Talent Coming Together

Teachers and staff at our Shenzhen campus

Following the Whittle School & Studios global education summit in July, Shenzhen campus teacher training officially kicked off at the beginning of August. Thanks to the careful planning of the global education team, the Shenzhen campus leadership team, our founding faculty, and the human resources department, training was a huge success. Throughout the month, our teachers got to know each other, learned new teaching methods, and settled into their new work environment. Led by members of the global education team, they also devoted time to deepening their understanding of Whittle School & Studios’ key concepts and learning how to integrate these personalized and global education concepts into their day-to-day teaching.

Shen Xianzhang, Chairman, Shenzhen campus
Shen Xianzhang, Chairman, Shenzhen campus

Shenzhen campus chairman Shen Xianzhang welcomed everyone during the opening ceremony. “Although we have faced many obstacles, where there is a will, there is a way,” Chairman Shen said. “In the past two years of global faculty recruitment, we have carefully selected 140 teachers from thousands of candidates, forming a highly educated and highly qualified team. We have come together from all corners of the country and from around the world in pursuit of a common ideal. Our diverse group will respect one another, learn from each other, and collaborate to bring the most modern, highest-quality education to our students.”

Rhiannon Wilkinson, Head of School, Shenzhen campus
Rhiannon Wilkinson, Head of School, Shenzhen campus

Head of School Rhiannon Wilkinson also spoke, echoing Chairman Shen’s hopes. “Our team members are both Chinese and Western,” she said. “This cultural diversity is both an advantage and a challenge, but I am deeply grateful for the fact that our Chinese teachers not only understand the essence of Chinese education, but also the foundations of Western education. Our colleagues from other countries have conducted research or interviews in Chinese schools and appreciate the value of Chinese education, but they also bring us knowledge and experiences of their own from their education systems. For these reasons, our teachers can understand each other and find education in seeking common ground while reserving differences.”

Li Yin, Head of Cities Experience Program
Li Yin, Head of Cities Experience Program

During the conference, Li Yin, Head of Cities Experience Program, emphasized the value of the school’s location and the responsibility that comes with new opportunity. “Shenzhen is a young, beautiful, and energetic city, and Qianhai is a promising area. We are deeply fortunate here, yet at the same time I also feel that I shoulder the burden of a mission that cannot disappoint,” she said. "To teach and educate people is the same as changing the world. The Whittle School & Studios’ ‘textbook’ is written by us, and its words should show our care and sense of responsibility for the children.”

Dr. Richard Kuder, Division Head of Lower and Middle School, Shenzhen campus
Dr. Richard Kuder, Division Head of Lower and Middle School, Shenzhen campus

Our teachers reflected on their training experience and were given the opportunity to share their thoughts. Here is what a few of them had to say:

Nelson Wu, Director of Music

“I have taught in many schools across four countries, but Whittle School & Studios’ teacher training has been the most comprehensive and energetic to date. Few schools dedicate a whole month to training; usually it involves only a short transition of a week or so. I’ve also noticed that although the teachers in Shenzhen are very diverse — there are Chinese teachers from public universities in China, foreign teachers from renowned universities overseas, experienced teachers, and eager new teachers — we all share common educational ideals and are keen to share them. It was a touching sight.”

— Nelson Wu, Director of Music

Wang Zheng, 8th Grade Chinese teacher

“When teacher becomes student, training becomes all the more meaningful. In this case, ‘teaching’ and ‘how to teach’ are often the same thing. Throughout the training process, the organizers cleverly merged the two together: For example, our introduction to project-based learning was itself a project-based activity. We had the chance to experience and observe the teaching philosophy at first hand.During the training process, I felt more and more fortunate to have become a part of this school. We learned the key elements of being active leaders and the techniques for stimulating positive energy in students. In this sense, the roles of teachers and students are symbiotic. In order to be a great Whittle School & Studios teacher, I must always maintain the mind-set of a good Whittle School & Studios student.”

—Wang Zheng, 8th Grade Chinese teacher

Li Yanan, 1st Grade Chinese teacher

“I feel so grateful for this experience. Project-based learning and X-Day training was fun, interesting, and mind-opening. The training of the Chinese group helped me discover the charm and various possibilities of Chinese teaching. I was really moved by everyone’s hard work. Here, I met more than one hundred people with the same educational ideals. It felt long overdue! I look forward to embarking on a journey full of surprises.”

—Li Yanan, 1st Grade Chinese teacher