Education goes well beyond academics. Teaching life skills especially in the field of technology has become imperative. Raising students who have the knowledge, life skills, resilience and the strength of mind and character to face and navigate through unprecedented challenges that the future might bring was the primary aim for the establishment of Axcel International School four years ago.
The Covid-19 pandemic took the world by surprise. Everything stopped! Projects have been delayed, workplaces closed, and schools shut down. Thanks to our foresight, Axcel had already put in place a plan to train the teachers and students on remote learning even before the MCO was declared on 18th March 2020. Hence, Axcel International school, shifted online immediately upon the declaration of the MCO; lessons continued without disruption albeit via a different platform. Thankfully, for Axcel, it was not a case of ‘forced distance learning upon unprepared students’ as was a major issue among many schools at that point in time.
Being well-prepared, we could adhere to the normal school time table with classes running form 8.35 am to 4.00 pm daily. Teachers were given the discretion to adjust bio-breaks to reduce the stress levels of online learning. Another noteworthy achievement is that through good planning and coordination, we successfully carried out 3 online exams in March, July and October 2020. Taking cognisance of the fact that Parent Teacher Meetings serve as an important platform for parents and teachers to share insights and information for the holistic development of our students, the two scheduled parent-teacher meetings for this year were moved online without a hitch.
Online Classes for all subjects were carried out through Google Hangouts Meet whilst homework and homework submission were done through Google Classroom. Teachers in Axcel put in intensive work and time to plan their online instruction to provide for a collaborative environment so that lessons can be as good as attending a live class. Thus, our online lessons continue to involve groupwork and sharing, while students’ active participation were encouraged through quizzes and game-based learning platforms such as Kahoot! As a result, teachers not only effectively unleashed fun into the classrooms but also succeeded in creating a richer and more engaging remote learning experience, evidenced by an attendance record of 98% throughout the period when the MCO was in force. A remarkable feat, indeed!
The pressure of online classes and homework can be stressful for students. To ensure that Axcel students continue to keep up with their exercise routine and remain active throughout the period that they were confined to their homes, our weekly virtual PE lessons incorporated fun workouts and physical exercises suitable for all ages, thus encouraging not only our students but their families to participate as well.
Axcel also hosted a series of Student Sharing Sessions whereby students shared a variety of topics; ranging from their experience with online classes, to skills learned during the MCO period, holistic education, the activities they enjoyed in school and club activities. All these were produced by the students independently from the comfort of their homes.
While the coronavirus outbreak has presented significant challenges to extracurricular activities, with innovative thinking and detailed planning from teachers, the planned activities for our exclusive Axcel Program was on track. For example, the Mentor Sharing Program, Charity Bazaar, Ted Talk Competition, Axcel Rising Stars and all other planned programs were carried out as per schedule.
We were honoured to have a very distinguished guest, Mr. William Ross, former CEO of Lazada Cross Border share on the dynamics of eCommerce and tips to do well in eCommerce for the Virtual Mentor Sharing Program. Axcel Students were inspired by another mentor, Mr. Ko Chuan Zhen, the CEO and Co-founder of Plus Solar System who shared on his journey of a humble beginning to his recognition EY’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2019.
As businesses around the world continue to undergo the digital transformation process, it is important for our students to acquire a variety of technological skills and an understanding of the complex sphere of digital processes to stay in tune. Due to the Covid pandemic, the Charity Bazaar which is part of our Social Entrepreneur Incubator Programme was inevitably switched to virtual mode. In organising the charity bazaar, students not only learned to sell the products, they also learned about managing costs and profits. Students acquired marketing skills and gained practical experiences in being an entrepreneur. Because the 2020 Axcel Charity Bazaar was a digital one, it gave our students the opportunity to acquire skills in becoming online social entrepreneurs. Overall, we are proud that this inaugural Digital Charity Bazaar, organised by our students was a runaway success. In line with our objective of inculcating a philanthropic mindset and a ‘giving-back culture’ amongst our students, all profits generated from this bazaar will go towards charity.
Axcel Rising Star is an annual program conducted by our school to give students the opportunity to showcase some of their hidden talents. We have had a wide range of talents from singing to playing musical instruments. Some have even performed magic tricks and stand-up comedy. Year after year, it has been an honor to witness some of the most remarkable talents by none other than our very own students. This year was no different either. Even though we were digital for most of the school year, our students still did not fail to impress with their various talents and skills and more so, virtually. We are truly proud that our gifted students are not only academics, but beyond that as well.
Below are some students performance for you to enjoy:
Ted Talk is a platform for students to showcase their critical thinking skills necessary for solving various issues that plague our society today. As it encompasses various fields, it forces students to think outside the box and to come up with solutions that are not only effective but long lasting as well. Every year, during the Axcel Ted Talk Competition, our students are challenged to identify these issues and share their viewpoints and ideas. Besides, students can practice and hone their presentation skills, thus building more confident individuals with the ability to express themselves clearly under all circumstances.
Axcel Virtual Science Fair 2020 was held from 2nd to 6th November. The science fair which is in its third-year running is an important event to cultivate the interest of students in various science subjects and to heighten curiosity towards learning the natural phenomena of matters. The ultimate objective is not only to inculcate a scientific mindset in these subjects but also to sharpen presentation skills among students in Axcel. This is in line with our ongoing effort in moulding holistic and all-rounded individuals. For the Axcel Virtual Science Fair 2020, students were entrusted with the task of preparing scientific reports and digital scientific posters. Together, in their groups, they learned to produce creative and educational videos, discovering and learning interesting topics along the way.
Since airplanes are grounded and travelling has become difficult, we turn our annual field trip into a virtual travel fair, where students will be split into travellers group and host country group to help them experience the world in a virtual way. We hope once the pandemic is over, the students will have a deeper appreciation for the real world beauty.
We believe every crisis presents an opportunity to learn and grow. The teachers in Axcel have worked relentlessly throughout this difficult year to modify curriculum and pedagogical strategies to ensure that each child is in for a richer and more engaging remote learning experience, besides being future-ready with technology skills. We, in Axcel International School are indeed very excited at the prospect of seeing our students evolve into ethical, technology-rich individuals equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in the future digital world and beyond.