The Sun - 3 February 2015 - GEMS: vibrant addition to the education landscape
3 February 2015
At GEMS schools, the journey is as important as the destination "We are not saying that the destination is not important, but that we must make it a joyful journey. Using an analogy of a child going on a trip, make the journey enjoyable and they won't feel its tediousness or length of time," said GEMS Education Chief Academic Officer Dr Tan Hui Leng. "Engage them in games, tell them stories and let them tell us stories in turn; have puzzles and competitions- What we are saying is that learning is a journey and there are many varied and creative ways to make it engaging. '* We never spare the rigour. We devise a game that makes them talk about it^ compare and decide- The content is important, but what matters is how we drive the content so that it sits in joyfully, "That is where teaching and teacher quality is key.
GEMS has 150 schools worldwide and we seek to select the best teachers- All teachers come qualified and trained, but they do not stop learning through continuous professional development. They are the living examples for children," Tan said. GEMS Education CEO Tom Collin said GEMS schools in Malaysia will have a mix of international teachers and native English speakers, and some will be recruited internally from other GEMS schools. "It is no secret that some western teachers are also not english. There are plenty of people who are not capable of being teachers who are still teachers around the world. We select those who are driven by the desire to push children to success and we give them the tools to do so. "Every single teacher is interviewed multiple times and we look for someone who understands our philosophy and way of doing things," Collin said.
Along with expatriate teachers, GEMS will also have Malaysian teachers, "Very often teachers in Malaysia are on top of educational content They know their stuff but they are not necessarily trained in the most up-to-date thinking in teaching methods ”how to motivate children, how to make them learn and not just drill information- We will train them and upskill them in our own teacher training and programmes. - "We know this from Little GEMS in Penang- They are committed, dedicated, hardworking and have a drive to become outstanding teachers. They are in a conducive environment where we provide them with the support to leam and execute pedagogies that work well with children. "Underlying this is a philosophy of holistic education for nation-building. And a devoted mission to bless the community with what is good for the present so as to be ready for the future," Collin saidGEMS Education recently entered into an agreement with Tropicana Corporation Bhd to develop a school campus at the Tropicana Metropark townstup in Subang Jaya, Selangor.
With a built-up area of approximately 210,000 sq ft, the school will feature worldclass facilities for up to 2400 international and local students aged 3 to 18- The school will be completed in 2017, with the first intake expected in September. ''There will be international students simply because there are expatriates living in the area- But there will also be a good number of Malaysian students because we are providing a curriculum that is fit for this population. It is difficult to anticipate (the ratio) but we can say for certain that it will be a mix of foreign and local students," Collin said. "A school that is highly selective of its intake is likely to have very good educational outcomes simply because of the high quality students they let in. But does this necessarily prove that the school is doing a great job? I would argue not necessarily. They are very good at selection but not necessarily excellent at enabling them. "GEMS schools, on the other hand, tend to be more inclusive.