International schools have a reputation of providing a holistic learning environment that aims to produce socially responsible students. This involves not just a rigorous curriculum that challenges their analytical skills and developing their creativity to formulate their own ideas. But it also opens their minds to new perspectives and beliefs, further supported by the multicultural nature of an international school.
We can all agree that in today’s world, having the penchant to listen and take in all the sides before speaking is crucial in having an informed discourse. People need to learn not to impose themselves on others who grew up with a different environment than theirs, and it is best to learn while they are still young. Right now, we are going to zoom in on the kind of educational framework required to achieve all of these. And for that, let us look into one of Singapore’s international schools, the Global Indian International School and their Nine Gems approach.
Achieving academic excellence through collaborative learning
Learning does not stop at memorizing theories and concepts. True understanding is shown when a student can synthesize and apply all that they have learnt. Which is why for schools like GIIS, they use an “understanding by design” type of learning where students collaborate with each other through performance tasks. These are projects that does not just involve using all the lessons they have learnt, but applying critical thinking to come up with new ideas that can support or negate some of those theories.
Fitness and health
Students are encouraged to develop athletic prowess as well at GIIS. Students who have shown excellence at any sport can improve their skills through top-class facilities and enthusiastic coaches. According to the GIIS curriculum, sports improvement is not just measured by the number of awards garnered, but the qualities athletes have learnt, the most important of which are humility and sportsmanship.
Arts and its different media
GIIS acknowledges the importance of developing a critical eye for the messages in art and showing appreciation for it. Whatever the medium, art is a form of expression. While cerebral and physical excellence is important, being able to understand how art has and can influenced society is equally important. It also promotes learning of a different kind, which is understanding human emotion and empathizing with artists who have shared their through their art.
Proper communication and social skills
School should also be able to nourish proper character development, and GIIS does this through activities in the theatre, music, and personality development. Students will learn how to be confident, what benefits teamwork gives, and the different avenues of self-expression.
Creativity is not just for drama and the arts, it also helps students with innovating solutions for problems. They can look at a complex problem and find new ways of approaching it; some students may even formulate original solutions on their own. This is exactly what the GIIS’ Comprehensive Creativity Development Program is for — developing a child’s natural inquisitiveness and encouraging them to come up with new angles for problem solving.
After learning about effective communication, creative problem solving, and critical thinking, students are now expected to apply it. GIIS created programs (The Leadership Lecture Series, the Entrepreneurship Program) and support organizations (Student Council, different interest clubs) where students can take on responsibilities and practice their leadership while simultaneously teaching them the importance of being an active follower.
The Global Indian Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Universal Values aims to teach students, basically, about being good people. Their teachings involve practicing kindness by being active supporters of community improvement and welfare, showing respect for different cultures, and championing peace.
Community care initiatives
The plans they have discussed about community welfare will be applied by taking part in various outreach and community activities sponsored by the school. Other than becoming socially responsible, students are encouraged to participate in raising awareness about the environment and lead discussions about pertinent issues in society.
Career and vocational skills
To aid students to choose a life path that will bring them more satisfaction, purpose, and fulfillment, GIIS created the Global Centre for Educational Excellence and the Action, Research and Consultancy initiatives. This will help them know the difference between a career and a vocation, and help them develop the life skills needed to explore both.