International schools in Asia that champion resilience
International schools are coveted for many reasons. As well as offering a stimulating curriculum with an emphasis on college and university preparation, they are also known to be extremely resilient, ensuring that students benefit from an uninterrupted educational and social experience, even in light of an unprecedented pandemic.
While some schools welcome students back for on-campus learning, others still keep them virtually engaged. Regardless of how the programs are delivered, many schools in Asia assure their students that they are on the run for their academic progress. Many have continued to identify areas for improvement and fine-tune their offerings accordingly.
Some schools have realized the benefits of hybrid teaching methods. Others have found new ways to make students feel good, entertained and engaged. Most use technologies that will help them protect the health and safety of their students, whether or not there is a pandemic.
One achievement that schools in Asia have in common? The importance of coming together in times of uncertainty. Here are three international schools in Asia that prove it:
Tanglin Trust School
Optimism is in the air at the Tanglin Trust School. In uncertain times, the smiles of its learners – ages three to 18 – could offer anyone a glimmer of hope. And they have their school to thank.
Tanglin, located in Singapore, is a school that British inspectors repeatedly describe as exceptional. It offers a UK based program with an international perspective. It is the only international school in Singapore to offer both IB and A Level in sixth grade, ensuring that students can take the path that suits them best. Their students have achieved exceptional exam results that exceed global averages, in addition to enrolling their students in the best universities in the world. In 2021, 97% of its graduates were admitted to the first or second university of their choice.
At various points in the pandemic, the school quickly adapted to online platforms and applications in light of last-minute movement restrictions, while online classes and counseling sessions became the norm. Plus, study resources have never been so accessible to students.
“This flow has left us with a greater ability to embrace change with grace and the enduring ability to be robust and adaptable in the face of uncertainty,” says Claire Holmes, Senior Advisor at Tanglin. “This experience continues to help us help others flow smoothly with the unknown.”
As a result, the students remained engaged. Take a stroll around campus and you’ll hear heated discussions about how the pandemic has strengthened their relationships, both at home and within the Tanglin community. Others get excited about their new passions and hobbies. The others rave about the pleasure of being back at the school they know and love.
The mental and physical well-being of students is a key priority, with Tanglin’s signature pastoral care system helping to ensure that every student feels the way they should. “The pastoral team is often the driving force behind the initiative, monitoring and control of the well-being of the students,” explains Richard Sellers, director of pastoral care in Tanglin. The school has also adopted PERMA, a well-being model used internationally to promote positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and a sense of accomplishment.
The pandemic has also highlighted the need to teach students about resilience in practice. Outside of the classroom, students experience the physical, social and emotional benefits of sport. The school’s new strategic direction focuses in part on improving free movement, a parkour-style activity with military roots. This has been incorporated into a fun program where students can maintain their athleticism, maneuver through obstacles, and develop problem-solving skills. Through Movement Freestyle, students step out of their comfort zones and explore a range of skills – from running, jumping and spinning – while learning to adapt and adjust, all of the essential skills of the life. To begin your child’s uninterrupted journey to academic excellence, learn more about Tanglin Trust School here.
Ho Chi Minh City International School
TO Ho Chi Minh City International School (ISHCMC), the community comes first. The investments it has made over the past two years to protect its students and faculty – as well as to adapt to COVID-19 – are exemplary in their depth and breadth. This stems from ISHCMC’s deeply rooted culture of care to balance academic achievement with the social and emotional needs of the community.
With the support of an experienced Student Support Service team, a number of Wellness Guides have been developed to keep parents and students engaged and empowered during tough times. Emotional support was offered to caregivers and learners virtually as needed.
This holistic response has been well received by ISHCMC students and parents. They are grateful to have compassionate leaders at the school who have put measures in place to keep the community spirit alive. This is especially true for grade 12 students who are about to embark on college life and beyond.
mindfulness is also a great thing at ISHCMC. The school has organized classes for students, teachers and parents through its long-standing curriculum that incorporates quiet daily practices for 10 minutes a day. Activities range from weekly mini-meditation workshops to eight-week introductory programs for parents new to the fundamentals of mindfulness. The result? Positive, balanced people who are free from stress, depression and anxiety.
ISHCMC High School Principal Will Hurtardo said, “We are defined as humans not by the situations we face, but by how we face, respond to and overcome them. More than ever, you have faced adversity with courage and resilience in a way that we find truly humbling. The future is full of optimism and hope because you are the one shaping it.
With the help of ISHCMC advisor Amy Thompson, each student receives personalized assistance in selecting the colleges and universities that best meet their personal, social, academic and financial requirements.
The advisory program also lends a helping hand by providing students with valuable information on career choices, resume writing, summer opportunities, and general well-being.
At ISHCMC, the college application process officially begins in Grade 11. Despite the pandemic that is disrupting life as we know it, promotion 2021 always managed to achieve stellar results. Their graduates are found at the best universities in the world including Brown University, IE University, Penn State University, University of California, Northeastern University, McGill University, University of Oxford and Boston University, to name a few.
Bangkok Patana School
It didn’t take long to Bangkok Patana School to take action to ensure the safety of its campus community when the pandemic struck. Whether it was requiring temperature scans or providing face masks, the school knew it had to put the safety of its students and teachers first.
They turned an event that turned the world upside down into an opportunity to bring together the best of both worlds – online learning and face-to-face teaching. The school has identified the relationship between student characteristics, teaching styles and outcomes – finding strengths and correcting weaknesses. This is a reflection of his commitment to nurturing lifelong learners – “patana”, after all, means development in Thai.
“Although the school is physically closed, learning still continues in the form of our Student Lifelong Learning (CSL). What it looks like is very different from a typical classroom model environment, as it has been flipped and flipped over on its head, ”explains Marc Verde, Senior Assistant Director for Learning and Curriculum.
Various efforts are in place to ensure the safety of his community. This includes leveraging its CSL home and online learning platform to ensure that every student has an uninterrupted education. Access to the campus is currently only granted to grade 11 and 13 students who are required to take an exam. Once the school is allowed to fully reopen, Bangkok Patana will continue to prioritize student safety adhering to Thai government safety guidelines.
“We are confident in any additional health and safety procedures / resources that we have in place at our school to protect your child at all times. We are also confident that we have a high quality e-learning program that we can come back to at any time when needed, ”says Matt Mills, Principal.
Bangkok Patana maintains its commitment to academic excellence. The school has remained at the forefront of education in Thailand as the country’s first UK international school for students aged two to 18. Almost nine in 10 of the school’s faculty are from the UK or UK international schools.
It follows a modified English national curriculum up to grade 11 and the International Baccalaureate in grades 12 and 13. These are associated with arts and Athletics programs. The result of this broad and rigorous combination of study, play and exploration develops thoughtful and curious students with a love for learning.
* Some of the institutions featured in this article are Business Partners of Study International