Any insight about sending your kids to TIBS 泰北國際雙語小學 TAIBEI International Bilingual School?

A friend asked me if I knew anything about this private elementary school in Shilin not far from the National Palace Museum

TIBS 泰北國際雙語小學 | Taipei | Facebook

泰北高級中學 (google.com)

Does anyone sent there kids here or knows families that have?

The fact their site has no English version is worrying for a so called “international/bilingual” school.

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Agreed. Same on their FB. None of the students are doing work in English. Taibei famously is one of the lowest ranked private high schools in Taiwan. I had a student who graduated from there and apart from ABC she had zero Englishes,

Personally i would not send my (theoretical) kids to any private school here as about 6 have offered me a job (provided contracts which for one reason or another I didn’t sign) despite me not having a completed bachelor’s degree or teachers licence.

Save your money, similar outcomes are available at public schools :slight_smile:

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I don’t know if I’d be comfortable having my kids photos plastered up on facebook for the world to see every day of the week. Since when did schools become daily “insta” feeds?

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If your friend is looking for a bilingual elementary school then they are welcome to check out my school: www.sunriseschool.org! We are located in Neihu, and are currently enrolling rising 1st and 2nd graders for the 2023-2024 school year.

To address some of the concerns I read in the previous replies:
*We are a fully bilingual school with 50% of instruction and work in English and 50% in Chinese. We do this by alternating between English-only days and Chinese-only days. That way kids are exposed to every subject in both languages rather than just being taught 2-3 subjects in English or just 2-3 subjects in Chinese.
*I am an American citizen with a masters degree in teaching and a multiple subject teaching credential. My co-teacher is a Taiwanese citizen who has completed a teacher training program specifically for experimental schools (which we are).
*I worked at another school in Taiwan before coming here and the working environments are night and day. At this school, everyone’s ideas and input matter, teachers actually collaborate and work together while discussing how to best support our future students. I trust and can ensure that the learning environment will be healthy for kids as I am personally a strong advocate of whole-child education and social emotional learning.
*We make sure to get parent permission before taking photos and uploading them online as part of our child safeguarding measures (and basic respect for family privacy).

Your friend is welcome to reach out to me personally (Anna) with any questions. We have a few Open House dates coming up, the next English one is on January 14 at 2pm. They can sign up here: 招生說明會 | 旭日實驗教育機構 (籌備中) - 國小階段 Anyone else who is interested is welcome to sign up as well, thanks! :slight_smile:

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Is your English instruction all taught by native speakers?
I’ve found this is often not the case.

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Valid question! Yes, I was born and raised in America and moved to Taiwan about 2 years ago, so I am a native English speaker and I will be the English-speaking homeroom teacher for our first class. :blush:

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I’ve never heard of that school, but I’ll give you a tip anyway. Speaking from personal experience, if you want your kids to be bilingual then you should send them to a school that teaches in the language other than the one you speak at home.

If you speak English at home, then send them to a regular local school. If you speak Chinese at home, then send them to an English school. That way they get equal exposure to both languages.

After all, kids spend 50% of their time at school, and the other 50% at home.

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I find a big indicator is the calendar that the school follows. If they follow the MOE calendar (no time off at Xmas but one month off at LNY, Saturday make up days from four-day weekends, etc.), it’s probably a good indicator the school is looking for Taiwanese families that want to be “special” without too much inconvenience, rather than families from abroad.

I’d worry less about non-native speakers of English being English teachers if the family already speaks English at home, watches TV and movies in English, has lots of English books for the kids to read, and travels to English-speaking countries for visits to English-speaking family every year. This assumes, of course, that the textbooks used in the class were written by native English speakers and are not riddled with grammatical errors like 康軒’s textbooks. But an MOE calendar school + Taiwanese English teachers = hard to believe anything about “international” or “bilingual”ness.

The above is general advice based on my experience in Taiwanese schools. There is a small smattering of bilingual, international, and experimental schools that really do a good job, but they are rare. The only way to figure out what’s what is to go to the school and look for yourself. If that’s not feasible, look for their job postings (check out Facebook, indeed, LinkedIn, etc.)— do they require teaching licenses and experience in real schools, or is “two years teaching ‘ESL’ in Taiwan or an APRC and open work permit” all the teachers need to make 80-90k/month? While you dont “need” a teaching license to be a “good” teacher, schools with those requirements will always hire the cheapest (either lowest qualifications or least competent in negotiation skills) candidate. That means your child is effectively being babysat by some white guy (and they usually are white guys, statistically, based on who gets APRCs), not going to school.

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I dont fully agree with your school calendar point. There are very few families from abroad in Taiwan, and even the fully fledged international schools (TAS, TES) are mostly locals with foreign passports.
The school calendar is actually a pain point for working parents. International schools have a lot of vacation days, and they are not in sync with the holidays the parents working in Taiwan have.
I agree that schools compromising on teacher qualifications is a red flag.

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Usually they’re all around 180 school days (public, private, international, experimental, etc. It also depends on the school year. Sometimes it’s closer to 190 in the public schools. As a teacher I’d also end up with multiple extra days of camps and other dancing monkey tasks, but the students weren’t required to attend). But there isn’t “more” vacation time in the international schools.

