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  • Writer's pictureStacey Chiew

Recipe For A High Performing School

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. ― Aristotle

There’s a saying, to be the best, you have to focus on what needs to be done and do your best. This is also true in education.

What do high-performing schools have in common? What makes a great school? There are a number of common characteristics that make up a good school, one of them is they focus on what matters. Helping student grow and improving student performance is the number one goal of every high performance school, and a good principal is the secret recipe behind every successful school.

Principal Chew Teck Ann with Sri KL top scholar.

Like most Asian countries, many Malaysian parents still look at academic achievement as the primary indicator of a good school.

With 22 and 87 students scored straight A*s and As respectively, including 13 Top in the World and 3 Top in Malaysia IGCSE scholars for the academic year of 2018, Sri Kuala Lumpur International School once again has secured its position as one of the best international schools in Malaysia.

Sri KL has grown and changed for the past 40 years. From a small government school to a private school to owning an international school status with a student body of more than two thousand students, the school has indeed come a long way. However, one thing about the school that has never changed is its focus on improving student achievement. It has been a consistent effort across multiple years as the school has some of the most committed teachers who are willing to go to great lengths for their students, to help them succeed in and out of school.

Teachers are a school's greatest asset. While some of the schools are experiencing high annual turnover, a problem that can potentially disrupt a child’s learning process, the dedicated staff of Sri KL continues to strive to create a warm and safe learning environment for their students.

With fewer teachers leaving school, they get a chance to play an active role in educating children. Committed teachers are an asset to the school because they are dedicated to promote intellectual wellness and ethical reasoning to students. They take pride in what they do, display a desire to work harder and show interest in the future of the school.

Studies show that a supportive principal is crucial to create a positive working environment where teachers can devote sufficient attention to their teaching and not overcrowded with unnecessary workload. Excessive workload has been a major issue in some of the schools where teachers have to compromise the quality of their work for administrative work. Exhaustion is the main reason for poor performance.

Sri KL principal Mr Chew Teck Ann believes teachers who feel appreciated will stay faithful in their career and commit to doing their best. “By creating and sustaining a positive school climate, teachers feel supported. They tend to perform better and effective teaching benefits student learning in the long run. Happy teachers produce better students.” Explains Mr Chew.

In addition to incorporating active learning approaches into student daily activity routines, Sri KL also focuses on assisting students in developing strong moral character. According to Mr Chew, students must learn to exert discipline on a daily basis for their own good. On top of that, they need to cultivate and show compassion for themselves and others.

Getting teenage students to follow school rules can be challenging at times. The school uses various strategies to inspire students to cultivate positive behaviour in classrooms. Peer support and group activities are encouraged at all levels to help slow learners overcome difficulties. Apart from that, having school counsellors to support slow learners on a consistent basis help improve learning skills and enhance stress coping skills.

Mr Chew stresses that misbehave students must learn to accept responsibility for their disruptive behaviour. They must also understand that it is their behaviour that is unacceptable, not the person.

Some schools have such a positive school climate that you feel it the moment you step into the school compound. It has taken many years for Sri KL to create a culture of excellence where it is natural for students to greet teachers on a daily basis. Students are addressed as “young ladies and gentlemen” and they are constantly being reminded that positive words and actions matter.

To create a positive school culture requires efforts, patience and persistence. Having a vision is not good enough, action plans are needed to turn that vision into reality. This usually means everyone in school must get involved to help shape the desired culture - staff, teachers, students and parents. Working toward a common goal help improve student performance and achievement.

Making education a top priority, spreading the right moral values and beliefs have always been part of Sri KL curriculum to create all-rounded students. Excellence is a habit. To sustain the Sri KL spirit and maintain a strong learning culture, the school is committed to raise the standard even further.

Cyrens, eight times national champion.

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