Sixth Form at Ep­som Col­lege in Malaysia:

LOOK­ING BE­YOND THE HORI­ZON

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The key aim for any ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ment is to achieve the high­est aca­demic grades for their stu­dents. At Ep­som Col­lege in Malaysia, a co­ed­u­ca­tional board­ing school lo­cated near Kuala Lumpur based on the

Bri­tish pub­lic school tra­di­tion, this is no dif­fer­ent. ur teach­ing staff have ex­tremely high aca­demic ex­pec­ta­tions of our stu­dents and push them con­sis­tently to achieve their po­ten­tial. How­ever, build­ing on the cul­ture of the best Bri­tish board­ing schools, Ep­som Col­lege in Malaysia ex­pects more from their sixth form stu­dents than just a good set of A Lev­els. It aims to train them for univer­sity and for the wider world be­yond.

Start­ing in Septem­ber 2016, the sixth form team at Ep­som have de­vel­oped a num­ber of in­no­va­tive ini­tia­tives which en­cour­age stu­dents to look be­yond the A Level syl­labus. Th­ese ini­tia­tives are part of the apt­ly­named Hori­zons Pro­gramme, the aim of which is to en­rich stu­dents’ Col­lege ex­pe­ri­ences be­yond sim­ply study­ing for A evel ual­i­fi­ca­tions. t see s to cre­ate crit­i­cal thinkers who will en­gage fully in the world around them and help them to chal­lenge con­ven­tional think­ing.

So what does the Hori­zons Pro­gramme en­com­pass? What fol­lows is a taster of some of the many ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that are on of­fer to our stu­dents.

Dur­ing the school day stu­dents are trained in teach­ing meth­ods which are more akin to univer­sity study than tra­di­tional class­room meth­ods. The ol­lege is pi­lot­ing an bridge-style tu­to­rial sys­tem for teach­ing in some of its top-per­form­ing sub­jects. The tu­to­rial is a teach­ing method used at ford and Cam­bridge univer­si­ties which in­volves stu­dents re­search­ing a topic and en­gag­ing with their tu­tor in an in­depth dis­cus­sion about what they have dis­cov­ered. In this way, stu­dents are en­cour­aged to ta e part in sig­nif­i­cant aca­demic con­ver­sa­tions as an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant rather than a pas­sive learner.

Lec­tures and talks run through­out the term dur­ing lunch breaks and en­cour­age the stu­dents to en­gage with their aca­demic sub­jects be­yond the taught com­po­nent of their cour­ses. The speak­ers come from a range of back­grounds, from both in­side and out­side the Col­lege, and are en­cour­aged to take con­tro­ver­sial stances in or­der to chal­lenge stu­dents’ thin ing. oth stu­dents and staff de­liv­ered talks on ar­eas of their aca­demic in­ter­est, fo­cus­ing on top­ics as di­verse as fem­i­nism in the twen­ty­first cen­tury and the bio­chem­istry of the hu­man brain. Nu­mer­ous aca­demics have also vis­ited the Col­lege to present their own cut­ting-edge re­search to the stu­dents, with top­ics rang­ing from mod­ern ter­ror­ism to the hu­man genome.

Stu­dents’ ex­po­sure to in­tel­lec­tual ideas and dis­cus­sion does not fin­ish at the end of the school day. In the evenings, the sixth form team run reg­u­lar screen­ings of doc­u­men­taries and tele­vised de­bates. Stu­dents are en­cour­aged to chal­lenge the view­points pre­sented to them and de­velop their own po­si­tion on im­por­tant is­sues. The aim is to build a ‘learn­ing com­mu­nity’ within the Sixth Form Cen­tre, for both stu­dents and staff, which brea s down the bar­ri­ers of the tra­di­tional stu­dent­teacher aca­demic re­la­tion­ship.

Stu­dents take in­spi­ra­tion not only from the teach­ing staff, but also from vis­it­ing stu­dent men­tors. Un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents ap­ply for in­tern­ships at the Col­lege from a range of higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions in the UK. Their time at the Col­lege is spent sup­port­ing the aca­demic de­vel­op­ment of our top­per­form­ing stu­dents through run­ning one-to-one tu­to­ri­als, giv­ing feed­back on univer­sity ap­pli­ca­tions and in­volv­ing the stu­dents in their par­tic­u­lar ar­eas of re­search. This al­lows the stu­dents ac­cess to in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence of in­di­vid­u­als who have first-hand in­for­ma­tion about the chal­lenges of suc­cess­fully ap­ply­ing to, and achiev­ing at, top ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

Ep­som Col­lege pas­sion­ately ad­vo­cates the idea that a good ed­u­ca­tion is about more than just good A Level re­sults. Th­ese are, of course, a ma­jor fo­cus of sixth form study at the Col­lege but the Hori­zons Pro­gramme seeks to de­velop and en­hance stu­dents’ learn­ing be­yond the A Level syl­labus to al­low them to en­gage fully with the world around when they leave the Col­lege. Life is out there: you just need to look be­yond the Hori­zon!

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