THIS month, Traill’s U19 boys basketball team travelled to Taiwan to take part in a tournament organised by one of Taiwan’s best universities.
The competitors in the tournament were the top nationally ranked school teams from Taiwan and China including Neng Ren whose team was comprised mostly of Taiwanese national players. As the only team from Thailand taking part, it was up to our school to represent Thai basketball.
Given the caliber of the teams involved we knew that this would not be an easy tournament for us. Our players would have to use all the training learned in our elite basketball programme, if we were to stand a chance at being successful.
In the second game against Nan Hu the 3rd nationally ranked team, nerves got the better of our players and we fell behind. Just for a moment it looked like we might not recover. But as everyone in sport will attest, these are the moments which define a team: does the game slip away or does the self confidence that coaches instill in their players boost their game? For our players, the latter was true and we not only drew level but won the game.
This simply means that each of our students has a personalised education plan, which allows us to offer increased stimulus or support to students, depending on their needs. In order to do this, we maintain an overall student to teacher ratio of 8 to 1, which allows our highly qualified and experienced teachers the opportunity to work individually with students during lesson time to work towards their own personal peak of attainment.
Another extremely important contribution to the success of our students is the strong bond of support which is evident throughout the school. We care for our students like extended family and we encourage the students to treat each other the same. In this nurturing environment, self confidence flourishes and students are able to enjoy their studies and other school activities. As part of our ongoing development and review scheme we asked this year’s graduating students to let us know about their experience of life at Traill. All of them talked about the support and encouragement they received from teachers and fellow students and how this empowered them and drove them on to succeed.
If you want your child to be part of the next generation of successful students to benefit from an outstanding education at Traill International School, book a visit online via our website www.traillschool.com or telephone our admissions team on 027188779.
Same commitment for more than 50 years to provide students with every opportunity possible to become successful in whatever career they choose
UWC Thailand (UWCT) welcomed its community back last week with a brand-new addition to its campus: a purpose-built, student-centric Mindfulness Centre. As the island’s leader in mindfulness-based education, the addition - intentionally situated at the school’s main entrance - was well-received by students, staff and parents alike.
“Mindfulness is integral to a UWCT education, and has been an ongoing focus since the school was founded in 2008. When deciding where to locate the new centre, we chose the entrance of the school so that it would be the first thing guests at UWCT encountered and enquired about,” explained Jason McBride, UWCT’s Head of School. “It highlights our commitment to integrating mindfulness into campus life with a dedicated space for practicing.”
The centre is used each day for secular mindfulness practice by classes ranging from Nursery to Grade 12, where students explore how to ‘pay attention to the present moment, on purpose, with kindness and curiosity,’ with the school’s Mindfulness Mentor Kru Lucy Keller. UWCT’s boarding students also use the space for meditation and yoga in the evenings to ready themselves for a restorative night’s sleep.
“With mindfulness, students learn to give themselves the breathing room they require to take in what’s happening in and around them, see it more clearly through a positive lens, and react more intentionally. By being curious about, and attending to, present moment experiences students learn about their reactions, patterns, and themselves. They begin to understand that they have a choice and can take space to respond rather than react to everyday stresses. Mindfulness also supports students in developing self-compassion and through this, compassion for others,” said Keller.
In fact, Daniel Goleman and Richard. J. Davidson’s recently published book ‘Altered Traits-Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain and Body’ finds that there are five main ways mindful meditation impacts us in a positive way when practiced over time: it improves our resilience to stress, increases our compassion for others, improves attention and focus, increased selflessness, and a variety of health benefits including increased pain tolerance, reduced inflammation and cortisol, as well as an increase in an enzyme called telomerase known to increase cell life.
Mindfulness at UWCT goes beyond the students and is embedded into how the school’s teachers teach. It requires staff to be grounded in present moment awareness with an attitude of non-judgment, kindness, and curiosity. UWCT staff learn this first by participating in mindfulness training under the guidance of Keller and others through ongoing staff sessions. Teachers are encouraged to spread mindfulness throughout the day with short moments of stillness where relevant, particularly before and after special events, challenging news, testing or exams.
To assist in this endeavour, Keller co-plans with the teaching staff to help them look at other subject areas through a mindful lens. While during mock and final exams, students receive an exam along with a mindfulness schedule, where pre- and post-exam meditations of five and fifteen minutes take place to calm nerves and increase focus and then let go of any residual post-test stress.
While Keller is delighted to have the centre as a place to teach, her role is to ensure mindfulness is happening everywhere on campus, whenever needed throughout the day. One way this is done is through the practice of a morning “Time In” session in the secondary school and through ‘Morning Meetings’ in the Primary school.
Keller explained: “‘Time In’ is an invitation to pause, and pay attention with kindness and curiosity to things as they are.’ This is an ideal way to set the tone in creating a positive and productive learning environment by allowing students time to be present, self-aware and reflective. By training attention in this way, they create the space needed to be able to see more clearly and make more intentional decisions about how they move forward in their day. This is not only supportive to their own well-being and learning but also impacts the whole community as kindness is at the core mindfulness.
The practice of a “Morning Meeting” is based on the Responsive Classroom model, these meetings help create a sense of belonging and respect, allocating time at the start of the day for students to focus on developing their social-emotional skills using self-awareness and mindfulness practices, alongside team building and time to connect with others.”
The school also offers mindful parenting sessions so that the community can support UWCT students’ mindfulness practices at home. The school’s focus on mindfulness has attracted attention and visits from some of the world’s experts on mindfulness including Buddhist Monk and writer Matthieu Ricard - dubbed “the happiest man on Earth”; and B. Alan Wallace, one of the foremost Buddhist scholars and teachers on the planet.
