Redefining Educational Experiences
Classes being taught remotely, eliminating physical and geographical barriers. Robots teaching and grading assignments. Just a few years back, these ideas would have seemed like a page out of an Isaac Asimov story. Today, it has become a reality. Yet, many schools continue to fall back on a traditional school model, where learning takes place within a set time and place, with the students neatly arranged in rows, and textbooks and the chalkboard being the primary (and often, only!) tools for disseminating knowledge.
While this might have sufficed before, the constant onset of new technologies has not only opened up more options for creating engaging learning environments but also heralded the need for children to be properly armed with 21st Century skill
Numerous concerns have been raised about the banes of a traditional school setting. For one, the linear desk arrangements are seen to promote passive learning while discouraging meaningful interactions between peers. Besides that, rote learning tends to be the choice method, laying a foundation whereby students get in the habit of consuming and regurgitating knowledge without cultivating the ability to truly understand and evaluate it.
Meanwhile, soft skills often take a back seat to formal academics, resulting in students who may be “book smart”, but are lacking in other aspects. This discrepancy between knowledge learned and skills needed to thrive, referred to as a “skills gap”, has become more noticeable in recent years. Without the fundamental skill-sets required for higher learning and life beyond, the younger generations are left flailing when faced with the real world.
Many new teaching and learning approaches have been introduced to address those concerns. These include flipped classrooms, problem-based learning, flexible learning, blended learning and distance learning, and are designed to prepare students to achieve their full potential by offering them opportunities to become significant contributors to the 21st Century.
With a 160-year legacy of educational excellence, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School is dedicated to providing a well-rounded education for its students. The school’s campus comprises several blocks and is generously dotted with lush gardens and open spaces that offer a verdant environment for the children to meet up for projects, homework or group studies. Inside, the classroom configurations are learner-centric and encourage peer discussions and group work.
The school’s curriculum that focuses on a wide array of athletic and artistic pursuits alongside a rigorous academic program aims to develop the whole child. “Education is not just about learning in the classroom. It’s also about developing the students’ skills and knowledge needed to tackle real-world problems,” explained Upper School Principal Joe Lingle. From the moment the children set foot in the school, they are provided with numerous avenues to develop their soft skills and grow holistically – from carefully conceived learning environments to nurture the youngest learners’ social and academic skills to field trips and volunteer opportunities that enhance students’ learning experiences and leadership skills.
Students are also provided with the space and tools needed to discover their passions and to cultivate a love for lifelong learning. A great example is the school’s innovative weCreate® program, which features a cutting-edge two-story laboratory equipped with studios for various creative pursuits, including digital production, graphic design, music editing and recording, robotics, electronics, engineering and crafting.
High school students, meanwhile, are prepared for their transition to adulthood and college life via the school’s acclaimed ScholarShift® education model that incorporates blended classes, a parallel curriculum of learning modules and a year-long self-designed educational experience. These allow the students to cultivate independence, self-management and 21st Century skills, in addition to developing their passions in other areas.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School is Malaysia’s top American boarding school. The school is set to welcome its first batch of students in August 2018. Interested parents are welcome to tour the campus and meet the faculty during its Open Days, which will be held every Saturday from June 23 to August 11, 2018.