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E-learning: Secondary School students develop core skills for future careers

by Eddie Rayner
Horizon International School

Students at the popular British curriculum school in Jumeirah have become independent, self-sufficient, adaptive learners.

Since the introduction of e-learning across the UAE in March 2020, students at Horizon International School have developed a new set of skills to aid in successful future career paths.
 
The team at Horizon International School has revealed that, based on assessments, performance and attitude during the first two months of e-learning, students have become independent, self-sufficient and resilient in their approach to learning.
 
“Distance learning or e-learning requires students to possess a different set of skills to those needed for the traditional classroom. They’ve also had to face and adapt to unexpected situations along the way, such as exam cancellations,” says Darren Gale, Principal at Horizon International School.

Matthew Whittaker, Head of Post-16, explains: “Naturally, with distance learning, our students are afforded more academic freedom when it comes to their schedule and the pace at which they work. We have found that students are scheduling appropriate study time and are adhering to clear class and homework deadlines.”

Joanna Brandariz Jones, Key Stage 3 Progress Leader and Teacher of Dance & PE, says: “Our students are thriving as they develop new ways of accessing learning, and their personal drive and self-motivation have flourished thanks to the developing nature of e-learning.”
 
Key contributing factors to student development include establishing structure in the form daily classes and lessons proceeding as normal, as well as one-to-one meetings with staff who are responsible for students’ pastoral wellbeing, providing emotional support and stability.
 
While a school environment aids students in making and sustaining friendships, resolving conflict, developing empathy and regulating emotions – all essential skills for adulthood – Horizon International School continues to ensure students retain such skills through various programmes that allow them to come together with their tutors and peers. This includes the PSHE (personal, social and health education) programme, as well as active form time, where students ‘check in’ with their tutor at the start of the day, to ensure everything is on track.

According to the team at Horizon International School, employers in today’s society will be seeking employees who can demonstrate the numerous skills that distance learning provides. With the consistent exposure to technology and new applications, students have developed ICT skills that they never had before, while communication and leadership skills have improved through group projects performed remotely.  Time management has also been a key focus.
 
“One of our main aims is to prepare students for the world of work, which becomes even more prevalent during these unfamiliar and challenging times.  Students have had to effectively manage assignments, tasks, classes and one-to-one meetings – skills which will be transferrable to the corporate world, where managing deadlines, working collaboratively and attending meetings form part of daily practice,” explains Whittaker
 
Commenting on the inclusion of e-learning into the traditional school curriculum, Gale says: “What we learn about e-learning can and should be incorporated into the curriculum once school resumes as normal.  Students – and teachers are learning new skills that may well revolutionise many aspects of how we teach and learn.  There must be a thorough review of e-learning to ensure that the best features of the programme are incorporated into the curriculum in an appropriate way that will benefit students.” 

About Horizon International School
Horizon International School (HIS), part of Al Najah Education, is a supportive, student-focused international community school following a British style of education.
 
Centrally located in Umm al Sheif, the school caters to students aged three to eighteen years old. Its highly qualified UK-trained teachers and purpose-built facilities enable the school to give every child the opportunity to thrive. Horizon International School prides itself on providing an effective balance between academic rigour and creative and sporting pursuits. The school places a strong emphasis on its values and community spirit, which underpins its mission “Everyone Counts, Everyone Contributes, Everyone Succeeds.”
 
The staff at Horizon International School strives to challenge and inspire all learners to develop their skills and nurture values through a love of learning so that they can responsibly embrace the diverse challenges of tomorrow.
 
For more information, please visit www.hisdubai.ae

About Al Najah Education
Al Najah Education Limited is an educational asset management company, with a vision to create one of the largest educational platforms in the MENA and SEA region. It aims to provide the best education services, tailored to the needs of the communities it serves, through its rapidly growing network of educational facilities across four verticals – Pre-Primary, Primary, Secondary & Training Institutes.

Since inception in 2012, Al Najah Education has focused on identifying and developing various business opportunities in the education sector. It has experienced exponential growth throughout the years, starting from three educational assets in 2013 and expanding to 48 assets in 2018, catering to approximately 16,000 students across all its operating regions, through a buy and build strategy.

For more information, visit www.alnajaheducation.com