In fact, Wallace - who has a study also referenced in ‘Altered Traits’ - will be at UWCT this November 17th and 18th to deliver a two-day seminar on his four aspects of mental balance framework from 9am to 3pm each day. All UWCT staff will be in attendance, as well as a number of secondary students and parents. For mindful Phuketians, this is an incredible opportunity to learn from a world-class expert, compliments of UWC Thailand and Thanyapura Sports & Wellness hotel. Those interested in attending should contact the school directly via firstname.lastname@example.org. Spaces are limited.
By Alexander Templeton
Get off at any BTS station and you’ll find laser tag, trampoline parks, artificial surfing, virtual reality arcades, paintball, and a whole host of other activities that would have merited an hour-long road trip in another city.
There’s a sort of game I like play every once in a while, that I’d recommend to anyone that enjoys exploring. It goes like this. Set off in a random direction and every time you come to an intersection, toss a coin. Comes up heads, turn right. Comes up tails, turn left. Repeat until you get to some place you have never been.
Through this method I have gotten to explore parts of Bangkok that many never see, away from Sukhumvit and the areas directly off the BTS or MRT. Doing this even a few times already imposes a sense of the absolute magnitude and grandeur of the city. You could walk around all day and still have seen barely a fraction of what there is to see. Anyone that went to the top of the Ghost Tower when it was still open can tell you how awesome it is to see Bangkok spread out in every direction as far as the eye can see from 30 storeys up.
Now, having been in Bangkok for four years and counting, it no longer feels like a city to me, but a fine tuned machine designed around eradicating boredom. For young people the marvels of the city are especially enjoyed. The ability to go anywhere and do anything, without having to rely on someone with a car gives a level of freedom that you really couldn’t find anywhere else. Even with shallow pockets there is still a huge amount to explore and discover for hardly any money.
Those annoying street vendors that block sidewalks? Turns out you can get a full meal for 40 baht from them. The crowded sky train overflowing with ads? Because of it you can cross the entire city for under 50 baht. The metropolis is a place of infinite possibilities, regardless of the weight of your wallet.
When I first arrived in Bangkok I really didn’t like it, but through my four years living here, the city has finally given me my answer to the question which is always so difficult for expat kids: “Where is your home?”. I know that no matter where I move in the future, I will never forget my time being lost in this amazing concrete jungle.
The end of the academic year is always an emotional time of year at Traill International School. Our A Level, AS Level and IGCSE students are relieved that their exams have finished. Our younger students are eagerly anticipating a long summer holiday with parents and family. Some of our students are looking forward to Traill’s summer school.
However, most emotional of all is the farewell to our graduating students. This is as much of a turbulent time for the teachers and staff as it is for the students. During their time with us, our students become family and whilst we are immensely proud of their achievements, their leaving will be felt as a loss.
We have studied with them, worried with them, cheered them on and laughed with them for many years. We know that we have moulded them into well rounded, sensible, intelligent young people who are well equipped to handle the next stage of their education.
Our graduation ceremony, which is always a grand affair, signals their move into adulthood. We always choose speakers for the graduation who we believe can offer inspirational words of wisdom at this most important juncture in their lives. Every year we are delighted at the range of university subjects chosen by our students - and this year is no exception.
With subjects including aerospace engineering, medicine, environmental sciences, sociology and international relations and nano biology, they all seem destined to have a very bright future ahead. Their university destinations are equally as impressive, including England, Holland, Germany, Japan, USA and Hong Kong.
The graduation ceremony is only the first part of our farewells. We also hold a prom on the evening of the graduation. This gives everyone the opportunity to relax in five-star sumptuous surroundings and dance and laugh together for the last time as Traill students. It goes without saying that we wish them success and happiness in their futures, whatever they are doing.
In the long summer international break between academic years, Traill International School runs its extremely successful summer school programme.
The summer school is one of the jewels in the school’s crown. While it only lasts for four weeks of the year, our staff have spent years developing an outstanding formula to ensure that our summer school students not only enjoy their summer break but at the same time expand their knowledge in fun and innovative ways.
The summer school is split into two age groups, key stage 2 (kindergarten and primary) and key stages 3 and 4 (secondary/senior). Each year a topic is selected as the basis for the specially constructed lessons and this year the chosen theme is nature. The students will be considering the impact that nature has on us as well as the impact we have on nature.
The students in the key stage 2 group will be working on their projects relating to nature, which will involve them carrying out science experiments, using different mediums in art, reading stories about nature and maybe starting their own ecological story. By the end of summer school, they will all have an idea of just how powerful nature is. Included within the programme are two trips per group that link up with the theme and this year one of the visits will be to a farm so that the students can witness firsthand how we can all help sustain the planet. The students will also have time to enjoy swimming, drama, games and sport. A full timetable indeed!
In our senior summer school, the students will have the benefit of our specialists in science, English and mathematics, to give them a more in-depth and scientific understanding of nature and its effects. They will also carry out practical scientific experiments under expert supervision. We are also able to offer students additional opportunities within the timetable to improve their language skills in Mandarin Chinese, Thai and English. If that weren’t enough, they would also enjoy, swimming and sports. The school runs from June 25 to July 20, 2018.
Understandably places are limited, so if you are looking for a summer placement for your child and would like a copy of a timetable, please contact our school office at 02 718 8779.
Roll on summer!
Harrow International School’s new HM talks about his rich international experience, why he likes risk takers, and what he hopes to achieve at the school during his tenure