On Thursday 3 November, our Chinese Affiliate School, Shanghai No. 3 Girls’ High School, held a special online educational forum to celebrate their extraordinary milestone and legacy of achieving 130 years of excellence in girls’ education in China.
The topic of the conference was ‘Strategies for Blended Teaching: Conventional Classrooms and Online Lessons’. This conference brought together esteemed experts and guests from international organisations such as the Teacher Education Centre of UNESCO in Shanghai and many school leaders from China, Australia, France, Japan, the US, Germany, and Singapore. Representatives sent their heartfelt congratulations to Shanghai No. 3 Girls’ High School and shared their wisdom and insights into remote learning during COVID in their respective countries. The topics of their presentations included remote learning, the role of technology in education, and developing students’ resilience and wellbeing during COVID.
Shanghai No. 3 Girls’ High School was established by the American Methodist Church in 1892, at a time when women’s education was viewed as rather progressive in China. Over the years, Shanghai No. 3 Girls’ High School thrived through significant social and historical changes and became an internationally renowned modern institution for girls with a broad and diverse curriculum. With famous alumnae such as the influential Soong sisters and famous writer, Eileen Chang, Shanghai No. 3 Girls’ High School’s educational ethos is to educate outstanding young women with the characteristics of ‘independence, ability, care, and elegance’. Because of the shared vision and commitment to educating young women with a sense of global citizenship and intercultural understanding, BGGS and Shanghai No. 3 Girls’ High School established our Sister School Partnership in 1996, when Mrs Lorraine Thornquist visited Shanghai to formalise the relationship. As both schools share a strong reputation for outstanding academic achievements through holistic education for girls, the Sister School relationship has been highly successful and mutually beneficial with regular international exchange programs and collaborative pen pal projects that provided an authentic Chinese language learning environment and a myriad of opportunities for meaningful engagement and deep learning in Chinese studies.
Our Principal, Ms Jacinda Euler Welsh, delivered an inspiring speech to celebrate Shanghai No. 3 Girls’ High School’s enduring legacy and wonderful accomplishments while highlighting the success of our long-standing sister school relationship. Ms Euler Welsh acknowledged the many challenges that COVID presented in the last few years; however, she focused on future opportunities to strengthen our global connections by leveraging the knowledge and experience that we have gained through remote learning. Ms Euler Welsh shared her wonderful experience of visiting Shanghai No. 3 Girls’ High School in 2014. She also expressed her hope that we could resume our international study tours and visit each other again in the near future. BGGS then shared a short video of Ms Paula Quinn, Head of Chinese, and Ms Izabela Minuzzo, Head of German, discussing strategies to utilise breakout rooms on Zoom to increase student engagement and agency in a collaborative virtual learning environment. The engaging presentations from BGGS captured the heart of the audience at the conference as the school leaders and distinguished guests from around the world expressed their acknowledgement and appreciation towards BGGS.
Shanghai No.3 Girls’ High School’s Principal, Ms PAN Jingfang, sent the below letter to express her gratitude towards Ms Euler Welsh for her wonderful speech. We are committed to resuming our international exchange program in the post-COVID world, as we work together to strengthen our connections.
Dear Principal Ms Jacinda Euler Welsh,
Thank you for attending the Sino-international school forum.
Your wonderful presentation impressed all the participants present and inspired us to further reflect on new approaches to changing education around the world and the great possibility of future in teaching and learning.
Thank you once again for your great efforts which help us make the forum possible.
I hope we can meet in person on campus in the near future.
Shanghai No.3 Girls’ High School
The development of language skills, intercultural understanding, and global citizenship have been deeply embedded in Girls Grammar’s history and educational philosophy. Our enduring sister school partnerships have been fundamental in building the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that students need to thrive in a globally connected world. The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA 2008), set the goal for Australian education to develop young Australians into ‘… active and informed citizens, who are able to relate to and communicate across cultures, especially the cultures and countries of Asia, and are responsible global and local citizens’.
Through meaningful interactions with our sister school, students deepen their understanding of languages and develop a sense of empathy and acceptance as well as the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance (Boix Mansilla & Jackson 2011). Thriving in the 21st century with constant social and political changes calls for learning agility, resilience, and global citizenship skills. As we look into future opportunities to resume international exchange programs, the International Studies Faculty will continue to foster students’ global competence and help Grammar girls venture confidently into the world with wisdom, optimism, and a global mindset.
Ms Cathy Lu
Director of International Studies
Boix Mansilla, V. & Jackson A. (2011). Educating for Global Competence: Preparing our Youth to Engage the World. CCSSO-Asia Society. Available at: http://www.pz.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/book-globalcompetence.pdf
MCEETYA, Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (2008) Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians.