Geraldine Low, Singapore
As part of a 6-month “Leaders in Education Programme”, 6 Vice-Principals, 1 Principal and a lecturer from the National Institute of Education, Singapore, visited the High School of Glasgow Junior School on 21 May 2007. Steve Bell had very kindly made the arrangements for the school visit and he and his Storyline colleagues, Sallie Harkness and Graham White, as well as the Head Teacher, Karen Waugh welcomed us warmly when we arrived at the school.
Karen gave us a quick background of the school and took time off to show us around. The beautiful old school building gave us a sense of the history of the school while the newer extension had well-designed classrooms which gave the children inspiring, panoramic views of lush foliage and of Glasgow. The learning environment was enhanced by the vibrant displays of children’s art pieces which were accompanied by write-ups on the process and context of the display. This integrated approach to art education and strong emphasis on the aesthetic development of the children provided us food for thought on how it can be translated into the Singapore context.
We were struck by how well-behaved the children were and by the enthusiasm they showed when we visited the classes or met them in the hallways and the playground. We were especially impressed by the self-confidence of the children who volunteered to take us round the school and who articulately answered our questions. We were also fortunate to be given a glimpse into Scottish culture in the scintillating bagpipe performance by three 9-year-old boys whose sense of pride and dedication to their art were a real treat to watch.
Over a scrumptious lunch spread, we had the opportunity to get to know our hosts, Steve, Karen, Sallie and Graham, as we engaged in a lively and enriching exchange of views and ideas on education and school leadership.
The school visit was both enjoyable and rewarding as we brought back with us many new perspectives. From our walk around the school as well as our interaction with the children and the teachers, we came away with a palpable sense of a close-knit and welcoming school community. Thank you, Karen, Steve, Sallie and Graham, for the generous dose of Scottish hospitality you showed us. Please visit us in Singapore soon!
Geraldine Low Singapore