[15 June] I am honoured to have received a champion trophy this morning for Oxford Primary English Writing Competition organized by Oxford University Press.
I joined the teachers' category of which the task was to design an itinerary for a "green" exchange tour. Heavily inspired by Ying Wa Primary School's Singapore tours in these 2 years, I wrote about visiting Singapore with Fairfield Methodist Primary School as a major stop.
My strategy of impressing the judges was perhaps the details I gave and the extra contents I put in. The standard worksheet provided very limited space for creativity but as extra sheets were allowed, I took advantage of that! I think when you craft anything for a contest, a way of success is to be brave to "break new ground"!
See below for my work. Do you want to join this "green" tour?
Dr H C Lee
Thank you for following our Germany Educational Trip 2019. Mrs Lam and I had a great time learning overseas and sharing with you what we had experienced. You may revisit any of our days in Germany here:
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
As for the answers to the daily questions, here you go:
That's all for the Q & A! How many did you get right? Please do not worry if your answers are different from the above. Every brain is unique.
I would like to thank the Direct Subsidy Scheme Schools Council for organizing this Germany Educational Trip. Thanks to Principal Dion Chen and Dr Samuel Cheng for leading the tour. And most importantly, thanks to Mrs Lam for inviting me to join the tour with her. It was an excellent learning opportunity for me personally and a great chance for me to bring what I gain overseas to my students at YWPS.
Final advice: Wherever you go, open your eyes and minds to learn, think and reflect more – the world is your classroom.
Dr H C Lee
[17 May] This was the final “working day” of the tour as tomorrow we won't have any visiting activities. After a series of school visits, today we had the opportunity to visit a university. It was Goethe (pronounced as GOOteh) University Frankfurt, which was more than a century old.
According to the international student who brought us around the campus, Goethe University Frankfurt was famous for the subjects of finance and business. While these global subjects are taught in English, other subjects are mainly taught in German. But as the German government funds all university students, it makes studying in Germany very attractive.
To end the tour we had the fortune to have bought tickets for a concert at the Alte Oper (Frankfurt Opera House). We listened to Shaham & Mälkki with Frankfurt Radio Symphony. The concert had Gil Shaham as the Principal Violinist and Susanna Mälkki as conductor. These professional musicians were flawless!
I was in awe entering such an enormous and beautiful concert hall; I was in awe seeing a house of German-speaking audience with almost no interest in playing with their mobile phones; I was in awe witnessing the self-discipline of the audience who knew when to clap and when not to and the time to leave for intermission without any announcement at all!
People here seem to have developed a respectful culture in attending classical music concerts. My experience tonight was much better than the one I had in the Golden Hall of Vienna which was filled with 70 percent Asian with loud talking noise and mobile phone playing habits. While I might not have totally enjoyed the music tonight, this German experience of attending a concert gave me a great impression. And I think it was a very important lesson to learn, musically and culturally.
I'm closing this journey with two questions for you:
That's all for my 7-day adventure and travelogues. Please continue to use your imagination and creativity to respond to my writing contents and questions, if you haven't done so. When I'm back next week, I'll discuss with you further (if you are in my class!) and look for high quality comments from you. Of course, I will continue to interact with you online through your comments. In fact, I have replied several.
As said, I will bring back a few tokens of thanks for those who have read my writing with heart and responded with thoughts and diligence. And next time when you travel, please don't forget to be hungry, reflective, and generous in sharing. See you all very soon.
Dr H C Lee
[16 May] I was looking forward to visiting today's school not only because I was assigned to officially write about this school for the post-trip publication for Hong Kong Direct Subsidy Scheme Schools Council (DSSSC), but also that my own secondary school bore the same name – King's College.
My Alma Mater is of course a reputable government school in Hong Kong, not affiliated with this King's College in Frankfurt. And in fact, even though they call themselves “The British School of Frankfurt”, they are not related to the UK government. This is simply a new branch of school under the King's Group, run by a group of British people.
Their Head Teacher Ms Sharp had a very passionate and charming speech introducing to us about the governing body and their achievements in the last 50 years in other countries. But unfortunately her words could not be supported by current evidence in this Frankfurt-based school because they only came into existence in August 2018. The school was designed to have a capacity of 600 students, yet now their current number of students is 40. Their staff said that it would take 5-8 years for them to fill up the remaining places, if it could possibly be done at all. So, we probably came a bit too early today.
It seemed to be a happy accident for us that we were arranged to visit a school which was not fully prepared for visitors looking for professional exchanges on teaching and learning with solid local examples. Thinking positively, we still saw a new school and appreciated what we were offered, however limited their resources and experience at the present were. But it will be a long way till they have got enough pupils to make the school fully functioning. At this moment, we could only give them our best wishes for their future growth.
Just one question today for those who has an artistic and architectural mind:
1. The above are some common buildings in Frankfurt that we observed. Can you briefly describe this particular German architectural style?
Tomorrow will be our final working day in Germany before leaving for home. We will visit a university. I hope it will give us a satisfying morning. Write you again soon!
Dr H C Lee
[15 May] The visit to Georg-Müller-School Bielefeld was the main focus of the day and it was nothing less heart-warming and fulfilling than what we experienced yesterday at AHF-Elementary School.
It was a Christian school again and we learnt about its strong Christian flavour in their curriculum design. The school has a primary section and two secondary sections depending on the levels of the students. In Germany, you study for your primary education for 4 years and then move up to secondary. Depending on your school results, you are normally sent to either general schools (Hauptschulen), intermediate schools (Realschulen) or grammar schools (Gymnasien). There is another type of secondary schools called comprehensive schools (Gesamtschulen) welcoming students of all academic levels. Georg-Müller-School Bielefeld has a primary section, a grammar school section and a comprehensive school section. It is a very interesting combination.
