BeGo Education Conference successfully held at the St. Regis Beijing Hotel
The Great Hall, St. Regis Beijing hotel
On Sunday, June 27, 2021, BeGo Education successfully held its annual conference at The Great Hall of St. Regis Beijing Hotel. The education conference was organized by BeGo Education, the education brand of LC Venture, on the occasion of World Wellbeing Week. Despite travel restrictions, the event managed to gather active experts in education from different countries thanks to rigorous planning and flawless use of technological tools. Audiences learned about the importance of wellbeing in students’ social and emotional development from figures joining on- and offline from the US, the UK and China.
Guests included representatives of various organisations from Beijing and the UK, including the Harrow Development Trust. The conference was attended by dozens of parents and live-streamed to hundreds of viewers across China.
The event comprised of a virtual panel of speakers from the UK, a virtual keynote speech from the US and a live panel discussion. The UK panel was joined by principals of some of the most well-known UK boarding schools, including Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Westonbirt School and the award-winning DLD College London.
The Headmaster of Harrow School UK, Mr. Alastair Land, was scheduled to speak. Unfortunately, he could not attend the virtual session, but sent a recorded video message where he wished the conference success and introduced his replacement speaker, Mr. Charles Bailey. Mr. Bailey is a former Harrovian and the current Academic and Universities Director of Harrow School UK. The combination of traditional all-boys schools, all-girls schools, co-ed schools and modern co-ed schools made the UK panel a very interesting mix of schools.
Gaston Chee, LC Venture’s CEO, gave the opening remarks and thanked the speakers, the guests, the attendees and everyone involved in making the conference possible for their time and support. He also thanked The St. Regis Beijing Hotel for hosting the event and extended special thanks to One Thames City for sponsoring the event. “In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and given that the conference would take place during the World Wellbeing Week, the theme chosen for the conference was the importance of social and emotional development in students’ academic attainment,” LC Venture’s CEO Mr. Chee said. “The topic awoke an overwhelming interest in China and abroad and thus, the decision to host a hybrid event that could accommodate multiple speakers on- and offline was obvious.”
During the UK panel discussion, the speakers stressed the importance of wellbeing for learning to take place. They highlighted how the pandemic pushed schools to provide even more support to their students. Furthermore, the speakers discussed the benefits of boarding and agreed that schools’ pastoral care is important not just for learning but for students’ lives beyond school.
Mr. Bailey, the Academic and Universities Director at the all-boys Harrow School, said the school draws from its rich experience, tradition and state-of-the-art facilities to provide the best education removed from distractions that come with mixed-sex education. During the height of the pandemic, Harrow School made efforts to provide learning and, with support from its boarding houses, ensured that students were challenged so they could develop their full potentials.
Similarly, Ms. Eve Jardine-Young, the Headmistress of Cheltenham Ladies’ College, the world’s oldest all-girls school, said that the school has taken significant measures to ensure that all the girls thrive in an environment that is safe and supportive. Moreover, the school ensures development based on collaboration, team spirit and multiculturalism.
Joining from Westonbirt School, Ms. Dangerfield spoke about the benefits of boarding school for teenagers, emphasising the importance of pastoral care and its positive impact on student’s personal, academic and professional life. She talked about independence and how the school fosters it from an early stage which benefits these students during their school years and beyond.
Finally, speaking from DLD College, Mr. Irfan Latif spoke about DLD’s slightly different approach to boarding and how the school has re-invented itself to become a hub that creates unique learning opportunities for personal development, leadership and appreciation for diversity. He said the school takes the wellbeing of its students seriously and that their efforts have been acknowledged with a series of awards. “Unlike the traditional setting of country-side UK,” Mr. Latif said, “DLD college provides a unique boarding experience at the heart of London, one of the busiest cities in the world, giving it a unique advantage for students.”
The UK panel then proceeded to answer some questions from the attendees on how to make the best of their children’s learning experience and the boarding experience.
Speaking at the conference from the US, Professor Xiongyi Liu from Cleveland State University presented a keynote speech on the importance of students’ motivation and how Chinese parents could benefit from Western modes of learning. The presentation examined motivation from behavioural, cognitive, and social-cognitive perspectives and raised specific topics including reward and punishment, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, intrinsic and extrinsic motives, sense of self, sense of belongingness, mastery and performance goal orientations, attributions, self-regulation, among others.
Finally, Ms. Sun Dongxue from One Thames City presented how this company provide services to its clients in the UK, mostly Chinese customers, and shared several projects in iconic areas in London, including some close to leading universities such as UCL, LSE, King’s College and Imperial University.
