Friday, 30 November 2012

From The Head Teacher

PTG Christmas BISzaar

It is with great regret that we have to cancel the PTG Christmas BISzaar scheduled for tomorrow. We have been informed at very late notice by the Vietnamese local authorities of a change in their requirements for permission to go ahead with this event. The school offers sincere apologies for any inconvenience and disappointment that this late cancellation may cause.

Activities Term 2
Activities sign up for clubs and activities next term will be available to students through CHQ at 3pm on Monday 3rd December and close at the end of term, 3pm on 14th December.


Richard Dyer
Head Teacher


Sports News

A busy week in Sport for BIS. On Tuesday our swimmers took to the pool against ISHCMC and were victorious. There were some excellent races with several PB’s broken. This is perfect preparation for the Bangkok Swimming Competition next month. On Thursday (29th November) the swim team will travel to SSIS for another swimming gala.

On Thursday both U18 Basketball teams won their respective basketball fixtures.

Ho Chi Minh City Athletics Competition – Saturday 24th November

The Athletics competition took place on Saturday 24th November at Tu Duc University. BIS had a very strong team and won both the U14 & U18 competitions. Once again some excellent performances.

The HCMC Terry Fox 16th Annual Run 2012 – Sunday 25th November

To end the week a number of parents, staff and students from all 3 campuses took part in the annual Terry Fox run to raise money for cancer research in HCMC.


Under 13 FOBISSEA Games, 15th – 19th March 2013

Hosted by: Jerudong International School, Brunei (Group A2)

This year’s Under 13 FOBISSEA games will be hosted by Jerudong International School, Brunei.

Over the three days of competition students will participate in football, basketball, swimming and athletics.  It is strongly recommended that students represent the school in more than one sport.

If you would like your son/daughter to be considered for selection please can you return the reply slip to me as soon as possible.

Trial dates are as follows:

Phil Drake
Director of Sports/Head of Physical Education

Athletics Sports Day – Wednesday 28th November

On Wednesday 28th November the whole of the Secondary School took part in its annual Inter-house Athletics Sports Day. All students represented their house in at least 4 different events. The day ended with the Tug of War and Relay events. Congratulations to all participants for making the day such a success. Final points can be seen below – well done Hanoi!


There were also 11 new school records & 1 record equalled.
New Secondary School Records

Track Events

Field Events




Friday, 23 November 2012

From The Head Teacher

The energy and involvement of our students never ceases to amaze me.  With our school still buzzing with excitement from the U15 FOBISSEA Games, the Phuket 7s Football and The FOBISSEA Music Festival, we embarked on our own talent contest, published an edition of Babel, and worked our way through the final stages of the inter-house football competition.  Not content to rest on our laurels and drift towards the end of term, we are now preparing for a weekend of sport, with inter-school athletics tomorrow and the Terry Fox run on Sunday.  We still have time and energy to fit in the PTG’s Christmas BISzaar and the Winter Concert and the Bangkok Patana Feeding Frenzy Swim Meet.  Alongside this runs the Childrens Cancer Ward clubs activities connected with the Movember charity and our increasingly hirsute teachers.

Contrary to many views of teenagers, ours are fully involved in the school and the community.  This plea, below, from a United States judge who deals with teenagers regularly surely doesn’t apply to our students, your children? Does it?

“Always we hear the cry from teenagers, ‘What can we do, where can we go?’

“My answer is this: Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons and after you’ve finished, read a book. Your town does not owe you recreational facilities and your parents do not owe you fun.

“The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no one will be at war, in sickness and lonely again. In other words grow up, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you!”


Richard Dyer
Head Teacher


Dengue Fever and Rabies Talk at AP2

PTG - Teachers Day 2012

AP2 PTG committee serving breakfast cakes, fruit, teas, coffee and juices to teachers on the occasion of Teachers Day 2012

FOBISSEA Music Festival 2012

The British International School, HCMC had the prestigious honour of hosting the annual FOBISSEA Music Festival from November 8th -13th 2012. Fifteen participating schools from SE Asia were involved with 290 students and staff in total.

On November 8th all 15 schools arrived safely in HCMC and enjoyed meeting each other, and for some people it was an opportunity to reunite with old friends. A delicious welcome dinner banquet was provided by the hotel and Year 12 and 13 students from BIS HCMC entertained us with beautiful traditional Vietnamese dance.

The next four days were long and busy, packed with rehearsals, workshops and activities but both students and staff were excited about the upcoming events.  During the festival students are assigned to one major ensemble, either the Festival Choir or the Festival Orchestra and then filter into smaller minor ensembles such as: Flute Choir; Clarinet Choir; Junior Girls’ Choir; Senior Girls’ Choir; Male Vocal Group; Senior or Junior Strings; Jazz Band; and Percussion Ensemble.

Students also participate in a variety of different workshops organised by the visiting music teachers. Students were involved in workshops as diverse as African Drumming, iPad Orchestra, Folk Music, Country Dancing and New Orleans Band. Everyone had fun and enjoyed all the workshops offered.

