Letter to Parents New GTS Course
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I am pleased to inform you about the new curriculum being implemented to replace the current Global Thinking Skills (GTS) course. As you know, all students from Year 7 to Year 13 have one lesson per week allocated for this. The previous GTS course needed updating and it included topics which will now be addressed in other subject areas. Our new programme encompasses skills and topics not specifically taught in other areas of the academic curriculum. We believe that wellbeing is at the core of each student’s education, to help build resilience and so they learn the skills to flourish.
Growing up today can appear more difficult than ever, especially in the context of having to navigate online learning. In an uncertain and novel world, students need new tools and support. Our society emphasizes academic achievement but a growing body of international research indicates that emotional wellbeing is a key contributor to academic achievement and improved outcomes in later life. We believe it is vital that students learn how to look after both their mental and physical health – our new curriculum reinforces our belief.
We are very excited to launch: ‘The Science of Wellbeing: Tools for a Flourishing Life” which will begin in September 2020. With this focus on wellbeing, we hope the social and emotional skills, knowledge and behaviors which students learn will establish lifelong habits. We adapted resources from the Positive Education Programme at Geelong Grammar School (PEEC) and incorporated principles from ‘The Five Ways of Wellbeing’. PEEC is a research-based explicitly positive education curriculum that is developmentally sequenced from Early Learning (age four) to Year 12, which is equivalent to our Year 13. The curriculum is built on ten years of experience with positive education at Geelong Grammar School (GGS) and was designed in consultation with world-renowned positive psychology researchers. At its core are character strengths. This provides students an understanding of their own character strengths and how to use them in a variety of ways to build confidence and competence.The PEEC curriculum addresses six positive themes: positive relationships, positive emotions, positive health, positive engagement, positive accomplishment and positive purpose. Topics such as emotional intelligence, compassion, self control, character development and mindsets are taught. These resources have been customized for our Sha Tin College context to ensure strong links to our values and beliefs. We are also incorporating lessons on Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) as this is an ESF-wide priority for all students. RSE includes topics such as: relationships, gender, values and sexuality; staying safe; sexual behaviour and reproductive health and the human body and development.
We have a new website (https://sites.google.com/stconline.edu.hk/stc-scienceofwellbeing/home) to support parents, students and teachers. This website will be regularly updated with resources that you can use to support your children. There are also links to webinars, videos and other websites which you may find useful in understanding and supporting the wellbeing of adolescents. We hope that this results in resources easily accessible to you. It remains a work in progress so we ask for your patience as we continue with improvements.
As with the old GTS course, there will be no assessments or tests in ‘The Science of Wellbeing’ but this does not reflect the importance we place upon it as a community. Regular feedback will be elicited from students which will be used to modify lessons and resources. Students will be encouraged to actively participate in class discussions and in group activities.
Thank you so much for your continued support. Please contact me with any questions.
Ms. Helen Law
Teacher of Psychology, GTS