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By SANIKA KULKARNI
How the Kelly Yang Project is helping shape young minds to understand the world better
In today’s digitized world, we are constantly overstimulated with vast amounts of information that’s right at our fingertips. In such a landscape, educators need to equip students with the skills to approach information with a critical mindset.
The Kelly Yang Project (KYP), a Hong Kong-based learning center founded in 2005, offers courses for students to develop their communication, thinking, and writing skills. Founder Kelly Yang’s belief that “the world belongs to creators–writers, artists, innovators” sets the foundation of the creative learning process that the organization aims to foster, preparing students for both higher education and the workforce.
“The world is changing, and a question I ask myself is: How do we future-proof our students? How do we prepare them for a dynamic and changing world?” says Kelly Yang Project CEO John Chew.
Through various courses throughout the year–in both classroom and one-on-one settings–KYP emphasizes the need for students to be able to problem-solve, as those who can do so tend to perform better in analytical jobs and standardized tests.
To ensure critical engagement from students, the learning center imbues a Five Point Methodology: Global knowledge, Dynamic Delivery, Disciplined Work, Emotional Intelligence, and Engaged Community.
“We absolutely believe that students that understand and live these values will navigate the world more successfully,” adds Chew.
The classes are highly discussion-based, where students and teachers come together to dissect the multi-faceted reality of global matters collaboratively. KYP offers a signature Global Thinking Program that invites students to hone three critical skills: critical writing, debate, and public speaking. Chew says that “having the ability to critically assess issues, take a position, and communicate this in a well developed and well-reasoned essay is a critical skill.”
Such skills are put to the test as students participate in international debate competitions, such as Model United Nations (MUN). Debate allows students to develop logic and argumentation skills, analyzing data and using the research to propose solutions to pressing world issues.
This application-based learning also emphasizes the importance of a global mindset. Through KYP, students have taken part in competitions across Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Taipei, Seoul, Osaka, and Singapore.
“Although the world is changing, we still believe a global mindset and perspective is important. Our students and instructors reflect the diversity of the world,” says Chew.
With many KYP’s students hailing from international schools and English-medium local schools, the teachers focus on creating a dynamic classroom environment by facilitating discourse among students from all backgrounds, creating a richer environment as a whole. Chew says that the organization reinvents the idea that education centers are only places to develop ‘skills.’
“The Kelly Yang Project seeks to do more than that. There’s a global character and mindset that we are trying to build,” he adds.
KYP also offers scholarships to students from local schools to provide them with global learning and exposure. Going even further, the organization offers publication services that have helped teenage students publish novels, novellas, and poetry. One of the organization’s core missions is to empower students by encouraging such achievements, assisting young people in sharing their work with the world.
With the increasing demand for e-learning and the evolution of education to come, KYP looks forward to exploring technology and its possibilities in the field. The organization hopes to offer programs for students outside Hong Kong and continue to shape young minds through a global lens.
This article was written in partnership with Kelly Yang Project.