In the third instalment of a regular series by Singapore American School (SAS) on how to design a school, Superintendent TOM BOASBERG highlights the impact of a school’s learning goals and aspirations with an American schooling curriculum.
The purpose of the SAS campus design is to best support students in developing in the learning goals that are at the heart of our educational mission, which will help students develop a sense of joy and purpose in learning.
What do you hope a student can do when they leave SAS?
Our vision is to cultivate exceptional thinkers prepared for the future. We identified seven types of learning goals that we believe every SAS student should develop.
Character: Engaging both the heart and mind helps us experience and express ourselves in relation to others, and ultimately helps us to improve the world around us.
Collaboration: Working effectively towards a common goal while optimising group and individual contributions within diverse teams.
Communication: Effectively exchanging ideas and information through oral, written, digital and creative expression.
Content Knowledge: Acquiring the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to success in college, career and life.
Creativity: Integrating and combining ideas while following a passion or curiosity to develop a useful and novel idea, process or product.
Critical Thinking: Accessing and analysing key information to develop responses to complex problems and questions that may have no clear answer.
Cultural Competence: Functioning effectively with people of different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds by building awareness of one’s own cultural worldview and developing cross cultural skills and a positive attitude towards cultural differences.
How were these learning goals identified?
About 10 years ago, we worked closely with our parents, who are high-performing professionals across many industries, to look at what was most relevant and needed in the workplace and civic life. They helped identify the key learning goals that would most help our students in the world they will graduate into.
How do learning aspirations impact the new buildings currently under construction?
Our physical spaces are designed to help our students grow in our learning aspirations with an American schooling curriculum. Our campus is more sustainable and greener, connected to nature and natural light. There’s more learning space, play space as well as dining, multilingual library and community spaces. We are purpose-building state-of-the-art technology, arts, robotics, and maker spaces to spur student creativity and critical thinking. We’ve designed our new athletic, arts and robotics spaces to encourage strong team building and collaboration.
Our learning communities, where four classrooms have flexible designs to stand alone or open to each other, are designed to encourage collaboration across teachers and students in our learning aspirations. There are community spaces that students can utilise for collaboration and communication, and quiet spaces for critical thinking.
These spaces have been arranged flexibly to promote interdisciplinary learning by strengthening our students’ opportunity in engaging in more complex, real-world problem-solving activities. The design ensures there are no limitations to the types of learning experiences in the American schooling curriculum that SAS students can engage in.
With our ultimate aim of developing a love of learning in our students, we want our campus to be a place where students experience a sense of joy every time they’re here. We’re optimistic that will be the case and we’re looking forward to the campus completion!
This article first appeared in the January 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!