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International Mindedness is about each of us

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International mindedness

International Mindedness is a central part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, and an integral part of what we aim to embody at Discovery College. Indeed, each person at the College, from our youngest student to our senior staff, plays a role in this. Our Powerful Learning Statement has reflected this ideal since the founding of the College, noting that a positive environment for learning is one in which a shared spirit of respect, which dignifies and prizes our diversity of experiences and perspectives, exists.

In 2013, we refocused on this priority and worked to develop a shared understanding of international mindedness among all staff. This was done through various forums among the staff, including two full-day IB workshops, as well as follow up workshops led by DC staff. In addition, an international mindedness committee was formed and tasked with developing a guiding statement, which determined three broad areas that encompass international mindedness: curriculum, relationships, and events & environment. This committee also looked at the IB documents and related publications, and conducted a review of the learner profile attributes. Through these opportunities and discussions, Discovery College’s International Mindedness Guiding Statement was created: “International Mindedness at DC is a commitment to celebrating our diversity where people know themselves and others, and demonstrate empathy by thinking globally and acting ethically.” 

In the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years we reviewed our Guiding Statements and further developed what it meant to be internationally minded in the DC context. In this review our International Minded statement was refined and given greater prominence. Staff, students and our broader community continue to strive to make develop their understanding and to make International Mindedness come alive in our curricula and co-curricular programmes.

The College is integrating international mindedness throughout many aspects of our community, under the umbrellas of curriculum, relationships, and events & environment. Class teachers continue to consider multi-lingualism, global engagement and intercultural understanding when planning, teaching and assessing units of work. Our College-wide commitment to wellbeing and restorative practices fully supports international mindedness, including the components of personal responsibility, valuing diversity, dealing with conflict respectfully and seeking to understand others. Through our College events and celebrations, which can occur at an individual, class, year level or College level, we strive to increase our understanding of diverse cultures, group experiences, traditions, values and beliefs in order to enhance our relationships with one another.

However, international mindedness is a concept that can and should extend beyond these College initiatives. It is about each of us, in every part of the community, making these concepts part of our daily lives. It is quite easy to say that we will do these things, but another to implement them each day and be mindful of our actions and reactions and the way we treat others. Understanding our own cultures and beliefs, as well as those of the people around us, impacts all of our wellbeing. The way we respond to conflict – whether this be on the playground, in our neighbourhood or in the office – gives us an opportunity to improve our awareness and our openness to ideas and views that are different than our own. The way we treat those who are different than us, who come from a different country, speak a different language or have different beliefs, impacts our greater community. This is true within the College and Discovery Bay, but also on a larger global scale.

Similarly, the consideration we have for those here in our community can extend the concept of international mindedness. Though we encourage and support our students to understand and engage with communities around the world, through programmes like No Boundaries and other virtual engagement opportunities, we can also create this intercultural awareness here in Hong Kong. We live in a diverse community with Hong Kong as our home, and even looking at Discovery Bay alone, we see a broad diversity in nationalities, religions and cultures. Certainly understanding communities around the globe is important, but we can start in our own community.

At DC, we are all striving to improve our own understanding and implementation of international mindedness. As we look at the curriculum, the relationships in our community, and the events and environment of the College, we hope that you will join us in this effort to understand and respect of others’ views, beliefs and traditions. We believe it will make a stronger environment for learning for our students, and hopefully a more internationally minded community.

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Cobra Sports

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Cobra sports basketball

Sport plays a central role in the extra-curricular life of Discovery College and provides every student with the opportunity to develop to the very best of their physical ability. Every student should be able to practice their sporting interests, which helps develop healthy, active lifestyles and social interaction.


  • Be Internationally Minded: Encourage a passion for a wide range of sporting activities from various cultures around the world 
  • Be Agentic: Create an environment for all students to reach their sporting potential 
  • Take Principled Action: Nurture sportsmanship in all aspects of competition
  • Flourish: Provide sporting opportunities for all participation levels by enhancing physical, emotional and social wellbeing.
  • Achieve Highly: Provide an opportunity for sporting excellence in a variety of sports 

The Cobra Sports programme follows the HKPSSA, ISSFHK and ACAMIS Sports seasons in order to provide regular, high quality fixtures for students of varying abilities. We aim to provide every sport with a minimum of one training session per week and fixtures during their sports season. Each team is also allocated a dedicated training space and sports coach.

