The Power of Place

When learning moves outside the classroom
Fay Leong, HKIS’s Director of Curriculum and Assessment, talks about what makes HKIS special

It’s no surprise to those of us in the HKIS community that HKIS is a special place in a special place. You only have to look at the emerald hills and calm bays that surround both campuses to know that we’ve got something unique going for us.
This is also a feature that excites our new Director of Curriculum and Assessment, Fay Leong. Fay joined HKIS from Shanghai American School, and was immediately struck by the unique gifts that HKIS’s location provides students. But one central question arose: How can we use what surrounds us to enhance student learning?
This was a main theme Fay explored during her talk at HKIS’s Annual General Meeting, held online on January 25, 2021.

“Learning in the 21st century moves us outside the four walls of a traditional classroom,” explained Fay. “When I look at this location - I see so many opportunities to contextualize student learning: The opportunity to learn through exploring the impact of the past on the present; the opportunity to learn through investigating issues important to all of us, such as renewable energy, and climate change; and the opportunity to learn through responding to these issues as global citizens. This is the power of place.”
Bird's Eye View A view from above that shows the start of the development on Site A (top right corner). 
In Tai Tam, HKIS is adjacent to the last mangrove on Hong Kong Island, next to a freshwater reservoir that exists because a growing and dynamic trade hub needed additional fresh water supplies, at the expense of a village and a valley. Fay sees that our neighborhood can be a point of focus where students can take their interests and learning from different disciplines and apply them to real life problems, to think creatively to find solutions, and in doing so deepen their understanding and learning.
In Context By using their surroundings, HKIS students can find real-life applications to their courses and put learning in context.

“Education in this global era is about flexible thinking. It’s about using skills of inquiry to explore solutions to the issues our world is facing. It’s about collaborating with peers in interdisciplinary contexts.” —Fay Leong

Students can’t help but take learning from their different disciplines and apply it to understanding the place we live: With these places at our doorstep, it couldn’t be easier for HKIS students to find real-life opportunities to apply what they learn.
Below Middle School students take learning outside to the culinary arts garden. Bottom An aerial photo shows how close the Tai Tam campus is to the bay.
Join Fay Leong on Tai Tam Bay as she explains the power of place and how it enhances the HKIS learning experience.