Sunday, June 21, 2009

Learning about International School Education Vision/Goal

On 19 Jun 2009, I have an opportunity to help my Russian Colleague to register with 1 of the best International Schools in Penang, Uplands. This International School deploys UK curriculum for foreign children whose parents are working in Penang. They teach kids Life Values and essential softskills like Inquiry, Thinking & Communication.
I am lucky to have a chance to visit this school and talk to 1 of their UK teachers. Inside a small class room (max student of 15), it is pasted with many posters of softskill projects and value descriptions. Below is an introduction into its Primary Years of Program (PYP) which has designed a transdisciplinary curriculum which draws the individual disciplines together into a coherent whole, while preserving the essence of each subject. Children will:
•develop a deep understanding of important concepts
•conduct research into knowledge which has local and global significance
•acquire and practice a range of essential skills
•be encouraged to develop positive attitudes towards learning, the environment and other people.
•have the opportunity for involvement in responsible action and social service.

The most impressive to me is the Programme of Inquiry at Uplands which seeks to produce learners with the following profile: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced & Reflective. It customizes learning experience for all profile of students.

Just to make this sharing complete, I also have done a google search of another International School in Penang, Dalat which deploys US curriculum. It uses Christian Bible to teach values as well as imparting other key essential soft skills. Thinking skill is one of the focus. Below is highlight of its vision/goals

EDUCATION FOR LIFE - Dalat International School seeks to teach children in areas that go beyond books and academics. Education for Life is the pursuit of training the next generation to be people of good character, integrity and care for others that will prepare them to make a positive impact on the world in any area they choose to work and live in.

Dalat educational goals are:

  • to call students to Christian discipleship through the systematic teaching of the Bible within a Christcentered learning community and through the modeling and personal involvement of staff members,
  • to provide students with the skills and experiences they will need, within the context of an American college preparatory education, for pursuing the vocation into which God will lead them,
  • to enable students to think logically, independently, and creatively and to see learning as a lifelong process that transcends cultural bounds, and
  • to encourage students toward a life focus of offering their best efforts to God in all that they do in response to His unceasing love and personal concern for each individual. Through this process, biblical leadership principles and skills will be developed for service in a multicultural world.

I believe what Malaysians miss out in our education system is the practice of INQUIRY, THINKING & COMMUNICATION soft skills via subject learning. Over here, it is over emphasize of repeat practice to gain great score for each subjects. It denies the student from the opportunity of exploring, inquiring, thinking and expressing it out/loud. Maybe we should build a voluntary teaching task force to supplement our education system. By doing so, our next generation has better hope to compete at a global stage. Do u agree?


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