Boy, how times have changed! That’s truly an understatement - especially when it comes to bringing up children in today’s generation. Millennial parents are learning from their own upbringing and have started to prioritise different considerations for their children’s education.
Today’s parents are more interested in other aspects of their children’s needs. Many academics agree that learning by rote in school and retaining large chunks of information in the professional world are not as important as they used to be.
There is a growing emphasis instead on our ability to search and filter masses of information to find the most relevant and reliable material, understand it very well and then apply this knowledge creatively. These traits are linked to developing life-long skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and communication.
This could explain the high volume of Malaysian parents who have chosen to send their children to international schools instead of public schools. While there has been some effort to move away from the past methods of learning, public schools are still known to prioritise rote learning instead of learning a subject matter in depth. What motivates parents to make the switch usually involves the syllabus as well as the learning and teaching style.
Oasis International School (OIS), a school that follows the US system and syllabus, pays close attention to where their students come from and how they’ve learned before.
One student in particular came to OIS and joined the fifth grade. He had to adjust to how things were taught and was very nervous. It was no surprise that he needed additional help from his teacher. Fifth grade in US terms equates to middle school and in this system, it is compulsory for students to take up Drama as a subject.
“Adapting to this new style of learning, where speaking up is key forced him to participate. While that may have been terrifying, it also gradually increased his confidence,” shared Bekah Dawson, Director of School Advancement at OIS.
Bekah Dawson, Director of School Advancement at OIS
Drama was not something he was ever exposed to before. Most public-school goers would be completely new to this subject. For the skeptics out there, drama class actually forces students to take risks while role-playing for one another teaches children to trust their ideas and abilities. The self-confidence developed from this class can have a positive life-long impact on all areas of the child’s life.
Without being forced however, he actually decided to pick quite a significant role in the school production. Needless to say, watching him perform was like watching a transformation unfold.
“We bawled our eyes out,” said Bekah with a smile.
While it is true that academic development is very important, society is starting to see the benefits of emphasising social and emotional development in children. This is partially due to the high rates of mental health issues that plague children from as young as the age of 11. This is a crucial time when they are about to be teenagers and they need room to grow in many areas.
Over-emphasising academic excellence while neglecting areas such as social and emotional maturity can be detrimental to the long-term development of your child.
Schools like OIS that practice a different system from what Malaysians are used to are becoming more popular mainly because of this. For the educators of OIS, it was truly fulfilling knowing that they had contributed to the growth of this formerly shy boy.