17 August, 2022

Going International: Head of School Shares His Family Story

Head of School office

Dr. Richard Swann is the new Head of School for our Dalian Campus. He is an Australian, Courtney, his wife, is American, and his three children were all born in different countries, but each love Chinese culture and can speak Chinese. Joining Dalian community will open new doors for Dr. Swann and his family.

Multicultural Background

Dr. Swann's family is very typical of international families, and especially those in international education. "If you ask my 14-year-old son, Elliott, where we are from, he will say: My dad was born in England, raised in Australia, my mom is from Minnesota, USA, I was born in Dubai, my younger sister Greta was born in Thailand and my youngest sister Naomi was born in China, and we have lived all over the world!"

Dr. Swann's children were really lucky to attend a school that focused on bilingual education, and they are proud of their bilingual skills. While currently Courtney and the children are in Singapore, they have always shown deep interest and enthusiasm toward Chinese language and culture, and Dr. Swann also encourages them to be multilingual and multicultural learners. He often says: "My children enjoy teaching me to correct what they describe as my "terrible tones" at home." Elliott also helps his father practice Chinese poetry for special Chinese festivals.

Going International: Head of School Shares His Family Story - Richard

Dr. Swann believes that it is significant for children's growth to know about diverse cultures, especially through speaking multiple languages. "From my children, I can see that they are able to show more about themselves and communicate with people in different culture backgrounds and especially in the bilingual cultural environment. Chinese is an international language, and Chinese culture is also a part of the world culture". Dr. Swann believes that studying Chinese, English and foreign cultures enables our students to gain knowledge and understanding about the world. It helps them develop a global mindset and develop intercultural engagement.

Dr. Swann is an experienced international educator. He has served learning communities for over 30 years in Australia, the USA, Europe, the Middle East, South-East Asia, and China. Here in China as the Head of School/Principal for over 8 years, five at a major international school in Shanghai, and three at a Nord Anglia School in Guangzhou, he has gained considerable experience and understanding for the Chinese context. Especially, he has a unique understanding of providing challenging, innovative, and stimulating learning opportunities and experiences for Chinese and international students.

Secret Musical Life

Dr. Swann is also a professional musician. He has a secret life as an orchestral and choral conductor, instrumentalist, and singer. Early in his career as a member of a specialist group of singers, many of his performances were engaging children in schools, encouraging them to sing and enjoy participating in making music with others.

Going International: Head of School Shares His Family Story - Richard

Following one such performance he was invited to join a teaching team in an all-boys school where the children came from broken homes and had difficult family circumstances. These children needed to be able to emotionally and socially grow and experience joy in their lives. "As soon as these children explored this opportunity, their behavioral concerns and difficult attitudes and personalities seemed to change towards positive engagement and even humor. It was this experience that convinced me to undertake teacher training and to begin my career in education," said Dr. Swann.

Thank you to Dr. Swann for sharing his teaching experiences and his beliefs about how an international style education benefits the intellectual development of your children and especially influences their personal, social and emotional growth.