Angele Law
Ambassador, Academy

Angele Law

Hong Kong

Director of Strategy & Programs @ CATALYST Education Lab

I believe in the power of compassion, courage and collaboration in driving lasting, systemic changes in education and beyond. Currently the Director of Strategy & Programs at CATALYST Education Lab (CEL), I enable school-based transformation in Hong Kong through facilitating professional development and change management. I am also a certified Compassionate Systems Master Practitioner, working with other global leaders to cultivate deep thinking and well-being in the education space. 

Prior to CEL, I have been a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, a government-appointed member at HK Commission on Youth and volunteer leader at various organizations. I have had the privilege to work with schools, non-profits, corporations and governments on their challenges related to strategy, growth, impact and efficiency. I also have extensive experience coaching students on Chinese Debate, international business case competitions, entrepreneurship and life in general.

I see my life purpose as growing as well as holding safe and brave spaces that empower learners to make mindful choices for our future.

Why do you want to be a part of the HundrED Community?

Born and raised in Hong Kong, I have seen countless teenagers who never gave much thought to their goals in life, while others abandoned their dreams to follow a conventional path. Hong Kong society promotes a narrow definition of success measured in academic excellence, stability and wealth. While the major constraint that some face is indeed a lack of resources and opportunities, many others are bounded instead by others people’s expectations. {More about my personal story HERE}

Hong Kong is not the only place that faces such challenging issues. The need to fundamentally rethink how young people should be educated is a global one. This is why HundrED’s mission to seek and share impactful and scalable K12 innovations truly resonates with me. I am eager to be a part of the HundrED community and participate in this meaningful pursuit.

How can education support students to flourish?

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” ~ Hillel

Education can help empower students to explore their interests, maximize their strengths and pursue their dreams. It can also enable them to understand the world around them and become active, compassionate citizens.

What role does innovation play in education change?

To me, innovation is not about changing for changes’ sake. It is about challenging the current status quo, and working towards creating meaningful points of difference so as to change for the better.

Innovation is also not just about staying relevant in times of change. It is about adopting a forward-thinking mentality in anticipating the future and even shaping what the future looks like.

Furthermore, innovation is not just about changing the tip of the iceberg. It is about going beyond the observable events and changing the underlying behavioral dynamics, structures and mental models. 

I believe that all education change should follow the above-mentioned principles.

Three HundrED innovations you love. (and Why?)

A) High Tech High Graduate School: The High Tech High (HTH) school model has long inspired innovative education practices (e.g. project-based learning) throughout the United States and the world. It is very encouraging to see that the HTH team is keen to dive deeper into professional development of educators to create an even stronger positive impact.

B) Mastery Transcript: Although many people advocate for competency-based education, there haven’t been many practical solutions on how schools can make such a transition. I see MTC’s digital transcript as a very promising solution that can create real change in this area. Its active involvement of both the K-12 and university community in this journey is also worth commending. 

C) The Clubhouse Network: According to Mitch Resnick, students learn best when they are Playfully creating Projects of their own Passion in collaboration with Peers (the 4Ps of Creative Learning). The Clubhouse Network is a physical manifestation of this idea, with a scalable model that benefits young people, especially those from underprivileged communities. 

Three innovations you would love for HundrED to know about. (and Why?)

A) Compassionate Systems Framework

Co-developed by Peter Senge (renowned MIT professor on organisational learning) and Mette Boell (specialist in evolution of social systems), the Compassionate Systems Framework draws from established social & emotional learning (SEL) models along with developments in the field of system dynamics.

This framework views compassion as a systemic property of mind -- to cultivate compassion is to be able to appreciate the systemic forces that influence people’s feelings, thoughts and actions. It aims to develop models of thinking and teaching that prepare students to better understand and respond to systemic issues, thereby building a cognitive and affective foundation for global citizenship.

Within a few years, the initiative has already gained tremendous traction global and been adopted by many schools and entities such as International Baccalaureate (IB), Save the Children and California Department of Education. 

At CATALYST Education Lab (CEL), we have exposed some Hong Kong education leaders to the Framework and received very positive reviews. We are currently working with the Center for Systems Awareness to bring the Framework to Hong Kong and benefit the wider education community.

B) In Search of Deeper Learning

What does deeper learning mean? And where can we find schools which are capable of supporting deeper learning for all?

Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine went on a quest to find answers for these questions. Having spent hundreds of hours observing and interviewing some of America’s most innovative schools and classrooms, they provided a rich account of what education can be in their book, "In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School". 

While they found that deeper learning seems to be more the exception than the rule, they also realised that there are pockets of powerful learning at every school. They found that these best learning environments were very often in electives and extracurriculars, and summarized that purpose, mastery, identity and creativity were the common ingredients. 

I certainly find the book to be one of the most thought-provoking one I read in recent years. I would certainly recommend this to anyone who would wish to rethink old paradigms and consider what it takes to design new 21st-century schools and systems to support deeper learning for all students.

C) STEAM Studio

Can MIT’s philosophy, “Mens et Manus” (mind and hand), be brought into high schools? Modelled against MIT’s hands-on culture and minds-on engagement, the STEAM Studio advises high schools on how they can effectively combine knowledge and practice. 

The curriculum that it develops includes Core Courses (that unite academic subjects with industry and career pathways), Crash Courses (that give students the knowledge/skills needed to explore exciting fields), and Action Learning Labs (where students apply classroom learnings through projects at the forefront of science and technology). 

Although the STEAM Studio model is in the early stage of development, it has already gained promising results in several pilot schools in the United States. Strong buy-in from both educators and students were gained.