I met another new friend, Aaron, though I'm not sure if it was the right spelling of his name!
Question time now...Wait...do you really need questions in order to respond to my travelogue? You can reflect on anything I write here! Anyway, I have two questions for you. The first one is really really hard.
1. The above picture was one of the slides we were shown during Georg-Müller-School Bielefeld's presentation. What was the common message behind all these pictures?
Das ist alles für heute. Schreibe dir morgen. Vielen Dank.
Dr H C Lee
[14 May] The fourth day of the tour has easily proven to be the best of the trip so far. The weather continued to be incredibly wonderful and the traffic was smooth. What was important was that we could have another school to visit!
We were arranged to visit a Christian school under August-Hermann-Franke-Schools – AHF-Elementary School in Detmold. It was a very warm and fruitful experience meeting their staff and children.
My first German lesson...so funny! Thanks Ilian! ^o^
Question time. This round I have got three interesting questions for you!
Tomorrow we will travel back to where we started our journey, somewhere at the south of River Main. More sharing later. Auf Wiederhören!
Dr H C Lee
[13 May] I guess that life will be too boring without surprises. We, participants of the Germany Educational Trip, had some wonderful accidents today to keep our journey far from boring!
The wonderful day started with a delayed coach. As we got to reach Frankfurt International School in the morning, the 12 of us took four taxis to go there while other 13 had disappeared since Thanos snapped his fingers...just kidding, they had left Frankfurt for Göttingen earlier yesterday for other visiting activities. And fortunately for that we didn't need 5 more taxis!
More interestingly, on the way to the international school, we received news from YWPS that our P.6 Beijing Tour participants was encountering a flight delay and would have to wait at the airport for 4 hours. Accidents happen everywhere around the globe!
Our coach eventually reached us after our visit and it was then that one of our participants, Principal Leung, found that her belongings were not brought by the coach. They were left in the hotel! And thus, we had to travel all the way back to our hotel. It took us half an hour. Then we had a 3-hour coach ride to Göttingen to pick up the 13 participants. The biggest surprise dropped to us from this point – the 3-hour ride to Bielefeld turned out to be 8 due to unexpected rerouting and some toilet breaks.
Funny enough, during this time, I received pictures about my students enjoying themselves in Beijing airport while they're waiting. I wondered if the leading teachers and parents on the other side of the globe were better off than us here in Germany!
Looking for some questions? I only give you one today!
More to come (hopefully not accidents!), stay tuned.
Dr H C Lee
[12 May] Happy Mother's Day from Frankfurt! We were happy as well being granted a sunny day and some stunning experiences here in Germany on Day 2. The weather was still terribly cold in the morning at around 8 degrees Celsius, but it climbed up to 13 or so towards the afternoon and with the sun, I even felt a bit hot!
Our major activities today were the visit to the Main Tower , a city tour, a dinner at the farm and an evening sharing session where we listened to our tour leader's education experience in Germany. So, let's go...
I was very happy with this day's experience but a few questions stuck in my head that I need my students to help answer (though they are still in Beijing for an exchange tour till Monday night!). Let's see the questions:
Our main duty will start tomorrow as we will visit schools in Germany. And I'm looking forward to meeting their students and teachers and writing to you about my thoughts tomorrow night. Stay tuned!
Dr H C Lee
[11 May] 25 educators of Hong Kong involving school heads and senior administrators of Direct Subsidy Schools have arrived at Frankfurt for an 8-day learning programme in Germany. The 12-hour flight was a bit bumpy but we landed safely at around 6:45 am this morning.
Headmistress Mrs Lam and I represent Ying Wa Primary School this year to join the adventure. Although Mrs Lam left the group early for a music experience in Berlin on Day 1, and although this day was shadowed by annoying showers, gloomy clouds and chilling winds, this was still a greatly fruitful day for me as I could take parts in all sorts of cultural experience in Frankfurt. Some highlights are as follows:
There are certainly a lot more to share about my experience today but I do need some time to rest now! Before I sleep, how about trying to answer these questions (please leave your responses in the comments box)?
All answers will be revealed after my journey. Students with the best participation and quality of responses to my questions (due 20 May) in this trip will be awarded with gifts from Germany! And of course, your general feedback to my travelogue entries is highly welcome too and can be equally praised. Will write you again tomorrow!
Dr H C Lee
[4 May] Today, 6 of our P.5 Debate Club members (5B Leonardo Lo, 5C Cyrus Ngan, 5C Jayden Chow, 5E Nick Wong, 5E Jayden Leung, and 5E Luke Wong) had their very first debating attempt. They participated in the Speed-debating Competition and earned the champion by winning three debates in a row!
The Speed-debating Competition is organized by HKPTU Primary Debating Committee. There were 4 rounds of debates with the motion: That Hong Kong is a good place to have a pet dog. Our boys competed with Maryknoll Convent School (Primary Section), St. Francis of Assisi's English Primary School, Mrs Cheng Yam On School and Pui Ching Primary School.
It was an enthralling experience for our P.5 debaters as their sole aim today was to gain debating experience, and winning was the icing on the cake.
The whole debate experience is much more than just the actual debate itself. There are whole lot of preparations as well as collaborations between team members beforehand. Our boys had put in tremendous effort for the debate today. Their confidence comes from their dedication.
In the end, we, along with Kwun Tong Government Primary School (Sau Ming Road), recorded the best win-loss ratio among the 8 competing schools and were both crowned champions!
Congratulations, boys. I am proud of you all.
Miss Vera Fung
We'll update you on our thoughts and activities! Visit us often!