Cobra Sports Overview 2021-22

Term One

Term Two

Term Three










Tag Rugby




U14 Football


U12 Football

U16 & U20 Netball

U14/16/20 Basketball

U12 & U14 Netball

U20 Rugby

Cross Country

U14 & U20 Touch Rugby


U20 Football

Ultimate Frisbee

U16 & U20 Volleyball


U12 & U14 Volleyball


Discovery College has a thriving sports programme called Cobra Sports and league fixtures are played during the week, with numerous tournaments scheduled throughout the year. The College also offers a wide range of early morning, lunchtime and after school sports clubs that students can opt to participate in to further their sporting experience. Additionally, there are overseas sports tours during the academic year, which will provide our students with new sporting opportunities and challenges.

In order to ensure that both students and parents alike are able to keep abreast of the number of clubs and fixtures on offer throughout our busy sports schedule, we have a weekly Sports Bulletin that is sent out on our weekly Explorer Newsletter to parents.

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Caring for Others

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Students as social entrepreneurs

The Year 11 collaborative Design project is an opportunity for students to work in groups across the design disciplines to solve a design problem. Students are using the theme of social entrepreneurship to identify the design problem. Social entrepreneurship is empathetic, innovative and sustainable, but is not charity.

Social entrepreneurship aligns closely with the caring learner profile attribute: “Students show empathy, compassion and respect to the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the life of others and to the environment” (IB Learner Profile, 2013).

Max Geilenkirchen, Mikhail Jaura and Kengie Tang worked in a group that has brilliantly demonstrated caring through their design project. Through their research, they noted that less economically developed countries often have a mismanagement of waste, creating poor living conditions for children and families. They focused on an impoverished area in Manila, where children are not allowed to go to school if they do not have shoes. Since most of these families cannot afford shoes, the children are then denied the right to education and also face health dangers from walking in dirty or unsafe areas without shoes.

To get an idea of what others have to deal with, one day Kengie tried walking home from the Tung Chung bus stop without wearing shoes. “Towards the tunnel to the bus stop, the ground was extremely rocky and painful to step on,” she noted in her project. “The experience really helped me empathise with the target audience. Even walking for an hour felt like a day, and the pain really showed me how some children are going through such pain in such unsafe places.”

Their project focused on designing a type of shoe that is sustainable, inexpensive, protective, and made from resources available in the area, to try to address this critical need. They researched materials commonly found in the targeted area, such as gunny sacks, tires, and felt to determine which materials would be practical, comfortable, safe and appropriate to the environment. They then put their ideas to work by producing a 3-D model from their sketches and are now conducting testing to determine what can be improved to ensure that their product meets the needs of their audience. As the project evolved, students were able to demonstrate their understanding of a social issue, and the ways in which a design project can address a critical need in a community.

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Home Language

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Supporting student learning

Y2 Mother Tounge 02In the IB’s Every Teacher is a Language Teacher, it is stated that “languages have always been at the heart of the IB. You can’t build an international organisation without embracing them, and you can’t nurture international mindedness without enabling students to do the same.”

The number of cultures represented by both students and staff in DC is staggering. Even more remarkable are the languages these cultures bring with them. A person’s language influences how he or she communicates, but also with whom the person chooses to communicate, and how effectively the thoughts and ideas are shared.

At DC we fully recognise the importance of students’ mother tongues and encourage their use. In Years 1 and 2, we have been running highly successful mother tongue programmes with the help of parent volunteers to support student learning. Students are given a choice of language groups to be part of, such as German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese, and then discuss in their chosen language the concepts and ideas they have been learning about inside the classroom.

Y1 Mother Tounge 01These groups help students to develop their ideas further, with greater confidence, while receiving constructive feedback from adults or friends. They can then go back into the classroom and share their thinking with the entire class. Sometimes students want to tell us what they are thinking but find it challenging because they don’t yet have the language for it. The mother tongue groups are an invaluable opportunity for students who don’t always feel comfortable communicating their ideas in English to share and participate more in the learning.

