Things have always been done a little differently at the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM) - from innovative pedagogy and a transformative teaching approach to the meaningful relationships cultivated with AISM families. This has resulted in a close-knit community of educators, students and parents who are mutually invested in the well-being and success of the school. It is this sense of unity, cohesiveness and positivity that has led to the seamless and effective transition to their virtual learning sphere aptly named the Continuity of Learning programme.
AISM is committed to encouraging students to believe that anything is possible as long as they try their hardest and do their best. Students are taught that challenges are merely an invitation to create new solutions. Educators lead by example and robust principles have been embedded within the programme. The move from a physical classroom to an online one, while challenging at times, has also been an invigorating journey aimed at providing students with the AISM experience from a screen.
As the world’s first certified visible learning school, the central focus of AISM has always been student-centric with the academic and pastoral needs of students taking priority. This philosophy has been implemented in the Continuity of Learning Programme.
In the Middle and Senior School, classes have been conducted according to a regular daily timetable and there has been no gap between the last face-to-face lesson and the first online lesson once the MCO was implemented. Adolescents thrive on routine and structure, and a learning environment facilitating student participation and engagement has been well established. The best and most consistent feedback received from students, is that they have not noticed any difference between on-campus lessons and Continuity of Learning lessons, except for their physical proximity to each other. In a recent parent survey, this feedback was further corroborated and supported.
Year 6 to Year 12 students have daily face-to-face contact with their subject teachers in every lesson during which time attendance is marked, learning intentions and success criteria are imparted and the lesson is introduced and explained. To mitigate some of the side- effects of prolonged screen exposure, teachers have devised an array of lessons and content that feature a combination of direct and indirect teaching methods, allowing students to complete some work away from the screens but still have access to their teachers for guidance and support.
Teachers in practical subjects such as Art, Science, Design Technology, Music and Drama, have risen innovatively to meet the challenges of not having access to physical labs and studios, and despite such limitations, have continued to draw out the best from their students. The diverse array of work produced over the last few weeks of online learning further attests to this remarkable outcome.
In the Junior School, a different but equally effective approach to learning has been undertaken. To limit the amount of screen time for young learners, a daily learning guide is published for each year level. These comprehensive daily guides feature a holistic range of subject based learning activities with each activity differentiated to cater to the various learning needs and styles. The guides also include videos of Junior School teachers providing verbal instructions for the tasks. Students can access these videos as and when they require, allowing for the relationship between teacher and learner to be maintained.
Teachers provide students with real-time, regular feedback on submitted work, and all this is made visible to parents and caregivers through the same platform, which is accessible on their personal devices. Young learners are also invited to regular face-to-face online sessions with their teachers and peers where they are encouraged to touch base, socialise, share knowledge, and make further inquiries about their learning.
The Continuity of Learning programme has allowed AISM students to maintain a regular sense of school life under the MCO and thrive. As each week passes, the school’s approach continues to evolve. The non-campus AISM school day now also includes one-on-one language support sessions with EAL learners at the beginning and end of each day, house challenges, assemblies and a range of co-curricular activities.
For more information about Australian International School Malaysia, kindly visit aism.edu.my
Credit: Gayatri Unsworth
Middle and Senior School Teacher & Year Level Coordinator
Take part in AISM’s Virtual Open Week from 1 to 5 June 2020 to have a sneak preview into life at AISM and discover more about the School’s impressive facilities and extensive curriculum. Join in the diversified programme of presentations and ask questions about studying at Australian International School Malaysia. Our Principal (Liam King) and Heads of Schools (Michelle Chaplin and Ivan McLean) will happily respond to all your enquiries.
Register now at www.aism.edu.my/admissions/virtual-open-week.