Prepare for Success at Renaissance International School Saigon
Do you remember what it was like to be in secondary school? The very thought of having to face the real world upon graduating can be truly daunting. But the pressure of preparing for adulthood and decisions towards future career paths shouldn’t have to be the sole weight of the student to bear. We spoke with Renaissance International School Saigon in District 7 for their expert opinion on how parents and children can work together to reach their goals.
The first step towards success is communication between parents and students, says Kathryn Holland, KS4 Leader and English teacher at Renaissance. ‘We encourage students to use a variety of study methods,’ she says. ‘Different methods of study enhance memory and recall during exams, but for parents it can be worrying as sometimes it looks like their child may not be doing much.’ Her advice is simple ...
“ If your child is doing something creative and there’s no textbook in front of them, ask them to explain what they are doing. That way, you don’t need to stress that they are not taking their studies seriously. “
Sarah Alexander, Head of KS5 and IB coordinator agrees and suggests that parents actively get involved with revision. ‘By asking ‘can you explain that to me’ and giving different scenarios for them to apply knowledge to, parents help children develop critical thinking skills, which we know are critical not only in exams such as, IGCSEs and the International Baccalaureate, but also to use later in life.’
Providing students with the tools to manage pressure is a major consideration for staff at Renaissance, stressing the importance for students to maintain a balanced lifestyle, especially during their final secondary school years.
‘As adults, we know about work – life balance, but at that age, children feel extremely guilty about not studying, says Ms. Alexander.
“ They need to know it’s ok to have an outlet for stress, it’s ok to go out and kick a football. All of the research shows that you need this to be successful. ”
Ms. Holland agrees, ‘When they are in university, students will be part of different societies, or clubs. Employers are looking for people who can manage demands of the job and life at the same time. So, we always try to encourage our students to continue with the things that they enjoy, at the same time as dealing with the pressure of studies and assessments.’
Staff at Renaissance clearly understand the importance of exams, but with both Ms. Alexander and Sue Morrell – Stewart, College Counsellor, referring to them as a ‘bridge to adulthood’ it is no surprise that their advice for dealing with exams is to also think about what comes afterwards.
‘Our goal at Renaissance is to help students to develop a number of options for their future,’ says Sue Morrell – Stewart, College Counsellor. ‘We want students to reach for the stars, but we also encourage them to be realistic. We want to make sure that if things don’t go as well as students would hope, they still have a range of options available to them.’ She suggests parents can help with this process by encouraging children to fully explore career paths that they may not be aware of.
‘There are so many different jobs out there’ she says, ‘If you’re interested in health sciences you don’t have to be a doctor. General practitioners and Podiatrists require similar skills and will always have a job, but the academic requirements are different.’
Asked for a final word of advice to anyone who may still be worrying about school assessments or future exams, Ms. Morrell – Stewart is clear. ‘Exams and school assessments are a very important part of a young person’s life but the IB exam also teaches students to become well rounded people, it is invaluable for students to realise that it’s not only academic results that determine their future success. If students are able to find their own passion, they are more likely to be successful in the long run.’
Renaissance International School Saigon
74 Nguyen Thi Thap Street, Binh Thuan Ward, District 7, HCMC
Image source: RISS