For many people, the period of lockdown has meant they have had a little more time on their hands. Without the daily commute and evenings filled with further work or social commitments, more traditional hobbies have made a striking comeback.
Anyone with a presence on social media will have noticed the proliferation of home bakers (baking bread seems to be a compulsory activity of lockdown). Arts and crafts, too, are proving more and more popular, while many are finding that they have found the time to rediscover the simple pleasure of reading. Some, like me, have returned to dusty old instruments that have not been played for years.
Lockdown has, somewhat paradoxically, also inspired many to become more physically active. Home exercise videos are some of the most played videos on YouTube, propelling their creators to worldwide fame. Exercise is deemed to be such a fundamental part of wellbeing that it is part of the UK’s official lockdown policy; every citizen is entitled to an hour of outdoor exercise every day, something that millions have enjoyed in the welcome spring sunshine.
Why have so many of us resisted the temptation to sit and watch the endless supply of quality material on Netflix? Why have so many of us been inclined to use the time more productively, to take up new hobbies, or return to old ones, during this period? Why have we used the time to develop our skills and broaden our horizons at a time when our movements have been so restricted?
For me, the answer is simple; humans have an inbuilt desire to flourish.
The word ‘flourish’ is taken from the Positive Education framework that is embedded into all that we do at MCM. We want all in our community – pupils, staff and parents – to flourish, to reach their potential, in all of their endeavours.
Of course, this applies to academic work. But we also recognise that experiences outside of the classroom play a significant role in helping our pupils to develop into the well rounded young men and women that we all want them to be when they leave us.
At MCM we want to harness the inbuilt desire to flourish that I have mentioned, to enhance it, and to give our pupils as many opportunities as possible to experience new things.
We offer a wide range of opportunities over and above the set curriculum that are designed to widen each students’ horizons, enable them to find their niche and allow them to grow in confidence and achieve excellence in all that they do.
Reflecting the true ethos of the College, our co-curricular activities are broad, distinctive, holistic and well rounded. All additional activities are designed to develop important skills in leadership, communication, creativity and cooperation, and range from climbing, to farming, music, robotics, chess; the list goes on and on….
Returning to the Positive Education lexicon that we use at MCM, all that we do in the co-curricular sphere of school life can be referred to as ‘Positive Engagement’. We want our pupils to develop a positive ‘have a go’ attitude. It is easy to pigeon hole oneself as ‘sporty’ or ‘non sporty’, ‘musical’ or ‘non musical’. We aim to break down these conceptions and instil the belief that all of the activities that we offer are for everyone, regardless of prior experience or natural ability. Of course, there will be things we are better at than others, but all of the activities that we offer provide unique learning experiences that we can all enjoy and benefit from.
Perhaps the most transformational experience a pupil at MCM can have is attending one of our many trips and expeditions. Each year group has a range of trips that are carefully planned so that as a pupil moves through the college, they are challenged in a progressive and appropriate manner. Pupils are taken out of their comfort zones but come out of the other side having grown as people, having learned new skills, and having developed their characters and resilience. Such experiences do wonders for the pupils’ confidence and sense of independence.
We had trips planned for Years 5 through to 10 for the final week of the summer term. We were all set for camping, hiking, team building, bushcraft, white water rafting and other adventure challenges in destinations across Malaysia and beyond. However, our plans were scuppered in the New Year as fears around Covid 19 began to spread. The outbreak didn’t stop our entire trips programme, however, with a very successful scuba diving weekend in Rawa heading off in February that saw a good number of pupils complete their Open Water PADI training; a tremendous and unique opportunity available at MCM. We look forward to rearranging all of the planned trips that had to be cancelled as soon as it is safe to do so.
Perhaps the only area of school life that can match trips as a life changing experience is that of Outreach. So it was a great pleasure when we travelled to Borneo to climb Mount Kinabalu in March (the weekend before the MCO was put in place), a trip that combined the hike with Outreach work in a local village. Our brilliant Lower Sixth pupils spent a day building a pathway across the Kinabalu foothills out of tyres; it was seriously hard work!
Closer to home, MCM Outreach teams work with those communities less fortunate than ours. These experiences are an important aspect of a student’s education at MCM. The concept of giving and the spirit of ‘being rather than seeming to be’ is fundamental to the programme. MCM strives to develop a lifelong ethical spirit of social service through the understanding and appreciation of how materially fortunate the pupils are, as first world citizens, and instil a feeling of an ethical prerogative to ‘give back’ to the community and the resulting personal satisfaction.
