1. R.E.A.L Schools: Education with R.E.A.L Results

R.E.A.L Schools: Education with R.E.A.L Results

Published on 04 Feb 2015
Inside the Schools

R.E.A.L Schools

The reputation of most schools today rests on the academic rigor they practice and the academic results they deliver. In the eyes of many administrators and parents, success is measured by test results. Although there is no debating the importance of such metrics and no denying the significance of achieving academic excellence, the fact is that in order to be successful in the real world, individuals must have not only strength of intellect, but also strength of character.

It is only logical, then, that schools place an emphasis on character development. Many schools pay lip service to the idea of providing a holistic education in their classrooms, but only a few really establish and implement a comprehensive program devoted to instilling strong character values and life skills. R.E.A.L (which stands for “Result Enhancing through Active Learning”) Schools is one example of an establishment that has put into place and practice a full-scale character development program focused on bringing out the best in each and every student, inside and beyond the classroom.

R.E.A.L Schools

Established in 1985, R.E.A.L Schools – which encompasses three campuses in Cheras, Shah Alam and Johor, each containing a kindergarten, private national school and international school – believes strongly in providing holistic education for its students and nurturing them to become lifelong learners and successful and productive members of society.

“Academics are an important part of this, but we also strive to inculcate values, develop solid character attributes, and teach essential life skills to our students,” said Serena Chow, Principal of R.E.A.L Schools Cahaya Campus in Shah Alam.

This philosophy is embodied in the five R.E.A.L Pillars of Life – Character Building, Language Mastery, Interpersonal Skills, Effective Communication Skills, and Multiple Intelligences – which form the backbone of the R.E.A.L educational experience.

“These Five Pillars are woven seamlessly into the curriculum and classroom instruction. At R.E.A.L Schools, students develop holistically and become all-round achievers, wholesome individuals with sound character,” Mrs Chow added. 

The first of these Pillars, Character Building, involves the inculcation of desirable character traits through R.E.A.L’s “Character First” program, which is used by more than 3,000 schools in over 29 countries worldwide.

“If kids learn character values when they are young, it can really make a difference in their lives. Through our ‘Character First’ program, we identify the values that we believe are important and imbue them. Every year, students are introduced to ten new character values and learn to embrace and demonstrate these values,” Mrs Chow said.

Indeed, there are countless examples of R.E.A.L students putting these character values into practice. One recent example was a humanitarian trip made to Siem Reap, Cambodia, during which R.E.A.L School students were engaged in a host of charitable activities including helping to build houses for the poor and conducting English classes. This profound experience enabled them to further understand and express the character values of gratefulness, compassion and generosity.

The second Pillar, Language Mastery, was put in place to ensure that students attain proficiency in three languages – English, Bahasa Malaysia, as well as Mandarin or French.

“With the exception of ESL students who focus on honing their English skills, all students at R.E.A.L Schools must learn three languages. It’s amazing how easily kids are able to pick up different languages when given the chance. At R.E.A.L Schools, students learn to be multilingual, and this will definitely be a valuable tool to help them excel in their future careers,” said Mrs Chow.

The next two Pillars, Interpersonal Skills and Effective Communication Skills, involve teaching students the art of communication. At R.E.A.L Schools, students develop Interpersonal Skills by interacting and collaborating with peers on academic projects and extra-curricular endeavors. They are also encouraged and trained to build their Effective Communication Skills in areas such as public speaking, presenting and debating.

The last Pillar involves fostering Multiple Intelligences to unearth the unique gifts of each and every student. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, put forth by Dr. Howard Gardner in 1983, holds that people possess multiple “intelligences” or strengths rather than just one, single mental ability.

“At R.E.A.L, we believe that it is crucial for educators to identify each student’s intelligence or innate talent early on and further develop it so that a child may ultimately achieve his or her truest potential,”Mrs Chow explained.

Students at R.E.A.L Schools are encouraged to excel both academically and in extra-curricular activities, such as sports and the performing arts, and have distinguished themselves through their achievements in numerous areas.

Musical plays have been a unique R.E.A.L Schools tradition with the staging of live student productions such as the wildly entertaining and successful “Tarzan the Musical”, “Mamma Mia” and “Phantom of the Opera” by the Cheras campus. They have even organized a full-scale fashion show, showcasing original creations by student designers. On top of that, their students recently finished 1st Runner-up in the “Team Cheer Pom” category at the Southeast Asia Cheerleading Open (SEACO) 2013, an annual competition that attracts the best cheerleading teams from across the region. The “R.E.A.L Idol” is a much-celebrated talent extravaganza organized by R.E.A.L Schools’ Cahaya Campus in Johor.

'Tarzan the Musical' - a REAL Schools student production

One example of a well-rounded and multi-talented R.E.A.L student is Michelle Shepherdson. She penned an essay for the Dublin Literary Award for Young Malaysians 2011 competition that was shortlisted from a total of 948 essays submitted nationwide right down to the top 20. Michelle is also a national ice-skater who has won numerous gold medals in international competitions.

Another outstanding example is Ervin Chang, a top-rated national junior golfer from R.E.A.L International School. Among the coveted titles he has under his belt include the Greg Norman International Junior Masters golf championships. Ervin is widely regarded to be one of the brightest young talents on the Malaysian golfing scene.

Michelle and Ervin are merely two of the many R.E.A.L students who have earned recognition and acclaim. In the classroom and in society, R.E.A.L students are making their mark and contribution. This is no doubt a result of the holistic education they are receiving at R.E.A.L Schools, which equips them with character values and life skills necessary to succeed in the real world.

For more information, visit www.realschools.edu.my  


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