About the Host School
The school campus is located approximately 13 kilometers southeast of Yinzhou District. From an elevated position on campus, one can see Dongqian Hu. The campus is fully equipped with science and computer labs, dining halls for teachers and students, sports facilities, multiple auditoriums, a geography garden and a library. Since it is a boarding school, there is also a small store and dining facilities. The school grounds are beautifully maintained and contain two ponds, gardens and a stream. The school has won numerous awards and has hosted many exchange visits from delegates all over the world. The underlying sentiment that forms the basis of Ningbo Foreign Language School’s ethos is the desire to provide the best possible education for our students and offer students a diverse array of opportunities to explore and grow. This desire is highlighted by the investment in modern facilities, continuous professional development provided for both Chinese and Western staff, and the provision of a rigorous calendar of academic and extra-curricular opportunities for our students.
About the AP Centre
In 2011, the AP Center was opened with 84 students and a teaching staff comprised of 5 foreign and 12 Chinese teachers. This has increased to 140 for the 2012-2013 school year, with an additional 4 teachers.The students in the centre are highly motivated. In addition to Advanced Placement (AP) or Pre-AP courses, students take a 10-11 Chinese courses each year in preparation for Zhejiang Provincial examinations. Students are generally excellent and have a background in English. In addition to academic strength, students at Ningbo Foreign Language School are all encouraged to participate in sports and arts. The AP Center itself is equipped with computer labs, an auditorium, numerous classrooms and offices. In addition, the school library is located in the same building as the AP centre. Each classroom is equipped with a smartboard, internet, and sound system.
This is not a job for faint of heart. Perhaps the biggest difference between positions at Ningbo FLS and teaching at an international school is the fact that this is a public school. In addition to teaching students, one has to frequently interact with Chinese counterparts who may teach students a similar subject in the Chinese curriculum. There are also extremely high expectations incumbent with a position at Ningbo Foreign Language School. Students have lofty goals and expect teachers to provide instruction that will help them achieve these goals. In addition, China can be a challenging place to settle. One will need to possess a great sense of humor, patience, and flexibility to thrive in this school.
The lifestyle available to teachers in Ningbo varies greatly. There is a thriving social scene. While there is obviously not the Western ex-pat community that exists in Shanghai or Beijing, Ningbo does have a small and active ex-pat community. We have teachers who have participated in local triathlons, marathons, bike races, attend guest lectures at the University of Nottingham-Ningbo, swim, etc.
What Ningbo has is public space! There are numerous parks that are not crowded and Dongqian Lake is accessible. Aside from the wonderful setting and benefits of living in Ningbo, the best thing about the school is the wonderful opportunity the teachers have of working with such gifted and motivated students. In addition, the daily commute from the city to Dongqian Lake is a somewhat scenic commute through alternating urban, peri-urban, and agrarian land. This occasionally includes passing a brace of ducks being herded down the road, which never ceases to humor the staff.
Additionally, teachers have found it rather easy to assimilate into Ningbo. The public libraries are spotted throughout the city and are easy to use. Our teachers range from single to married with families and all have found Ningbo to be a delightful place to reside.
Teacher Case Study
Richard Wilkin, Centre Principal
For the previous three years prior to coming to China, Richard Wilkin worked in United Arab Emirates as a teacher trainer where he trained English teachers and helped these teachers improve their pedagogical skills through regular classroom observations, feedback, and coaching.
Previous to this experience, he spent 6.5 years in South Africa. For the first 27 months, he was an Education Resource Volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in a rural village in Limpopo Province. Following that, he taught for four years at an international school in Pretoria.
The Dipont Ningbo AP Center has adopted the analogy that they are building the airplane as they fly and fly they have! According to Richard, the CP’s role is to ensure that the plane does not crash and is eventually completed!
In addition to building the plane, the role of the CP involves leading a school team, teaching classes, building relationships with the host school, seeking out opportunities for students, coaching, and mentoring students.
Perhaps one of the best things about this school is the location near Dongqian Lake. It is an amazingly beautiful and tranquil location. All one has to do is set foot on the campus of Ningbo Foreign Language School and one quickly realizes how amazing the location actually is. The campus is pristine with two ponds connected by a stream. (AP Center staff have an office overlooking one of the ponds.) From the artistry of the bridges, the beauty of the geography garden, to the top notch athletic facilities, this is a fantastic campus.
In addition, Ningbo is a great city in which to live. It is very livable for a family and Richard's and his daughter Rorišang love the environment here. They enjoy the parks and the vibrant ex-pat community. However, if one prefers more cultural immersion, it is possible to go for long periods of time without seeing many foreigners outside of work. Richard and Rorišang enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle and like to take advantage of the local library, where there is a play area and many programs are put on for infants and young children. He also loves taking Rorišang for morning jogs or bicycle rides through the parks found throughout the city.
Overall, Richard and Rorišang are very happy to be living in Ningbo and feel blessed by this opportunity.
Student Case Study
Hu Jiayu (Yuki), Ningbo Foreign Language School
I entered the AP center in my 10th grade. I am the first generation of students who will accepted the challenge and will complete the full-three- years of AP education in our center. I consider my experience in the center as one of the most valuable journeys in my life.
After spending nearly three years in the AP Center, I am more convinced than ever by Nelson Mandela’s words, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." The education I received here changed my life trajectory and my mind.
I have gained confidence after presenting tons of speeches. I understand how to take initiative and own my own determined dreams. I have learned how to seize the moment and take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. I have matured and am more self-possessed after adventuring spending two summers in the USA by myself. These characteristics were added into my personality as I gained experience in the AP program.
The language definitely was a challenge when I got into the English-speaking center at the beginning. However, bravely speaking out and daring to make mistakes are the best ways to overcome this challenge. Our program requires us to take a double-course which means the combination of eleven Chinese lessons and at least seven AP courses in our senior high school. The limited time and intensive courses keep the students busy all the time.
What do you think your plans are for university/college?
I am planning to apply to some liberal arts colleges and this is where I hope to go. I will also apply to a few larger universities and to several art schools. Each type of school could offer me a different type of education and opportunity. I want to see what offers I receive but I really want to go to a liberal arts school.