Wednesday, November 21, 2012

School of Tomorrow : Empowering Lifelong Learners

*48-hours sticky post. Scroll down for more update*

School holiday has just started. Children as well as their parents are all in fabulous holiday mood. But those parents who have 4 - 6 years old kids who will start the pre school session next year or 7 years old student for elementary/primary school, we are so busy for these 2 months, right? For pre-school session specially *as I am one from them*, there are still parents who still not yet decided which school to enroll their little munchkins while those who are already decided, its about time to attend the school open day, getting to know about the program, the teachers, fee structure and so on. Agreed, it’s not an easy decision. One of the most difficult decisions parents will face at some time is which school to choose for their child. There are many factors to be considered. I’ve gone through this stage *kindy hunting mode entry*, though its kind of tiring things to do *googling the website, make call, pay visit, listen to their program and repeat again for another possible pre-school so on and so on* but it’s actually fun thing at the end of the journey.

*picture courtesy of google image*

Back to why we are doing this? As parents, since we know that the child will spend the most 12 hours at school *for working parents specially*, so we are looking a place where my child can have a fun learning. Besides factors like Islamic based environment, a comprehensive program with conducive learning environment, learning in English medium is one of the factors.

A conducive learning environment ..
*picture courtesy of google image*

In Malaysia, English is not simply the second language, it is one of several. Striking the right balance between the undeniable need to stay true to the country’s tradition and heritage, while at the same time recognizing the status of English as an international means of communication, is crucial.  Malaysia is moving towards its goal of developed nation status and the success of this transition is dependent on the strengthening of the foundations of its economy and society. The government is now taking rigorous steps to meet the challenges of the competitive global market encompassing all aspects of the educational spectrum, from access to basic education, professional development for teachers, leadership management, to school improvement, the initiatives firmly embrace the responsibility to support and equip students and teachers alike with the skills and knowledge to become responsible and productive citizens who will provide the momentum for the transformation.

The issue that every country (whether developing or developed) faces today is how to prepare children and adults alike for the future.  In this rapidly globalizing and knowledge-driven world of work, anyone who is an innovative and creative thinker, open to new ideas and the vast opportunities for bettering themselves, is ahead of the game.  Being a lifelong learner is no longer an option, but it is a necessity. The key to being a lifelong learner is curiosity. The foundations for lifelong learning are in the early stages of education where children can be inspired to become enthusiastic learners. Early years education needs to be truly holistic, engaging children in stimulating and challenging experiences in the context of their physical and social surroundings, and recognizing that children are capable initiators of their own learning. A high quality early childhood program that encourages active learning, problem solving, effective communication, creativity, social adjustment and participation has huge significance for their longer-term success in education and as future citizens.

The experience in schools is a way for children to develop relationships or organize and make sense of their world, and they bring to it diverse background experiences, developing identities and perceptions about their own and others’ social and cultural experiences. Even on a basic level, they draw on their own experiences and perceptions of others to create contexts in which to play and their own experimentation and exploration has to be recognized as their personal voyage of discovery. With experience and encouragement, this basic interaction changes as they become more socially and intellectually complex and make the transition to being adept and independent individuals.

Speaking of which, the spirit of these initiatives is embodied in a major School of Tomorrow (SOT) Conference which will be held in Kuala Lumpur from 20th – 21st November 2012. Organized by the Beaconhouse Group, the event will use plenary and groundbreaker sessions as well as workshops to focus on innovative approaches and methods for early childhood and primary education.

This conference is the fourth in a series of SOT conferences that has brought together scholars, educationists, classroom practitioners, policy makers and experienced professionals to re-examine conventional beliefs of what constitutes progressive teaching and learning. The 2012 conference, being held for the first time in Kuala Lumpur, takes these themes a step further and also considers ways to empower lifelong learners. To empower a lifelong learner is to facilitate and enable their learning opportunities and to encourage them to manage their own learning. To create such a learning culture requires changing people’s perceptions of what learning is and how it can change their lives with the overarching aim of increasing individual capacity. The 2 days conference which will be delivered through plenary sessions, interactive workshops and panel discussions will be discussing on three main streams:

Top international educationists at the forefront of their fields will be congregating in Kuala Lumpur to lead, conduct and facilitate sessions at an upcoming major educational conference, including Professor Alma Harris, Dr Heather Terrill Stotts, Professor Kathryn Riley, and Dr Christine Wise, all of whom are internationally recognized for their work on school improvement and leadership and management. Several specialists including Gigi Schweikert, Pamela Mundy, Ayesha Kasuri and Saira Butt will be leading sessions on early childhood and primary education while the prominent among the presenters is keynote speaker Richard Gerver whose speech in 2010 was the highlight of the conference. He is also the author of the best-seller ‘Creating Tomorrow’s Schools Today’.

2010 School of Tomorrow Conference..

Workshop delivered by leading educationists and thinkers..

At the end of the conference, the target to focus particularly on ways of improving the overall educational experience of children in the context of a rapidly globalizing and increasingly competitive world and to empower lifelong learners will be achieved and benefits all of our educationist and participants generally. 

For details about this conference, you may visit their website here!

Info about Beaconhouse School

The Beaconhouse School System is one of the largest of its kind in the world and operates in nine countries.  It has had a presence in Malaysia since 2004 and now runs 10 schools in and around Kuala Lumpur. Although firmly established, it is a dynamic and constantly evolving organization which continues to reinvent its educational provision to meet the needs of future generations. It has an exemplary approach to social responsibility and has responded to the need to surmount socio-economic restrictions with a parallel school network that provides standardized quality education at a fraction of the fee of its flagship network. The development of human capital has always been a high priority for Beaconhouse and its professional development program for teachers has been developed in conjunction with leading UK universities. For more info, you may visit the Beaconhouse website

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