Friday, 10 February 2017

Is your child's school doing enough to identify students' talents?

‘Schooling is an important part of an individual’s life’ can be such an understatement. It is an all-important foundation for everything that comes thereafter. From learning about the world, social interaction, curiosity, and motivation to self-esteem and confidence, school teaches it all and affects almost every aspect of a child’s life. So you have finally chosen a school for your after spending a considerable amount of time and energy, but then comes a time to reassess. Even after the child has been admitted to the best school possible, parents need to question if the school is doing enough to identify and harness the child’s talents. Is the school tapping into your child’s natural skill and aptitude? Do you see a positive change in the child over a period of time? So how does one do that? Here are some questions you can ask yourself.

Does your child look forward to going to school?

First and foremost, the easiest way to measure is whether the child is happy about going to school. For very young children in preschool/ pre-primary, this may not be a guiding factor as children often go through separation anxiety at that stage. However, for older children who have opportunities to have more enriching social and intellectual experiences, it can be a guiding factor. Most progressive international schools do not follow a traditional schooling pattern and offer very interactive and stimulating learning methodologies allowing children to be open to studying and learning.

Does the child show interest in some activities?

Have you noticed your child showing a keen interest in some activities? It could be science, languages or arts. Some of the best schools are considered best because of their infrastructure and teachers that allow students to be exposed to a wide array of activities be it academics, sports, dance , music etc. When a student has the opportunity to experience many things, he/she would naturally lean towards one for which there are a natural flair and ability. Providing the right environment and guidance is the key.

Does the child show signs of flourishing?

Do you see your child flourishing, be it physically, mentally, emotionally and intellectually? When a child feels secure, the right mentors in form of teachers at school and parents at home can make the child feel confident about trying to learn new things. A new hobby interest in form of art or language can spark creativity with no bounds. An interest in a particular sport can be life changing instilling discipline and love for physical exercise or make a career out of it.

Do you see the child acquiring new skills?

Acquiring new skills does come with age and maturity; however, a slight push in the right direction can have very positive consequences. Learning horse riding, playing a musical instrument or learning a new language may need a little more reasoning with a young child but can be a positive enabler later in life. Take for example the Bilingual teaching methodology at some of the top schools in Singapore. The Canadian International School is a pioneer of the Bilingual programme. Children are taught in both the Chinese and English language alternatively by a native Chinese and native English teacher in almost all subjects. Looking at how bilingualism can have a profound effect on early learning and later as a whole, many schools have introduced the bilingual programme in different forms. The case for teaching two languages at the same time has a strong research-backed teaching philosophy.

Parents are the best guide for children and the school comes a close second. When choosing the right school for the child, it is important to know if the school provides enough opportunities to identify and harness the talents of its students. A stimulating student teacher community that helps develop every child is the most important factor that differentiates the best schools from the rest.
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