume fresh fruits and vegetables as a part of their breakfast are less likely to gain weight. On the other hand, breakfast skippers tend to nibble on snacks and junk food; hence putting on more weight and leading an unhealthy lifestyle. Ideally, it is said that consuming a banana or a glass of fresh juice is also of great use for the human mind and body.

Breakfast is known for restoring the level of glucose in our body and it is a well-known fact that carbohydrate (a type of glucose) is very crucial for the proper functioning of our brain. It also helps in improving our memory and concentration levels. Last but not least, breakfast is known for relieving stress and improving our overall health.

Long term effects of breakfast also include the inculcation of family values as it is usually consumed with the entire family sitting together. This is what makes it necessary for kids to be taught about the importance of breakfast starting from a very young age.

 

How can breakfast affect you while at school?

Children who have eaten breakfast can concentrate better and have a longer attention span, helping them to learn and study better. They can also perform better physically after eating breakfast as there is more energy available to their muscles. Breakfast can improve behaviour and mood, as children have better concentration and aren’t tired or hungry.

 

Some healthy breakfast options

Having seen the benefits of breakfast, let us check out some healthy breakfast options (as recommended by the Student Health Service in the Department of Health):

  • Vermicelli/macaroni/udon/thin rice noodle in soup, with lean pork and seasonal vegetable
  • Oatmeal with low-fat/skimmed milk and egg + whole-wheat bread with jam
  • Low-fat milk/skimmed milk + unsweetened instant cereals + fresh fruit or no added sugar dried fruit
  • Beef or fish congee with shredded lettuce + steamed vermicelli rolls (less oil, less sauce e.g. soy sauce, sweet sauce)
  • Low-fat/skimmed cheese sandwich + high calcium sugar free/low-sugar soya milk
  • High calcium sugar free/low-sugar soya milk + steamed bun (饅頭)

 

In contrast, some food you should avoid:

  • High sugar food and drinks, such as soft drink, cream cake, packaged lemon tea
  • High fat and high sodium (high salt) food e.g. deep-fried chicken drumstick, sausage, fish balls, luncheon meat, fried egg, instant noodle, potato chips, cookies, deep-fried you tiao, and dim sum, such as spring rolls, steamed pork dumplings (燒賣)
  • Cooked food sold by unlicensed roadside peddlers e.g. fish balls and faked shark’s fin

 

Even minor changes to your breakfast could mean big improvements in your academic performance. So, eat your breakfast wisely and stay energetic!

 

 Harmony in Diversity

Barack Obama has inspired America and the world because of who he is. As the first black president of the United States, he bears testimony to the American dream of equality and opportunity. With Hussein as his middle name, a father from Kenya of Africa and a childhood spent partly in Indonesia, he also represents the cultural and racial diversity that characterises America today.

Take a look at the case of Hong Kong. One of its distinctive features is its success as an international port. It is a meeting point for people of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Here they intermingle with each other harmoniously regardless of diversities in racial background, culture, religion and lifestyle.

Our School can be seen as a micro-society. Just like Hong Kong, it has a good mix of students of different ethnic backgrounds or nationalities. What has made Hong Kong tick can certainly make our School tick as well.

With the increasing demand of non-Chinese-speaking children studying in our School, it is important for us to create a harmonious learning environment so that students of diverse racial backgrounds can study and grow in a harmonious and supportive environment. Here our students learn to understand, accept, respect and support each other irrespective of racial origin. They also learn to be tolerant and patient with each other as they go through different learning and adjustment problems and the process of integrating into school life.

With the 21st Century comes an era of globalisation. No country can survive by itself without interacting with other countries. The purpose of education is not just to equip students for society, it is to nurture students to become global citizens. Here at St. Margaret's, students should appreciate the experience of exposing themselves to diverse cultures and ways of life so that by the time they graduate and step into society, they know how to come to terms with people of different nationalities in the workplace, whether locally or abroad.

Furthermore, we must value the fact that a multi-cultural campus such as ours facilitates the use of English as a daily living language in and out of the classroom for the obvious reason that students have to rely on one common language -English- to communicate and interact with each other. This is a special advantage other non-diverse schools feel envious of.

