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Mentor Reflections

Child Abuse

Working with Ella and watching her grow throughout this process has been extremely rewarding. She was extremely passionate about her topic which showed in her devotion to learning all sides to her controversial issue. I'm proud and honored to have been a part of the G5 Exhibition at HKA as a mentor.

Alexa Arnold

Car Pollution

I have been really impressed with the organisational skills and commitment of the two students I am working with. They have stayed on task and pushed me in a nice sort of way! I have also been blown away with the way they have used technology from the start. This has really assisted connectivity, communication and research. It has seemed that even in our meetings that I will ask a question and "bang" I am being thrown a website or possible solution. Maybe I could employ them as research assistants when we finish!

Dr Andy

Country Parks in Hong Kong

It’s really our great pleasure to work with the Grade 5 students as their mentors. Through the exhibition process, students learned how to communicate with the people outside school especially people working in the government. By sending email back and forth to the government bodies, they learned that they should never give up, keep trying until they achieve most of their goals.
Through all the meetings, students learned how to manage their time, organize their work, schedule and prioritize their have- to-do things. Also, they learned how to “Stop and Think”, think of contingency plans/other options whenever there is a problem. Most important of all, they experienced how to be a responsible, flexible, co-operative and caring team member.

Annie and Eva

Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong

I have had the pleasure of working with Savannah Hunt, Maite Ochoa and Emma Cardinaal.
Their exhibition topic has been an Inquiry into the “Treatment of Domestic Helpers In Hong Kong”.
I have been so impressed by the girl’s commitment and dedication to researching their topic. They have been remarkably strategic in their approach to the exhibition. The girls have made regular meetings with me, planned ahead, followed up on my suggestions and taken the appropriate action whenever required.
The highlight of my mentoring experience was our field trip to Central one Sunday morning to survey groups of Domestic Helpers.
Emma, Savannah, Maite and their mothers met me outside Marks & Spencers.
We then ventured to IFC to undertake the interviews. We all nervously approached a group of Helpers and explained where we were from and what we would like to achieve and if they would mind us asking them a few questions.
We were initially anxious about their response; however, they obliged and the girls carried out their surveys. The ladies were grateful for the treats that the girls had so thoughtfully provided in gratitude for taking up their time.
We then proceeded to the Hang Seng Bank and questioned some more.
Finally the girls interviewed the Helpers sitting outside HSBC Bank. By this stage their confidence had increased and the girls were met with eagerness by the ladies.
Maite, Emma and Savannah were so respectful, well mannered and great ambassadors for our school.
When we reflected on our experiences we agreed that we felt humbled by having the opportunity to talk with the helpers and we were now able to have a better understanding of their lives in Hong Kong. Using this primary source was an integral educational tool to support their lines of inquiry but just as importantly it was a life experience for us all.
At this stage the product is still to evolve; however, the impact of being a mentor to these young ladies has been so rich and rewarding.
I thank each one of them for their hard work, fun, great sense of humors and allowing me to be a part of their team. Well done!!

Virginia Hand


Maggy and Darcy have been very enthusiastic during all aspects of the Exhibition. They have come with ideas to the meetings and have worked independently needing very little support from their mentor. They have been open-minded, always open to new ideas, and are eager to make a difference to the recycling awareness of students at Hong Kong Academy. They should be commended for their efforts!

Jane Sparks


As a mentor this year, I've had the pleasure of taking the Exhibition Journey with Dorothy and Daksha. I was impressed to hear them explaining their understanding of the connections between their lines of inquiry to the concepts of causation, connection and responsibility. I appreciated their open attitude towards different ideas and opinions. They demonstrated an excellent sense of respect, commitment and cooperation with each other and with me. They were punctual, took turns recording and shared the research, and persevered when time and issues and problems arose. It was extremely pleasing to see their area of interest in littering developed from wanting to clean up all the beaches in Hong Kong to taking action that is much closer to the home front by starting the littering campainge in our own primary school.

Kim Engasser

Pink Dolphins 1

Being a mentor for the Grade 5 Exhibition gave me a chance not only to work with students outside of my classroom, but to see them put their all into a project that was of genuine interest to them. I was lucky enough to watch Dawson, Omer and Phoebe throughout the whole process, from choosing a cause that was of special importance to them (Saving the Pink Dolphins in Hong Kong!), to discussing what action they could be involved with to make a difference in the survival of their species. I thoroughly enjoyed working with these students and watching them come up with all sorts of different ideas to make a difference in the lives of the Pink Dolphins... and I learned a thing or two too! Working with them made me realize how our actions, however small or seemingly insignificant, have a knock-on effect on the people, communities, and environment around us - and by making small changes to these actions that, together, we can make a difference in the world. I only wish I had been lucky enough to have been a part of an Exhibition like the Grade 5s are now - how lucky they, and we, are to be experiencing this!

Kimberley Fung

Pink Dolphins 2

Working with Sidhonie and Paul has been a learning experience for us all. I have been impressed with their team work, initiative and enthusiasm. Throughout the process of the exhibition Sidhonie and Paul have used effective communication skills that has enabled them to take sustainable action to help the pink dolphins. I have thoroughly enjoyed working together over the last few months!