The mother tongue groups have become an integral part of the early years programme at DC. They wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of our parent volunteers. The importance of the mother tongue groups is critical because they have a huge impact on supporting students as they connect with each other and their learning.

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Learner Profile

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The heart of the IB

The aim of all International Baccalaureate® (IB) programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. At the heart of all of the IB programmes is the Learner Profile, which is essentially the IB mission statement in action.

The IB learner profile describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success. They imply a commitment to help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others and the world around them. The IB learner profile defines the type of learner that Discovery College hopes to develop through our programmes. We aim to develop internationally minded people who display the following ten IB learner profile attributes:

  • Inquirers: We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.
  • Knowledgeable: We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.
  • Thinkers: We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.
  • Communicators: We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.
  • Principled: We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.
  • Open-minded: We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.
  • Caring: We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.
  • Courageous: We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.
  • Balanced: We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives—intellectual, physical, and emotional—to achieve wellbeing for ourselves and others. We recognise our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.
  • Reflective: We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.

It is the aim of Discovery College to look for opportunities to develop these capacities in our students. In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), you will see the Learner Profile attributes being explicitly taught and focused on in all of the written, taught and assessed work. As students get older and enter the Middle Years Programme (MYP), these attributes become increasingly implicit in the taught curriculum and in our Community Engagement programmes. In the Diploma Programme (DP), opportunities to develop these capabilities are embedded in the academic curriculum and CAS programme, however, students are also expected to make explicit connections to the learner profile attributes for themselves.

Teachers and students take the opportunity to inform parents regarding the progress being made towards developing the learner profile attributes, through written reports, conferences, goal setting and personal reflections.

In 2013, the IB released a paper, inviting schools to review the language of the learner profile attribute ‘risk-taker.’ In different cultural settings this term can be interpreted with negative connotations, therefore schools were given the opportunity to decide on remaining with the term ‘risk-taker’ or changing to ‘courageous’ or to use both interchangeably.

At DC, our staff were surveyed on the change, and provided some feedback and rationale for the change in language. The staff decided to move towards the term ‘courageous.’

For example, one teacher noted, “I feel courageous is a more real-world term. When you read about people in the world who have taken action, which has placed them in some jeopardy, they are often described as being courageous. Risk-taker feels more contrived, and limited to school use only.”

Similarly, this line of thinking was reflected in other teacher responses regarding how the term ‘courageous’ more broadly reflects what is meant by the previous term ‘risk-taker,’ and more accurately encompasses the idea of thoughtful action.

As a school, there has been and will continue to be a transition in learning environment displays and curriculum documentation to reflect this new terminology over the next year.

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Discovery Foreshore

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A new space to play

DCvrsDBISFootballGame-4This spring, the Discovery Foreshore was completed and opened for use by DC and the community. The opening marked the completion of a project that began more than six years ago as a joint effort by Discovery College, the Discovery Bay City Owner’s Committee, HK Resort Company Limited and the DB community. This multi-purpose sports area with artificial turf is a wonderful school and community asset that is open to public use, with group bookings managed by the school.

The sports area is covered in Poligras artificial turf, a FIFA 2-Star certified system, which was featured at the 2012 Olympic Games. On the ground are markings for two pitches of dimensions 51.4 x 22.0 m and 37.3 x 20.1 m. The larger will be put to use for football and rugby, and is equipped with special dual-use goalposts. The smaller will lend itself to football again, as well as netball.

The foreshore area also features a small shaded area to rest, as well as a set of long steps alongside the pitches that will accommodate spectators. The DCPTA has also generously supported the project by funding a large storage shed for sports equipment, a chilled and filtered drinking fountain, the canopy for the shaded area as well as the many trees that will provide cover from the sun.

The pitch has already seen some action from the DC Cobra teams. The PE classes are also active on the pitch, and it has been a positive addition to the space available for recess and play times for all students.

For additional information about group bookings of this space, please contact the business manager, Pat Romano, at 3969 1000.

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