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“Olympic ambassador” Sang Lan 桑兰 Visits Innova Academy at the School Choice Fair.

The Innova Academy booth proved to be a real family affair, keeping with its guiding principle of building community. We were pleased to welcome our friend Sang Lan who made a special visit to the School Choice Fair to introduce her family to the Innova team and spend time discovering the magic of robotics with her son.

Watch out for the jingkids interview with Sang Lan later this week!


ORIGINS Education Speaker Series

Keep an eye out for lots of Innova Academy special events coming up soon – including the first speaker of our Guest Speaker Series  –  ‘Lance King’ well known author and presenter on 14-15 April.

Preparing Your Child for Success 

What did Jack Ma and Steve Jobs both have in common? Both knew how to turn setbacks into success.

Success = Capability + Effort + Resilience 

How can parents support their children so that they too can see challenges as opportunity and setbacks as springboards to success?

These questions, and more information on how to equip your children with 21st Century skills, will be answered at the Origins Education Book Launch of ‘The Art of Learning for Parents’ by Lance G King.

We will have the Chinese translation of the book available to all attendees to the event, and Lance G King will be available to personally sign your book.

Events will be held on Friday 14th of April and Saturday 15th of April at a range of venues.

Follow us on WeChat, using the QR code below, to receive more information and register for an event.

The first 10 people to register will receive a complimentary copy of the book signed by the author.



Planning for our Children’s Futures

Applying the Global Goals for Sustainable Development

Recently, a group of ORIGINS educators attended a presentation by Mr. Yong Zhao, author of Paradigm Shift: Why and How. Mr. Zhao purports that we must educate our children to be more human, creative, and entrepreneurial if we want them to be participants in a future world.

Connecting the Global Goals

Intrinsic to ORIGINS Education are the 17 Global Goals for sustainable development. Yes, we require our students and teachers to be more human, creative, and entrepreneurial, however, we also want them to be caring, open minded, principled and thinkers too. Inquiry-based learning encourages people to question themselves and others. Students using their creative, entrepreneurial and human skills must ask themselves how can they make a difference in this world. What can we do to ensure clean water for all? How can we help to alleviate hunger? How can we pass on our skills and knowledge and improve education for others? What can we do to support gender equality? How can we ensure good health for all? These questions address the first 6 Global Goals for sustainable development.

Making a difference gives peoples’ life meaning and purpose. Innova International Academy aims for their students and teachers to be better people in a world where change needs to happen and to use their knowledge and skills to have an impact on people and their planet.

Walking the Talk: Living Your School’s Mission

Authentic Application of Guiding Statements

As I transitioned to my new project with ORIGINS Education in Beijing (, I was inspired by their Guiding Statements: Inspired to Wonder, Challenged to Explore, Supported to Create and Empowered to Connect. 

I have a passion and curiosity about making connections between a school’s Guiding Statements and what I see when I walk around its campus(es). In my workshops on leadership and management for schools, there is an underlying theme about how leaders and managers can live their school’s Guiding Statements. What’s the point of having words that state what you do (mission), what you aspire to (vision), and what your core values are if they are not going to be used in your daily work or guide your strategic thinking?

An Ethical Obligation to ‘Walk the Talk’

As educators and leaders, we all have an ethical obligation to our community to make sure that what we state about who we are as a school (mission), what we are striving to achieve (vision) and how we operationalise this (our values) is evident in what we say and do. As leaders and managers in schools, it is our responsibility to help make connections between everything we do and the school’s Guiding Statements.

As a Head of School, I felt it was important to have one meeting per quarter for the entire staff so that we could discuss these connections. These meetings achieved several goals, aside from the obvious where we took time to ‘unpack’ our Guiding Statements and actually try to understand them: as a collective, we learned more about various activities throughout different parts of the school. At the same time, we were documenting evidence on how our school was ‘living our Guiding statements’, as well as generating inter-disciplinary links and cross grade level connections. I still remember our Grade 3 students sharing their learning on the digestive system with the Grade 12 Biology class as their provocation, a direct result of the IBDP Biology teacher sitting in the same group as the Grade 3 class teacher at one of these meetings!

Encouraging all staff (academic and administration/support) to connect their daily work to the Guiding Statements helped us all ‘walk the talk’ about the purpose and direction of our school, often generated ‘teachable moments’ and helped make our work even more meaningful.

As teachers, we believe that we should foster authentic connections for our curriculum, and as leaders and managers in schools, authenticity is where you make a conscious decision to live your school’s mission, and you ‘walk your talk’. As a leader, I have always believed that it is my duty to help all members of the school community develop a shared understanding of who we were as a school, why we exist and what we were working towards. Our decision making processes include a step where we ask ourselves “how will this support or add value to our Guiding Statements?” It has now become a routine for me and I strive to walk the talk – to live the mission of not just my business, but for those I work for as a consultant.

Inspired to Wonder, Challenged to Explore, Supported to Create and Empowered to Connect : The more I read these words and use them in my day to day work at ORIGINS Education, the more powerful I believe that they are for 21st Century learning and ensuring that our students are prepared for the world beyond school – no matter what that looks like. Each day in my work for ORIGINS, I WONDER, EXPLORE, CREATE and CONNECT, supporting me in not just ‘saying’ but also ‘doing’: supporting me to ‘walk the talk.’

Are You Cooperative, Collaborative, or Both?

Are You Cooperative, Collaborative, or Both?

