As a parent, you’ve probably heard about the benefits of US education and how it can open endless opportunities for your children. However, most parents don’t know what American schooling really entails. What are its goals and outcomes? How does it benefit the students? And how can it prepare a child for the ever-changing future?
To answer these questions and more, XCL American Academy Superintendent, Darin Carney, sat down with Hon. Kirk Wagar, former US Ambassador to Singapore and current Board Member of XCL Education, to talk about the benefits of American education, what it means to be a Pioneer and the importance of character development for students.
Here are some of the highlights from the one-hour session:
1. American education opens up students to a world of perspectives.
What makes American education unique? For Kirk, it’s “all the different cultures that come together” from all over the world.
“It infuses every classroom you’re in. It doesn’t matter if it’s chemistry or math, English or world events. We get perspectives if not from immigrants themselves but a lot of first and second-generation immigrants. And so it gives our educational experience a different bent because chances are, there’s someone in your class that has at least a cultural understanding if not a familial tie,” the former ambassador said.
This is especially valuable in a country like Singapore — a melting pot of rich heritage and culture. According to Kirk, here in Singapore, “if you’re not learning, you’re not listening… and if you can infuse that into your children at an earlier age [through American education], you give them a leg up as they go forward in the world.”
2. It ignites the “Pioneering Spirit” in learners.
As technology evolves and the world changes around us, Kirk believes that today’s students are going to be leaders — or pioneers — much earlier than previous generations. “The world is going to be on the shoulders of this generation in a way that deals with misinformation, deals with respect [with regard to] people who disagree,” he said.
This means that being a pioneer goes beyond standing at the forefront of change — it also means having a strong, well-developed character.
This is integrated into the US curriculum at every stage, with programs such as Second Step forming the basis for student character development.
Throughout their time in school, students will learn the importance of listening, working hard, and learning from criticism. By the time they graduate, they’ll be well-equipped not only to be the best in their field but also to push the envelope of what’s possible — which goes back to the essence of being a pioneer.
3. It equips students with real-life skills through experiential learning.
In the past, most schools placed a huge emphasis on rote learning, which involved memorizing new information through repetition. That’s not the case anymore with American education. Today, students can learn about practical, real-world topics such as civics, marketing, business and technology, all through experiential learning.
Embedded into the curriculum, these experiences teach children a variety of useful skills, including leadership, problem-solving, communication, entrepreneurship, and more.
And they lead to social-emotional development, too. According to Kirk, experiential learning helps students become more knowledgeable about “different cultures, different religions, different backgrounds, [and] different beliefs,” and how to respect these diverse perspectives.
Through these experiences, he added, “you’ll get smarter, you’ll get wiser, and hopefully you’ll get an understanding of a culture you didn’t know before.”
4. It helps students maximize their potential.
Many of us know that American education can open up unlimited pathways for our children, but how does it help students find the right pathway for them?
For Kirk, it’s all about finding — and bringing out — what students are passionate about. “If a person is doing something they enjoy, they’re going to be great at it,” he said. “They’re gonna reach their potential.”
American education also combines experiential learning with rigorous, balanced academics — ensuring that students are well-equipped to pursue their goals and aspirations. With a strong foundation established, students will have the tools and skill sets to succeed in their future studies and careers.
5. It prepares students to succeed in an ever-changing world.
As the world changes around us, how can we prepare our children to succeed in fields that have yet to be created?
According to Kirk, it’s about “prepar[ing] students with what they need fundamentally, but more importantly, open[ing] their minds to be ready for anything… It’s that American spirit, frankly, of ‘you can do anything.’”
By combining diverse perspectives, experiential learning, character development, and rigorous academics, American education prepares students not only to be future-proof but also to lead the charge as well. They’ll have the skills they need to lead, create, and innovate — embodying what it truly means to be a pioneer.
Learn more about the American international school in Singapore
At XCL American Academy, we believe that high-quality education should be accessible to everyone. We proudly offer a rigorous and balanced American international program that’s focused on what truly matters for students.
Our Young Pioneers will learn from highly trained and experienced teachers from all around the globe. We adopt internationally recognized curriculum programs such as Everyday Math, Inspired Science and a balanced approach to literacy with materials from Scholastic. In addition, we also closely follow the rigorous AERO Curriculum guidelines and US Common Core standards.
Beyond academic rigor, we place a strong emphasis on our students’ character development. Our Pioneer Spirit Program is based on the acclaimed Second Step framework, which offers a holistic approach to social-emotional learning. Students will learn in a safe, inclusive, and encouraging environment to help them find their passions and maximize their potential.
One of the standout features of our curriculum is our unique PioneerTown program, which focuses on entrepreneurship. Students will participate in a large-scale simulation of a town, engage in role-playing and take on different responsibilities in a self-contained economy and learn important concepts such as economics, negotiation, innovation, leadership, sales, commerce and many others.
Little by little. Day by day, students will develop the mindset and experiences they will need to be at the forefront of this change and to be agents of their own success.
We look forward to welcoming our first batch of Young Pioneers this coming school year.
To learn more about XCL American Academy and our pioneering programs, check out our curriculum today or book a school tour. We hope to see you soon at our world-class campus!