Nurturing Your Child’s Learning Experience with ISKL: What Parents Can Learn

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Every child is unique.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
What works for one child may not work for another.”

As parents, we’ve come across such phrases, and can’t help but agree how apt they are. It’s hard to assume that all children learn in the same way. Can schools truly carve out varied learning approaches, based on students’ interests and passions? According to Ms Azra Pathan, Director of Learning at The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), the answer is yes.

We find out more about ISKL’s innovative approach to learning, and how they’re transforming their students’ learning experiences. For curious parents, read on as well for tips on how you can encourage a greater love for learning in your kids at home:

1. Identify your child’s interests

Parents who spend quality time with their children know that kids are more likely to go to class, pay attention, process information and perform their best when the subject matter is aligned to their interests. Topics or events that can stimulate a child’s curiosity help them to stay engaged; which is why it’s crucial that their learning experiences best suit their abilities and aspirations.

This is the heart of the curriculum at ISKL, where students from Elementary through to Middle and High School are given numerous opportunities to lean into their respective passions. As ISKL students reach their High School years, they are provided with a flexibility to explore educational pathways that align with their strengths and talents. This ‘personalised learning’ or ‘best fit’ approach culminates in a purposeful curriculum that helps students better understand their strengths and challenges, in addition to the world around them.

Take for example the Pursuits Program, a two-year course aimed at Grade 11 and 12 students. “The program consists of a combination of ISKL-offered courses, including the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and self-directed and applied learning schemes. Some courses are taught in a classroom setting, but other aspects of the program are independent; meaning that students seek out their own mentors, community partnerships, online coursework, internships, or research with help from the Pursuits Coordinator,” explains Ms Pathan.

Through this, students are able to focus on their areas of interest, take initiative through self-directed learning, and craft their own path forward.

Curious? Try this at home:

  • Do the groundwork, and listen actively to the things that matter to your child. Pay attention to what they read and discuss current events, in order to gauge what their strengths and interests are.
  • Remember to give your children permission to make mistakes (in fact, celebrate those small mistakes), so they grow in resilience and curiosity. 
  • Encourage them to give an activity a decent trial, and stick with it. They may wind up eventually enjoying it!

2. Take learning beyond the classroom

For many kids, some of their most memorable educational lessons would have been learnt outside the confines of a classroom. Whether it’s a field trip, a lesson held outdoors, or an enrichment class, the journey outside the classroom can take many forms –  and it is in this process that students develop their most valuable skills and attributes yet.

This is a key component in ISKL’s PRAXIS Program, aimed at Grade 9 students, which opens up minds to complex and real-world challenges in a future-ready learning environment. Students are expected to creatively explore and effectively collaborate, whilst focusing on problem-based learning. Going beyond the traditional classroom setting, students are empowered by mentors and guest speakers, and have access to new educational experiences. “You’re going to learn about things affecting your society, look at things at a deeper level and analyse it, while coming up with ways to fix it,” shares Maryam, from the class of 2024.

Co-curricular activities (CCA) or After-School Activities (ASA at ISKL) are also an important way to nurture global collaborators and prepare our kids for an increasingly connected world. At ISKL, students have weekly opportunities to collaborate with their peers and build camaraderie and commitment. The school’s varied CCA range from athletics and sports, to debate, STEM and the creative arts. With the Arts, students from Early Childhood through to High School are encouraged to enquire, experiment and explore; and through service learning activities and participation in various school clubs, students are also given the opportunity to make positive changes around them, and be in touch with needs of the community.

Curious? Try this at home:

Make learning part of the family fun. Go back to basics by playing board games, asking open-ended questions, or encouraging your kids to learn a new craft or hobby by watching a YouTube tutorial with them.

Some other examples could include:

  • Conducting science experiments in the kitchen (cooking and baking are great ways to learn);
  • Watching a TV show in a different language;
  • Encouraging your kids to keep a travel journal during family trips; or
  • Getting them to practise their observational skills, by recording what they see in nature.

3. Honour your child’s voice and choice

As your kids grow up, do you allow them to make more decisions that shape their life? By doing this, you may help them develop a sense of responsibility, self-confidence and decision-making skills. Giving them choices also empowers them with a greater sense of control over what they do. It’s a step in growing up, and understanding that not everything is planned for them.

This same approach is seen throughout ISKL, where students are empowered with a sense of ownership over their learning. Under different settings – from the classroom, to clubs, leadership opportunities and CCA – students under expert guidance are given opportunities to speak up for themselves, and demonstrate how they can make a difference.

The belief that learning is enhanced when students are engaged in activities that are authentic, relevant and meaningful to them is prevalent throughout ISKL. Some of their innovative learning initiatives include:

  1. the Grade 5 Changemaker Conference in Elementary School, where young learners had the chance to hear first-hand stories from different NGOs on how small gestures make a huge difference in society, inspiring students to use their voices to make a change;
  2. in Middle School, students will have the opportunity to develop their voice, exercise choice, and practice “future-ready” life skills such as initiative, calculated risk-taking, and belief in oneself in a supportive environment via platforms such as Agency; and
  3.  the Student Leadership Team (SLT), which develops students to make a positive impact through research, advocacy or action.

Curious? Try this at home:

  • Hold family meetings to discuss concerns, and allow for civil disagreements to take place.
  • Encourage them to place orders when eating out, or ask questions to shop assistants when purchasing something.
  • If they are shy, avoid labelling them as such; instead, give them time to adjust to new people and situations.

4. Role model as parents

It starts with us. Did you know that for many kids, their parents are their first teachers? That’s because learning happens in the all-day, everyday moments of their lives. Even after your kids start schooling, the lessons at home don’t (and shouldn’t) stop.

Many schools welcome parents as partners in their child’s education. Good collaboration between the two can boost kids’ study habits and attitudes about school. “At ISKL, educators and parents have a strong partnership, as we firmly believe that when this happens, students are more motivated and engaged in their studies. We have a variety of workshops which involve parents, such as the VOX talk series that allow them to be positively involved in their child’s learning journey,” explains Ms Pathan.

The VOX ISKL series of workshops provide a forum for parents and community members to hear from experts from around the world. Topics that are critical to students’ academic growth, social-emotional learning (SEL) and lifelong success are discussed, through workshops held at the ISKL campus. Future talks will focus on the importance of SEL, global citizenship, language learning and ethical decision-making.

Curious? Try this at home:

  • Provide opportunities for your child to experience success at home and in their conversations with you.
  • Continuously try to support your child’s goals and voice. Believe in them and be their biggest cheerleader – and they will start believing in themselves.
  • Show them you are also a life-long learner, and be curious with them.
  • While leading by example is good, it involves holding back sometimes. Reserve judgment and listen to your child’s experiences, thoughts and feelings, as they talk about their identities and aspirations.


By Hemala Devaraj

This is a sponsored post by The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL).

If you would like to find out more about ISKL and gain insight into their curriculum and philosophy, do check out their Open Day on 20th September 2023, from 9.00am to 12.00pm at their campus at No. 2, Lorong Kelab Polo Di Raja, Ampang Hilir, 55000 Kuala Lumpur.

Come join the next VOX ISKL workshop on Communication and Conflict: Approaches to Build & Repair Relationships, with limited spaces for the open community on 26th September 2023, from 9.00am to 10.30am at their campus. Register here.


From our team of purposeful, multi-faceted mummies. For editorial or general enquiries, email to us at hello@makchic.com.