Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join AustCham
Access Asia
Blog Home All Blogs

Top tips Choosing a school in Singapore

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013

One of the most important decisions you will make as a parent is deciding which school to enrol your child in. The right school can be pivotal for a child’s academic and social development. Staff of Stamford American International School meet families in the process of making this important decision on a daily basis and, while the answer depends on each family’s differing priorities and needs, there are some key areas to consider when choosing a school.

Curriculum: while it may seem natural to lean towards the curriculum of your national identity, you should also explore different curricula that might better suit your child’s learning styles, such as the interactive International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

Foreign language: foreign language development is increasingly important. Consider the languages on offer and the frequency and structure of the language program.

Location: choose a school that is central, easily accessible or convenient to your home or workplace. While Singapore is small, you don’t want to add unnecessary stress to daily travel. Consider options for transport provided by the school, such as a door-to- door bus service, as well as the convenience of public or personal transport.

Campus: in addition to location, the quality and maintenance of campus facilities are important considerations. Buildings can age quickly in the tropics. Another key factor is the length of a school’s lease as the Singapore Government can rezone an area, potentially causing a disruptive move for students or a decline in campus standards.

Class size and teacher quality: class size and student:teacher ratios are important, particularly for younger students; however, good ratios don’t always ensure teacher quality. It’s wise to also consider a school’s focus on recruitment, training and professional development of its teaching faculty.

Broad exposure: strong academic programs are important, especially for older students, but a school should have a balanced program beyond that. Investigate opportunities such as specialty instruction in the arts, dance, drama, music, physical education and technology; either within the required curriculum or as after school activities. School can be a great place for students to explore and develop interests.

Parent involvement: some parents love to be active in the school community and others do not, or simply do not have the time. Understanding your preference and the parent culture at each school is important toget a sense for whether it’s the right fit for your child, your family and you.

Eve Rogove
Director of Admissions and Marketing
Stamford American International School

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

To check out our coming events, click here

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Education  SAIS  Singapore 

Share |

Facilitated visual planning a new leadership model

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013

"Was there a time in your career when you were on the receiving end of a marketing plan or business strategy change in which you had no input?"

For junior or middle managers this situation is not unusual, but for those in more senior positions this can raise questions around exclusion and self worth, and often results in a resistance to buy-in.

In many organisational cultures leaders are conditioned to operate from an ego-centric orientation. People who are promoted to the top tend to be those who are best at making themselves (and their opinions) heard in meetings, which is seen as a mark of authority.

Leadership behaviour focuses on the leader being the prime driver of creating strategy, making decisions and dictating action. Vital success factors, such as effective business planning and strategy, become the domain of a smaller, closed group of senior team members. In this instance, it’s not unusual for well-intentioned manager egos to compete, resulting in delays, redirections or even sabotage of the strategy.

One process that’s proven to successfully support leadership engagement is ‘facilitated visual planning’. It stands in stark contrast to a directive top-down leadership style. This method encourages equality in contribution, either among peers or to a wider multi- level staff group, and involves people in a structured and visually intuitive way to engage and align thinking.

In facilitated visual planning, leaders adopt an approach of humility, and accept that they do not hold the answers to the universe. In more hierarchical business cultures this wider, more creative style may initially be viewed as being ‘weak’. It takes courage to adopt a facilitative leadership style. It requires a leader who can think about ‘we’ rather than ‘me’.

A leader who really wants to harness the best from their team will create an environment of trust and respect that allows for a mature depth of dialogue in meetings. A facilitative approach in leading a meeting can enable managers to hold the tension of not making decisions immediately. By encouraging participation from diverse quarters this inevitably leads to better decisions with broader reaching, actionable commitments to which the group involved develops an immediate ownership.

Working visually in business meetings is an effective way to establish equality of understanding and serves to focus alignment on business challenges and strategies. This is especially true across the Asia-Pacific region where English is so often an executive’s second language.

A good facilitator needs to be prepared to ‘go slow to go fast’, rather than seek the quick fix philosophy adopted in many organisations. By involving others to uncover diversity of thinking and by opening up quality conversations, business planning develops in an inclusive way and people feel connected and responsible.

Facilitated visual philosophy interrupts the unhelpful patterns that can occur in traditional approaches to planning. Clarity emerges from visual planning and makes processes, assumptions and decisions explicit, dramatically improving the chances of alignment. The visual nature of the outputs from visual planning makes them clear, engaging and safe for others to contribute to.

The results from adopting a facilitated visual approach to business planning are more likely to lead to sustainable business changes in ways that are relevant, interesting and, importantly, owned by the people who will be responsible for making them a reality.

John Ogier
Director, Meeting Magic Asia Pacific


For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

To check out our coming events, click here


 Attached Files:

Tags:  career  southern star 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Global access brings Study Group to Singapore

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013

International education is big business. In the next decade, it is estimated that seven million students will be studying outside their country of birth. So it’s no wonder that a global access ‘hub’ like Singapore is attracting so many players in this market.

One of the latest is Study Group. Its new Singapore office is rapidly approaching 15 staff, comprising several different nationalities, including Singaporean, Australian, British and German.