The event concluded with a very engaging and lively panel discussion conducted by LC Venture’s CEO Mr. Chee. He used English and Chinese to cater to the needs of an excellent line-up of speakers which included the co-founders of Western Academy Beijing (WAB) and Hyde Academy in Beijing, the Chief Director of Beijing International Bilingual Academy (BIBA) and an expert psychologist from Olivia’s Place, a multidisciplinary pediatric therapy services provider working with children of all abilities and all ages. The panel focused on the role of parents in supporting children’s learning in an age characterized by social media and a decline in motivation for studying. The unique combination of parents, school founders and education experts made the discussion very captivating.
The panel recognised how Chinese parents value their children’s education and commended their efforts. But it also pointed out how some practices are becoming counter-productive, interfering with the overall wellbeing of children. When asked how to support children’s social and emotional development, speakers shared interesting ideas ranging from encouraging students to take responsibility for their learning and asking parents to act as collaborators instead of enforcers of better practices.
Speaking on the issue of students’ choices, one of the co-founders of WAB Ms. Sabina Brady, said that children perform much better when they are trusted with the outcome of their choices. Echoing this, Ms. Jennifer Sachs from Hyde Academy said how her experience as a mother of three taught her to be the best role model for the type of behaviour she wishes her children to exhibit. Dr. K.C Pang from BIBA spoke about the value of encouragement along with the appreciation of children’s efforts at home and at school are some of the most overlooked tools to boost students’ performance.
Finally, speaking about parenting from a psychological perspective, Mr. Zhao Dongxin of Olivia’s Place said that some of the most subtle disruptors of learning are some parents’ anxiety, pushing their children to the limits with too many learning activities that are usually unrelated, earning them the nickname, “chicken babies”, referring to the amount of learning directed at them.
Mr. Zhao believes the over-emphasis on too many learning activities only breeds perpetual learners who are only good at learning. Instead, he recommends a more relaxed and collaborative approach to learning motivated by a system of carefully crafted incentives. He suggested that parents need to help their children go beyond scores or a list of activities and appreciate learning as a means to accomplish their life goals.
The BeGo Education Conference was part of an annual series of events organised by the company to create a platform for parents to have the opportunity to listen to education experts. However, this event was also created for UK boarding schools principals, international school directors and other figures to talk directly to Chinese audiences. Speaking after the conference, the Headmistress of Westonbirt Ms. Dangerfield said,
“I thoroughly enjoyed Westonbirt School’s engagement with BeGo Education Conference. As a UK independent boarding school with a rich history of Chinese students, it was a pleasure to discuss how boarding can help teenagers feel connected, understand their self-worth and ultimately improve learning outcomes.”
On a similar note, the Principal of DLD College London, Mr Irfan Latif said:
I was delighted to participate in this conference with BeGo Education […] We place children at the heart of all that we do and recognise that happy and supported children are academically successful ones, children that achieve their aspirations, goals and university of choice.
The Chief-Director of BIBA, Dr K.C Pang said reemphasised the importance of the event and how he enjoyed the theme of the Conference and the excellent panel discussions. He said,
BeGo Education did an excellent job in organising such a well-coordinated event.
The founding principal of Hyde Academy and founder of TLC (The Learning Center), Mrs. Jennifer Sachs said,
I enjoyed the opportunity to share my thoughts on parenting and education with BEGO’s parents. After 30 years in China, I still find these types of events so valuable.”
She also added how at Hyde Academy, they believe in an open and honest dialogue, and how events such as the BeGo Education Conference are a great place to begin these conversations.
Speaking to the Organising Committee, Gaston Chee commended the efforts of the team and shared how he expects the event to have a wide-reaching implication in how parents perceive, prepare, and plan their children’s learning and development plan. He said,
BeGo Education has been making huge efforts in streamlining its activities and services to ensure we provide support to parents, schools and most importantly to our students in their learning journey.”
Himself a fluent English and Chinese speaker, Gaston Chee also moderated the conference and both the panels. BeGo Education comprises an excellent team of bi-cultural and bi-lingual staff, and this plays a key role in ensuring smooth communication and understanding between the Chinese families and UK schools and providers.
This year, the conference was made possible by the sponsorship of One Thames City and the support of various organisations including The Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and the Boarding School Association (BSA) in the UK had been instrumental in their support leading up to the preparation of the conference.
To find out about BeGo Education and our range of activities or for speaking and other engagements in our future events, please follow our WeChat account below, follow us on LinkedIn or visit www.begoedu.com. You can also send us an email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LC Venture is a leading consultancy and advisory holding company registered in the UK. The company provides quality advice on strategy and business solutions to Chinese and international clients which are mainly SMEs, multinational companies, and governments. The Company is also the investor in BeGo Education, a wholly-owned investment portfolio of LC Venture. BeGo Education operates a bespoke international education consultancy to supports Chinese families find a suitable international education pathway for their children in international schools in China or abroad in the UK and other destinations.