The difference is the MOE calendar shoves all the breaks into LNY while schools that set their own plan will scatter Fridays and Mondays off throughout the year. That’s something working parents can make a decision on, based on their needs and ability to find childcare. If it doesn’t work for working parents, send them to a public school so Giraffe or Kid Castle or whoever can take your money on days they have off but the parents have to work.

Private schools in Taiwan are hardly ever better than the public schools anyway. Private schools in Taiwan almost exclusively serve the purpose of keeping rich kids away from average and poor kids. They’re mostly just one more way for the ultra rich to compare their dick sizes while their children get a relatively average education. This is further made obvious by the lack of tuition assistance/scholarships from pretty much any private school. There’s not really anything “wrong” with the public elementary schools in Taiwan that a private school is going to fix (unless the students in question don’t speak Chinese. In that case, good luck all around…)

this year TES has 193 days off. not all parents have the ability and liberty to disappear from work whenever the kids are off school.

my anecdotal experience is that Taiwanese private schools are like public schools on steroids, if in public school you have to do X amount of tests, the private one will be X+5, to show that they are more serious.
the major issue is the educational “mindset” of the schools, and here i find no difference between private and public. International schools are different in their approach to kids education.

I sent my kids to a bilingual kindergarten the first year that was supposed to be the best in our area, and of course the most expensive. We really just wanted them to pick up Chinese since they didn’t speak any at the time.

There were no foreign teachers and my they were picking up strange English from the teachers. One day the teacher told me my child was “righteous” in class. WTF does that mean? They were also correcting the teacher’s English which was embarrassing.

My experience with the international school is that they get Christmas and CNY off. The school year also starts earlier. I use vacation time to take Christmas off which works out so you don’t have to travel when the rest of the country does.

In Taiwan, I’d be very surprised if kids spent 50% of time at home

That‘s up to the parents, so it’s something the OP can control.

I will never send my kids to buxibans.

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Our school actually offers tuition assistance for certain families. They are welcome to chat with us to see if they qualify. The director of our school is also the CEO of a social welfare foundation that provides free holistic after-school care for students from low-income and single-parent families. We truly aim to include rather than exclude. A diverse learning community that reflects the demographics of the real world is what we want to provide for our students.

In response to this point, our school is enrolling students from any background. Again, we want to provide a diverse learning community for our students because we believe that students have a lot to learn from each other. They can also learn social skills, grace, empathy, respect, communication skills, and social awareness by working through language, cultural, and lifestyle differences with their peers. I posted on this forum with the intention of spreading the word about our school among families from abroad. We are getting a lot of interest from local families and hope to gain more attention from expats.

We completely agree! We held a lot of discussions over our school calendar and ultimately decided it was best to align with the MOE calendar because major holidays/days off align with days off for working parents. Additionally, if they have relatives or cousins who go to a public school, then they can coordinate family trips together during days off.

I will clarify that I was not calling out any specific school. It’s nice to see that your school considers diversity in its admission process. Socioeconomic diversity in the classroom is equally, if not more important, for child development than any other “diversity” checkbox schools look to check. Your school will very much be in the minority by offering any tuition assistance. The reality is that this is almost never the case in Taiwan’s private schools, which means that only people who can afford the tuition (typically 20k+/student/ month, more like 50k+ for TAS, so more than most families can even afford for rent) are families that are already so high up on the economic ladder, they’ve never had to consider if they can afford anything in life. I thought I came from a decent socioeconomic background until I came in contact with the average Taiwan private school family. They make the families of “posh” private school students I knew in the US seem dirt poor.

As far as the MOE calendar or not goes, I’ll emphasize that a good teacher from abroad is going to expect a decent package that allows them to spend the holidays with their family. So one way or another, sacrifices need to be made — either the school attracts local families or it attracts quality teachers from abroad. It’s one thing to be in your early 20s derping around cram schools on Christmas Day; it’s something very different to be a licensed, experienced teacher who is trying to establish a proper career at a school that calls itself “international” doing the same thing. Obviously your school does not claim to be “international”, so I’m not calling you out for using the MOE calendar. It also seems that your school leadership and teachers are OK with working on western holidays. I put my foot down at the last school I was at because they decided to have a last minute meeting on Christmas Eve that they tried to extend way past our working hours. They even had the audacity to start the meeting by announcing that “next year”, there will be a half day on Christmas. I walked out at exactly the time I was supposed to get off work and all the other foreign teachers followed me. To me, not giving us Christmas Eve and Day off was a huge slap in the face. It was also frustrating to the few foreign families that tried to give their child the day off — their friends are all still at school having fun! But again, you’re not claiming to be an international school, so you made the decision that worked best for your plans.

Appreciate the thoughtful response! I wholeheartedly agree with offering teachers what they deserve and treating them with respect. Hope you are in a better working environment now! :innocent:

The statements in my previous reply were to help folks on the forum get a better understanding of our school. In no way did I feel like you were “calling out” our school, so don’t sweat about it. :slight_smile: You are correct about our school not claiming to be an international school. We are simply a school trying to offer a different form of education for families who might be interested. We know that public schools are a great fit for many families, but may not be the right fit for every family nor every child’s learning needs. Hence, Sunrise School.

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