Three points to consider before you start looking for good schools.
1. Know your child first. Be clear to yourself what you want the school to do for your child.
2. In a globalized world, one should look beyond 3R€™s (Reading, writing and arithmetic) to 4C€™s- critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. Shun away the schools that focus on board results and teaches only CONTENT to students. The world is moving away from formal grades to skill sets (soft and hard)
3. International schools in India : what does INTERNATIONAL stands for these international schools€"how internationalized their academic approaches are ?. It is not just the international curriculum like Cambridge/IGCSE/IB- it also includes preparing the children with global skills that goes beyond CONTENT. International curriculum promotes active learning. It is NOT just experimental learning but enquiry based learning, a learning that promotes, questioning, problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Now when you look for school, arm yourself with the following information from different sources before you take a decision.
1.Location, beautiful infrastructure,lush green lawns, a charismatic,commanding school principal- none of which matter much to student learning. Success of any curriculum and meeting the outcomes entirely rests with quality of teachers. TEACHERS and TEACHERS €" Knowing about them is vital. Get to know about the qualification of teachers, their quality, and how are teachers empowered and professionally trained constantly.If the teachers are happy, the children are going to be happy in school. Look for teachers turn-over. If more teachers move out of the school every year, it is a red flag. So look for teacher€™s knowledge, skills and teaching environment in the school.
2. Academic learning in students €" Do not get swayed by the school ads, board results and individual student€™s achievement in some competitions. Look for the amount of progress a student has made over the years in a school.Talk to parents and students who are enrolled in the school for the past few years. How much the student has flourished academically and socially in the school is the indication of the impact the school has on the student. Get to know about the progress in exam scores, how performance is assessed, what is the students engagement with the school, does problem solving emphasis and problem solving skills are effectively being nurtured in all the classes. How independent and motivated are the kids,actively engaged in their own learning ?. What are the extended connections, pathways, exposure does the school provides for growth and learning opportunities beyond the school gates, locality, region. What and how far is their college-readiness and career- readiness? In providing a quality education, is the school open to suggestions and takes parent€™s feedback on board?3, Character and well being ; Does the school inculcates good work ethics in children, teaching them hardwork, perseverance,determination and growth-mindset. Are artistic and creative traits nurtured ? Are the social emotional and physical health of the student given importance ?. Does the school provides good measures for civic community engagement by students,encourages student volunteering in community development.
4. School culture : Look for safety aspects,disciplinary polices,, teacher-student relationships, sense of belonging in teachers as well as students. Get to know the academic orientation and academic challenges of the school as a whole.
5. Resources : Just going around the schools will give you an idea about what the school values most. Do they take you and show only their sports infrastructure and building, or do you get access to other areas like library, labs- science, computers arts and English labs. Do they have trainers,coaches and specialists and staff for all the activities they offer ?. Do they actually practice what they say at the beginning of the year? . How much of extracurricular activities are actually being done by the student every week.
NOW get the discussion rolling.
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