Students’ health and well-being is grounded in core skills and knowledge. If we want to survive in the ocean, we need to swim; if we want to paint like Picasso, we need to understand relationships between colors and shapes, and if we want to build a bridge, we need to start with basic math.
At Hyde Academy, we begin with the basics and build. The Common Core framework is the starting point for all programs taught in English at Hyde Academy, but comprehensive additions and changes have been made to ensure that the level of the work is suitable to the specific needs of our international community.
In the same vein, all courses taught in Chinese follow the Chinese National Curriculum, with supplementation where needed to deepen understanding and ensure strong roots in Chinese language, culture, mathematics, science, and art.
In order to provide students with a challenging but supportive learning environment that suits their individual needs, we offer all academic courses at three levels (Level A, Level B, and LFP). In this way, we provide personalized learning opportunities with an average teacher/student ratio of 6:1 so that students are encouraged to take positive risks in the classroom.
Of course, students are frequently brought together in larger groups to share what they have learned, work on projects together, or compete against one another in a variety of ways.
A Note about Beginning Language Learners
At Hyde Academy, we specialize in supporting second language learners. A child’s level of English or Mandarin, as a second language, is never part of our admissions decision.
Students whose levels of English or Mandarin are significantly below grade level will be assigned to our Language Focus Program (LFP). This program is designed to work with a range of beginning English and Mandarin language learners who need intensive preparation before they are able to successfully transition into mainstream math, language, social studies, or science classes. Students in LFP will be assessed regularly and moved into the mainstream courses as soon as possible.
At Hyde Academy, students go through three very important stages of learning regardless of their grade level or ability. These stages happen continuously – during a single class (on a simple topic), during the course of a term (for complex topics), and over the course of the year (as students prepare to move up to the next grade level).
Stage One: The Introductory Phase – when material is presented in different areas of the curriculum through a variety of teaching methods
Stage Two: The Identification Phase – when students are asked to recognize/identify the concepts, which have been introduced across the curriculum, through a variety of oral and written assessments
Stage Three: The Application Phase – when students are expected to produce work that demonstrates their understanding of the concepts introduced. If students are unable to apply what they have learned in the classroom, the material has not been mastered.
The integration of core skills in reading, writing, and oral communication across the curriculum is central to the Hyde approach to learning. Students in math class may write an essay about what they learned; students in social studies classes might be asked to measure distances and study weather phenomena, and students in language classes are asked to read, write, and speak about concepts within every other area of the curriculum.
In fact, our lesson plans include specific areas of interdisciplinary study and teachers meet bi-weekly with other subject specific teachers to connect ideas and design plans.
By providing Hyde students with these opportunities, we are able to ensure that our instructors are monitoring the students’ mastery of the core skills and observing as they apply what they have learned in creative, independent ways.
The world of today is a very different place from the one in which many of us grew up. There has never been a greater need for multicultural and multilingual understanding. It is essential that our students fully understand their place in this changing world and strive to make valuable contributions. At the same time, we believe it is imperative that students, whether expatriate or local, should have a strong grounding in the culture, language, and history of China.
In order to help students on this path, we offer a unique graduated system for bilingual education in Beijing.
Students in Early Elementary (grades 1 and 2) spend just over 70% of their class time studying in Mandarin and approximately 30% in English. As written Chinese, with characters and pinyin, presents a particular challenge, it is essential that students be provided ample opportunity to fully develop these skills. Non-native Chinese speakers receive language support to ensure their success.
Students in Upper Elementary (grades 3 to 5) spend approximately 60% of their class time in Mandarin and 40% in English. They continue to have Chinese math, science, social studies, and language courses in Mandarin, while science and math are introduced in English.
Students in Middle School (grades 6 to 8) spend about 70% of their class time in English and 30% in Mandarin. Students continue to have Chinese language, history, and culture classes, but shift to more English math, science, and social studies.
Students in High School (grades 9 and 10) spend approximately 85% of their class time in English and 15% in Mandarin as they prepare to enter all English high schools overseas.
It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. We certainly believe so at Hyde Academy. The ability to create and present one’s own work in Mandarin and English is an essential part of being a great communicator.
We begin in grade one to develop oral communication skills and presentation techniques so that by the time our middle and high school students are presenting their end-of-year speeches in front of a large audience, they have done so for years.
But this is not just a culminating experience each year in which parents, teachers, and fellow students listen appreciatively, it is an ongoing part of our curriculum from science to social studies to drama class. Our teachers build opportunities for student presentations throughout the lessons and our no-electronics policy means there is plenty of time for practice at breaks!