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  • 1 Post By PangeaQuest

ISF Academy - good school or bad school?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2

    ISF Academy - good school or bad school?

    We are considering ISF for our two year old. We are both natively fluent in Mandarin and English, and would like our son to receive proper training in both. I read the riveting posts under a previous thread on ISF, which unfortunately ended around Sep'09. I'm starting this thread with the hope of seeing some updated comments on the school from current/past ISF parents, teachers or staff. Any candid comments would be greatly appreciated.

    From what I've read, I'm concerned about the school may be a Cantonese speaking environment among the kids, despite instruction being in Mandarin. Poor English instruction also sounds like a risk - you can be properly trained in both Mandarin and English - I expect the school do deliver on both at comparable or higher levels vs. its peers in HK. I am also concerned that the high price and low international student body would mean a lot of spoiled kids. Lastly, I'm a bit worried about comments on new, unconventional, shifting methods/staff/administrators, none of which is good. Thank you.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Happy Valley
    Posts
    123

    Cantonese speaking : thats just not true, I think you should visit the place and see/judge for yourself by the languages you hear in the playground. Cantonese is there, but its very much minority. A good number of the kids dont speak Cantonese at all.

    Risk : There is always a "risk" if you can call it that, when you try to tech children multiple languages, some will dominate and some will be left behind. I have 3 kids and they are all currently behind in English. Its not a risk, its not a prolem, they will catch up later; I didnt pick up english till I was 12 years old and I'm looked upon as fluent. I see the school as superior to its peers.

    High price : yes, its expensive but in line with its peers.

    Low international student body : I fail to see how this would translate to spoiled kids. It is mostly a Chinese/Asian school with very few non-oriental faces. There are some western looking kids in earlier years. There are some brats around naturally, but most of the kids that I have met there are well grounded and seem quite mature.

    Are you going to be in Hong Kong longer term? Would you not consider sending the kids to a Cantonese kindergarten instead so they can pick up another language? Thats what we did with our 3. Cantonese for Kindergarten, Mandarin for primary and English for secondary schools.

    HC


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2

    Changed view and new concern

    So, after my first post, I did a school visit. I think some of my previous concerns were simply incorrect. The kids didn't seem to converse with each other in Canto, but in English, and rather than spoiled, they seemed pretty well mannered (well, at least the ones that were there to show visitors around). Many looked like they were from expat families with one or both parents with little or no Chinese capabilities (you can tell when you talk to them if you are a native Mandarin speaker). One thing did bother me somewhat - during the almost two-hour presentation, there was very little talk of academics - i.e. achievements in math/sciences/the arts and developing the passion and discipline for learning etc. It was all very much about teaching Chinese language and virtues. Learning Mandarin is good, but kids need much more than that in their education. The discussion on the 8 Chinese virtues the school adopted also sounded a bit like Westerners talking about China to other Westerners, which made me a bit uneasy. Am I the only one that felt this way from the presentation? For parents with kids in the school - is this playing out in some problematic way after 2nd or 3rd grade, when real academics start to kick in? Would appreciate any comments.

    shri likes this.