Study Group’s Executive Director for Sales and Marketing, Yuri Narciss, has recently joined the company from Google. According to Yuri, access to global markets was a key factor in choosing Singapore as the company’s global marketing and recruitment headquarters.

"With 34 Study Group recruitment offices worldwide and more than 140 student recruitment staff located throughout world, Study Group needed a central global hub with excellent infrastructure and ease of travel. Singapore certainly provides this,” says Yuri.

"Singapore is also an easy place to set up business and has access to outstanding human resources. "It has an outstanding reputation in education, which has attracted many international universities to set up programs here and there is no doubt Study Group is considering the transnational educational opportunities here. At the same time many parents and students in Singapore, and the wider region, are also aware of the value of an educational experience abroad,” says Yuri.

"Study Group aims to be the global leader in providing programs that create superior career outcomes for students and achieve the goals of partner institutions,” adds Yuri.

"While Study Group is acutely aware of the importance of face-to-face engagement with students, we’re also focused on becoming industry leaders in the provision of education online.”

Working with partner universities and its own colleges, Study Group now partners with more than 100 higher education institutions worldwide, and more than 50,000 students enrol in one of its programs annually.

In Australia, Study Group offers:

• years 10, 11 and 12 at Taylors College, its international school, located in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth

• pathway programs for Flinders University, University of Sydney and University of Western Australia

• vocational diplomas and degree programs (face-to-face and online delivery modes) through the Australian College of Physical Education, Australian Institute of Applied Sciences and Martin College

• English language programs at its Embassy Language Schools in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney

• business and technology degrees from Charles Sturt University through managed campuses in Sydney and Melbourne.

Study Group’s activities in Singapore are focused on the recruitment of students into one of its destination countries, including Australia, as well as the global management of its marketing activities.

"With a network of more than 100,000 Singaporeans who have studied in Australia and a history of education partnership that dates back to the 1950s, Study Group is proud to have set up our global recruitment headquarters here, and we look forward to continuing to help educate the future business, government and academic leaders of the region,” says Yuri.

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

To check out our coming events, click here

 Attached Files:

Tags:  southern star  study group 

Share |

The impacts of multilingualism

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013


"Speaking multiple languages, it seems, makes you better at other languages, and also, potentially, more creative and better at mathematics, science or history."

The Australian Government’s Australia in the Asian Century white paper sets out plans for the languages component of the Australian Curriculum to enable all Australian students to learn a language other than English. A curriculum for Chinese (Mandarin) is one of the first in development. Frazer Cairns, Head of Dover Campus at UWC South East Asia, discusses the latest research into multilingual learning for children, especially those at international schools.


While multilingual education dates back to ancient times, until recently multilingualism has been seen by many education researchers as an exceptional, even hazardous, phenomenon.

Trying to learn a subject using a language other than that spoken at home (for example, learning science in Danish rather than English) was cited as the root of a number of difficulties, including cognitive overload, semi-lingualism and language confusion. It was thought that using more than one language to learn was, essentially, bad for you.

This point of view has profound implications for international schools, where a potentially large proportion of the community is learning through a language other than their home language.

Thankfully, educational research now sees multilingualism as a potential asset, providing learners with a strategic, significant advantage. Speakers of multiple languages learn further languages more easily and seem to show a better understanding of the nature of linguistic structures.

According to Laurent Gajo, a professor at the University of Geneva, empirical research shows that multilinguals ‘know things’ that transcend the purely linguistic level. In Gajo’s view of learning, the different languages interact and combine to generate an original, individual, complex competence on which the user may draw, rather than simply welding together two monolingual halves. Speaking multiple languages, it seems, makes you better at other languages, and also, potentially, more creative and better at mathematics, science or history.

Learning while using a language other than your home language is not easy nor will it yield instant results. Though many children pick up basic language competencies relatively quickly, the more specific language demanded in an educational setting takes longer to acquire. Indeed, most students will initially see a drop in their overall performance as they try to adjust. Much also depends on personal factors, such as motivation, the child’s communicative needs and levels of anxiety. However, in the medium term, the drop is usually compensated for, and a multilingual child regains their age- appropriate progress – and often surpasses their monolingual peers.

Going back to the concerned parent: should you, then, speak to your child in, say, Mandarin at home if it is not their mother language? The research is clear: no. For a child learning in a second language it is vital to maintain their mother tongue. Skills acquired in the first language can be transferred to the second language so, for example, if your child has developed good reading skills in English or French, she is likely to be able to apply these skills when reading Korean. Other transferable reading skills are the ability to guess the meaning of unfamiliar words from context and being able to plan a piece of writing or develop an argument in a persuasive essay.

Educational research has generated its fair share of false conclusions—playing Bach to your children does not necessarily make them better at maths, despite the claims made in some studies. The factors that generate the positive consequences of multilingualism are not yet fully understood, and much depends on personal factors. What is clear is the importance of the strategic and transferable skills that multilingualism can bring to children as they face a complex and rapidly changing world.


Frazer Cairns
Head of Dover Campus at UWC South East Asia

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

To check out our coming events, click here

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Education  multilingual  Singapore  southern star  United World College 

Share |
Page 13 of 13
 |<   <<   <  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13