Schools are communities: They are about people working together to develop ideas, structure learning and create connections. In order to do this successfully it is important to understand the dynamics behind ‘working together’. We need to co-operate AND collaborate. But what does this really mean?

We encourage you to look at this graphic by John Spencer (@spencerideas) and consider the important understandings between co-operation and collaboration. Are you using both important practices in your classroom and life?


Innova Academy: First Look

ORIGINS Education is excited to announce Innova Academy: a new K-12 “school for the future” for both Chinese and foreign students, set to open in 2018 in Beijing’s Yizhuang Special Economic Area.

Come and Meet Us!

Join us for a first look: The Innova Academy team will be at the Beijing International Schools Expo at the Crown Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U-Town on Saturday and Sunday, February 18-19 from 10:00am-4:00pm. Visit our booth to learn more about our programmes and speak to our Leadership Team and teachers.

Contact Innova


Good Read: Comparing an IB Education

Good Read: Comparing an IB Education

A Student’s Perspective

In this edition of “ORIGINS Good Reads” we recommend an article for parents looking at international schools, which should help better understand the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. In the form of an interview, we hear from Devon Hsiao, a student with experience studying in Taiwan, the United States, and Beijing, now an undergraduate student in the US at the University of Texas at Austin. In her interview, Devon shares her experience in the three different educational models and also her insights and understanding of different learning styles.

This article is shared from the official “We only talk about K12” WeChat account, founded  by two well-known and respected international school teachers, with experience as IB DP / MYP Examiners, School Certification Officers, Teacher Trainers, as well as serving as certification officers for CIS (Council of International Schools), WASC  (Western Association of Schools and Colleges, NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges), NCCT (National Center for School Curriculum and Textbook Development). As international school parents, their experience is valuable for those considering international schools.



ORIGINS Welcomes Proven Leaders

ORIGINS Welcomes Proven Leaders

Experts to Support Growth of the Organization

With the dawn of the New Year, ORIGINS Education looks confidently ahead to the unveiling of projects we have been working on and we remain busy with curriculum and programme development at all levels.

Today, ORIGINS Education is proud to welcome several key members of staff who will help us achieve our goals for 2017 and beyond. Following ORIGINS’ Guiding Statements, each new member of the ORIGINS team will support growth of the organization and development of our schools and their programmes.

Deidre Fischer joins ORIGINS as an Associate Director and will focus on staff and programme development at all levels of the organization. In her work to build capacity within a framework of well-being, Deidre will draw upon her vast experience in school and staff development, in line with ORIGINS pillars of “Vision”, “Leadership” and “Programmes.”

Casey Bucheler joins the team from her last post in Vietnam. In support of our “Programme” pillar, Casey will lead development of Early Years education and staff development.

Margot Marks joins the team to weave the integration of Community, Action and Service within the ORIGINS Curriculum.

Learn more about the ORIGINS team by visiting our website by clicking the Read More link below.

The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

ORIGINS Video Inspiration: Adam Grant

In this edition of the ORIGINS Video Inspiration series we hear from organizational psychologist and Wharton professor Adam Grant, author of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. In his TED talk, Grant exposes the results of his research into creativity and the roles of procrastination, confidence, initiative and determination.

“The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most”
– Adam Grant Introduction:
How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies “originals”: thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. “The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most,” Grant says. “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.”

Understanding Translanguaging

Understanding Translanguaging

Speaking from Experience Growing up on a farm in southern Ontario, Canada, with Portuguese parents who had recently immigrated, learning to communicate in two languages was a necessary part of life with parents and extended family. My four brothers and three sisters spoke only English at school (and with each other), my parents only spoke Portuguese to us, and many of the Portuguese immigrant workers on the farm also relied on their mother tongue. Since our Portuguese was nurtured through listening and speaking, but lacked any formal support, learning through “translanguaging” became a large part of communicating with our parents, extended family and colleagues. Translanguaging is an approach to dual language learning. Using a dual language strategy, students develop social and academic vocabulary in both languages simultaneously and learners maintain strong mother tongue skills while acquiring their second language.

“Translanguaging”, acquiring language is an action and practice, and not a simple system of structures and discreet sets of skills. That’s why translanguaging uses an –ing form, emphasizing the action and practice of languaging bilingually.” Christina Celic and Kate Seltzer (2011)

When translanguaging, learners adapt their language practice and improve communication and understanding of concepts. In classroom discourse, translanguaging is apparent as learners switch between languages in a fluid manner, communicating their general understanding, and thus deepening conceptual understandings. Celic and Seltzer explain that translanguaging builds flexibility, helping learners make meaning withintwo languages. Translanguaging learners are well on their way to being able to explain critical thinking and understanding, skills needed to confidently use dual languages in the workforce. Allowing students to translanguage as they learn a second language allows them to express thinking and consolidate understanding as they navigate their way through learning academic language. The vocabulary that is lacking becomes evident to the teacher and student which gives immediate feedback and allows both to address vocabulary issues quickly. From experience I found I could quickly ask family members for the specific word I was lacking in Portuguese and by using it in context allowed me to internalize it and store it in memory for future use. As a teacher in Canada with many multicultural students in my class, allowing students to translanguage helped them overcome communication barriers and helped me as a teacher understand what students were trying to express. As we continue to develop our language programs at Origins Education, I am reminded of my own language learning experience. Translanguaging helps our language leaners express their ideas to the best of their ability. This is key when developing our dual language immersion Chinese and English program.