“As an expat and relatively new in China, I find Chinese history and culture fascinating,” began grade 10 student Heather Hines, as she explained her reasons for choosing the transformations of the Great Wall through the eras of ancient China as her Capstone project. This is one of many benefits of Keystone’s signature Chinese Thread, which lays the foundation for the school’s mission of ensuring that our students – Chinese and international – become knowledgeable and proud of the powerful past and promising future of the country. This takes various curricular forms across subjects in different grades. By grade 10, Capstone provides students with a platform to engage in a culminating piece of independent research on any aspect of Chinese culture and history that students identify as being of individual interest.
Topics varied from the historical shifts in the building of the Great Wall and its significance, to the challenges of westernization in China, failures of the 1898 Reform Movement, an examination of the hermit culture in the Dong Jin dynasty, the aesthetics and culture of the Guqin, and more. “This is a substantive assignment that not only allows students to demonstrate what they have learned about Chinese civilization over their MYP years, but also reveal the skills they have honed,” noted Humanities teacher, Wang Xuebin. There are many layers to Capstone, according to Mr. Wang. Students are presented with an opportunity to delve deeper into the meaning and context of their chosen topics with originality and critical thinking. “I also want students to make connections between their chosen theme on China and the world,” added Mr. Wang.
Coming as it does at the end of their middle school also prepares these students, and sets the stage for their transition to the IB Diploma Programme in high school where similar skills of critical thinking and research, communication, being social and able to manage one’s own time and projects form the foundation of a successful Keystone and IB student.