It is essential to understand how learning supports at international schools can benefit their children if they require additional support from their teachers or an extensive programme.
International schools cater to students from different walks of life and learning styles and needs. International schools in Malaysia have unrelentingly made learning more accessible and straightforward to encourage inclusion in education.
It is also vital for every parent to know the common support and care available at international schools.
Many international schools have specialised teachers and departments devoted to helping students with different learning needs to excel in their educational journey.
These classes are dedicated to educating students with dyslexia, attention-deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), students on the autism spectrum, physical impairments and more.
At the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), the school instils ‘individualised skill development’ through its Life-Centered Education programme, which guides students to achieve the same learning outcomes as the students in the main class. In addition, the programme offers support in communication skills, imparting independence and a personalised learning programme that fits students’ needs.
The Australian International School Malaysia’s (AISM) approach to educating students is based on 3 areas: exploration, extension and excellence, which is also an apt portmanteau of their learning centre, the e3 Centre. The e3 Centre offers students the opportunity to enhance themselves through academics, sociability and co-curricular activities.
Though not every international school has a dedicated department or team for students with special needs, many international schools are ready to accommodate and help students and ensure everyone can learn and keep up with the syllabus and participate in class and other activities.
Many students from different curricula and abroad attend international schools for better learning opportunities and to improve their English communication skills. International schools have set up the English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme to accommodate these students and other variations.
At GEMS International School in Tropicana Metropark, the English Language Learning (ELL) programme aims to help non-native English speakers to improve their language skills and cope with the mode of instruction. Students are guided in a small class and will be given the language support they require; Students at GEMS will later be assessed against the Common European Framework of References (CEFR).
As part of its Student Support initiative, the EAL support at Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar (KTJ) prepares students in the Sixth Form extensively for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). In addition, KTJ will assist students in the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) writing and reading sections for those who wish to pursue their degrees at an American university. These exams are essential for students who want to further their studies abroad.
AISM students can enrol in EAL classes that focus on sharpening their speaking, listening and writing skills, whereas students from the age of 11 to 14 can enrol in their Intensive English Class for specific subjects such as Mathematics, Science and Humanities. International students are encouraged to join these classes and become proficient in the language.
International schools promote a sense of togetherness among students, which helps cultivate camaraderie and kindness. Furthermore, with the help of tutoring and mentoring, students will become more confident, helpful and selfless in helping their peers.
Sri KDU International School, Klang, offers students the opportunity to be mentored closely by a Form Tutor assigned to them. Students are also broken into smaller groups where they learn, collaborate and support each other until they graduate. The Form Tutor provides support through academic guidance, transferable skills and tips for better mental health.
KTJ, too, assigns a mentor who helps students cultivate their life-long skills, track and guide students’ academic progress, and develop their learning plans. In addition, new students at KTJ will be assigned a “buddy” who guides them to assimilate to the new environment and encourage a meaningful relationship with the community at the international school.
To make schools a more welcoming and safe place for students, international schools have introduced an all-encompassing counselling service available to all students. Counselling sessions at international schools give students advice on navigating everyday life, taking care of their mental health, providing moral support and tips on excelling in their education.
KTJ has ample support from trained counsellors on campus, and students are encouraged to approach the school counsellors whenever they require assistance. KTJ’s Boarding and Pastoral staff are available to support students emotionally, socially, and their overall well-being and be the point of contact for students and parents.
Taylor’s International School Kuala Lumpur (TISKL) introduced a peer-to-peer mentoring initiative to create a positive impact at the student level. Students are to engage and consult with their friends for advice. TISKL aims to develop students' communication skills and confidence, affirming that everyone feels more comfortable sharing their troubles and providing constructive input. The school counsellors monitor the peer-to-peer counselling sessions.
The British International School of Kuala Lumpur, on the other hand, interweaves students’ well-being into the curriculum, offering engaging activities and helpful resources to create a setting where students can become high-achievers. BSKL’s Wellbeing Curriculum uses Professor Martin Seligman’s PERMAH model (positive emotions, engagement, relationships meaning, accomplishments and health).
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