Citizenship education

The French International School aims to develop internationally minded and valuable global citizens with intellectual independence who recognise their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet.

These personal attributes enable us to successfully live, learn, work and contribute as active members of humanity. They are key to personal development and are essential to thrive and succeed in life. Development of these attributes occurs in many contexts; they will be modelled, at every opportunity, by all members of the school community and shaped by interactions with people, places and ideas.

 

General principles

School is where students gain the knowledge and skills needed to live in and integrate into society. It is also where they learn the practices and behaviours that enable them to become free, responsible and engaged citizens living together on one shared planet. French Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport’s special Official Gazette, Decree of 23 June 2016

Starting in kindergarten and continuing through to upper secondary, we speak to our students as budding citizens so that they gradually gain an awareness of their rights, duties and responsibilities. Citizenship education helps students understand the meaning of citizenship and civic-mindedness and makes them want to put these concepts into practice. It aims to help students form public-spirited and moral judgement, to gain critical thinking skills and develop a culture of engagement.

Throughout their schooling, FIS provides students with a place where they learn together and where they respect the principles that allow each individual to flourish while getting to know and acknowledging others. 

Each student finds their place within the group, in their class, while staying true to what makes them unique. They share their own culture and knowledge while also learning about the school’s requirements and shared goals.

By connecting with others, students test out their ability to act and work together, practising and improving these skills through various activities. They learn to accept a diverse array of opinions and disagreements and to prioritise listening and debate. This gives them the means to adopt considered and responsible behaviours and develop their critical thinking.

Topics addressed

Here at FIS we cover the following broad topics in citizenship education:

  • the values of liberty, equality and fraternity and the principle of secularism
  • the culture of gender equality and mutual respect
  • the fight against all forms of discrimination
  • the prevention and fight against harassment
  • sustainable development and the environment

How we teach citizenship education

During their time at FIS, students in both streams learn about citizenship education through formal instruction in class time, but also outside of class, during after-school, extracurricular and other activities. 

Students learn about and adopt citizenship values through:

  • knowledge shared in lessons
  • meetings with citizen and civic-minded individuals and institutions
  • involvement in civic-minded projects or educational activities

Activities and events

Students participate in the social and democratic life of their year group and the wider school

Every year, primary and secondary students on each campus elect student representatives. This process teaches them to exercise their rights and duties as citizens.

Student representatives have the opportunity to participate in school projects, to talk with senior staff and to make decisions as part of its governing bodies (lower secondary school council, upper secondary school council, student voice council, campus council and school council).

The lower secondary and upper secondary student representatives from the French stream receive training to help them fulfil their roles. They work on their speaking skills, have philosophical debates about representative democracy and have conversations with teaching staff representatives. 

From 2020/2021, each year group in secondary (French stream and international stream) also elects eco-delegates. Eco-delegates meet to discuss topics that their year group and classmates find pertinent, along with the sustainable development guidelines to implement at FIS.  

 

The CAS programme

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is a core part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. However, as we value the attributes it promotes, we have now developed a CAS programme for all secondary year groups.

As part of this programme, students are made aware of important social issues such as poverty, lack of access to education and food and water shortages. 

They are encouraged to stand out from the crowd by volunteering their time, either within the school, as with IB students who tutor IGCSE students, or in Hong Kong through community service, such as distributing food or volunteering in a hospital. Sometimes this community service takes our students abroad to help with school building projects in low income countries. Students also organise fundraising events for charities such as the FIS swimathon and ImpactHK.

In addition, we encourage them to learn more about other cultures, notably those of Hong Kong, with dragon dancing and dancing martial art sessions taking place in school.

 

Peer mediation training

During this dynamic, interactive training session aiming to resolve minor conflicts, students work on the psychosocial skills of empathy, kindness and neutrality. They learn the mediation process, which includes organising meetings with students to resolve conflict. Though the aim is to give students autonomy in this process, there is always a debriefing with an adult to assess the mediation and check the solutions suggested. 

This training programme taught me to be a mediator. We played games then took part in a mediation simulation. To manage conflict between students, we tell them that we are going to hold a mediation session. We all go into a room and each person explains their point of view and what happened. It is not our role to solve the problem, but to find a solution. This training means I can now teach other students or people to become mediators too, and I found it very interesting. Louanne V., CM2 student

Kindness week

Kindness week takes place across all four campuses with activities organised by and for students.

Each campus is adorned with posters, texts and quotes about kindness. On our primary school campuses, students decorate a kindness tree with paper ‘leaves’ containing compliments and messages of support.  

The vie scolaire and health care teams on each campus hold talks and screen short films on a variety of subjects, such as the consequences of harassment, the living conditions of homeless people in Hong Kong and how to behave on buses. They also organise games, including Feelings, where students learn to talk about their feelings, as well as the Mysterious Benefactor game and the Mime or Sweet word game.

Older students organise activities for the benefit of charitable organisations, such as collecting food for Feeding HK and making beautiful badges, the proceeds of which are donated to the non-profit ImpactHK.

The aim of the week is for students to understand that kindness is key to building a better society.