Since joining AIS in 2021, Thai Minh Thu Tran (Kathy) has found a lot to like about the school – especially her teachers and their highly interactive teaching style.
"Even though this is my first year at AIS, the teachers are all incredibly supportive and encourage us to maximise our potential," she explains. "Because they can see what we are capable of, they urge us to work hard so we can continue to improve and exceed our own expectations."
"However, they also offer us plenty of help and guidance to ensure that we are well prepared for our exams and assessments. And they are always happy to answer questions and clarify ideas if we are struggling with a certain concept."
One of Kathy's favourite subjects is Vietnamese A Literature, which introduces students to the analysis and study of Vietnamese literary works. Students explore the artistry of literature from a variety of cultures, literary forms and periods, and reflect critically on their reading through both oral and written means.
"What intrigues me the most about Vietnamese A is the way in which literature has spread and changed in Vietnam through the centuries," adds the Year 12 student.
This fascinating and captivating subject is part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) taught by Ms Phuong Trinh, an IB examiner for Vietnamese A, responsible for marking oral exams and moderating predicted grades. Kathy is grateful to have such a dynamic teacher at the helm.
"Ms Trinh is an energetic and humble person, making her a sensational teacher," confirms the 17-year-old. "She is an experienced IBDP teacher, so she knows her subject incredibly well and helps us gain the in-depth disciplinary knowledge we need to succeed.
"What makes her teaching method unique is how she incorporates learning tools and class activities into every lesson. This interactive approach makes the learning more engaging and enjoyable. She provides excellent advice and is able to support us through the challenges of the course – both mentally and emotionally."
In addition, the experienced educator empowers her students with a range of soft skills to further enhance their learning.
Says Kathy, "One of the most important lessons Ms Trinh has shared with us is the importance of teamwork. She gives us many group activities, and as a result, I've learned numerous planning and communication skills, which are essential to work effectively in a group."
"She makes sure we focus on time management as well. The IBDP has a lot of assignments, and we all need to understand how to prioritise our time to meet deadlines. She reminds us not to procrastinate and leave everything till the last minute and helps us proofread and edit our work to improve the quality of our submissions."
With her analytical and pragmatic mindset, Kathy places significant value on the globally recognised International Baccalaureate curriculum and two-year IBDP course. As a stepping stone to some of the world's top universities, she appreciates the breadth and depth of knowledge it encompasses, the way it promotes academic, emotional and ethical development, and its clear benchmarking and transparency.
"I'm particularly enjoying my Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project. CAS helps us to develop skills such as collaboration, problem-solving and decision making. It forces students to take a break from studying, which reduces our stress levels and helps with our physical wellbeing. I'm really excited about my CAS project, which involves my friends and me hosting a TEDx Talk at school.
Arranging a TEDx Talk is no mean feat, requiring the students to undertake a great deal of planning and organisation to gain permission and then create this sensation achievement. Kathy's experience hosting similar events at her previous school was invaluable, and she quickly became the co-leader of the TEDx team alongside peers Vy Yang and Stephen Bui.
"The CAS is still in its early phase, so we haven't fully planned everything yet. However, the main topic will centre around "Courage to be disliked". Our four subtopics focus on peer pressure, sex education, the parent and student connection, and bullying. We believe these topics are universal, and everyone can relate to them.
"Originally, we had less than ten students in our CAS team. But as it has continued to grow and develop, we now have over forty members, and it has become quite an impressive project. We have been incredibly fortunate because we have received a lot of help from the school, especially from Ms McCarthy and Mr Beales."
"I've also been preparing for the Extended Essay (EE) component of the IBDP. The independent research skills that our teachers foster and the way they encourage us to question things have enabled me to think more critically. I now see the world differently and from many points of view."
With such an endorsement, it seems clear that teachers at AIS are nurturing the skills and knowledge needed for students to become confident, capable, and responsible global citizens, ready to make a difference in our world.