Introducing our international teachers: Lisa Canham

Wednesday 22 May 2019

At King’s College School Hangzhou, we have seen students with little English progress to being able to write their own stories in less than a year. While we are proud of their academic progress, we are equally proud of their kindness, friendships and the care they have developed for their peers, their teachers and their classroom. Our teachers have been central to the creation of such a close-knit learning community for our students and none more so than Ms. Lisa Canham.

Lisa is our international school Grades 1 and 2 classroom teacher, and personifies the ethos that we are trying to instill in our international school. She attended the University of South Africa where she gained a bachelor’s degree in education in early childhood development and foundation, as well as school management. She acquired extensive primary teaching experience in her native South Africa before coming to China in 2013, where she has taught in both Rizhao and Shenzhen prior to joining us.

Lisa has created a strong sense of community within her class – no mean feat with an eclectic group of students from many different backgrounds and with different English language abilities. She knows, however, that an understanding of the English language is not essential when entering Grade 1 of our international school. Her Grade 1 English instruction starts from the moment a pupil enters the classroom – after they are immersed in an English-speaking environment, children are able to acquire language skills at an astonishing rate. Lisa believes that children between the ages of two and six years old quickly absorb foreign languages, especially when surrounded by native speakers. The success she achieves is aided by our Chinese teacher, Ms. Amanda Wang, who helps bridge the language barrier before a student is confident enough to converse in English.

At King’s College School Hangzhou, our pupils are taught by following the full English National Curriculum. Students study each topic for around two or three weeks before being assessed. Lisa is a firm believer that continual assessment is beneficial to primary students as they are able to demonstrate what they are capable of when it is fresh in their minds. They are then be able to build on their acquired knowledge in more detail at the next grade level. Lisa is also keen to differentiate work within the class so that each individual has work that stretches and challenges him/her. This is made possible with our small classes sizes of no more than 15 students. Lessons are planned around the level of the children as well as their style of learning.

The classroom itself is something of which Lisa and her class are particularly proud . Lisa is keen to ensure that the classroom is a visually stimulating environment, with plenty of information displayed for students. Her aim is to create independent learners so that students have the ability to go and find the answers to questions themselves, rather than being dependent on the teacher. All the children have work displayed around the classroom as well, which boosts their confidence and helps them to develop a sense of pride in their achievements.