That’s not to distract from HKIS’s stellar academic reputation. Its unique approach to learning means that students discover their passions and interests at a younger age, enabling them to make informed decisions about their futures. It’s no surprise that graduates from HKIS attend the top universities in the world, with close to 85% attending institutions in the US.
Top-rated academics, idyllic scenery, and world-class facilities are only some of the winning features that make up Hong Kong International School (HKIS). As a leading school for students from Reception One (pre-kindergarten) to Grade 12, HKIS is paving the way for an American college-preparatory education with a difference.
HKIS employs a unique philosophy of education centred around teaching for understanding. Here, students are not just passive learners — they’re explorers, inquirers, and thinkers. Curriculum, instruction, and assessment are regularly revisited to reflect current best practices and research, ensuring that every student can apply their learning to the world and develop an understanding, appreciation, and respect for life beyond the classroom.
“Using a place-based interdisciplinary approach lets us embed students’ thinking and learning in the contexts in which they are already living,”
Every day, students are treated to a lush environment home to various plants, animals, and the last remaining colony of mangroves on Hong Kong Island. HKIS’s location is its learning lab, providing students with first-hand opportunities for inquiry and exploration, right outside their front door. This way, students can directly apply their classroom learning to the real world, experiment with solutions to identified problems, and, most importantly, “learn by experiencing life”.
HKIS has two campuses situated on the south of Hong Kong Island, with its Lower and Upper Primary Schools located in Repulse Bay, and its Middle and High Schools in Tai Tam. HKIS takes full advantage of its location by integrating its surrounding environment into a student’s learning experience.
“Our classrooms are more than rooms within four walls,” explains Fay Leong, Director of Curriculum and Assessment. “They’re spaces that inspire thinking, for a learning community to grow together, and ones that enhance collaboration and empathy as students explore a myriad of complex questions about our world.”
High School students have countless service and internship opportunities, thanks to their location in one of the best cities in the world. They can explore current and relevant global issues, from immigration to the pollution in our waterways. “When students engage with real scenarios, they learn to think differently about their surroundings,” says Dr. Lovelin. “They develop the skills to apply their knowledge to different contexts.”
This ensures that by the time students graduate, they have a strong sense of responsibility to the world around them — and to themselves.
Teachers at HKIS use every opportunity to develop points of intersection within and across disciples. “For example, our students may learn about erosion in a science class, but what happens after that?” asks Dr. Lovelin.
They prompt students with questions like, “Can you apply your knowledge of the impacts of erosion, deforestation and landslides on our community and economy? Can you apply your understanding of the maths and physics of slope management to engineering-focused solutions?” This helps to contextualise a student’s classroom education in ways that are meaningful to them.
This quote from High School Principal Dr. David Lovelin gets to the core of HKIS’s philosophy of learning. Following a unique, student-centric approach to learning, HKIS instills the importance of discovering one’s own passions and interests from a young age. This allows them to find their own meaning, leading to deeper learning and understanding of their academic content and of themselves as individuals and citizens of the world.
At HKIS, real-world application is employed at every possible entry point of a student’s learning journey. Lower Primary students, for example, are engaged through play-based learning, where teachers create authentic learning experiences for young children so they learn more effectively.
“If education remains a structured set of desks and rows, where the teacher dictates all the learning and owns all the information, then we are not inspiring students to find their own meaning.”
HKIS is firmly dedicated to transforming its students into lifelong learners that seek out knowledge outside of the classroom and within it. Facilities are designed to be purpose-built, ensuring they meet the needs of even the youngest of HKIS’s learners. The school is constantly improving the environment around them to give students the best conditions to facilitate inspiration, motivation, and a thirst for self-improvement.
This is why HKIS is developing a new Student Activity Centre in the Tai Tam field which will be the home of the school’s sports teams and core institute to its athletic programme. The Student Activity Centre will also see the installation of state-of-the-art resources to support students in shaping their own passions and personal health.This dedicated sporting facility will be built to support Middle and High School students, equipped with a pool, tennis courts, climbing walls, and massive multi-purpose rooms to create new spaces for applied science and engineering.
“It’s not just a gym,” shares Carrie Chen, Director of Marketing. “Our students and teachers will have new spaces for their work with physical science, biology, and physics, just to name a few.”
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