I can still recall vividly my sweet secondary school days at St. Rose of Lima's School where I had the opportunity of being taught by several sisters and teachers coming from overseas: English, Scottish, Pole, Australian, Canadian, Indian, Filipino, Portuguese and French. I enjoyed a relationship with them just as close as local teachers and was fascinated by the diverse cultures they introduced to the school. Such experience made me feel totally comfortable and at ease with foreigners in my later years when I went to Canada for my studies at the university.

Now that we have come to realize that diversity is in fact a blessing to our School, we should stand together to make the best of it for our School and our future. Remember: "One World, One Dream".

 

 締結姊妹學校 —— 永興鎮初級中學

 計 劃 背 景


四 川 省 「 五 . 一 二 」 大 地 震 發 生 已 近 三 年 了 , 特 區 政 府 一 直 積 極 參 與 支 援 災 後 重 建 的 工 作 , 而 教 育 局 亦 成 立 了 教 育 及 人 才 培 訓 工 作 小 組 , 負 責 學 校 重 建 的 部 分 。 除 了 學 校 硬 件 重 建 工 程 外 , 教 育 局 亦 啟 動 由 學 界 自 發 開 展 各 項 軟 件 上 的 跟 進 , 如 締 結 姊 妹 學 校 、 學 生 交 流 、 師 資 培 訓 和 校 長 論 壇 等 , 以 促 成 長 遠 而 有 果 效 的 川 港 的 教 育 合 作 。

本 校 有 幸 參 與 「 校 對 校 、 齊 成 長 」 締 結 姊 妹 學 校 計 劃 。 此 計 劃 由 香 港 教 育 局 主 辦 、 伙 伴 教 育 基 金 會 及 聖 保 祿 創 意 交 流 培 訓 中 心 協 辦 , 其 宗 旨 包 括 : 一 、 加 強 各 地 學 校 間 在 教 育 的 互 相 支 持 及 教 學 經 驗 分 享 , 為 培 養 新 一 代 而 共 同 努 力 ; 二 、 透 過 學 校 間 的 合 作 , 提 升 教 學 素 質 , 營 辦 令 人 民 滿 意 的 教 育 ; 三 、 為 參 加 學 校 提 供 地 區 性 及 國 際 性 的 多 元 化 學 習 發 展 機 會 , 促 進 川 港 兩 地 教 育 工 作 者 及 學 生 的 聯 繫 , 加 強 資 訊 交 流 ; 四 、 增 進 川 港 兩 地 教 育 工 作 者 及 學 生 的 友 誼 。

姊 妹 學 校 結 對 儀 式

2 0 1 1 年 1 1 月 1 7 日 為 「 川 港 教 育 論 壇 暨 姊 妹 學 校 結 對 儀 式 」 , 本 校 為 締 結 姊 妹 學 校 的 香 港 代 表 之 一 , 故 此 , 我 代 表 學 校 飛 抵 四 川 成 都 出 席 有 關 的 結 對 儀 式 。 儀 式 於 當 天 上 午 九 時 正 假 體 院 學 術 廳 舉 行 , 由 四 川 省 教 育 廳 副 廳 長 洪 流 先 生 主 持 開 幕 , 並 先 後 由 四 川 省 人 民 政 府 陳 保 明 副 秘 書 長 、 香 港 特 區 政 府 教 育 局 局 長 孫 明 揚 先 生 及 四 川 省 教 育 廳 副 廳 長 唐 小 我 先 生 致 辭 , 接 著 , 便 是 川 港 兩 地 學 校 進 行 簡 單 而 隆 重 的 結 對 簽 字 儀 式 。 本 校 結 對 的 學 校 為 雅 安 市 名 山 縣 永 興 鎮 初 級 中 學 , 我 與 陳 崗 校 長 在 台 上 簽 訂 合 作 協 議 , 並 交 換 禮 品 , 這 亦 標 誌 著 兩 校 正 式 締 結 合 作 。

儀 式 後 , 下 午 進 行 了 「 教 育 論 壇 」 , 論 壇 假 新 華 國 際 酒 店 會 議 廳 舉 行 , 由 四 川 省 教 育 廳 港 澳 台 事 務 辦 公 室 副 主 任 廖 東 暉 先 生 主 持 , 透 過 姊 妹 學 校 校 長 論 壇 及 工 作 坊 , 討 論 未 來 三 年 之 合 作 及 探 訪 工 作 計 劃 。

