On the Great Use of the 'Useless' Knowledge

By Shanghai Family 2023-05-10 16:23:35

YCIS Shanghai nurtures resilient kids for the future

Founded in 1932, Yew Chung (YC) Yew Wah (YW) celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. As the first international school in Shanghai officially registered and recognised by the Chinese government, YCIS Shanghai has a deep educational heritage, which fosters confidence and innovation.

Dedicated to Diversifying Education

YCIS Shanghai has a long tradition of implementing the objectives of holistic education with an emphasis on character education. Dr Lui believes that a holistic approach produces comprehensive excellence instead of narrow mastery. Parents choose YCIS because they believe in the school's philosophy and values for their child's education and an interview with the parents is required during the application process.

Dr Lui believes that people are similar, so when cooperating and solving problems, we should have empathy and compassion toward others. As long as there are common goals and compatible ideals, dissimilarities, including language and culture, can be understood and overcome.

A Unique Learning Journey

International education is about building on one's roots to understand and absorb the best in other cultures. This absorption requires a confident command of one's mother tongue, which is why YCIS Shanghai has always emphasized Chinese language learning for students. In his research, Dr Lui believes that Chinese is not only a language but also a carrier of Chinese culture. Dr Lui and his colleagues have been teaching Chinese for decades, and YCIS Shanghai's Chinese language curriculum is distinctive, which leads to a high standard of language learning and a unique characteristic of YCIS students.

Dr Lui emphasizes text analysis in his language teaching, allowing students to form thoughts as they read and write, and to appreciate the logic behind the use of Chinese words and phrases. This language practicum develops adaptable thinking skills. Dr Lui claims one of the greatest achievements is how "Our students don't just learn a language, they learn with language and think with language, and now we have expanded this platform further, not just for our language classes, but for all our subjects."

The new Bilingual Learning Community model nurtures just that. “We divide language learning into three important categories. The first step is to learn the language. The second step is to learn with the language, and the third step is to learn about the language,” explains Dr Lui.

When the students have instruction in two languages simultaneously, they inherently reach levels of language learning they would not normally attain in an isolated language class. Dr Lui explained the theory further, explaining how bilingual education is not simply about speaking two languages, but about being able to think in either language and flourish in the future work environment in either language. The curriculum and research that YCIS is doing breaks through the conventional limitations of education and nurtures interdisciplinary and intercultural talents.

Responsibility as Educators

The pandemic has changed the way many of us look at the world and has changed our daily experiences. We have all experienced things at a heightened level and more quickly than we may have expected without a global pandemic. At school, YCIS challenges students to be innovative and adaptable to many things and equip them with the skills and mindset to face the unforeseeable.

Further reflecting on the impact of the pandemic on the education of students, Dr Liu states, "Firstly, children should develop a growth mindset so that they can actively adjust and adapt to suit their environments. Secondly, they should have a flexible way of thinking to manage changes around them. Cultivating openness involves stepping out of the comfort zone, developing diverse interests and trying out challenging things. A YCIS student's vision should be broadened to understand the world. It is also important to learn to get along with people and help each other and to develop a sense of compassion and a spirit of giving and service from an early age. After all, how you are treated by the world depends on how you treat the world.”

Dr Lui thinks what society and parents can teach to children is critical. Nowadays, technology is changing fast, and knowledge has a short lifecycle. Considering this, we should lead children to learn values that will withstand the test of time instead of making students struggle to learn skills with short lifecycles. Dr Lui quotes from ancient Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu who said what appeared useless at first sight turns out to be very useful. "A useless use is a great use." Students should be instructed in how to make the best use of such seemingly useless knowledge. 

YCIS Shanghai's dedication to global education is paired with the vision to promote an inner moral compass. This critical balance will help to enable the next generation to navigate through human complexities and enable them to exhibit goodness, honesty and compassion. This obligation today will lead to a more stable world in the future. After all, it is the learning that will impact and transform the future.

About Dr Lui

Education Director of Yew Chung Yew Wah (YCYW) International Education

Dr Lui obtained his PhD in philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1993. After graduation, Dr Lui joined Yew Chung International School (YCIS) directly and served as a Chinese Language Teacher in the Primary and Secondary sections, Chinese Language Curriculum Development Officer, Head of Teaching and Research, Chinese Principal of Primary and Secondary Schools in YCIS Hong Kong, Head of Chinese Language Curriculum Studies and Secretary General of the Yew Chung Cultural Committee during his 30-year career.

Yew Chung International School of Shanghai

WeChat: YCISShanghai

Tel: (8621) 2226 7666

Website: www.ycis-sh.com