The Eight Aptitudes

the eight aptitudes

The Wellington Aptitudes

A unique feature of all the Wellington community of schools is the Eight Aptitudes model of education. This will influence everything we do in Shanghai, both inside and outside the classroom. The intellectual basis for this educational approach is the world-famous work of Professor Howard Gardner at Harvard, on the ‘multiple intelligences’ that all humans possess. Each of these intelligences, or aptitudes, is embedded in Wellington life, providing direction to the development of individual education. In this fashion the whole child is prepared to manage self, manage relationships and manage their own learning, work and performance.


Words, spoken or written, in English, Mandarin and other modern languages are a cornerstone of the Wellington education. We want our students, irrespective of their age, to develop a love of reading, leading on to creative writing, good note-taking, analysing and debating issues and the effective presentation of their own ideas and thoughts.

“The ability to listen well is just as powerful as the ability to talk. Each is ineffectual without the other.”  (Chinese proverb)


The world of logic, reasoning, abstractions and numbers needs no introduction. Mathematics is obviously pivotal, but mastering this aptitude takes students into the realms of science, computing, economics and philosophy, and the acquisition of skills such as recognition, reasoning, investigation and calculation.

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows.”  (George Orwell, author of ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, and an Old Wellingtonian)


We at Wellington pride ourselves on our level of pastoral care, based on the house system in the Senior School and the classroom teacher in the Pre-Prep and Prep School. Going to a school such as Wellington is in many ways a privilege, providing what is often called ‘an excellent start in life’. With such an opportunity goes a sense of responsibility, and perspective, and our students must develop the ability not just to think for themselves but also for others.

“The past does not seem to have been concerned with seeing that man should live agreeably, but that he should work his way onward to make himself by his own conduct worthy of life and well-being.” (Sir Michael Howard, Regius Professor of Modern History, Oxford University, Professor of Military and Naval History, Yale University, and an Old Wellingtonian)


Vital aspects of growing up in the 21st century are understanding yourself, knowing who you are, what you can personally achieve, what you aspire to and, perhaps most important of all, what to avoid. Wellington seeks to instil responsibility, self-discipline and independence of thought and action in all our students.

“To be able under all circumstances to practise five things constitutes perfect virtue: gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness.”  (Confucius)


The creative arts, in all its many disciplines, painting, drawing, sculpting, ceramics, craft and design, dance, drama, music and the wide variety of creative technologies, are available at Wellington. They represent a crucial part of our educational experience and we encourage all our students to get fully involved and to enjoy themselves.

“It’s wonderfully satisfying to see it (The Eden Project) teeming with people…They’ve still got more than a million visitors a year. It’s a public project in the right sense of the word: it’s there because people want it and support it.” (Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, leading British architect and designer of the world-famous Eden Project, and an Old Wellingtonian)


A healthy lifestyle and ability in a wide variety of physical activities, whether through excelling or merely taking part, are vital objectives for all Wellington students. Sport and physical education obviously play a major role in this but the comprehensive Wellington extra-curricular programme goes much further and provides the widest possible opportunities for all our students to stay fit and lead healthy lives.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.” (Confucius)   


We want all Wellington students to make the correct decisions in life. We want them to have appropriate role models. We want them to learn from the mistakes of the past. We will never forget that we are educating the leaders of the future and we want, and need, them to make the right decisions as adults.

“Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.” (Confucius)


Spirituality can be defined as involving deep feelings and beliefs. All Wellington students must develop an inner strength, fortified by an appreciation of their own individual positives and negatives. Our students must become aware of their own environment around them, the ideas which have shaped modern civilisation and the nature of the world in which they live. Such are many of the values of studying subjects like History, Geography, Biology and Philosophy, to mention just a few.

“He looked back to the woman…and felt a profound and disabling emotion pour through him. He had lost his sense of her as a second person,…and experienced a sudden and irresistible feeling of identity with her….His greater duty was to the ‘larger’ reality, that place outside time where their connection had been made, the common ground of existence into which he had been granted a privileged glimpse.”  (Sebastian Faulks, best-selling British author and an Old Wellingtonian)