Any parent who is currently looking for a school to enrol their child might well ask the question, “Are all schools the same?” The simple answer is no; every school has its own set of values and beliefs, which can be found on their website, when looking at their mission statement, plus each school would have their own curriculum.
Mission & Vision Statement
Every school will have a mission statement, which outlines their academic goals and general objectives, and this can be found when on a school’s website. The vision statement is more about where the school sees themselves in the future and this would highlight the expectations for the students, and again, this can be found on the school’s website.
Most schools will use their nation’s national curriculum and in a developing country, international schools offer either the UK or US curriculum, both of which are tried and tested and for most parents, this is the preferred study field. Take one international school in Bangkok as an example, where qualified native English-speaking teachers deliver the US curriculum to children ranging from 5-18 years, which means that your child will not have to change schools.
Every school has its strong points, areas in which they excel; it might be sports, or a particular academic subject, for which students regularly win awards, and as a parent, you should be looking for a school that promotes subjects that your child enjoys. Some schools pride themselves in their students’ math abilities, while others may be running champions in gymnastics or a field sport, and by visiting a school, you will quickly notice their achievements.
Weaknesses are a little harder to find, it is not uncommon for a school to have a very high teacher-student ratio, which is never ideal, so do pay attention to the student numbers, particularly class sizes. The ideal size for a class is 15-18 students, as this gives each learner some one on one time with their teacher, and the homeroom teacher would build a solid relationship with each student over the course of one academic year.
While a curriculum can be considered quite rigid and clear-cut in the subject matter, the method of presentation can differ greatly. Some schools prefer the traditional system, whereby the students sit in rows and the teacher ‘instructs’ from the front of the class, yet this learning strategy is flawed. Known as ‘rote learning’ or learning by memorisation, this system teaches students how to pass tests, by retaining information and repeating it at a later date, but does little to develop critical thinking.
Learning By Doing
Widely recognised as the most effective learning approach, active learning means the students are hands-on, usually with group projects that are set by the teacher. Students tend to be more interested when engaging with the subject matter, so do try and find a school that recognises this.
Choosing a school for your child is an important aspect of planning for your child’s future, and by bearing all of the above in mind, you should make the right choices for your child’s future.