Ontario International Canadian School (OICS), the only Canadian curriculum school in Dubai, is the first school in the region to implement the innovative Lexia Program, aimed at taking personalized learning to the next level.

The use of Lexia, a computerized reading program, is now a regular feature at the school, used to pinpoint the level of proficiency of all students from JK to Year 10, for ESL levels. Students spend 10 to 30 minutes every day to identify any shortfalls, and then undertake additional classes as required.  In just three months, it has enabled 210 students at all levels of capabilities to accurately identify and improve areas of deficiency, whilst building on strengths.

Principal of Ontario International Canadian School, Ron Hodkinson shares, “Gone are the days that students were put through a standardized education system, as rigorous studies into the education field have highlighted that the same techniques are not effective throughout a classroom.  Students are at a stage in their development where their natural curiosity should be rewarded with information, making learning fun, not stifled under a rigid system. This is done best when the requirements of the students are well understood, and the teaching techniques are adapted to suit these accordingly.”

Located in Mirdif, OICS believes in the benefits of ‘differentiated instruction’, on the premise that every student is truly unique.  As a pioneer of this education approach, it utilises five essential methods to ensure it offers a flexible method of teaching that is tailored to each student and their learning styles. Differentiated instruction identifies where students are in terms of their understanding of concepts, and seeks the best way to build upon this.

When adapting to a student’s unique learning style, be it visual, auditory, reading or kinaesthetic, teachers are able to present information to students in a manner whereby it is most effectively absorbed. Ontario International Canadian School creates such a learning experience in a number of ways, starting from classes consisting of small groups, where students are placed with those who share their learning style, pace and level of understanding. The positive effect of this is furthered into learning out of school as no generic homework is given out. This follows the aim of individualizing home learning to suit the student’s capabilities.

In keeping with the times, and making the most of the technology now available to teachers, the school also tracks the performance and capabilities of its students through MAP testing, done three times a year. The results of this process help to identify patterns in students and their learning, and address these accordingly. One-on-one sessions are made available to those struggling with any subject matter that is identified during the testing process.

In addition to these in-class approaches, students also receive the support of the entire community.  “At OICS we’ve implemented the highly beneficial Arabic conversation intervention program – aimed at students who struggle with the language. Pupils are assisted by trained parent volunteers in conversational Arabic, as needed, to be able to best perform in their classes.”

21st century learning is prevalent in all classrooms, specialising in technology such as ipads and chromebooks. Mr. Hodkinson concludes, “We ensure that we keep abreast of developments, both in the educational and technological fields, to guarantee the best possible deliverance of the Canadian curriculum to our students. In doing so, we create a happy learning space in which students can utlise their strenghts, alongside enabling students to tap into and build critical thinking abilities to become well-balanced adults.”

 

Source: Q Communications