The Surin International School, located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a progressive institution dedicated to providing each child with a customised education that meets their unique needs. While we follow the British National Curriculum, our primary focus is on nurturing 21st-century skills. Since its introduction in 2018, the Skills Builder program has greatly benefited our students, empowering them with essential life skills. We understand the significance of these skills in both academic and non-academic contexts, which is why we have seized the opportunity to implement various programs post-COVID. Events such as the Charity bazaar, Family Day, Sports Day, Career Day, and Talent Show have provided students with engaging experiences and fostered significant growth in essential skills. These programs have also facilitated active community involvement, further enhancing our students' development. Through perseverance and resilience, our students have fully embraced the essence of learning each skill. We attribute this achievement to the unwavering support and encouragement from our dedicated teachers who have taken it upon themselves to lead by example and embrace these essential skills wholeheartedly. Their commitment has been instrumental in the success of our students' skill development journey.
The students have developed a keen awareness of the importance of consistently practicing each skill, both in and out of the classrooms. While some students require encouragement to adopt certain skills like listening, speaking, and teamwork during lessons, they have gradually transitioned from a conscious to an unconscious application of these skills during group work and activities. To ensure continuous practice and application of these skills, parents have been encouraged to act as co-teachers at home, assisting students in conversations with family members. The Talent show which marked the final programme of our academic year was a huge success. It was particularly noteworthy as our school is inclusive, meaning that students with various abilities, including Autism, Down syndrome, ADHD, and ADD, participated alongside their typical peers. The instructors expressed astonishment at the level of camaraderie and teamwork our students demonstrated during problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, speaking, listening, maintaining a positive mind-set, and striving for high goals. While a few students stood out for their leadership skills, the overall spirit displayed by the entire group was remarkable.
Teachers remained committed to instilling life skills, emphasising to students that these skills are essential for personal success. Following the lockdown, both teachers and parents were reminded of the importance of ongoing skill development. To strengthen the practice and application of all skills, the school initiated a project that involved each teacher embodying and demonstrating each skill. This approach facilitated the use of a common language throughout the school when teaching and reminding students about the significance of each skill. Furthermore, artwork depicting each skill was created and displayed in prominent areas throughout the school premises. These visual reminders served to reinforce the importance of the skills and provided students with a constant visual cue to engage with them. By adopting these measures, the school ensured that the focus on developing life skills remained consistent, regardless of the learning environment. The holistic approach taken by the school, encompassing both the educational and familial spheres, created a cohesive and comprehensive framework for skill development. The combined efforts of teachers and parents played a vital role in cultivating well-rounded individuals equipped with the necessary skills for success in all areas of life.
Throughout the past year, we have introduced the Skills Builder program starting from the Reception level, ensuring that students are exposed to the concept of essential skills from an early age. We have taken a multi-faceted approach to incorporate these skills into their learning journey. The focus for this year group was on applying the skills into their daily activities and planning. This integration allows for "in the moment" provision, where the skills are consistently reinforced and supported by all staff members. By introducing Skills Builder early in the Reception year and integrating the skills throughout their learning experiences, we provide students with a solid foundation for their personal growth and development. This comprehensive approach ensures that the skills become ingrained in their everyday lives, empowering them to become well-rounded individuals equipped with the necessary tools for success.
At the end of every half term, we conduct assessments to evaluate the progress of students in the 8 essential skills; each teacher utilises the Hub, to reflect on the overall status of their class. This streamlined process ensures a quick and accurate assessment of where students stand in their skills journey, providing valuable insights to inform the next steps in teaching and learning. To facilitate self-reflection and personal growth, students evaluate whether they have achieved their set targets. This process encourages students to take ownership of their skill development, fostering a sense of responsibility and awareness of their progress. By integrating regular assessments and personal targets, we ensure that students and teachers alike have a clear understanding of each student's skill development. This comprehensive approach not only helps students track their own growth but also enables teachers to provide targeted support and instruction tailored to individual needs. The reward system is in place for students to be recognised for their efforts in cultivating and practising these values followed by year end Skills Certificate Awards.
Skills Builder is integrated into weekly lessons across the entire school, ensuring consistent and comprehensive instruction. To begin each class, teachers initiate a recap of the previous lesson, prompting students with questions such as, "Who remembers what was taught and learned in our last session?" This strategy serves as a valuable memory retrieval exercise, helping students recall and consolidate the knowledge and skills covered in the previous lesson. We then set personal step targets for our students based on one of these skills, which are referred to throughout our lessons. This approach ensures that students can see, understand, and actively apply the skills in their learning.
The skills are consistently applied throughout a variety of class activities, ranging from role plays and dramas to mathematical problem-solving cases, and project-based learning with presentations and after school club activities. These activities provide ample opportunities for students to actively engage with and practise the skills in meaningful contexts. During the year-end school event, the focus is on celebrating how students express themselves through their individual talents while also working collaboratively in groups. This event serves as a platform for students to showcase their unique abilities and interests, fostering a sense of self-expression and creativity. By working together in groups, students not only demonstrate their individual talents but also cultivate teamwork and cooperation, further enhancing their interpersonal skills.
The school has effectively facilitated opportunities for students to apply their skills in real-world settings, such as during residential trips, field trips, and in preparation for school events. Students had the chance to apply and practise their skills in a practical and immersive environment. Field trips were back on the agenda after a long absence due to Covid restrictions. Museum visitations, conducting scientific experiments outside the classroom, or engaging with the local community. These experiences enhanced their understanding and application of skills such as observation, communication, critical thinking, and adaptability. In preparation for school events, students actively employed their skills to contribute to its success. From planning and organising aspects of the event to rehearsing performances or creating visual displays, students were able to showcase their skills in areas such as creativity, collaboration, presentation, and project management.
The school is dedicated to advancing skills development among students by expanding skill application across the curriculum and promoting lifelong learning. Our aim is to embed essential skills within existing subjects, provide real-world experiences, and engage with the community. Professional development for teachers and strong parental involvement will further support skill development. By focusing on these areas, the school aims to create a dynamic and progressive environment, empowering students with the essential skills needed for success in all aspects of life.