“Gone with the decks”

By Keith Teh

As a new student here in ISKL, I have been so warmingly welcomed by the students and teachers. With that, it has helped my transition from my previous school to be easy and smooth. It took me a few days to adapt to the environment here, and I’ve been enjoying it so far. But let’s address the elephant in the room. It might be common for the students who have been here for a long period of time, but I definitely feel that it’s something unusual. Don’t you think so?

Here in ISKL, there’s something called a “deck system”. This system ensures that different grade students have a specific place to be seated during prep period, lunch or even before heading to classes. I’m not really sure if it’s a rule imposed by the school, but I definitely know that the stigma with students mixing around with others from different grade is encouraged. This system prevents students from different grades to mix with one another and if one does, it will be judged by other students or portrayed as weird and uncommon. From what I have noticed, it’s something that stands out here in ISKL. The new students have noticed it and felt it was very segregated from one another including those in the same decks. The worst problem is that, many students will only interact with the one’s in the same deck row. This says that if students in our own grade do not interact with each other from the 5 other row of decks, how would it be possible for students to even interact and mix with the other students in school despite the difference in grades.

Furthermore, I suggest that the only way to change this system is to encourage students to mix around more with one another and don’t limit the students to be seated at one specific but rather everywhere and anywhere is possible. Interactions helps students further develop their their language learning and social skills so maximising interactions not only in classrooms but outside too. Unfortunately, there are students that decide not to mix with one another but are rather more excluded from the rest as they already have a “group” and don’t usually mix around with others.

To combat situations like this, the school should provide the students with a reason to interact with other students excluded their own friend group, like participating  in community and service with a mix of different students that won’t be decided by the students but the teachers or even a randomizer. This way, I strongly believe and think that it pushes the students to get out of their comfort zone by allowing them to work with other students enhancing their own collaboration, socialisation and self- consciousness skills (1)

This system has affected the mentality of the students without even realising. With the understanding that students in ISKL are the ones responsible for the built of the community, there’s need to be a change. Interaction will not happen spontaneously, however, in my view it should be considered. But together as one, I strongly believe that as a community we can look forward for a much more caring and inclusive community.

Work Cited

  1. “Increasing Student Interaction.” TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC, www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/increasing-student-interaction.
  2. Dunn, Elizabeth W., and Michael Norton. “Hello, Stranger.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 25 Apr. 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/opinion/sunday/hello-stranger.html.


4 thoughts on ““Gone with the decks”

  1. Dhaanyia

    As a new student in ISKL as well, I can relate with your stance. Nice conclusion!

  2. Vivaan Dobberstein

    A very well written piece enjoyed reading it, I like your stance on abolishing the deck system. I like how you delivered your message. Gave us a real insight into your thoughts on the deck system. However, I just want to ask. Will abolishing the deck system really solve the problem? Because people are so used to having these ‘group’ of friends, even by abolishing the deck system people will still be in the same groups and sit with the same people.

  3. Tanisha

    Keith, it takes a great amount of courage to vocalize your thoughts on a public platform! I loved how you put this query of yours into action! Amazing job!

  4. Hyungseok

    Nice use of criticising tone. Like the topic because it was more relatable to me

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