Distinguished Chairman Qiu, teachers and students, happy 2020 new academic year!
Today, I shall talk about embracing uncertainty and being prepared for the worst.
The year of 2020 has been full of uncertainty and instability. It’s complicated and blurry. We don’t know what happened to the world and how it will go forward.
In the beginning of 2020, when Cove-19 broke out, we really did not expect that it would develop into the largest epidemic that would sweep the world after the Spanish flu in 1918. The Covid-19 is like a black swan, which has brought great impact to the whole world. Its impact is unexpected and unpredictable.
In 2020, The political and economic relations between China and the United States have also entered a difficult period, increasing tariffs, imposing sanctions on ZTE and Huawei, and abolishing Tik Tok; Hongkong, Taiwan, South China Sea, and Sino-Indian border……such a whirl wind. The US presidential election and China policy have brought complexity, uncertainty and instability to the relations between the two countries.
QD, as the first independent Sino-US cooperative high school in China, is especially concerned when Sino-US relations are complicated and severe. No matter government leaders, university researchers, parents and friends, when we meet them, they will always ask me: how is the school? Have all the foreign teachers come back? Have university applications been impacted? Does enrollment have any impact? Can the students go to study abroad?
Looking back at the beginning of 2020, which is full of disasters, QD also faces difficulties one after another. Online teaching during the epidemic, IB exams cancelled and evaluations adjusted; Students are enrolled by universities but cannot enter the school. How can the 2021 graduates apply for university? What do we do if SAT, TOEFL are all cancelled?......
How do we go forward when facing these complexity and uncertainty?
First, Adjust mentality and change thinking mode.
The world itself is complex and full of uncertainty. Although the "uncertainty principle" put forward by German physicist Werner Heisenberg is about physics theory, it is also a profound philosophical problem. “we can't know all the details now; this is a matter of principle". This year, this uncertainty is especially complicated for our 2021 graduates. IB announced the adjustment of the examination content for 2021 in the middle of August. However, because of the epidemic, will the global examination be conducted normally next year? With the complexity of Sino-US relations, will our students continue to apply to universities in the United States? If the epidemic resumes in autumn and winter, will we close the campus? Rather than panic, worry, struggle and escape, it is better to face it calmly, prepare actively, and take the initiative to "embrace uncertainty, make the best preparation and prepare for the worst". Every student should think deeply, "Why did I choose international education? Why did I choose to study abroad? Which university do I want to choose? What kind of life experience do I hope to gain in college?"
I also want to say: first, in any case, the university resources in the United States are recognized as the most and the best in the world. Among the top 30 universities in the world, the United States accounts for the largest number. No matter what the world is experiencing, if you can have the opportunity to go to a good university in the United States, you still need to seize the opportunity. Second, Sino-US relations will not ease in the short term, but all current unfavorable policies for students in the United States will not last long. Sino-US relations are contests between governments, and academic education and non-governmental exchanges should not be terminated. Otherwise, I believe American universities will not support it, nor will American people support it.
Second, do your best and be prepared.
Recalling the beginning of the epidemic, we were all very anxious and uneasy about online teaching. How to arrange the teaching, what platform to use, how do we go forward, how do we supervise students and how do we adjust? Until the end of the whole online teaching, through two data analysis at the end of the mid-term period, three questionnaire feedbacks and IB results announcement, we can see that the results of Grade 10 and 11 are compared with the data of the same period of the previous two years , the average score did not decrease, but it increased; The average IB score of Grade 12 graduates is 37.5 (the score in July), which is 1.5 points higher than that of 2019, which is the highest score. More than 86 students are higher than 38. IB adjusted the data and the average became 38.2. These data prove that the QD subject team's grasp of IB evaluation criteria is accurate, the quality of daily teaching is good and the accumulation of training in the past 6 years is effective.
I think the most important factor is:
One: Clear goals, teamwork, turning danger into opportunity. The whole administrative team is highly unified in thinking, willing to face difficulties and cooperate to promote every work of the school. All the teachers are conscientious, and have devoted all their efforts, teaching, answering questions, individual tutoring, home-school communication; Every student is actively engaged in self-disciplined learning, helping each other and encouraging each other; parents support us. I won’t give the details, but you can read our 36 WeChat articles and 18 letters to parents.
Second: Sino-US cooperation in running schools has brought us many advanced explorations. Our teachers and students are not unfamiliar with online learning and online communication, and some even adapt to it. Every summer, new students will learn Dwight Global Foundation through Canvas, Duolinguo, Initialview before entering our school. Our school also promotes digital learning management platform, ManageBac, Office365, Dingtalk, Canvas, Kognity, Ebook, Quizlet, etc. In response to the special needs of students, we have been exploring the "online + offline" integration of courses since 2014, and so far, 18 students have completed it. During the epidemic, more online attempts have emerged, such as online enrollment, online meetings, online theme activities, online summer courses, etc. We will also provide students with more support and choices for personalized learning aiming at the flexibility of online cross-time.
Third: What we do is to be responsible for our students. IB announced its cancellation in March, IA became external assessment. Some schools cancelled the mock exam and allowed students to modify the submitted IA. Some of our students didn’t understand and published articles on social media. To be honest, canceling the mock exam and modifying IA is simpler for schools and teachers. It was more complicated and challenging to organize an online IB mock exam that had never been done before, involving 189 students, 16 courses and 97 exams. How we choose reflected our attitude and value orientation. QD insisted on conducting mock exam to give graduates a more complete IB learning experience. Adhere to academic integrity, the IA was not allowed to be modified. Trying online exams to challenge our teamwork and courage to overcome difficulties. What we insisted and when graduates are facing the fact that they can’t go to universities right now because of Covid-19, and continue to study online in the 2020 academic year, they are more calm, more fully prepared and more determined to challenge themselves, not disturbed by complex and uncertain external environments.
Louis Pasteur, a famous French microbiologist and chemist, once said that "opportunity prefers prepared minds", as well as what others say that "opportunity is for those who are prepared". In fact, I believe that every successful person does not know where the opportunity is in advance, but they work hard. “Work hard pays back” is the path to success. Therefore, do your best, do not get entangled, do not hesitate, be prepared.
At last, I want to say to our teachers and students that we should strive to be the messengers and ties connecting China and the United States and the world.
The connection between countries are people. The Trump government's overall suppression of China does not represent the whole of Sino-US relations. From a longer historical perspective, it is only a barrier in Sino-US relations. I recall one time when I talked to Blake Spahn. We talked about how to cultivate students. We both thought students should understand Chinese culture as well as American culture and become the bond and bridge of Sino-US cultural exchanges, like Principal Turner. We study in QD and abroad, not just for a decent job, a comfortable life, but a broad vision, thinking about the meaning and value of life. We established QDHS is to cultivate outstanding high school students who " are patriotism, multicultural, empathic and global competitive. We chose to be IB school because we recognize IB mission, which is to cultivate young people who are diligent, knowledgeable and willing to contribute to creating a better and more peaceful world through understanding and respecting multiculturalism.
President Xi put forward the great goal of "two hundred years". We should "develop new opportunities in this crisis". Today, you are the backbone that will lead the development of the times and society after 20 to 30 years. You should represent an era to contribute to the development of the society. QD not only sends you to better universities, but also hopes you will link the personal values with national and social values. May you live up to the youth and the times!
At last, wish our teachers, students and parents a safe and healthy 2020 academic year.