參 觀 姊 妹 締 結 學 校

2011年11月18日 , 我 到 本 校 結 對 的 姊 妹 學 校 - 雅 安 市 名 山 縣 永 興 鎮 初 級 中 學 參 觀 , 它 是 特 區 政 府 資 助 援 建 的 六 十 九 間 中 的 其 中 一 所 學 校 , 學 校 距 離 成 都 一 百 多 公 里 , 由 成 都 前 往 , 車 程 約 一 個 半 小 時 。

該 校 校 舍 的 重 建 , 已 初 步 完 成 , 校 內 有 多 座 簇 新 的 教 學 樓 , 亦 有 實 驗 室 、 飯 堂 、 學 生 宿 舍 、 廣 場 及 運 動 場 等 。 但 學 校 內 部 的 設 施 仍 見 簡 陋 , 課 室 內 只 有 黑 板 和 殘 破 的 桌 椅 , 可 見 教 學 設 施 仍 有 待 改 善 。 學 校 可 提 供 三 百 六 十 個 宿 位 給 學 生 , 現 今 宿 舍 已 建 成 , 有 待 添 置 室 內 設 施 。

該 校 現 時 共 有 十 班 , 包 括 初 一 級 三 班 、 初 二 級 三 班 、 初 三 級 四 班 , 每 班 約 四 十 人 。 全 校 教 師 共 有 四 十 七 人 , 其 中 校 長 與 三 名 教 師 均 為 國 內 優 秀 教 師 。 另 有 兩 名 保 安 及 一 名 職 員 。 學 校 為 全 日 制 學 校 ,就 讀 於 此 校 的 學 生 ,學 費 均 獲 得 豁 免 ,而 其 他 雜 費 ,亦 由 四 川 政 府 資 助 。

參 觀 當 天 , 我 有 機 會 進 入 課 室 觀 課 。 在 英 語 課 堂 上 , 教 師 表 現 相 當 投 入 , 充 滿 教 學 熱 誠 , 學 生 亦 勤 奮 好 學 , 表 現 積 極 認 真 , 當 然 , 英 語 的 教 與 學 仍 有 改 善 的 空 間 。 此 外 , 當 天 亦 正 值 是 學 校 的 家 長 日 , 我 看 到 所 有 家 長 集 合 在 學 校 廣 場 , 聽 取 校 長 的 訓 勉 , 可 見 國 內 學 校 已 開 始 重 視 家 校 的 合 作 和 交 流 。 在 學 校 內 , 我 隨 處 可 見 有 關 德 行 的 勉 勵 語 句 , 可 見 學 校 十 分 重 視 學 生 品 格 上 的 培 養 。

兩 校 的 交 流 與 合 作

此 計 劃 的 目 的 , 旨 在 促 進 川 港 兩 校 在 教 學 上 的 交 流 , 藉 以 提 升 教 學 的 素 質 , 而 兩 校 在 未 來 的 三 年 合 作 計 劃 中 , 實 有 著 互 助 互 利 的 關 係 。

在 本 校 方 面 , 首 先 , 本 校 會 致 力 協 助 姊 妹 學 校 提 升 英 語 教 學 的 水 平 。 由 於 本 校 為 一 所 歷 史 悠 久 的 英 文 中 學 , 故 此 可 以 利 用 本 校 在 英 語 教 學 上 的 經 驗 , 透 過 教 師 交 流 、 教 學 分 享 , 協 助 姊 妹 學 校 進 行 教 師 的 培 訓 , 以 提 升 英 語 的 教 學 效 能 。 其 次 , 有 見 於 姊 妹 學 校 欠 缺 課 外 活 動 的 安 排 , 本 校 亦 希 望 以 籌 辦 「 其 他 學 習 經 歷 」 的 經 驗 , 與 姊 妹 學 校 多 作 分 享 及 交 流 , 以 協 助 姊 妹 學 校 安 排 不 同 種 類 的 課 外 活 動 , 讓 學 生 的 學 習 生 活 更 多 元 化 。 此 外 , 由 於 姊 妹 學 校 的 學 生 均 來 自 農 村 家 庭 , 生 活 簡 單 樸 素 , 故 此 , 學 生 普 遍 未 有 進 行 完 善 社 交 禮 儀 訓 練 。 本 校 希 望 協 助 姊 妹 學 校 開 設 社 交 禮 儀 課 程 , 讓 學 生 得 到 更 全 面 的 發 展 。

