One World International School offers a rigorous, well-rounded curriculum for secondary school students (grades 6-10). During a typical week, students take part in a variety of activities within and beyond the classrooms. This ensures that every week is special and that they always have the opportunity to study a diverse range of topics and use a variety of skills.
The school day begins promptly at 8:45 am and ends at 3:30 pm for Grades 6 to 10, and at 4:30 pm for our Grade 11-12 students. Each morning, students meet with their tutors before heading to class. This gives them a solid routine and starts the day in a positive and engaged way. Teachers are able to give out any news or announcements and ensure that all their students are happy and ready for the day ahead. To help them leverage technology for their learning, each student is issued an iPad. Using technology in the classroom builds critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Being technologically literate is an essential skill in the modern world.
Each day is divided into 5 one-hour class sessions, in which students study different subject areas. Some of these subjects will be key academic studies and some will be those that the students have selected. They will be able to utilise a range of resources and learning opportunities within these classes. Two blocks of time are designated for eating and recreation. There is a variety of relaxation and communal spaces, both indoors and outdoors, that the students are able to use. This gives them essential down time between their classes, to nourish their bodies and enjoy time with their friends. It is this combination of teaching time and relaxation time which makes the day so well balanced.
From grade 6 onwards, students follow the Cambridge curriculum and develop a deep understanding of a range of different subjects. Rooted in the Cambridge Checkpoint, the academic programme for grades 6 – 8 culminates in the 2-year IGCSE programme for students in grades 9 and 10. The curriculum for grades 6 – 8 consists of: Art, English, History, Geography, Mandarin (or French/Spanish in the 8th grade), Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, PSHE and Science. This gives them the opportunity to study several subjects, some being very academic based and others more creative. Throughout their learning there is a crossover of topics between subjects.
Ninth and tenth grade students select nine IGCSE subjects. At this point students may have decided what they wish to go on to study in the future, and choose relevant elective subjects accordingly. For those who may not be sure, teachers and administration staff will help to support students with their subject selection. Students cultivate self-management skills by learning at home and completing assignments in a timely fashion. Subject-specific learning at home responsibilities increase as students progress through their secondary school years. This also teaches them to take ownership of their learning, a skill which will stay with them when they begin their university study and careers in the future.
At OWIS, a typical week includes participation in extracurricular activities and clubs, which meet after school or at lunchtime. These activities can include individual and team sports, art, music, creative studies, languages or study clubs. Students are able to select activities that they enjoy or ones which they feel they would like to find out more about.
We encourage students to take ownership of their learning by serving on our Kindness Council, which gives them the opportunity to suggest improvements to the school culture and embody our core value of kindness. The role of the Student Kindness Council is to represent the student body, to communicate with the wider school community, to uphold the values of the school and to promote kindness and compassion in line with the school’s culture. It also teaches them communication and management skills. It helps them to learn to put their ideas across and to come up with positive ideas to make the school the best place possible.
Secondary students will also lead our House System. Students give back to the community through service projects. Performances, publications, sports and art projects (such as our graffiti workshop) allow students to express their creativity and demonstrate their talents. Participating in school trips and sports fixtures also allows them to build up the confidence to take their skills outside their comfort zones. All these endeavours broaden students’ understanding of themselves and each other.
BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
A week in the life of a secondary school student at OWIS may include off-campus learning, allowing students to explore the local history and culture. Students also participate in three- or four-night residential trips outside Singapore. These Outward Bound-themed excursions may include rock-climbing, swimming, snorkelling and more. These experiences open the world to our students and allow them some much needed down time. It gives them the opportunity to attempt activities which they have not tried before whilst in a safe and supported environment. These trips can help to ignite a passion for travel, culture and outdoor pursuits.
Our balanced approach to learning builds students’ academic, physical, social and technological skills, preparing them in every aspect to be competent leaders in a global marketplace. This approach ensures that students enjoy their educational journey and leave the programme feeling ready to take on the world. They leave as diverse, multi-talented individuals.
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(This blog was originally written in collaboration with Ms Melanie Martin, former Senior Coordinator – Pastoral Care and Science Teacher, OWIS Nanyang.)