Putting Leadership Skills into Practise in China

Twenty-two very weary but excited Jack Hunt and St John Fisher students along with four staff have just returned home from this year’s China exchange trip. The partnership with the Gold Apple International School in Shanghai has been running with students for three years, and is going from strength to strength. Established as part of our commitment to helping develop well-rounded, confident, caring young people with leadership skills, who are fully involved in the school, local and global community the students and teachers are given many opportunities to exchange teaching, learning and cultural experiences. 

On the first morning, the students were immersed in the local culture visiting the Longhua Buddhist Temple followed by the craft and gift shops of the old city of Zhujiajiao, where the students were able to hone their bargaining skills. The students also enjoyed visits to the Science and Technology museum, an Acrobatic show and trip along the river.  The students were also introduced to a wide range of Chinese food to try, including taking part in a marathon dumpling making session which was enjoyed by all.


The students also spent time joining lessons including English, Chemistry, Literature, IT and PE all conducted in English and Chinese.  There was also a lesson on applying for university which was followed by some specific lessons for the students in Chinese paper cutting, the culture of tea drinking in China and Kung Fu. The day was finished with a flag ceremony where two students were selected to raise the Union Jack alongside the Chinese flag.

One of the highlights of the trip was being able to teach English and Dodgeball in a local State Primary School, which has been established to cater for children of migrant workers.  This is something the partnership has been working towards as it is a very different environment from the Gold Apple school, with children speaking little or no English, many speaking local dialects rather than Mandarin and class sizes of around 48 students.  This was an opportunity for the students from all schools to demonstrate their leadership skills teaching the young children parts of the body in English culminating with a rousing version of heads, shoulders, knees and toes.

Jack Hunt teachers also had the opportunity to demonstrate their teaching skills to the Gold Apple students – Mrs Pidoux led a Geography lesson talking about the geography of the UK and the Peterborough Region.  Later in the week Mr Barwise led a model English lesson which was observed not only by Grade 3 Gold Apple students but 30 teachers as well.

Jack Hunt and St John students had many opportunities to develop their leadership skills as well as building their confidence by teaching English lessons to classes of 8 year olds.  This involved introducing games such as ‘bingo’ to develop questioning and introducing ‘rapido’ where the students had to make objects out of playdough for the other students to guess.  This was seen by the Chinese tutors as a fantastic way to introduce new English vocabulary to their students.  The students worked really hard to overcome the language barrier when they were teaching Dodgeball without any translations.  It was a real pleasure for the staff to be able to step back and let the students take charge, clearly demonstrating their confidence and ability in leading these sessions.  “They have come so far since their first leadership session back at Jack Hunt School, a few months ago, we are so proud of them”, said Mr Barwise.

“The group has bonded well and are really supportive of each other, it has been great to see the students have such a good time whether in the classroom, gym or experiencing Chinese culture around the city.” he continued.

For the second year running, the major highlight of the week was the Sports Festival, organised by student Sports leaders from all schools with the guidance and expertise of Mrs Dingle.  Larger than last year and making more of a splash, there were 150 8 year olds taking part in 7 different sporting challenges, lasting 3 hours, the sports leaders and ‘games makers’ supported the primary students in completing the events.   A lot of fun was had by all.

And, to top it all the event was recorded for a feature by a crew from the Pudong  News Channel who interviewed students Jayden and Darcy and Mr Barwise as well as visit from the Pudong Educational Department.

The culmination of the trip was a farewell meeting and show, where the students from all schools were able to demonstrate their range of talents including singing, dancing, traditional music and football skills. This was followed by the Jack Hunt and St John Fisher students experiencing Chinese family life with a short homestay at a number of Gold Apple students’ homes.  

We are now very much looking forward to hosting some students and teachers from the Gold Apple School in July, helping them to experience the wealth of British culture and education.

If you would like to read more about the China Trip please read the blogs on the website in the News section.