在 姊 妹 學 校 方 面 , 由 於 四 川 自 古 已 有 「 天 府 之 國 」 的 美 譽 , 資 源 豐 富 , 文 化 深 厚 , 而 茶 、 四 合 院 等 文 化 更 是 珍 貴 的 文 化 產 物 , 故 此 , 姊 妹 學 校 可 與 本 校 多 作 交 流 和 分 享 , 讓 本 校 學 生 對 中 國 的 文 化 有 更 深 入 的 認 識 , 同 時 亦 培 養 學 生 對 祖 國 的 情 懷 。

 

 

Reflections on School Visits in Sydney, Australia

Recently I have had the opportunity of joining an educational tour to Sydney, Australia, organized by the Direct Subsidy Scheme School Council with the main objective of looking at the latest developments of education over there and the multi-cultural education, in particular.

The schools and universities visited were as follows:

  • Oxford Falls Grammer School
  • St. Paul International College
  • The Catholic Learning Community of Blessed John XXIII
    (John XXIII Catholic Primary School and St. Marks Catholic College)
  • Blue Mountains Grammer School
  • Cherrybrook Technology High School
  • Macquarie University
  • Sydney Institute of Business and Technology
  • Sydney University and Taylors College
The experience was fantastic and enlightening, with much to learn and much to think about.

One most striking similarity between the schools visited and our school was the growing emphasis on multi-cultural education  - a good mix of students from different countries or national origins with the locals.

This has been a popular trend since the arrival of the 21st century. There is greater and greater mobility of peoples between countries for livelihood, work or studies. The speed of globalization is stunning. Schools have now taken the new role of preparing students not only for life in society but also for world citizenship.

Most of the schools visited emphasized that a unique teaching and learning environment was provided. Cultural awareness, academic challenge and the development of a caring and considerate environment were their prime concerns. In an increasingly globalized world, these schools offered opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds to come together in a safe environment in which they could learn from one another. Through sharing common experiences and goals, students learned to respect one another's differences and appreciate their shared humanity.

Another resemblance with our school was that all the students wore neat and tidy uniform to school. They appeared cheerful and enjoying school life. The effort of the schools in nurturing personal grooming of students had really paid off. One of the schools prided itself on these key attributes being: educated, knowledge, faith and love of God, respectful, servant hearted, diligent and hope-filled.

One noteworthy point was the unbelievably huge and extensive space of the school campuses visited. Despite the enormous space, most rooms and halls were built for multi-purposes which facilitated flexibility and creativity in learning and teaching. However, it would be impossible for Hong Kong schools to develop like this because of the dense population and soaring land prices.

Another thing that impressed me was the student ambassadors, who were so welcoming, polite and enthusiastic in answering questions from the visiting principals. They guided us round the campus and introduced the school features and told us how they felt about their schools. Most of these student ambassadors were able to demonstrate a high level of English presentation skills with great self-confidence and a strong sense of belonging to their schools. They performed much better than Hong Kong students in this respect. Therefore our girls should take note of this and try to improve English public speaking skills by constant practice. Such skills will help them to cut a competitive edge in their future careers.

Collaborative learning among student groups was widely practised in one of the schools. It was common to see groups of 4 to 6 students engaged in their project study here and there on campus. Such kind of learning was facilitated by maximising the use of information technology.

The foundation course is a unique education system in Australia with the aim of providing a second chance for students who fail to gain direct entry to universities because of not being up to standard. It takes about 18 months to have the course completed. At Taylors College, surprisingly the majority of students are Chinese from Hong Kong and mainland China.

In conclusion, the experience of school visits in Sydney, Australia has reinforced St. Margaret's belief in moving towards internationalization and creating a diverse but harmonious learning environment for students. Furthermore we will step up our efforts in nurturing students to be multi-lingual world citizens. I believe we will achieve our goals with the staunch support from parents, the Education Bureau and the community.