AUSTRALIAN International School Malaysia (AISM), the only Australian international school in Malaysia, recently celebrated its expansion and the opening of a new junior school complex at its campus in Seri Kembangan.
The opening ceremony was officiated by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap in the presence of Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Rod Smith.
AISM principal David Kilpatrick said the Australian curriculum emphasises individualised and explicit instruction in learning skills, higher-order thinking, problem solving and values education.
He added that the new junior school had been designed with children in mind and built specifically for the purpose of learning.
“We do not want students sitting in classrooms all the time and have constructed spaces where they are given opportunities to acquire knowledge themselves, innovate and create ideas,” he said.
At AISM, students are given ample space and opportunities to learn and explore on their own under the guidance of teachers or in groups with their peers.
There are common areas outside classrooms with comfortable chairs and bean bags for students to discuss and collaborate with their counterparts from different classes.
“Classes are not confined to the classrooms.
“Students spend some time in the classroom but they spend a lot of time breaking out of the four walls and using the spaces outside,” said AISM junior school head Graeme Naftel.
He added that teachers design tasks that require their charges to work with different children thus challenging them as they may not share the same mindset as their counterparts.
“The learning environment is structured to allow lots of group work,” he said.
Yap said the integration of technology to complement teaching and learning methods in today’s world is inevitable, and the use of mobile technology such as tablets and laptops is now an integral part of the learning environment.
“Gone are the days where we could rely on students having access to computer labs once every week.
“Information is accessible anytime and anywhere, forcing us to reinvent and change the way students learn and the way teachers teach,” she said.
Yap was also impressed with the school as she could see features of a holistic learning environment being offered during her tour of the new building.
The new junior school boasts an entire floor dedicated to the performing arts with purpose-built rooms for dance, drama, music, orchestra and even a black box theatre.
Other facilities in the new building that benefit students are a state-of-the-art library, junior art room, science and technology room and an upcoming food and technology room for MasterChef Australia aspirants.
AISM is a member of the Taylor’s Education Group and has grown steadily since it first opened its doors 14 years ago in a clubhouse in Country Heights.
The school currently has more than 600 students from 32 different nationalities and offers the Australian curriculum to students from preschool to Year 12 matriculation.