1. Panthers of ISKL: Sharing experiences of Holistic Education in our ISKL community

Panthers of ISKL: Sharing experiences of Holistic Education in our ISKL community

Published on 06 Jun 2023

Panthers of ISKL (POISKL) is our platform, where insightful and reflective stories from the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) community are shared. Here, our students, faculty, and staff provide real-life accounts that positively impact our ever-evolving world.  


At ISKL, education goes beyond just academic achievement by helping students develop on an emotional, social, and physical level, encouraging personal growth, and fostering critical thinking, creativity, self-awareness, empathy, and ethical values. With an interdisciplinary approach to learning, ISKL provides a wholesome and holistic education that prepares students to thrive in a complex and changing world. Here we have captured the inspiring stories of individuals in our community who embody these values, and we can see the positive impact of this learning approach on our students.


From building their passions for film-making, or exploring their creativity in Japanese manga, or organizing a fundraiser for cancer patients to hear about the holistic education they've encountered at ISKL.






ISKL High School (HS) students Anderson W. ('24), Luca P ('24), Mark M. ('24), Hyunjoo K. ('24), and Liz W. ('25) participated in the IASAS Cultural Convention (Culcon) for Film in the Philippines. The experience allowed them to explore their passions with fellow IASAS students and learn from professional artists by attending special workshops, film screenings and present each of their own four short film creations.


Two IASAS workshops were scheduled for the students to learn from experienced Filipino directors. The first focused on the speaker's signature work style in advertising, showcasing the equipment used to shoot footage. The second was directed more towards a film's narrative and story circle. Both were informative lessons for the students in combining the foundational elements of a successful film and the requirements for participating in film festivals. The directors were inspirational in encouraging all student participants to perform to the best of their abilities with the foresight required for a successful future filmmaking career.  


Making memories is an integral element of all IASAS events, and the experiences the Culcon film students' experienced is no exception. Making new friends from different schools and hearing about their lives and experiences within filmmaking scored highly with all ISKL participating students on their take-out from the trip. 


An experience such as this one introduces students to cultures beyond their own. Staying with host families enables them to witness, first hand, day-to-day life in the Philippines, and while it may set them outside of their comfort zone, it also inspires them for future projects. 





Grade 9 student Grace C. ('26) joined ISKL in 2020 during the Covid lockdown, and this is when her interest in Japanese Anime and Manga graphic novels quickly spurred a burgeoning enthusiasm for Japanese culture.  "It started with one Anime film, but soon enough, I got fascinated by the media and culture behind it. For two and a half years during the pandemic, my love for Anime transferred into a love of Japanese Culture in general."


Grace considers Kansas City, Missouri, in the United States of America (USA), to be her home as this is where she was born, and her extended family continues to live. At the age of two, Grace's transient lifestyle began when her father undertook a two-year work assignment in Beijing, China, after which time they returned to Kansas before moving to Houston, Texas, when Grace was eight years old. Having been homeschooled and only one year spent in a public school in Texas, It was during the pandemic that Grace's significant interest in both Anime and Magna grew and, with this, an overall love of Japanese culture. These media-led passions and enjoyment of reading multi-genre graphic novels have inspired her to take Japanese lessons and plan for a future of living and studying in Japan. 





Former English as an Additional Language (EAL) student Mei Y. ('24) shares her aspirations to become a Medical Interpreter using her personal experiences of feeling physical pain and requiring a Japanese medical translator's services to create Japanese, Korean, and Chinese medical translation posters for EAL students.


"Even though students can't speak English well or don't know the correct medical terms to explain their symptoms or understand what the doctor says, they can understand and interpret these themselves by using these posters that I've created."


Born in Japan, Mei moved to Malaysia at 14, three days before the Covid pandemic lockdown. She could not speak English when entering ISKL and considers this language barrier her most challenging hurdle. She is subsequently grateful for the diverse community at ISKL that encouraged her to discover "parts of me I didn't even know existed before." 


