OIS, known for its cutting-edge American education, shares how teachers and students manage to speak up and build confidence during remote learning after returning to school.
Equipping students to be comfortable and confident in front of their peers and teachers is the reality at Oasis International School. Staffed by U.S. certified teachers, OIS is academically rigorous, integrated with cutting-edge technology, and centered in developing character in our students.
Students at OIS are challenged to positively impact their school, community, nation, and world. Furnished with the content knowledge and 21st-century skills necessary to excel in today’s global community, students are then given a platform to connect their education to real-world problems.
OIS has moved away from traditional rote learning by providing students additional opportunities to problem-solve, develop critical thinking skills, and express themselves through ‘responsive learning’. Class projects are specifically designed to encourage students to pose questions, propose their ideas, participate in public speaking, present their conclusions and even debate. In addition to the traditional classroom setting, they believe that visual and performing arts are crucial in developing well-rounded children. Consequently, students have the opportunity to express themselves through various artistic mediums and share in work from artists around the world and throughout history. Students are enrolled in visual arts and music at all levels, as well as drama at the secondary level.
OIS provides students with an avenue to express themselves and build their self-confidence.
Students have the freedom to collaborate and interact by attending clubs, after school activities, service-learning and drama classes. Additionally, OIS students are able to meet their teachers during office hours to discuss students’ concerns.
The goal of having students ‘speak up’ presented a particular obstacle during the periods of remote learning. Classrooms, presentations, and performances were all held via Google Meet. OIS told School Advisor that to mitigate the obstacle, teachers reached out to students and their families through weekly check-ins and conducted virtual wellness workshops. In addition, to encourage student engagement, OIS set up remote activities such as assemblies, International Day, Eagle Week, a virtual Graduation ceremony and other events. These activities helped students become active participants where they can communicate freely despite the activities occurring remotely.
As schools returned to campus, OIS addressed the students’ emotional and psychological issues proactively in groups and one-on-one counseling support. There were times when students struggled with a variety of concerns, from stress and anxiety from returning to school to interpersonal conflict with peers. An OIS counselor was available to support students by equipping them with the strategies to deal effectively with these issues.
In an interview, Mrs. Amy Shuflin, OIS Secondary Pastoral Care Counselor, discussed some of what she experienced with students during the period of remote learning and also what she observed once the students returned to campus. “During remote learning, the students experienced isolation, loneliness, uncertainty, and a real loss of hope. The ways in which they had always felt connected and secure with friends became unsafe, and they were not able to reach out for support in conventional ways. As a result, students lost their trust with one another.”
Mrs. Shulfin continued, “As far as a video classroom setting, the comfort levels for students to speak up or contribute dropped considerably. Video calls create an unnatural classroom setting and students were uneasy about everyone seeing their faces the entire time. The increased time on technology made it easier for students to retreat rather than assert themselves.”
Mrs. Amy Shulfin, the Secondary Pastoral Counselor, has to identify and allay students' plight in speaking up during the lockdown.
She shared some of the ways the school is making efforts to address the ongoing effects of the lock-down and the loneliness and the frustrations experienced by students and families during that challenging time. In regards to returning to campus, this is what Mrs. Shulfin had to say. “Students faced the challenge of learning how to re-engage with each other. We set up conversation starter cards on the lunch tables, technology-free zones, and SOP safe games and activities. We still see a reduction in their attention spans and a reluctance to engage with each other. But, we are seeing a restoration of trust and confidence each day that we are back at school and continue to guide them in their recovery. A sense of hope has returned.”
Additionally, OIS has provided students with a sense of normalcy via After School Activities and live performances. OIS Elementary School held an SOP-friendly track and field competition, whereas club and after school activities have resumed with some restrictions. And for the first time in two years, OIS Elementary Students performed in a live Christmas concert and the High School students hosted a live drama performance.
In-person activities and live performances had recently continued with stringent SOP in place.
In this ever-changing global climate, OIS endeavors to prepare students to face their future with confidence and intelligence by making a difference in their community and their world.
To learn more about OIS and further enquiries, please visit ois.edu.my.
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