Top Posts of the Year

We’ve just turned a corner and now are in 2011. PaulLau.com is now 16 months old and still going strong with over 23,000 views and over 180 posts. 2010 was my first full year of blogging and featured all the expected ups and downs. Here’s a round up of the top posts of 2010.

Notably in 2010 was the WSDC 2010 series covering the 2010 World Schools Debating Championships in Doha, Qatar which featured 29 posts and stole 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th spot in this Top Posts of the Year list. Whether a result of reader interest or just because it was the most common topic on my blog, debating related posts took 7 out of the top 10 and 15 out of the top 20 posts of 2010.

1. 2010 World Cup Broadcasting [1ST ALL TIME]

This post came out in March, when the issue was gaining considerable media attention. Interestingly enough, come May, the issue was the topic of the Sing Tao Grand Final (see the 10th Top Post). The issue may have been resolved for now, but it won’t be until 2014 before we know if the stations have truly resolved similar disputes.

2. WSDC – Final Rankings [3RD ALL TIME]

Part of the WSDC 2010 series, this post was the culmination of more than a weeks of debating. It brings together the team and individual results of the 2010 WSDC and by-in-large drew to a close WSDC 2010 for PaulLau.com

3. The Story Behind Football Shirt Swapping [4TH ALL TIME]

During my IGCSE Media Studies revision, I stumbled upon a New York Times Article that detailed the story behind the tradition of Shirt Swapping in Football.

4. WSDC – Results [5TH ALL TIME]

Part of the WSDC 2010 series, this post had the immediate results following the Closing Ceremony. It helped provide instant information before the WSDC – Final Rankings post (see the 2nd Top Post) replaced it.

5. UWC Principal Personnel Changes [6TH ALL TIME]

Shortly after Neil Richard’s ‘resignation’ was announced, there was a lot of furor within UWCs around the world about Principal resignations, changes and departures. As a result, I summarized the 3 principal changes at LPC, AC and MI.

6. WSDC – Break [7TH ALL TIME]

Part of the WSDC 2010 series, it took a while for me to calm down after learning that HK would break into the Octo-finals. But once I did, I was able to posts the full break, frantically copied down during a few tense minutes at the WSDC 2010 Break Night Party.

7. WSDC – Round 1-4 Team Results [8TH ALL TIME]

Part of the WSDC 2010 series, the results after round 1, 2, 3 and 4 representing the mid-way mark at WSDC 2010.

8. WSDC – Final Draw [9TH ALL TIME]

Part of the WSDC 2010 series, this is one of the few top posts related to the run-up to WSDC 2010. Indeed, many readers were first notified of their countries draw through this post.

9. Hong Kong Schools Debating Council [10TH ALL TIME]

After many frantic hours of work, messaging and coding on wordpress, me and Heather finally managed to cobble together the HKSDC website at http://hksdc.wordpress.com. The website and the organization, the Hong Kong Schools Debating Council was successfully launched in April.

10. Sing Tao Grand Finals 2010

This Grand Final was not only my last Sing Tao debate, it was also my last debate in Hong Kong and for South Island School. It capped a wonderful journey that really began at the Sing Tao Grand Final in 2006 and ended on the 4th May. Thank you to everyone that I’ve had the joy of sharing the journey with.

Honorary Mentions

11. Tabbing Software
12. HK Bid for 2023 Asian Games
13. WIDPSC Day 1 & 2
14. 10 Things to do if you Finish Exams Early
15. WIDPSC 2010 – Lithuania
16. WSDC – Quarter & Semi-Final
17. WSDC – Round 3 & 4
18. WSDC – Aus vs HK Octofinal
19. WIDPSC 2010 – Results
20. Chinese Sport School System

Induction to Atlantic College: Student Council

Tweeted by UWC Great Britain : http://twitter.com/#!/U_W_C_GB/status/25606886444

Student Councils are a common feature in most modern schools. They are an almost certain part of the HK school scene and at South Island School were considered an important part. But what should be noted is that in almost all these instances the actual impact of student council is fairly small. In many local schools, Student Councils or Student Unions are merely joking for positions that look good on CVs. Even where they have an actual role, it is often devoid from school policy and unrelated to the teaching or policies of the administration. That was certainly the case many times during my studies at SIS. Although admittedly, as an international school, SIS was already significantly better in listening to the students.

Moving 7 hours away to the UK, I wondered whether the Student Council would function in much the same way. It had been billed as being more representative and better listened to. And this logically fit into the more student orientated and independent approach taken by Atlantic College. But given a deluge of changes since the last academic year, I was unsure how important the Atlantic College Student College actually was.

My house : Morganngy

That was part of the reason why I went to the student council meeting on the 30th of August 2010. It wasn’t a particularly spectacular meeting, there were approximately 16 members with 2 from each of the 7 houses (I’m in Morganngy). But what surprised me were the seriousness of the discussions. From internet hours to food, induction and carol units, the issues discussed were issues that truly affected the student population day in, day out. And contrary to other times, there were no mundane issues being discussed.


