International College Hong Kong
Jun 26, 2023

Health and Enrichment and Flow

Many international schools in Hong Kong and elsewhere offer IGCSE, which is a UK-based examination, in Years 10 and 11, followed by the International Baccalaureate’s Diploma, in Years 12 and 13. This throws up an interesting challenge, which is how to ensure that the two programmes dovetail most effectively and with the best possible outcomes for the students. Partly this is a question of curriculum content: schools need to ensure that the material covered at IGCSE is, as far as possible, genuinely useful preparation for the Diploma; this can be achieved by selecting the most appropriate syllabi offered by the different GCSE examination boards. However, it is equally a - perhaps, more profound - question concerning the quality of students’ characters and personalities, because the IB Diploma makes demands on students that concern their maturity and mindset quite as much as what they have already learned at school. 

With this in mind, having already developed the Human Technologies programme, in part as a means of preparing students for the IB Diploma’s Theory of Knowledge component, a number of years ago we introduced Enrichment & Flow in Years 10 and 11, both to promote the kind of skills and habits of mind that are priceless when approaching the Diploma, especially when considering its CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) requirements, but also to provide students with a glimpse of what awaits in the world of further education and employment. 

Enrichment & Flow, or ENF as it is better known, is one of the main vehicles through which students can take the step from being an ‘apprentice’ to a ‘wayfinder’ at ICHK. Run as a double period each Wednesday afternoon, ENF mixes Year 10 and 11 students in an environment which effectively posits the question: “What is the minimum amount of support that you personally require, in order to undertake purposeful, productive, and interesting things with a high degree of success?” In answering this question, students are invited to take advantage of a series of opportunities, either alone or in groups. These opportunities fall within three categories: consolidation, extension and innovation. Consolidation provides students with more time to get to grips with work already covered by the school curriculum; extension allows them to embellish or deepen this work; while innovation prompts them to step beyond the curriculum altogether, so as to explore aspects of their developing personalities, in ways that outstrip school’s typical purview. ENF teachers, meanwhile, are briefed to observe carefully, to offer timely guidance, but also to allow students to make mistakes within a safe-fail environment.  

The kind of learning exemplified by ENF offers positive support for student health. In its guise as ‘consolidation’, it permits students to find a healthier balance between the various priorities that are competing for their time: less time spent on homework, more time for hobbies, clubs and sleep; less stress in school, more mental resources for keeping on top of emotions and mood. What adults often call “work-life balance” we might refer to here as “school-life balance”. Equally, many students use ENF time to engage in physical exercise, which is good for health, and a number of our Enrichment sessions (sprinkled throughout the year) focus on physical and mental wellbeing. Our Outdoor Leadership Certificate and Internship programmes, which run through ENF, help students maintain positive energy whilst engaging in real-world experiences, while, finally, in its ‘innovation’ dimension, ENF offers students the chance to assume responsibility for their own learning, demonstrate autonomy, and find an outlet for passionate engagement that might not otherwise find expression in their teenage years.

In all these ways, ENF provides ICHK’s Year 10 and 11 students with the time, space and agency needed to be healthy, happy, well-rounded human beings, promoting their journey into positive and sustainable young adulthood.  

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