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Welcome back to school after a meaningful winter vacation. We all know the Spring Festival is a special festival for Chinese, because it refers to the 24 solar terms of spring.
We often say, “A year’s plan is made in spring, and a day’s plan is made in the morning.” In this vibrant season, I want to encourage all of you to strive hard to become vibrant and better yourself in the new semester.
Here I have three suggestions for you:
The first one is how to set goals.
When many of you set goals, you often focus on improving your academic performance to motivate yourselves. However, I would encourage you to focus on developing good habits. In this process, you must avoid setting too big goals. Instead, you may try to develop micro habits. Since micro habits are easier to finish, it will be easier to make us better. The formation of a good habit takes at least 60 days. A big goal is not easy to insist on in such a short time to format. The rule of micro-habit is to set the goal as small as you can that you cannot fail to complete it, so that we can make progress every day. This is the first point that I want to share with you. When setting goals, we should pay more attention to the formation of good habits, and when developing good habits, we should start from the small habits.
The second is to encourage you to be a reader.
Nowadays, we must balance fragmented reading on the internet and traditional reading of a whole book. Reading is not the task of the Chinese curriculum; it is a basic skill required by all subjects. When we read, we should choose high-quality content for fragmented reading, and at the same time, read whole books too to make a balance. Because reading a whole book makes us think more creatively and gives us more space to develop creative and critical thinking.
The third is to encourage you to engage in a larger community outside of the classroom.
We know that there are two parts to one’s development. Of course, there is an academic and class schedule, but there is also another part that is off the schedule, which is under your own management, which is called life. When we put ourselves into daily life and get use of life resources, we will become holistic learners. Don’t underestimate the time you spend outside class. There are many resources for learning that will make you a better person.
In this new semester, let’s hands in hands, shoulders by shoulders, to be better ourselves.
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I hope that you have all had a relaxing and enjoyable Spring Festival, filled with the pleasures of connecting with friends and family, despite the travel limitations we have all faced.
The past weeks have been a valuable opportunity for students and teachers alike to recharge and refresh…..before we embark on another very busy term at CKWA.
And the term ahead promises a great deal of opportunity and excitement, as well as challenge.
Challenge, most significantly for our Grade 10 students as they look ahead to sitting their iGCSE examinations and to our Grade 12 students who, both within the scholastic and the talent track, will be sitting their final exams before moving on to university next year. We are so proud of their achievements already as they have received outstanding offers from great universities across the globe….and we look forward to supporting and guiding them through the examination period.
And we look forward to a great deal more too in the New Year – our secondary school musical – Into the Woods – which is scheduled for the end of March. Our first summer sports day at the end of May. Our celebrations of Reading, of STEM, of Pi Day and of Earth Day over the term as we focus on Reading in Chinese and English, on Science, on Maths and on Humanities respectively.
As we enter this new ‘Year of the Ox’ I want to share with you a tradition from the UK of making a ‘New Year’s Resolution’. This involves making a determined commitment, at the start of the New Year, to make one key lifestyle improvement in the year ahead. I would like to encourage all of you to embrace this tradition this year.
What improvement you make is down to you to reflect on – you know yourself best, and can think about what will help you to become an even better student. Maybe you will commit to reducing your gaming to a maximum of 30 minutes a day. Maybe you will decide to set aside 20 minutes for reading before bed each night – I wrote at the end of last term about the benefits of regular reading. Perhaps you will take a more responsible attitude to homework, making sure that every homework is completed on time during the Year of the Ox. Or pledge to be more polite and responsive to your parents and to not allow your moments of bad mood to impact on others. Or perhaps there is some aspect of your in school behaviour that can be improved.
Most importantly make your resolution something which you can measure yourself against regularly….hopefully daily, so that you can maintain the improvement and get back on track quickly if you miss one day.
I know from many years of experience that it is difficult to maintain New Year’s Resolutions through the whole year……so don’t set yourself any goal which is going to prove impossible…..and don’t give up if you miss your target on one day…….but do try to make a commitment and have a clear intention to make the improvement that you think is important.
My personal new years resolution will be to communicate more with you….to make sure that every day I get to speak with more of you about your learning. Online learning has made effective communication more challenging for all of you and all of your teachers at points in the last 12 months…but talking about your learning and appreciating the value of what you have been taught is important in cementing your understanding and enjoying the wisdom you are all developing.
So I look forward to speaking with you all in the months ahead and to hearing what you are learning with the help of your teachers…..and I wish you all a very happy and successful Year of the Ox.