Induction to Atlantic College: Choices

If the induction to Atlantic College could be summarized in a few words, they would be hectic, crazy and packed. From the moment we woke up at around 6:45, we were hustled and bustled from one location to another in a desperate attempt to cram everything that was required to get us ready and working at AC into just over a week.

After a mad 3 days of camps, we were given less than a full nights sleep before we were thrust into a large series of subject talks. Going through each subject group in turn, we had exactly five and a half hours before we had to finalize our subject choices. After much agonizing over Peace and Conflicts vs. Politics, consideration of Further Maths and the dilemma of Physics and ESS, I wound up walking into my academic consolation and leaving less than a minute later.
It turned out that if you don’t change any of your choices from what you initially submit in your preliminary form, all you do is walk in, say just that and then walk out again. It seemed that rather than having a massive conundrum and problems with the choices, I had breezed right past.

That was until I got an email requesting I visit the man in charge of our academic timetables. (more…)

Induction to Atlantic College: Camp

At Atlantic College or rather the United World College of the Atlantic, first years have to arrive at school in mid August and second years about a week and a half earlier than us. In my opinion, the school had better have a good reason to justify that early arrival. Thankfully, they organized an induction program for us.

After a harrowing bus ride from Heathrow to the school, we were given a rowdy welcome with pots and pans, megaphones and lots of enthusiastic students. It was to be perfectly a little intimidating, especially when you know little to no one around you. Thankfully, we were quickly found by the others in hour house and ushered to our new accommodations. We were told by our second years that it was a school tradition that they carry our bags and luggage, but I suspect it was nothing more than a good excuse, or maybe they were brain washed by their second years as well.

Nevertheless, we quickly found our dorm and house and pretty soon when the second bus load of people came along, we were the ones crying out load and scaring the **** out of some other people. We had considered creating a tradition of having first years carry first years back to the house, but when we found our fellow and missing dormmate to be a tall lanky Dutch, we decided against it and instead grabbed and stole his luggage from his grasp.


SDIOP – Review

The school has never done it before, at least not in the 5 years that I’ve been at SIS, and I have no idea why the school suddenly decided to do so, perhaps it has to do with IB or maybe it’s to do with the CIS/WASC accreditation the school desperately wants. Regardless of the motivation, the school finalized the ‘School Development, Improvement and Operation Strategic Plan 2009-2010’ in September 09.

A few words about its creation:
A very brief draft had been shown to Student Council ONCE before and demanded that all copies be returned at the very same meeting which means no-one knew how it has changed since then. Those in the School Council, even the student representative not only refuse to give details, they are bound by some kind of contract to stay mute under a gag-order.

The fact that it was finalized during the summer holidays at the start of the school year means that Student Council wasn’t consulted on the final version. Surprise!

I received a copy of the SDIOP from Mr. Wray after sending my request in. Here is a summary of the proposal and a sign of where SIS’s development will go.

  • Student population will remain at 1,400 for the time being
  • The school is “not yet ready to take that (MYP) decision although the developments are largely aligned with the approach of MYP”
  • More cross-curriculum links amongst subjects and across years
  • An integrated Humanities program to be introduced for year 7’s starting next school year
  • 1,250,000 maximum for development of creative subjects within curriculum over the next 3 years
  • 200,000 for training and planning of new IB language courses to begin teaching in 2011-2012 academic year
  • All students with few exceptions to focus on one language from year 9 with possibility of extending this to year 7 or 8
  • New ‘Moodle’ learning platform at http://vle.sis.edu.hk/ piloted in Maths, English, LF and DT to be completed by 2011-2012
  • Release of Moodle in Spring 2012
  • Increased international education links with China and HK schools and possibly African, French and Spanish schools in 2012-2012
  • Consideration and review of early entry, fast track and pre IB courses for certain students
  • Online school calendar arrangements finalized
  • “Extended student representation and leadership on school consultative groups”
  • CIS/WASC accreditation in March 2012
  • 300,000 for staff leadership development
  • Staffing costs increase 1 million per year with no new staffing changes
  • A possible new building costing 60 million or more to be decided by the School Council this year
  • New public announcement scheme installed in 2009-2010
  • Learning at SIS sent 3 times a year
  • New annual report published yearly
  • Atrium strategy approved by School Council in December 2009

Appendix D – IB Diploma Results 2009

The strange and quirky results reporting I noted in a previous post was once again, suspiciously repeated at the end of the SDIOP. Once again, the comparative results were left out

Verdict – Skim

Top Posts of the Year: 2009

It’s been a relatively short year for this blog, but it has nevertheless been a fruitful one with nearly 40 posts in a short 2 months period. Here’s a round up of the top posts of 2009.

1. IB Results

SIS had its first batch of IB students completing their exams and the results of this was released sparsely with only certain staff members insisting that they were wonderful. However, in an ironic twist, the school carefully choose to exclude a number of important statistics of comparison.

2. Principal Interviews

With the announcement that Mr. Wray was due to go to another school, the process of selecting a new principal began. Ultimately, Mr. Graham Silverthorne was selected. You can read his bio here.