With its community feel, multi-cultural environment and concept-driven IB curriculum, One World International School (OWIS) is looking ahead to make sure it continues to be in tune with the diverse cohort of students and parents that keep walking through its doors.
We sit down for a one-on-one with the Head of OWIS’ new Nanyang campus, Michelle Dickinson, an experienced educator from Birmingham, UK, who brings with her a wealth of experience. She has worked in all parts of the world including India, China and Ethiopia, as well as in other international school groups including Dulwich and Nord Anglia.
Michelle shares with us why parents love OWIS and what she loves about it herself. Check out our video interview with her and learn more about the new campus in our video below!
Hi Michelle, please tell us a little about yourself?
I come from Birmingham, United Kingdom. I have four children, one from Guatemala and three from Ethiopia. My students are usually surprised to learn that I enjoy trekking and have gone to all major treks across the world. My favourite ones are Everest base camp in Nepal and Patagonia in South America.
What’s your philosophy towards education?
We believe in inclusive education; concept-driven and hands-on experiential learning; and helping children to be resilient learners.
What makes OWIS stand out from other international schools in Singapore?
We are a moderate and affordable fee international school that upholds the philosophy of inclusivity and our 30% national cap means we live and breathe diversity.
Can you tell us a little about the teaching approach at OWIS?
Our teaching approach is very much aligned with our curricula, the IB PYP, underpinned by British National Curriculum standards and expectations leading to UK Cambridge Curriculum for middle school and IGCSE. We are also a candidate school for the IB Diploma.
Tell us about your school’s community, what do parents value most about OWIS?
Our families are often people who choose Singapore as their long-term home and are looking for a school where their child can be part of the community from Kindergarten to age 18. Our school serves as our community base, offering CCAs and wraparound service for working parents.
Our parents often commend us on how we share their child’s learning every day with them, ensuring that they are brought into our programme through our communication platforms, curriculum open evenings and PFA meetings etc. They also value the commitment to the international mindedness we practice in school.
What are the greatest challenges students face today and how you helping them with it?
The challenges young people face today is getting ready for an unknown future, with jobs that are so rapidly changing. Knowledge-based curricula, which is, in a way, easier for children to grasp and for schools to teach, is becoming a thing of the past.
Here at OWIS, we are committed to a concept-driven curriculum and concept-driven learning with deep understanding and transferable skills. Our students are exposed to new and diverse technology to support and enhance their learning. Last but not the least, we provide ongoing opportunities to develop creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking through our way of teaching.
In your years of being an educator, what have you learnt about connecting with kids?
Outstanding teachers are able to build and nurture personal relationships with every child to excel academically and holistically. Here at OWIS, we focus on nurturing every child, understanding their personality, likes and dislikes – what makes them tick, their interest, their passion, their personality – in order to get the full sense of who they really are. Being in tune and recognising cultural background and heritage, understanding where children are in their language acquisition and making not just the curriculum, but also your relationship with every child accessible, is integral to communicating and connecting with children.
How do you personally connect with your students?
I try to do playground duties outside with them. I go outside at eight o’clock every morning, to do morning supervision. I get to talk to the children and they will come up to me and I’ll play with them. I also meet the parents outside and try to say goodbye to them at the end of the day, so I’m normally around when they’re leaving. I do assemblies, and my talks have all been about kindness, underpinning our school with a sense of kindness, how to work together and how to make friends. All of those things is what they see me modelling to them at the moment. I’ve also had the children come into my office to interview me, which is very nice! I have an open door, children know they can come and see me.
What do you love most about leading this school?
I love that inexplicable sense of happiness when children are in school. Or when our parents and visitors tell us how happy our children are at school. It is something quite tangible and visible when you visit.
Read more inside stories about One World International School:
Learn about OWIS’ new Nanyang campus straight from the parents
One World International School has thoughtfully priced fees
Looking for a quality education and affordable school fees? OWIS has both
6 reasons why One World International School might not be right for you
This post is sponsored by One World International School.