Stacey Thompson


This group of students have been enthusiastic about their exhibition. Their goal was set well and was achievable within the give time frame. The students developed a time line which they have tried to keep to, modifying as they went along. They have worked hard to try to keep to the actions agreed on at our weekly meetings. The four students took an aspect of the project to develop then report back on. Dom has been absent from school for a number of meetings but has quickly brought himself up to speed with the progress made while he was away. All are making good contributions and working well as a team. They listened to suggestions and gave sound arguments for why they would accept or reject these suggestions. Most suggestions that the group followed required research which they were able to report the results back to the meeting to make further decisions. They have visualized what the presentation of their exhibition will look like and are sketching out a rough layout for that.
This group of students has been great to work with and I am looking forward to viewing their final exhibition.

Les Millard

Child Labour

Being a mentor has given me a chance to work with students on a different level. It has also given me insight as to what they do in other classes, which has been a very enjoyable experience. I have also come to learn a great deal of information about world issues I did not know before. Being a mentor has also had several challenges. I think many students don't have a clear idea how to research and present their ideas and they do not understand the importance of backing up what they say with research. Organization is a skill that has been a very big challenge in my group.

Liz Merendino

Turtles in Hong Kong

The Handbook is very useful, especially the timeline that I can keep checking the group to see if they are doing fine. Ellen and Erin are good communicators, we can always talk through problems. They are very reflective that they always had a plan B if plan A didn't work, they find solution based on plan A. In all, they are very good, very pleasant group to work with.

Mei Ding

Solar Power

Being involved in the grade 5 exhibition was a very interesting experience for me. I knew little about the PYP exhibition process and this was a good way to find out first hand the kinds of skills and knowledge students have at the end of the Primary School program. I was impressed at how tech savvy the kids were and how readily they used various programs to support and conduct their project work. My group learnt about working as a team and keeping each other informed about project progress. They also had to learn some big lessons about project timeline management (but I am sure this is one of the learning objectives of the Exhibition project).
Handling the various threads of their project, communicating with various teachers and outside contacts, and setting up appointments and meetings all take independence and maturity not normally associated with 10 – 11 year olds. The group also had to deal with disappointments, thwarted plans and broken equipment, but they did so with good humour and continued enthusiasm. It was a worthwhile experience for me, and hope it was for the kids too!

Melanie Halliday

Wetland Animals

==The past few weeks have been a wonderful journey for me supporting and guiding the Endangered Wetlands Animals group through the Exhibition process. I want to congratulate Lucinda, Nathan and Scott for working so collaboratively all the time. They worked together using each of their strengths to help each other and to move the group forward. They put in so much effort to answer their research questions, send interview questions to the WWF and the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, visit the HK Wetlands and even came up with three ways to take action: volunteer at the wetlands, send a letter to the government and put up posters to raise awareness about the Black-faced spoonbill. WOW! What an incredible process! You should be very proud of yourselves! Congratulations!

Sonya Yong

Wasted Electricity

This is my second year as a PYP mentor. I learned last year that the final product the students produced for the exhibition was quite a bit different that what I expected to see from them. For that reason, I feel that it is definitely premature to draw any conclusions from my experience thus far. Everything could yet change.
Nonetheless, I will write about my perceptions to date.
Quite frankly, the students I have worked with this year seem very unfocused. We have had only two meetings when all three of them showed up, and just as many times when only one of them came.
Despite my efforts to get the students to focus on creating a timeline to follow in order to make sure that they are working towards the exhibition dates, their efforts seem to be chaotic. As recently as this week new ideas for research and field trips were being generated, rather then focusing on applying the information that they have already gained in some fashion.
My impression is that the students have been dazzled by ways to use technology, such as wikis and creating movies, at the expense of thinking about what they can accomplish by focusing on their topic. Their action plans have been very primitive. For example, they talked about giving out a note to tape on ones door to remind oneself to close it when you leaving the room, in order to save electricity. I would have expected their skill level for inquiry to have been quite a bit more advanced than that.
While I am aware that the value of the PYP project is in the process, the students would benefit if there was also emphasis on planning for the eventual outcome of the journey. It did seem that this year’s group cared mostly about generating random ideas (of which few were ever carried out), and putting things up on their wiki. It never seemed to occur to them that it was important to present the information they were going to learn in a useful way to others at the exhibition.

Thomas Battiato

Peer Conflict

I have really enjoyed mentoring primary school student leaders, Bryn and Tristan. The PYP Exhibition is a reflection of a student's years in the PYP. It can be a daunting task, I am pleased that Bryn and Tristan found their way and stepped up tot he rigors of the PYP Exhibition. I am particularly impressed with the different strengths they each brought to their work on the exhibition. Bryn was a great visionary and really enjoyed brainstorming ideas. Tristan embraced the true meaning of inquiry and went in search of knowledge and answering probing questions. I hope they are proud of their new found knowledge, their open-mindedness, and their wonderful risk-taking and best of all their teamwork. I am certainly proud of them! I believe their action will make a difference. It will be exciting to see their action implemented in the future here at HKA.

Virginia Hunt