Alumnus’ Story

A Conversation with Art
Mrs Rachel Dent, Head of School, read to the City Campus children and reflected on the role that reading plays in education, and in our lives.
Alumnus’ Story

This year, Harrow Beijing has achieved excellent results in standardized English tests!

Harrow Beijing helps our students meet the language requirements for all of the world’s leading universities and the level of language they have developed stands them in excellent stead for both their future studies and for their lives as global citizens and leaders.

Transferring from a public school and worrying about limited English skills?

How to cope with the English teaching and learning environment?

Let's find out the answers through the learning experience of a Harrow Beijing alumnus -- Albert Z.

Albert transferred to Harrow Beijing from a key public school in Haidian District in Year 10. Though he was doing well there, he stepped right out of his comfort zone to embrace greater opportunities.

‘Upon my arrival, I couldn’t help but notice the vast gap between my English level and that of other students who had been in Harrow for many years. Consequently, I struggled a little with my studies at first. Year 10 is the first year of the IGCSE curriculum, and therefore, improving my English became the top priority. My teachers recommended practice books based on my English level at the time. These books are all accessible in the school library. I used my time outside the class to read these books and built a solid foundation. As my English level gradually increased, my teacher recommended more advanced books,’ Albert said.

Academic writing in English is a common ‘barrier’ that many students encounter. A number of courses here put great emphasis on writing, such as Economics and Geography, let alone English and English Literature. Albert used to face a similar challenge.

‘Initially, I found these subjects especially challenging and reached out to my Language & Learning teacher for additional support. He would give me extra writing topics after each class and feedback via email after I finished the essays. I’m extremely grateful that he would respond to my emails, even during the holidays. Sentence by sentence, he would mark my grammatical mistakes and improper word usage. It the end, he would also comment on my essays from a broader angle, including content and structure. The individual guidance helped me to improve tremendously, enabling me to achieve a 7.5 in my IELTS writing section with an overall score of 8,’ Albert said.

Each term, Harrow Beijing hosts GSE tests to monitor the English level of the students. Based on the score, Language & Learning teachers set new, personalised targets for the students to achieve and make study plans for the ensuing months.

Newcomers to Harrow Beijing are timetabled with a greater number of Language & Learning classes where appropriate in order to support students at their differing levels of ability. These classes have an extremely low student-to-teacher ratio which means that each student is able to interact with their teacher on a regular basis and receive ample pastoral support. At Harrow Beijing, the low student-to-teacher ratio enabled Language and Learning teachers to tailor study plans for individual student. In addition to professional guidance in Language & Learning courses, Harrow Beijing offers a wide variety of extracurricular classes, providing students with a wide range of opportunities to improve their English skills while expanding their interests and improving their overall ability.

‘During LSAs, I took the LAMDA Speaking in Public classes offered at Harrow and overcame my apprehension about expressing my ideas in front of a large audience. Preparing for my speeches simultaneously advanced my writing as I paid great attention to the choice of vocabulary to match the imagined audience. In each class, my teacher helped me to enhance the sharpness of my thinking in providing a logical and well-structured speech under time pressure. This veritably helped me with the studies of other subjects such as Economics where I became capable of giving a chain of reasoning to arrive at an answer with considerable ease,’ Albert added.

Harrow Beijing has had an established LAMDA Centre since 2014, offering a full suite of courses for students in every year group, in the LSA program, and in Year 12 and 13 Electives, in Acting, Speaking in Public, Prose and Poetry, Musical Theatre, The Shakespeare Qualification and The LAMDA Pcert Diploma.

‘I am very grateful for the support I received from my Language & Learning teachers and other subject teachers at Harrow Beijing. Their help was the key to my great progress. Having a relatively high English level not only boosted my grades but also facilitated the growth of my confidence in expressing myself,’ Albert said.

At Harrow Beijing, each student is unique. Through personalized guidance, we are committed to helping our students achieve academic excellence, create limitless possibilities, and prepare them for future admission to the world's top universities and life dreams.