Home' Teacher : May 2011 Contents THE REFLECTIVE PRINCIPLE 67
Sadly, we recently lost a great Australian
educator, Hedley Beare. Not only were his
achievements outstanding as an adminis-
trator, he was also a person who provided
leadership and mentoring to many of us.
Fortunately, his inspiration and insight
remains available to us. I draw your atten-
tion to one of his statements, reported in
the book, Our School Our Future, Brian
Caldwell and I published last year.
'Schools,' Beare explained, 'are bro-
kers of learning, and they'll gather in the
materials for learning from whatever area
they will; so it's an active unit rather than
a premise. It's a set of learners going wher-
ever it's appropriate to learn, rather than
going into school premises at nine o'clock
and having a set school day.'
The context for Beare's statement was a
discussion on the need for schools to cre-
ate global citizens. He was arguing against
any isolationist setting for schooling and
expressing concern that a national Austral-
ian curriculum could be too inward look-
ing. It's very hard to get a global perspective
if you only experience one culture and study
one history. For instance in the past Austral-
ians have been notoriously reluctant to learn
other languages, as though we can't see why
we need to if all the people we know can
Recently I came across a school which is
addressing this challenge of global citizen-
ship in an interesting way. The school has
literally placed itself in the hands of another
school -- in China. School principal, Bruce
Simons, uses the phrase 'one school, two
campuses' to describe his dual domain life,
one in Victoria and one in the province of
Jiangsu in China.
Bruce is Principal of the Hamilton and
Alexandra College in the Western District
of Victoria. His school provides a different
experience for their Year 9 students: liv-
ing and studying in a school in Gaoyou, an
industrial city in Jiangsu Province, China.
His school has established a working part-
nership with Gaoyou Middle School that
allows Australian students, their teachers
and even the students' parents to live in the
boarding house of Gaoyou Middle School
for two weeks. This may not sound attrac-
tive to some, but the Hamilton and Alex-
andra College experience is that there's a
waiting list of parents and teachers wishing
to participate! While in China the students
are integrated into the school, attend classes
and relate fully with their Chinese peers.
Students teach English and learn Mandarin,
and then invite their new Chinese friends to
visit them in Australia.
What's amazing is that Gaoyou Middle
School has provided this facility especially
for the Australian students, which means
the Australian students are in a Chinese
school, not just visiting an Australian col-
lege in a foreign land. Even more amazing,
Gaoyou Middle School covers the living
costs for the Hamilton and Alexandra
College students while in China, even
including a cooked English breakfast if
necessary! The partnership between the
schools is such that they each refer to their
'twin campus' in the other's country and
both principals carry the title of Honor-
ary Principal of the other campus. China
A SCHOOL, AS THE LATE, GREAT HEDLEY BEARE CONTENDED, IS A
SET OF LEARNERS GOING WHEREVER IT'S APPROPRIATE TO LEARN.
DAVID LOADER LOOKS AT AN AUSTRALIAN AND CHINESE SCHOOL
PARTNERSHIP THAT SHOWS HIS CONTENTION IN ACTION.
is looking to see how to create more of
these types of partnerships, but are we
in Australia equally interested and active
in seeking overseas partners? Do we see
ou r students' future being lived solely in
an isolated island nation or as members of
a global community working in and for a
nu mber of countries?
Other questions come to mind. In two
weeks, the experience is limited, so could
the China experience be extended further,
to one term, one year or even a few years?
What degree of language development and
cultural sensitivity could be achieved during
a longer stay? What might be achieved if the
final two years of school were parallel in
both schools, with the chance for students
to study the same curriculum regardless of
which campus they attended?
The Hamilton and Alexandra College
and Gaoyou Middle School partnership
may be the forerunner to a new model of
multi- campus education, in this case in
China and Australia. If we are to live in a
global world and harness the goodwill and
exuberance of today's youth, their experi-
ence of other cultures is best from within
that culture, even though this could be aug-
mented by virtual visits through technol-
ogy, digital books and mobile devices.
As Hedley Beare reminded us, schools
are not just physical premises but 'groups
of learners going wherever it's appropriate
to learn.' The Hamilton and Alexandra
College experience is that Gaoyou is a place
where it's appropriate to learn and to create
Where is your school's horizon set? T
Caldwell, B.J. & Loader, D.N. (2010).
Our School Our Future. Sydney:
Education Se r vices Australia .
David Loader is an education con-
sultant and associate professor in the
Faculty of Education at the University of
Melbourne. His latest book, with Brian
Caldwell, is Our School Our Future.
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