While initially nervous about communicating with people in English, she is now happy to have confidently surpassed this challenge. She aims to help other students who feel the same anxiety as she did about speaking in English.


An element of her HS curriculum includes completing the self-directed learning module SWIFT which is based on researching the significant roles of a medical interpreter and translator. Working alongside ISKL HS, Middle School (MS), and Elementary School (ES) nurses and EAL teachers, Mei created a selection of medical translation posters to be placed in the ISKL school clinics. Her intention is that fellow EAL students who cannot speak or understand English well or know the correct medical terminology to explain their symptoms can feel supported in expressing their medical needs in their mother tongue.  


Mei extends her studies in EAL and the completion of her SWIFT project to participate in the Key Club, where she teaches English to refugee children. Combined with attending ISKL Medics, an extra-curricular club that teaches students about the spectrum of medical care available and conducts seminars with notable guest speakers, Mei believes these are incredible opportunities for her to be inspired and motivated in the work of a healthcare professional.  


Mei is already heading for a future career pathway in the healthcare sector and is well on her way to becoming a medic, nurse, medical interpreter, or translator. She hopes to apply her initial experiences at ISKL with a growth of knowledge to become a bilingual healthcare worker in her home country and contribute to its society. "I love caring for people and communicating with them in person, so I aim to make a place where people can find their own identity," Mei explains.  


A significant inspiration for Mei has been the Japanese translator who helped her translate medical terms and supported her mind when she injured her arm. This was a powerful catalyst in Mei's aspiration to become a medical interpreter as she has seen first-hand how beneficial the role is in bridging the communication gap between patients and doctors if they do not speak the same language. Mei strongly believes that "everyone should be provided with equal and appropriate medical treatment despite the potential of a language barrier."  





Four Grade 3 students, Emma, Lino, Minseo, and Angela, took the initiative to collaborate on a charity project that saw them cut and donate their hair to the 'Locks of Hope,' a platform that makes wigs for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. EAL teacher Yuka Kominato first introduced Emma and Lino to the 'Locks of Hope' charity, and they, in turn, encouraged their friends, Minseo and Angela, to join them the second time round with Grade 2 teacher Alex Lancia, on hand to support the student-led donation campaign. 


The students' mission was "to make people with cancer, who don't have much hair, feel happy," Lino shares. Emma and Lino learned from their first experience that it was essential to collaborate with as many friends as possible as it takes over twelve children's hair to make one wig, and they would need to promote their cause more and reach out to a broader audience so that more wigs could be made. 


After recording a promotional video that attracted even more friends and a few parents, the hair donation campaign culminated in a special event where eighteen students, three parents, and two teachers donated their hair to the 'Locks of Hope' initiative. 


It is clear that the girl's reaction to cutting their hair was one of positivity and hope, and it is truly awe-inspiring for the younger students to show such maturity by supporting and initiating such a worthwhile cause. 



At ISKL, we firmly believe in providing a comprehensive and all-encompassing education beyond rote memorization and theoretical skills. Our goal is to inspire students to connect with their community and culture through meaningful projects. We want to thank the 2023 IASAS Film Delegates, Grace, Mei, and the donors of Locks of Hope for sharing their valuable educational experiences.


Head over to the Panthers of ISKL blog, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with the latest ISKL news. 




Established in 1965, The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) has become known as a center of excellence in the world of international education. ISKL is a co-educational, private, non-profit school responsible for the learning journey of over 1,600 students aged 3-18 years representing more than 65 nationalities at its campus in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.


ISKL offers a robust international curriculum which combines leading North American educational frameworks with global best practice.  The curriculum recognizes that students are on a lifelong learning journey and is driven by ISKL’s purpose to prepare our students for life itself, as we believe in the importance of helping students to shape their own paths, supporting them in discovering their passions, developing their competencies, and having an ethical impact on the world.


ISKL is accredited internationally through the Council of International Schools (CIS), and in the United States through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). There is a strong focus on service and sustainability across its divisions and is a member of the Eco-Schools organization and the Green Schools Alliance.

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