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Keeping the Spirit of Confucius Alive at ISTP

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First - happy Confucius Day to our teachers and thank you to our Cowper families for honoring our Early Years faculty with beautiful flowers. I cannot tell you how much your thoughtfulness is appreciated.

We are always inspired by Confucius Day to give thanks for our wonderful teachers and to reflect on Confucius’ wisdom about education, which still resonates today.

Confucius sought not only to give his students knowledge, but also to guide them to develop their whole character, just as we do at ISTP.

Looking over the IB Learner Profile Attributes – 10 characteristics that we hope to instill in each of our students – I was reminded of some of Confucius’ most famous sayings (which are very familiar to me as I spent hours memorizing them in middle school).

Two particular teachings from the Analects stood out to me as connecting to the Learner Profile:

  • Confucius famously said, “learning without thinking leads to confusion; thinking without learning ends in danger” (學而不思則罔,思而不學則殆).
    This echoes two Learner Profile Attributes 思考者 (sī kǎo zhě, "thinkers") and 反思者 (fǎn sī zhě, “reflective”) as we teach our students not just to learn, but also to think critically and engage in metacognition to thoughtfully consider how they themselves are learning.
  • The fundamental Confucian ethic of benevolence ( rén) reminds me of how we also guide our students to become 富有同情心的人 (fù yǒu tóng qíng xīn de rén, “caring”). We teach our students to be empathetic, compassionate, and respectful, which mirrors Confucius’ belief in always treating others with humaneness.

Seeing these modern educational philosophies reflected in the Analects was surprising, but it also made me think about the timelessness of some aspects of the Confucian tradition. I was inspired to see that ISTP, a modern and innovative school that is preparing our students for the 21st century, can still draw on Confucius’ ancient wisdom.

Please join me this Confucius Day in celebrating the strong educational institution that is ISTP, and the talented, hard-working, and inspiring teachers who have made this journey possible.

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