Welcome to a new chapter of “The Open Book”. Let’s get to know another member of our Science Department this time:

Sean Gibson

Chemistry and General Science teacher, Head of Year for Y10   

Mr Gibson graduated from the University of York with a degree in Biology and worked as a lab technician for a year before completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at the University of Warwick. He has worked in New Zealand, helping students in the Music and International Department, and has worked as an English teacher in Fuzhou for over three years. Being able to draw on the experience of teaching GCSE and A-Level science in the UK, and teaching English to Chinese students, he devotes himself in working with Dulwich Zhuhai students to help them achieve their aims in science.

You have been to many countries for work and life. How would you describe your life?

I would describe my life as unexpected. I grew up in Scotland, expecting to stay there for the rest of my life. But I ended up in England to take my final school exams, before travelling to New Zealand to work in a school. 

If you had asked me what my life would look like 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ago, I would not have been able to predict working in Dulwich Zhuhai and being where I am today!


How long have you been in Zhuhai and how do you like the city?

I have been in Zhuhai now for almost two years. It’s a very pleasant city to live in, the climate is nice and it is good to be living next to the sea again. The seafood is great too, there is always a difference living next to the sea and eating fresh fish.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I wanted to go into a caring profession, and teaching was what I gravitated towards very early on. I wanted to be a teacher when I was in Year 9! I think it fits the four criteria of the ikigai philosophy – it is something I love, something I am able to do, something I can be paid for and something the world needs. For me, teaching has unlimited potential, there is always a way to improve, develop, and continue to learn.

What do you find most rewarding about being a teacher?

Teaching is a caring profession. It is a varied role and requires excellent self-management. It is challenging, but fulfilling. There doesn't seem to be a ceiling to pedagogical development - teachers can continue to iterate and improve and learn more and get better, which is not always possible in other jobs.

What are the key differences between the students at Dulwich Zhuhai and those in your previous schools?

I think the students at Dulwich Zhuhai are the best part of the school. It is correct to say that the students here are hard-working, resilient and care about their exam results. But the similarities between Dulwich students and other students are more interesting to me. The students at Dulwich have the same wants and needs as other students I have taught, they often have the same pressures and enjoy the same kinds of things.

How do you spend your leisure time?

I like to play music, sometimes on my own and sometimes as part of a band. I mostly play piano, although I have played clarinet and saxophone before. Music is a big part of my life and performing and writing music is a thrill.


What is your favorite song?

My favourite song changes very, very frequently, it depends what mood I am in. Looking at my top played songs from this year so far, it seems my favourite song is Colors by Beck. But I love listening to jazz to relax, especially the piano.

What is the coolest thing you have ever done?

There is town in the North Island of New Zealand called Rotorua. Near there, you can do an activity called ‘zorbing’. You climb into a giant, transparent, inflatable hamster ball, then roll down a hill. You can be strapped into the ball, or be left to just tumble around inside while the ball rolls downhill. I think that was the ‘coolest’ thing I have ever done.

What research are you currently pursuing regarding teaching pedagogy?

As part of the Professional Learning Committee (PLC) group of Dulwich Zhuhai, we are looking at methods of increasing active learning. There have been several idea discussed around how students think differently when they are standing up, how effective Quizlet is at promoting subject literacy, and to what extend the use of varied feedback channels can lead to increased student agency.

How is this research affecting your in-class pedagogy?

The discussions in this PLC are helping me consider what I am doing in the class to improve student agency - by giving more evaluative tasks in lessons and moving towards allowing students some say in what is being taught and how it is taught.

What advice would you give to students to succeed in your subject?

I would tell students to reflect on what they know, what they don't know, then be active in filling in knowledge gaps. Ask teachers many questions, in class or by email. If a student is confused by a topic (and science can be confusing), they need to take charge and seek out answers. I would also suggest that students think about the difference between understanding a topic in Chinese, and being able to articulate it in English - a student might be fantastic in science but not able to communicate their thoughts and ideas in English, and therefore needs to work on their English skills more than their scientific knowledge.

As the Head of Year for Y10, how do you support our new students and parents to adapt to their new lives with Dulwich Zhuhai?

The Year 10 team as a whole works together to support students and parents. The tutors in the classroom meet students every morning, which is an ideal time to build relationships and get to know the students better. By building those connections, we hope that new students can start to feel more settled at Dulwich and understand who they can speak to for help and support.

The students are also part of a House system in the school. There are four Houses at Dulwich Zhuhai, Wing, Soong, Shackleton and Alleyn. Throughout the year there are House competitions, House points awarded in lessons and House events. In this way, we hope that students from each year grade can continue to build relationships with each other and grow with each other.


This is our Science teacher and Head of Year for Y10, Mr Gibson, who will be welcoming you and accompanying you for your new life here with DHZH.

We look forward to bringing you another teacher profile in the next chapter of the Open Book. Stay tuned!