What Is A Good School?

maryTeman-teman, beberapa bulan yang lalu penulis kedatangan seorang sahabat berkebangsaan Inggris, yaitu Mary van der Heijden, yang sekarang bekerja sebagai koordinator kurikulum di salah satu sekolah internasional di Singapura yaitu UWC atau United world College. Beliau sebelumnya memberikan tulisannya mengenai sekolah yang baik. Sebelumnya penulis diberi ‘wejangan’ oleh beliau agar tidak berkecil hati apabila sekolah yang saya pimpin tidak menggunakan kurikulum ‘luar’. Beliau hanya berpesan begini,” apapun kurikulum yang kamu terapkan di sekolahmu, pastikan guru mu bisa membelajarkannya dengan benar.” Pesan beliau saya ingat sampai sekarang. Nah, apabila teman-teman ingin mengetahui tulisan beliau lebih lanjut, silahkan menikmatinya dengan membaca tulisan berikut ini.

In our rapidly changing world, schools are now seen as a vital part of the community. The days have long gone when students marched into their classes, the doors were shut and the only evidence of student’s learning were test results. Now a good school opens it’s doors to parents, includes them in their children’s learning and experiences and forms partnerships. The local and also wider community is included in the learning process, through trips, visitors, technology, resources and the recognition that much learning takes place outside the school walls. The good school creates a positive learning environment that has a clear vision and mission statement, high expectations of students, both in terms of attitudes, values and behaviour, as well as academic performance and achievements. A school that recognizes and celebrates differences and similarities towards enhancing a creative and sustainable 21st Century, must be evident.

Over the last 15 years we have learned more about the brain than ever before through enhanced use of technology and research. We understand now that everyone learns in different ways and at different rates. The emphasis on the need to become life long learners, needs enhanced skills and students need to understand more about their own learning and make decisions about how they learn best. A good school gives opportunities for students to learn in different ways, be dynamic and creative in their thinking, and collaborate in different groups in different ways. A lively stimulating environment where students can take risks, solve problems, work in pairs and groups, make mistakes safely, should be emphasized.

A good school uses a wide range of resources such as books, equipment and teachers from different places. Good schools also need to look at changes and influences in technology. They need to use technology as a tool in an imaginative way in order to enhance learning, creativity and towards students making independent choices and having more control over their learning.

A good school also has a strong leadership team that is constantly developing themselves and the teachers in the school. This means creating time and opportunities for the staff to be involved in decision making in the school and improving the school at all levels. Learning from each other, establishing and changing policies, developing their own skills and understanding of learning, so that at the heart of everything, is the improvement of learning for all students. Through this the teachers will develop themselves, increase in confidence, challenge their students and through enhanced understanding of the teaching and learning process, develop standards and levels throughout.

But above all, the good school is a place where everyone learns and wants to learn. It is the place where creativity is celebrated, everyone feels valued in some way, no matter what level or ability. Learning through interesting, real life, meaningful activities, that challenge thinking skills and develop skills in all subjects, provides a place where kids really want to learn and continue learning. A good school has kids that come home saying, “Guess what I learnt today?”. It has parents that say “How can I be involved in my kid’s learning”. It has teachers and leaders that say, “How can I improve learning for all the kids in the school”.

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