2022 International School Awards

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  • School Wins
THS Development Team, January 2022

The Harbour School has won the coveted award of Best in Teaching and Learning at the 2022 International School Awards, an annual event organised by international education research firm, ISC Research. THS is the only school in Hong Kong to win at this year’s awards. 

Amongst hundreds of applicants internationally in multiple categories, the school was shortlisted and won the Best in Teaching and Learning category and specifically, for our Marine Science Program, which includes our state-of-the-art Marine Science Center (MSC) and 50-foot sailboat, The Black Dolphin. 

We are honored and particularly proud of this win as not only does it affirm the hard work of our faculty, it is a perfect example of the collaborative and multidisciplinary teaching and learning that takes place at the school. The marine science centre is one of three Centres of Excellence at the school and holds a central place in THS’s focus on experiential learning as a teaching and learning approach, serving as a model and resource for other programs throughout the school.  

THS’s marine science team - including two resident marine biologists, the ship’s captain and first mate - work with the school’s K to G12 teachers to explore ways to support and extend enquiry about the ocean, marine life and science across almost all subjects taught at the school including maths, science, social studies, literacy, and even art to incorporate ocean and marine life topics. 
One of the many reasons that marine science is taught at the school is because it engages students in their physical environment. With both of the school’s campuses located on Ap Lei Chau, an island off Hong Kong island, the school has shown that place-based learning engages students to the community including their physical environment, local culture, history and people. When students get to see the results of their work in their community, they will in turn gain a better understanding of themselves as well as their place in the world. By working on solving real-world problems in their environment, our students explore beyond the walls of the school to connect their learning to a deeper understanding that extends beyond textbooks. For example, when our grade five students learn about circuits and electricity, they also learn about electrical animals and how their biology have adapted to produce energy charges; when our grade two students learn about sound waves they also learn about echolocation. Students may even go out on The Black Dolphin (our “outdoor classroom” to measure water quality or classify marine life when learning about water chemistry or marine biodiversity.

By integrating ocean literacy in the school’s curriculum, THS students develop a greater appreciation and sense of responsibility for not only our oceans and marine creatures, but also for the fragile interdependencies of life on the planet. 

Previous research has shown that primary school students who are exposed to ocean literacy have a heightened interest in science, deeper knowledge of marine ecosystems and animals, and an increased willingness to work in teams and to help each other. At THS, we are observing similar outcomes. By integrating experiential learning of marine science via hands-on work at the marine science centre and field trips on the Black Dolphin, our students are able to see, explore and investigate their learning in real terms and this has in turn, led to greater engagement and excitement in learning across all disciplines. 

THS is a leader in experiential education and a Leadership Circle school in the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network (ISEEN). The experiential aspect of THS is interesting and enjoyable, but on a more serious note it is also directed towards authentic and purposeful actions to solve real world dilemmas. By taking real action, students not only understand more deeply about the topics they are studying but also learn that they can, in fact, make a difference. Through their experience of facing these complex tasks, it teaches them that the world’s problems are not insurmountable, and can be tackled. 

The United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) “to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and ensure that ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the world’s oceans.” 

This is a call to action for all of us, and one we take very seriously at The Harbour School.


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