There was a time when Principals touring with groups of visitors would stride majestically down school corridors barely concealing their self-satisfaction at the studious hush in classroom after silent classroom, each full of diligent students- heads bowed, brows furrowed and pens working furiously. I am not one of those Principals and KISU is not one of those schools. Does that mean that we take a laissez-faire approach to students’ learning, progress and achievement? Absolutely not! It means that we are committed to active learning, to deep learning and to lifelong learning and, incidentally, we see no reason why a lot of that can’t actually be fun!
When you tour our school with me, we will see animated, engaged learners; many will be working collaboratively, exchanging views and opinions and testing theories. As we listen at classroom doors, we will hear students asking as many questions as they answer, students taking risks and wondering out loud in their quest for greater and deeper understanding.
As we continue, we will be aware of the energetic buzz coming from each classroom; we will notice how rarely the teachers are to be seen talking to students from the front of the classroom- they seem more commonly to be found working with groups, pairs or individuals, listening to their ideas and guiding their learning by asking them to refine or clarify or evaluate their approaches.
When we talk to students about their work, we will find them enthusiastic, even impassioned, about their learning; we will be struck by how clearly they seem to understand their learning goals and the purpose behind the activities they are engaged in. And these activities seem to be requiring them to explore, to inquire, to hypothesise, to evaluate, to analyse and to create.
And at some point during our tour we might find ourselves reflecting on our own experiences of education and wishing they had been more like this because, quite frankly, it just looks so much fun!
But of course a good education is about far more than what takes place in the classroom; it is about guiding the whole person towards his or her full potential.
A great school helps students to develop qualities as learners and leaders that will serve them well throughout their adult lives such as: resilience, empathy, creativity, commitment, adaptability, self-confidence and humility. A great school helps students to acquire transferable skills like teamwork, analysis, problem-solving, effective communication, evaluation, active listening, reflection and research; and, just as importantly, it helps students to shape and consolidate core values such as tolerance, integrity, altruism and hard work. KISU is such a school.
KISU is blessed with a truly international staff and student body made up of over 50 nationalities as well as a palpably warm, tolerant and welcoming ethos but to these inherent advantages it has added over the years a wide range of events, strategies and activities designed to shape and develop the whole child; these are too many to mention here but a few key features include:
- An inclusive enrolment policy- provided we feel that we have the expertise and resources to allow us to do our best by each child, then children of all abilities are welcome
- All children participate in community service every year
- All students in Key Stage 2 and above attend a residential outdoor education experience each year
- All students take part in inter-House competitions, whether they be sporting or cultural, where the emphasis is on teamwork and participation
- All students take part in some kind of public performance each year
- Students in Key Stage 3 now study “Learning to learn” to help them to become thoughtful and reflective learners
- More than 50 different clubs and activities are on offer to students at any given time
- The school offers a rich variety of overseas trips to students from sports tours to ski trips and participation in Model United Nations events
.......put simply, KISU is a school where children flourish....all of them!