Advancements in technology have reshaped modern society. With widespread internet access and ever innovative mobile gadgets, information is now more readily available, while learning has been made more convenient.
These developments are driving progress at an unprecedented pace – and the knowledge and skills taught in schools today may not be relevant by the time students graduate.
It is therefore an important mission of schools to prepare students to be future-ready.
Singapore (Cambodia) International Academy (SCIA) strives to impart 21st century competencies to students, nurturing them as self-directed lifelong learners.
Self-directed learning (SDL) is about conscious and continuous growth. SCIA teachers guide students to practise SDL in an age-appropriate fashion. In the process, students cultivate an appreciation for learning, increased ownership of their growth and greater career readiness.
SDL can be nurtured through building a cooperative learning environment, where teachers serve as advisers rather than formal instructors.
As a result of the schools closure, the current Home-Based Learning (HBL) presents itself as an opportunity for students to put SDL into practice.
SCIA’s HBL is designed to be interactive using various platforms such as ClassDojo and Microsoft Teams.
Teachers deliver lessons through a combination of pre-recorded videos, live teaching sessions and assignments.
They motivate and direct the students’ learning experiences, facilitate students’ initiatives for learning and are available for consultations as appropriate during the learning process.
Students follow a structured timetable for their HBL.
At SCIA pre-school, teachers conduct engaging storytelling sessions. In primary and high school, science teachers record experiments and instruct students to have safe hands-on activities at home.
The school’s PE teachers provide weekly workout routines to keep students active.
With teachers playing the role of active facilitators, many students were observed taking on greater ownership and responsibility in their learning.
Nevertheless, with the physical classroom off-limits, it is imperative that the community works together as one during this unusual time.
Over the past weeks, SCIA staff have kept in close communication with students and parents, assisting them with the transition to HBL.
Brenton Toh, the dean of the primary school at SCIA, shares a few practical tips for parents:
- Create routines so that your children can have structure in their learning at home. Work out with your children how they want their daily learning to take place. Set aside a specific learning space at home where your children will do their work.
- Set screen time guidelines to limit how long your children are in front of the computer. Communicate your expectations. As a simple guideline, primary school students should be exposed for no more than four hours a day, and older students for no more than for five hours.
- Let your children learn to be independent. It can be as simple as allowing them to solve a puzzle by themselves. Invite them to come up with a solution. Do not give the answer straight away. Stimulate their minds by giving them some time to think.
Being future-ready means having the resilience to overcome difficulties and cope with uncertainty. SCIA believes that as the community navigates the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 schools closure, its students will gain an invaluable experience in becoming self-directed learners.