Chicago Native Makes Beijing Home to Carry the Torch of Learning Worldwide
This month we spotlight Ms Jane Martuneac Kang, Primary Coordinator at Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing).
A longstanding member of the team, Ms Martuneac Kang began her career at YCIS Beijing 13 years ago in 2008. At that time, it was the novel bilingual approach to learning that caught her attention. Over the years the school’s commitment to innovation and best practices has encouraged her to continue to invest her energy and experience in the school’s growth.
During her time at this international school in Beijing, she has gained a wealth of experience in both teaching and leading different year levels as she moved up from Upper Primary Learning and Teaching Coordinator to Primary Coordinator this year.
When asked about what she enjoys most about being at YCIS Beijing, she says it is being a part of the team of educators that piloted and developed the school’s current Learning Communities approach. “It was enthralling to be a part of [the Learning Communities] from the ground up,” she says. “It started in just one year group and then spread throughout the Primary School.”
This modern concept extends beyond the traditional classroom-style teaching approach to focus on flexible, student-centred learning. Among the many benefits of this approach is the development of a sense of community and collaboration among students. For further information on our Learning Communities approach, please refer to this article.
In addition to being instrumental in developing the Learning Communities approach at YCIS Beijing, Ms Martuneac Kang has also taken the initiative to become an informal ambassador of this approach and has shared this concept with other schools around the world and at educational conferences where the idea is gaining currency.
Ms Martuneac Kang says she hails from Chicago, the United States. This is where she lived for a long while and it is where her parents eventually settled. However, her childhood was spent in several different cities around the US and also included a four-year stint in Johannesburg, South Africa. “I think this experience shaped who I am,” she says.
An indefatigable worker, when she is not in school in the evenings and over weekends, Ms Martuneac Kang might be found curled up reading books or watching documentaries. She also enjoys good food and often explores the city for new restaurants or simply revisits old favourites.
She firmly believes the school gives students the best opportunity to explore a great many personal and academic avenues from sports, music and art to languages and friendships. Her advice to her students is to never hesitate but to jump at every chance given them, undeterred by pesky ‘what ifs’.