If we reflect on the IGCSE results of our 2020-2021 cohort, the students within our Senior School community were an inspiring symbol of growth, outstanding achievement and perseverance.
Our theme for Poetry Week this year is 'Choice', and as I contemplated poems that represent this theme, one particular poem by Robert Frost sprung to mind in relation to this cohort of students.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost
1874 - 1963
The poem is about the importance of our choices in life, both big and small. Frost was a tremendously successful American writer: brave, creative, innovative, instinctive: he moved to England at age 38 on the basis of a coin toss – a writer who continually challenged himself in his need to blaze new trails.
It is clear that our Senior School cohort of IGCSE students have chosen the path that has ‘made all of the difference’, consequently leading them to their best possible futures in top universities, far and wide. Our first IGCSE cohort builds this into a path of growth that fosters high expectations, and inspires our future cohorts to follow through commitment, creativity and perseverance.
The Senior School English department at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi continues to grow and excel. In our first academic year of delivering the IB curriculum English Language and Literature A and Language B, we are seeing high level literacy and language acquisition, especially in the core skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
As educators in an international school context, we recognise the important role of language acquisition and literacy within our school.
We also understand the importance of ‘reading to learn’ and this becomes increasingly important at the Senior School level, as this is the stage where students are faced with greater challenges across the subjects: challenging work deadlines, subject specific vocabulary and potential gaps in their reading knowledge. From Year 7 through to Year 13, we recognise the importance of fortifying the ‘reading rope’ for our children through language comprehension and word recognition: a skilled reader is established and built from primary years; but the building of this must be further ingrained within Senior School. Reading for pleasure and instilling a lifelong love of reading through the launch of Accelerated Reader (a programme that monitors and tracks reading progress) are prime examples of how we ensure that ‘Reading to Learn’ is placed at the core of our curriculum.
The reading rope concept demonstrates the many aspects of language comprehension and word recognition that are required to develop skilled reading. One area the English department have been focusing on this year is vocabulary development. Vocabulary has become the largest thread in our rope, as we help our students build their repertoire in the classroom. Every week, teachers administer vocabulary tests and provide personalised feedback to students, helping them generate a targeted development plan to build the vocabulary that will be required for them to be successful. Through inquiry we develop ‘word curiosity’, using etymology to break down the components of words and understand their history and evolution. This greatly assists with solidifying student’s understanding, and builds their vocabulary in a meaningful and fun way.
This week, although a short week due to the National Holiday, is Poetry Week. The theme for Poetry Week in Senior School this year is ‘Choice’. Yesterday afternoon (Thursday, 7 October), students gathered in their Houses to watch a series of poetry performances in the theatre for a ‘Poetry Celebration’.
Students were all given the opportunity to write a poem related to the theme of ‘Choice’, and present their poems to staff and fellow students in the College theatre. In addition, Ms Stewart collaborated with the English department and House Captains to launch a House Writing Challenge competition. Students performed their poetry, then classmates had a chance to cast their vote for the best House poem. It was an exciting week of rhythm, meaning, creativity and flair! Check out this week’s Dulwich Voice for more wrap-up of Poetry Week. Thank you to everyone who got involved.
Blaz, Deborah. Bringing The Standards For Foreign Language Learning To Life. Taylor And Francis, 2013.
Padgett, Jennifer. "The Orchestra Of The Reading Rope Harmony - Orton-Gillingham Weekly". Orton-Gillingham Weekly, 2021, https://brainspring.com/ortongillinghamweekly/harmony-scarboroughs-reading-rope/.
Quigley, Alex. Closing The Vocabulary Gap. 1st ed., Routledge, 2018.
Robinson, Katherine. "Robert Frost: “The Road Not Taken” By Katherine… | Poetry Foundation". Poetry Foundation, 2016, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/89511/robert-frost-the-road-not-taken.