What does all of this have to do with wellbeing? Returning to our endeavours during lockdown, I believe that many of us have engaged in such a wide variety of activities in recent weeks as a way to escape. As a way to relax and switch the mind from real life concerns and stresses. To simply ‘be’.
When one is engrossed in a good book, focussed on learning a new melody on the piano, or is determined to finish the latest fitness workout, the pressures of the outside world become less relevant.
It is equally as true at MCM; co-curricular activities provide a release from academic and social pressures that many pupils face. Whatsmore, they are fun. Enjoying oneself, staying active, being part of a group or a team with a shared objective; all of these things are fundamental to wellbeing.
Finally, the sense of accomplishment one can feel through such activities can also be incredibly powerful. Having recently mastered a few new songs on my dusty old guitar, this is something I can testify to.
If you would like to get a sense of the activities that we offer, boarders weekend activities can be viewed here and further reading on activities in the school can be read below.
There is a host of ensembles running throughout the Prep School and Senior School, some of which are led by our specialist music beaks, and others which are formed by the pupils themselves, giving them the freedom to explore their own creativity.
Instrumental music tuition runs with the academic curriculum, with in excess of 280 lessons taking place each week. Our dedicated music professionals help to nurture the talents of our pupils, encouraging a disciplined, yet enjoyable approach to instrumental learning.
With such a busy department, we are able to provide a great number of events throughout the College year. There is a regular programme of weekly lunchtime concerts, and performances in assemblies, as well as the termly Prep School recital. Larger scale performances happen within the Senior School several times a year, and there is a healthy amount of competitive music-making throughout both areas of the school. Musicals and nativity plays add a focus to the Prep School co-curricular programme on a yearly basis, with the Senior School musical taking place every two years.
Pupils receive two 90 minute games sessions per week. In addition, there are a host of before school and after school clubs and activities.
Sports on offer include:
● Touch Rugby
● Table Tennis
● Health and Fitness
The Prep Drama department has established a nativity show for Year 4 and an Upper Prep musical for Years 5 to 8. There are also extra-curricular drama classes available to pupils from a visiting Drama School, Centrestage. During these sessions, pupils have the opportunity to work towards Trinity and LAMDA exams as well as explore Creative Theatre.
In the Senior school, the co-curricular drama programme seeks to increase the skills and understanding of the pupils. In recent years, we have delivered a wide range of productions including Musical Theatre, Shakespearian Plays and Greek Tragedies. Taking on a co-curricular commitment in drama gives pupils an opportunity to acquire a more thorough and detailed stage training, providing the experience and development needed should they wish to pursue Drama School, post 18. We are an inclusive department, and ensure that everyone who auditions for a play will have a chance to perform. We offer frequent theatre excursions, usually travelling to Singapore to experience top-class productions of plays and musicals. These trips are carefully selected to expose pupils to a range of styles and ideas from both local and international companies. The aim of co-curricular drama at Marlborough College Malaysia is to develop the pupils’ confidence, self-esteem and performance skills in a fun, supportive, social environment.
Pupils joining Marlborough are very privileged young people. They are taught to recognise this privilege with an understanding of the responsibility that it places upon them. A responsibility that, at some stage in their adulthood, they will give something back to society, in whatever meaningful form is available to them.
We endeavour to foster this personal development in all our pupils within the daily school life and particularly in our Outreach programme, which emphasises service to the community as an integral and important part of the Marlborough experience. We provide a broad range of opportunities:
Charitable Fundraising provides the opportunity for pupils, parents, and the wider Marlborough community to work together and gives us the chance to donate to important local and global causes.
Community Service sees pupils and beaks give willingly of their expertise and time to causes that aid others throughout Johor and across Malaysia.
• Orphanage visits
• Picnics hosted by MCM for Rohingya orphans
• JARO (Disability Centre) workshops
• Mangrove cleanups
• Beach cleanup days
• Farming at the college’s Barton Farm
• Fundraising drinks stalls at Straits tournaments
• Coral damage and plastics environmental projects
• Charity fundraising
• CAS dive projects on Rawa island
• Mangrove environmental study
Friday Activities (Senior School)
There is a rich tapestry of options available to pupils in the timetabled Friday afternoon activities programme.
|The Arts||Global Citizenship||Physical Endeavour||Enrichment|
Journalism – College Chronicle
Instrumental Music Practice
Theatre Production Skills
Knitting and Sewing
Social Action Project
CAS Reflective Garden
The Global Goals Project
Prep Library Management
Athletic Development Centre
Umpiring and Refereeing
Dance and Physical Theatre
Strategic Board Games
Dungeons and Dragons
World Maths Challenge
Reading for Pleasure
Classic British Comedy
International Film Club