A skill is an example of ability. A child will learn many types of skills throughout their life. These skills are important for children to successfully participate in all school activities and to develop their knowledge and understanding of the lessons learnt in the classroom. However, school is not only about the present, it also prepares students effectively for life beyond the classroom and the future.

At WASS, we take seriously our responsibility in ensuring students that join our school community are able to complete their schooling and be prepared for life outside the walls of their classroom. Thus, as a school community we have adopted the five categories of skills identified in the International Baccalaureate Approaches to Learning as skills that need to be developed as our student’s progress through WASS. The below is how we at WASS develop these skills in our students.

1. Thinking skills

Thinking skills allow students to make reasoned, ethical decisions after exercising initiative by approaching a problem both critically and creatively. At WASS our students are not just taught to remember and recall facts. Our students are required to move through phases that allow them to develop their thinking skills. It is important that students first develop understanding of the concepts. Once students understand, teachers then develop higher order thinking skills such as application; analysis, evaluation and creation.

2. Communication skills

It is important as one goes through life that they have ability to be effective communicators. This does not only involve verbal or written communication. It also includes the skill of being an effective listener. At WASS, students are provided opportunities on a daily basis to enhance their verbal and written communication skills through a range of activities ranging from persuasive writing to oral presentations. Students are also taught to listen to each other as a form of learning and understanding.

3. Social Skills

Students at WASS are taught how to adapt to peer-related and teacher-related social interactions and behaviours. Throughout the day, students are provided with opportunities to collaborate with their peers and teachers to complete a range of tasks. Also, students are taught during Life Skills the importance of justice and tolerance towards their peers and the community. This creates a sense of caring amongst the students and an awareness of the impact their behaviour has on others.

4. Self-management skills

This category can be divided into two groups. Group 1 involves organisation skills. At WASS students are taught how to set goals and to manage their time effectively so classwork and assessment tasks are completed on time. The second group is affective skills and this helps the students manage their state of mind, self-motivation, resilience and mindfulness. These attributes are developed on a daily basis by providing our students with a safe learning environment that allows the students to be risk-takers and not afraid of making mistakes.

5. Research skills

Teachers at WASS teach research skills by adopting an inquiry-based approach to their teaching. This approach requires teachers to pose questions and problems to the students and it is the responsibility of the students to provide answers or solutions. This skill was particularly evident in the school’s STEAM program this year. The teachers have supported and guided the students through this approach and have outlined the importance of effective research and the dangers of plagiarism.

Stephen Zahra

WAP Principal