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The Surin Academy

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The Surin Academy
The Surin Academy, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a progressive school that believes that every child has a right to an education that suits their individual needs. We follow the British National Curriculum, however, we strongly emphasise the development of 21st-century skills. Students from Reception to Year 13 have been introduced to the Skills Builder programme since 2018. Parents were informed of the need to introduce the different life skills to help students manage themselves not only in the school but also outside the school. Initially, the school observed that imparting the importance of each skill, specifically listening and speaking, was not an easy task as students lack independence. Additionally, our children were lacking in perseverance and resilience towards lessons in school. Nonetheless with continuous encouragement from teachers, the children finally picked up the essence of learning each skill. Now, we are on our last leg of our journey that is, teaching students the importance of staying positive and aiming high.
Overall impact
The students are now conscientiously aware of the need to continuously practice each skill in class, during lessons, tea breaks and lunches. Although, some students needed prompting to adopt some of the skills during lessons such as, listening, speaking and team working, the students are slowly moving from the conscious level to the unconscious level in applying such skills during group work or activities. Parents have been encouraged to be co-teachers at home to assist students to continue practicing and applying such skills when conversing with family members. As a testament to indicate how far the students have progressed, external instructors from a recent residential trip have remarked positively that it was the first time they have witnessed students from a school who demonstrated empathy, resilience and encouragement during games and activities. At this point, we would like to bring your attention to the fact that our school is an inclusive school, hence students on the residential trip consisted of inclusive students (Autistic, Down Syndrome, ADHD, ADD to name a few) who partook in the same activities as the typical students. These instructors exclaimed in amazement at the level of spirit de corps and comradeships that our students demonstrated during games and activities which involved Problem Solving, Creativity, Teamwork, Speaking, Listening, Staying Positive and Aiming High. Only a few students excelled to demonstrate their Leadership skills.
Keep it simple
Despite the lockdown, teachers continued to instil the skills online by reminding students that life skills are a necessity for the personal success of an individual. After lockdown, teachers and parents alike were reminded to continue building each skill. To further reinforce the practice and application of all skills, the school embarked on a project that required each teacher to display each skill. This ensured the use of a common language when teaching and reminding students of each skill. Additionally, art work depicting each skill was also drawn in common areas as a reminder to students.
Start early, keep going
From the initial start, lessons on life skills have been included into weekly lessons. Students from Year 1 through to Year 13 are exposed to lessons as per guidance provided in this programme.
Measure it
Teachers are using the students’ passports to record achievements by each student on a regular basis. At the same time, teachers are also using the assessment tracking system to monitor students’ progress. The school has also initiated tracking and reporting of overall students’ performance for parents to take note and follow-up at home. To add on, teachers are assessing themselves on the use of skills during lessons as per lesson plans. The teachers have posted logos of different skills they believe students should be able to apply and practice the skills identified in a lesson plan. Such as a science lesson, the science teacher would use the logos, listening, speaking, team work and problem solving for a particular experiment planned for the day’s lesson. The teacher would then inform and assess students on the use of each identified skill. Lastly, teachers undergo training as and when required to update each other on students’ performance on the use of skills while in school.
Focus tightly
Skills Builder is taught through weekly lesson across the school. Teachers use the scaffolding technique to progress with lessons. They would start the class by recapping the last lesson for example, who remembers what was taught and learnt in the last lesson? This helps students to remember what was taught before they input or apply their knowledge for the next lesson.
Keep practising
The skills are continuously applied for various class activities such as, role plays, dramas, design and technology projects, mathematical problem-solving cases and project-based learning with presentation. The year-end school event is focusing on how students express themselves through art. They are doing a fashion show where students creatively design their costumes using recycled materials. There are also students who will showcase photographs for auction during the event. Lastly, we also have students who will showcase their 3D Art project.
Bring it to life
The school has successfully allowed the students to apply their skills in the real world when they attended a residential trip, when they went on field trips and when they prepare themselves for the school event.
What's next
The school will attempt to incorporate these life skills for future school events and also for community events. Presently, the students are communicating with the community during the school’s Christmas Bazaar. Students will be rewarded for successful application of individual skills during school assemblies.