The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on education around the world. Schools have closed their doors in order to minimize contact and reduce transmission rates. In addition to COVID, the political unrest in Myanmar has caused a double jeopardy onto the situation. Teaching has completely shifted online on an untested and unprecedented scale.
Brainworks K-12 Integrated School in Myanmar has always been focused on innovation and adaptability in education. Since 2004, they have been pioneers in introducing learning platforms like Fast Forward and Reading Mastery, which is based on artificial intelligence components for cognitive development in children. The first critical period of brain development in children begins around age 2 and concludes around age 7. It provides a prime opportunity to lay the foundation for a holistic education for children. Their experiences during this phase will have lasting effects on their development as they grow. Young children can discover the joys of trying new activities and learning something novel. They have also continuously implemented the industry’s most cutting edge technology like interactive smartboards with world-class support software in every classroom in all of Brainworks schools, which instantly increased their students’ access to top-quality resources.
This existing familiarity with technology has been immensely helpful in transitioning from in person to virtual learning. The innovative culture in Brainworks has led us to succeed in adapting to the new normal with our teaching staff who have mastered over 25 digital tools and platforms used in online schooling. They first started out with 2 weeks of trial classes and took in the feedback from their students and teachers. They took into consideration their ideas on what to improve and then officially launched our virtual classes.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities. Research confirms and teachers, parents, and principals agree: Social and emotional competencies can be taught, modeled, and practiced and lead to positive student outcomes that are important for success in school and in life.
Schools should not only be focused on a child’s intelligence. Their social and emotional aspects play an important role in their development as well. Brainworks school aims to produce well rounded children with a varied skillset that are capable of contributing to the world.
The CASEL 5 addresses five broad and interrelated areas of competence and highlights examples for each: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. The CASEL 5 can be taught and applied at various developmental stages from childhood to adulthood and across diverse cultural contexts. Many school districts, states, and countries have used the CASEL 5 to establish preschool to high school learning standards and competencies that articulate what students should know and be able to do for academic success, school and civic engagement, health and wellness, and fulfilling careers. CASEL’s framework takes a systemic approach that emphasizes the importance of establishing equitable learning environments and coordinating practices across key settings of classrooms, schools, families, and communities to enhance all students’ social, emotional, and academic learning. Quality implementation of well-designed, evidence-based, classroom programs and practices is a foundational element of effective SEL. Brainworks believes it is most beneficial to integrate SEL throughout the school’s academic curricula and culture, across the broader contexts of schoolwide practices and policies, and through ongoing collaboration with families and community organizations. These coordinated efforts should foster youth voice, agency, and engagement; establish supportive classroom and school climates and approaches to discipline; enhance adult SEL competence; and establish authentic family and community partnerships.
The future of success lies in recognizing, utilizing, and creating patterns. Brainworks introduced this concept in its classrooms right from our pre-schools, all the way through high schools, as additional curriculum support. Brainworks school has established new educational platforms during this academic year in order to inspire students to explore the world beyond their textbooks. One of the major introductions for pre-school to secondary students was the Discovery Education Experience. With approximately 350,000 concepts from around the world through videos and high-quality assessment systems, learning becomes way easier and full of fun. The addition of Discovery Coding has led to increased access to computer programming. Discovery Science is extraordinarily organized, and it makes science more approachable, fun, and equally thought-provoking. It has added more value and references to our students’ science education. As more and more jobs become STEAM based in our ever changing world, these skills will prove to be indispensable for their futures.
Another major accomplishment is the introduction of the Brainworks Masters program. It is a quiz platform that aims to improve reading and comprehension through visual and auditory senses, extended thinking through subtleties and nuances, and awareness of global issues. Students could gain rewards and participation points for their grades by answering these short quizzes every week. This also increases their scope of general knowledge, which will help them outside the school. Student Reported Grades (SRG) sheets have also been extremely successful. By giving students a visual representation of the requirements for the grade they are aiming towards, they can have a clear sense of direction regarding their academics. According to John Hattie, this is one of the top 3 factors which affect the quality of learning in the classroom.
Many parents have expressed their appreciation towards Brainworks. A parent from Secondary 4 said, “At first I thought that Zoom classes would be less effective, but the school’s additional applications helped the students improve their learning skills and have also given more opportunities to keep in touch with their teachers. I noticed that the teachers kept monitoring my child’s progress and communicating with them on a regular basis. I would like to thank everyone for their assistance and understanding. You have done everything at your disposal to give your students the best education possible and complete their academic year despite the current situation. This has been a truly remarkable year for all of us.”
Nilar Tin Latt, parent of Lynn Yaung Sin from Primary 4 said, “I can see that my son is very happy to be studying at Brainworks. His grades and self-confidence have improved due to the support and care from his teachers. I would like to thank the school for making these changes possible.”
Gangadhara P, parent of Chaturya P from Primary 2 and Mahith P from Primary 5 said, “Thank you to all Brainworks teachers for providing such wonderful quality education for my children. I would also like to thank the management for taking a lot of initiatives towards student wellness. I really appreciate all your support.”