Every evening students either participated or observed an informal concert. On the first evening the school groups gathered together in the BIS Auditorium ready for the participating schools concert.  Each school performs a piece and the concert had a fantastic atmosphere, with students relaxed and supportive of everyone’s performances. Performances varied from human drum kits and solo classical pianists, to combined choir and band performances from some of the larger schools. On the Saturday evening we invited a Vietnamese traditional ensemble to come and perform to the students. They taught us about the traditional Vietnamese instruments and even invited some of the students on stage to perform alongside the Vietnamese musicians. On our final evening before the actual FOBISSEA Gala concert, the students and staff enjoyed a Rock Band night. All participating schools were given the opportunity to entertain their peers and rock out on our school stage. Students danced and laughed and sung along to some of their personal favourites.

The Gala Concert was held at BIS HCMC’s sister school, the British Vietnamese International School . The concert was a huge success, with 20 high quality pieces performed after four days of rehearsals. The repertoire was varied and exciting with performances of Mozart’s ‘Lacrimosa’, Eric Whitacre’s ‘Seal Lullaby’, Respighi’s ‘Pines of Rome’ and ‘Thriller/Heads Will Roll’ - the audience were certainly taken on a musical journey.

The Gala Concert was a testament to all of the students’ hard work during the four days; it was a truly wonderful musical experience, which all the students and staff were excited to be part of. The music team at BIS HCMC were incredibly proud of all the students involved, they were professional and mature, as both individuals and musicians! 

Sarah James
Head of Music







Learning technology at AP2

Part 3: Learning together

Learning together is an important part of our mission, it transcends all disciplines and facets of school life. Viewed from an academic perspective it recognises that social interaction and collaboration are catalysts for powerful learning. Modern advances in technology and the increase in our provision of learning technologies provide us with the means to pursue and develop this.

New Technologies- Traditional Interaction
There has been much educational literature and research highlighting the power of social constructivist learning, of how a collaborative approach nurtures and supports enhanced learning. This dates back to eminent psychologist Vygotsky's belief that all learning is first experienced in a social plane- in our context the classroom- before being internalised and demonstrated individually- such as homework or an assessment task.

More recently, and drawing upon modern technologies, Sugata Mitra’s work on developmental education in India- the inspiration for the film Slumdog Millionaire- provides additional evidence of these benefits. Mitra provided unguided internet access to small groups, supplementing this with limited mediation to support fruitful social interaction and was able to demonstrate significant learning benefits. It is pertinent to mention that, in this case the mediator had no knowledge of the topic the children were asked to find out about.
This made use of technology as a tool for exploration with traditional mediated face to face social interaction supporting the learning itself. Students were not instructed but enquiry encouraged. This represents one way that we can employ technology -ready internet access- and blend this with traditional face to face collaboration. Although extremely powerful, and an active area of educational research, this represents just one way that technology can support social learning.

New Technologies- New ways to interact
At first glance Polymath and Foldit appear seemingly unrelated, one is a collaborative approach to formulating mathematical proofs, the other offers participants the opportunity to solve puzzles for science. Beneath their apparent differences lie commonalities. Both utilise modern advances in technology and the increased communication and collaboration they offer, both have made significant advances in their respective fields which had previously remained elusive. These examples from outside of the realm of education illustrate the second way that technology can support social learning.

Harnessing for Learning
Increased connectivity and web 2.0 tools have provided a new dimension to learning, facilitating social interaction and collaboration where it was previously absent. Ready access allows students to learn together, studywiz forums, shared google docs and skype allow students to maintain a social element to their learning outside of the classroom.

When viewed in terms of our enquiry process (see article 1) students can collaboratively locate information using social bookmarking tools like diigo they can browse together using collective browsers like They can organise their ideas together through online note taking tools like google docs or multi-media cork boards such as spaaze or a plethora of collaborative graphic organisers such as Spiderscribe or mindmeister. When demonstrating their understanding groups of students can employ a wide variety of collaborative tools to present traditional written documents, multimedia presentations or Video.
In addition the wealth of opportunities to present this material as part of a positive online presence facilitates the opportunity to reflect, showcase and engage with fellow students locally and elsewhere.

Revolutionised Learning?
Some of these tools streamline and allow the traditional to become more efficient, but much more significantly, some, allow that which could previously only occur within the classroom take place elsewhere. Students can benefit from the power of social learning even when they are separated geographically.

Educational researchers have coined the phrase “Radical Discontinuity” to describe the difference between how a student chooses to pursue their own learning outside of a traditional school and what they experience in the classroom. Over the past decade recreational social engagement has been revolutionised by advances in technology. Our interactions are no longer bounded by who we can see or hear, nor are they bounded by who we know. We are more connected than we have ever been, this has changed how we socialise and, employed appropriately could offer vast benefits to learning.

Ben Turner
Learning Technology Integrator