Imagine kids running around in a field playing a game of “Mr Wolf”, enjoying the time of their lives and laughing. Well, you might have heard a lot from your children or friends about service projects that they have been to. But do you know that a certain group of students in Grade 10, FIB students, just became “teachers” during their service trip?
What is FIB? FIB stands for Foundation International Baccalaureate. It is a course that the newly admitted Grade 10s go through so that they have an easier pathway to the IB course. I am one of the FIBs who joined UWCSEA in August last year. Recently, we went on a service trip to Bintan, Indonesia for our service project. We worked closely together with an organisation, The Island Foundation (TIF), who taught local students in Bintan so that they could have a successful future. Some of the struggles of the community were foreigners cutting down forestation, more and more people getting diseases, polluted water thus not being able to catch fish and more. Now that we were going to become teachers we came up with activities to conduct with the children.
Mr Rick Hannah explained the objectives of the project as “helping FIB students understand the service learning process as well as making a positive and hopefully sustainable difference to the communities.”
In October, last year, we took a ferry to Bintan which was followed by a 3-hour bus journey to our destination to Mutiara Beach Resort. The following day we were split into 3 different groups and went to 3 different villages to get more information for the work we had in hand. We went around the village and interviewed the residents, town council members, and some parents who were supportive of TIF’s goal. We learned more about some of the daily activities the locals take part in which helped us in our project planning.
“Make sure the way you help them is really intentional and that it is well planned out. If you are not intentional you think that you are doing good but actually it can have unintended consequences,” Mr Hannah constantly reminded us.
FIB students with Mr Paul Sharry and one of the locals who supported TIF.
Consequent to gathering the required information, we went through a rigorous process of choosing the topic we were going to teach the students. The main theme of the coursework was ‘Living in Bintan’ where we had to teach the students more about their culture. After choosing our topics we prepared for a presentation to show the TIF as they represented the stakeholders.
In our presentation, we described to them how our lesson would go from start to end. We also told them the use of that particular activity to the development of the student's mind and skills. Succeeding the presentation, we improved our project to make it more attractive and relevant to the theme so that the students will enjoy the lesson.
Thereafter, we completed a lengthy lesson plan with the help of some of the teachers. Mr Hannah also gave us examples of how he would plan one of his day-to-day lessons. This allowed us to make our lesson plan look near perfect. Following this, we made materials needed for the lesson, taking precautions that none of the children who were going to use them would get injured. Since my group chose songkets, traditional clothing in Indonesia, as our topic, we pasted some of the designs on flash cards with which the students would play a memory game.
During the actual day of the lesson, the FIBs put on their best performance for the children and made sure that everyone had fun. We played games like memory games and Simon Says. A part of the lesson also included getting the students to make their own songket designs and share it with the rest of the class.
After the lesson, we did a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. We discussed the challenges and strengths we had during the lesson. One of the most hazardous challenges we had was that the place where we were teaching was very windy which caused the whiteboard to collapse on the ground several times, once even on one of the students. One of the strengths we had was that we had planned many engaging activities which made the students very attentive during the lesson.
“Your lessons have allowed us as an organisation to improve some of the techniques of teaching our students. Using interactive games such as Simon Says allows students to stay attentive during the lesson. Thank you so much," the TIF staff told us.
One of the most moving advice Mr Hannah gave us was “If you were to find yourself in a similar situation, would you jump straight into it to take action or would you speak to the people, find out their perspective, understand the issue properly, and then take action?"
“From all the amazing feedback that I have received from the teachers and staff, I am really happy to say that the lessons conducted by you were done very well,” Mr Rick Hannah happily said in his debrief with us from the trip.