By Daniel Loh & Bryan Loh
Many individuals are slowly adapting to their new reality in the midst of the pandemic. Adults are no longer going to the office and are working from home. The same is applicable in the education field, where a new approach has been established. Children no longer attend school physically to learn and interact with their teachers and peers. Instead, online learning is implemented where students acquire knowledge virtually. Technology has brought us together and closer in the education field. This transition occurs in a blink of an eye where students and teachers are required to adapt to the new learning environment in order to receive the optimal learning.
By imparting premium education and outstanding fast response during the pandemic period, Stellar International School (SIS) has been selected as the best international school (British curriculum) of the Year 2021 in Johor Bahru (JB), Malaysia. SIS is also recognised for its productive and flexible environment, having been one of the first schools converted into online learning and hybrid learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a member of Stellar Education Group (SEG), SIS starts its journey with the vision of “Raising a Generation of Stars for a Sustainable Future” along with the mission to prepare the next generation of global citizens by equipping them with lifelong learning skills in this ever-changing world. The members of SEG, Stellar Preschool, Stellar International School and Sand & Stars Kindergarten continue to interact with the community by sending basic necessities such as food and face masks to parents and communicating closely with the parents, assisting one another in bringing up the children. Nothing worthwhile is easy to obtain. All of this is made possible by devoted educators with a growth mentality who focus on our vision and mission.
Education in times of pandemic
In the midst of pandemic, online learning has been emphasised in order to ensure a new learning style is effective for all students from various ages and backgrounds. Moreover, parents are more concerned about the quality of the teachers than the school facilities, which cannot be used at this time. In this pandemic, parents also discovered that having fewer students in a school and classroom is more comfortable as more attention can be given to the students from the teachers compared to big class sizes. This also ensures that communication with parents and students is more flexible, making it easier for all parties to communicate successfully.
In lieu of physical classes being stopped due to the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) in the Year of 2020, SIS rolled out the online learning initiative to continue providing education and a semblance of normalcy for students during the MCO period. With great effort and enthusiasm from the teachers, we managed to start a comprehensive online learning programme after 3 days of the first lockdown being announced.
As such, SIS had a quick head start on planning and preparing learning materials to enrich the learning experience of our students. Online learning did not come without its own set of challenges but we are extremely delighted in how it allowed us to continue staying connected with our community of parents and students. SIS have successfully carried out this initiative and have even succeeded in conducting special activities such as an E-Sports Day and a few celebrations online. As we move into the new “normal”, we are well prepared and ready to continue our learning programme that defies geographical limits.
Teachers at SIS also explored new ways of making virtual classes more engaging and innovative. In addition, the school management ensures communication between students and teachers is effective to the parents in order to keep them updated with school updates and information. In terms of lesson materials, the school management also helps to smoothen the process of collecting and delivering materials to the students. As a result, parents are impressed with the quality of our educators and curriculum.
During the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) period in the early of Year 2021, SIS implemented hybrid learning in February 2021 to reduce the spread of Covid-19 virus and direct contact of students and teachers during this pandemic. Hybrid learning is an approach to education that combines online learning with traditional in-person classroom methods. This learning style helps students to meet the required competence standard as well as stay on track in academics which is way much safer.
In SIS, hybrid learning was conducted via Zoom and Google Classroom platforms. When students were having difficulty comprehending their lessons, they could still approach their teachers through the ClassDojo platform. In addition, time would be allocated during the lesson for students to clarify any confusion. Furthermore, the ClassDojo app was used to ensure that efficient communication between teachers, students, and parents was maintained. Online learning tools such as Google Form, Quizizz and Kahoot were also used to conduct quizzes to assess the students’ level of understanding.
The COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, which caused many schools, colleges, and universities to close on short notice or operate with severely reduced class numbers, highlighted the necessity for flexibility in education. Hybrid learning is changing the way we think about education and reducing many of the conventional obstacles. SIS has the potential to not just provide students greater freedom and choice in how they study, but also to improve educational access.
Education is never limited inside the confines of four walls. Learning never stops at SIS where we take all the opportunity to educate the children with or without the pandemic. As a student-centered school inspired by the passion in education, SIS provides one of the best global educational opportunities in a supportive learning environment that assists students in cultivating good values and accomplish Stellar achievements.