UWCSEA has embarked on several inclusive activities and should now take it to the next level; what might that look like?
This may entail clarifying our individual values towards ‘disabilities’ and nurturing an inclusive community within UWCSEA that resonates Singapore’s aspiration to always be an Inclusive Nation.
Renee Gallant: Okay I'm actually going to begin so welcome to Is UWCSA inclusive? This is one of our first virtual sessions as a part of the UWCSA forum. Learning to Shape the future. I hope again, as I said, I hope you've enjoyed this morning's opening remarks and our keynote address by Howard Gardner. I just wanted to point out that if you do miss any of the sessions throughout the course of the conference, they are available on the Forum app.
We'll be uploading them throughout the course of the day, so continue to check back and you'll be able to watch the recordings. And speaking of the app, just a little reminder to continue to refresh your app, whether you're using it on your desktop or on your mobile, because that way you'll ensure to get the most frequent updates and announcements that will be coming through.
And if you're having any problems, you can always email forum at UWCSA.edu.sg or pop a question in the question and answer section of the The Forum app. So this session is being hosted on Zoom as audience members, we hope that you will keep your cameras on so that our presenters can see your faces.
We ask that you keep your mics on mute and if there's time towards the end of the presentation, will invite you to unmute yourselves and ask questions of the presenters. Otherwise, you will be invited to join the presenters following the session at a virtual online networking event, and we will share the link for that session with you just before we close out of this session.
So I will now turn things over to Giles Jacobson to get us started. Giles.
Giles Jacobson: Thank you very much. And a wonderful introduction. Yes. Interesting title. It's not deliberately intended to be controversial, even though it might feel controversial initially. But we're we're we're thinking about inclusion as a whole. We're thinking about what it is globally and how UWCSA could maybe incorporate some things where the outside society is less inclusive.
So even though it might feel a bit provocative, you might be sort of like, Ooh, I'm wondering what they've got to say. But to start with that. So let's just have a little vote. Your gut feeling, yes or no, is UWCSEA inclusive from your perspective with what you understand about the school? So hopefully a poll will come up on the screen now and just just click yes or no, just to just kick things off.
Interesting. So about two thirds, one third at the moment. Give it another five, 5 seconds. 60-40.
Approximately two thirds, one third. So we're hoping this will be an engaging, engaging discussion. We're going to just try and share some thoughts and share some perspectives. And then, obviously, if you have any thoughts as well, put them in the chat. If you got any questions, put them in the chat and we'll try to respond to them and engage throughout the rest of this session and beyond.
Can somebody just confirm that? You can see my screen and you can see the slides. Please.
Renee Gallant: Looks good, Giles.
Giles Jacobson: Yeah, okay. Thank you. So this is a workshop basically involving myself and three other members from runninghour.com, which is a Singapore cooperative for engaging with people with special needs. So I'm a high school teacher in the East Campus, and I've been part of running hour fair for about five or six years now, maybe a little bit longer.
I can't remember exactly. So the three people with us are amazing people that I've had lots of inspiration from throughout the last few years. So if you can introduce yourselves just quickly and then we will take it from there. So, Chris.
Chris Hortin Tan: Hi everyone. My name is Chris and I'm the volunteer vice chairman of running hour also in charge of events as sponsorship. My two boys are both UWC alumni and I know UWC very well thank you.
Fathima Zohra: Hello everyone. I'm Zohra and I'm currently the admin and centre manager for running hour. And I'm also going to be speaking a bit of my experience as a person with the disability today.
John See Toh: Good morning, everyone. This is John. I'm the co-founder of Running Hour and also a former special education educator. I've been a volunteer in the disabled sector for the past 40 years. Thank you.
Giles Jacobson: Thank you very much. So what are the intentions first for this morning, for this this hour or so? Basically, we realised this was a platform that if we got accepted to do this workshop, then it would be an opportunity for people with disabilities to share their voice just predominately about life with a going to maybe just think about some inclusion policies and practices predominantly within Singapore.
And then the main sort of takeaways, I suppose, from a university perspective is thinking about the next 50 years and where the school is going to go in the next 50 years is putting a few ideas on the table, which are just blue sky thinking, if you like, about Singaporean children with disabilities and how they could maybe also benefit from the UWC mission.
And then obviously you can join the discussion later on if you want to want to carry this on. So yeah, what is inclusion that started this way around? I'd like to try and think of some event in your past that you were excluded from. I'll give you 20, 20, 30 seconds or so to just try and think about a time when you felt excluded.
How did it make you feel when you're excluded and how does it make you feel now? Thinking back about that, that occasion. So if anybody would like to share, you can share in the chat or you can share later. But just to make sure we keep the timings and things. I'm just going to throw out one little one little story I remember from when I went from primary school to secondary school to be able to play in the school football team, we had to have shin pads and boots and proper studded boots.
And my, my, my life at the time meant that we couldn't really have enough we didn't have enough spare money to be able to buy shin pads and boots. It wasn't a priority for the money that we have. So I actually did not play football at all until I went to university when I was 18. So for me, I'm really sporty.
I like my sport and I love my football. And yetI wasn't able to wasn't able to be part of my school football team or try and be part of that school football team just because of other external reasons and basically finances. So yeah, it had impacted me and had an effect on me. So thinking about exclusion in that way and then thinking about, okay, does that mean inclusion is everything else?
Maybe that's a form formal premise that we could we could work from. So I'm going to pass over onto Zohra now to to take that platform forward in terms of thinking about exclusion and then then maybe inclusion.
Fathima Zohra: Okay. Maybe you can go to the next slide. Hello again, everyone. You're only seeing like a headshot of me today. I think that describes me more than my disability. But if you saw me otherwise, you'd see a wheelchair. And then somehow everyone instantly defines me by my wheelchair. Actually, when I was 20 years old, I was involved in a car accident that actually left me paralyzed neck down.
And that's why I have ab acquired disability. I have been living with the disability for almost five years now and I think my perspective when it comes to exclusion and what inclusion means to me could be very different from someone who's lived with a disability the entire life. I also had the privilege of living without a disability for 20 years, so I understand how that can make me feel.
But when I was suddenly disabled, I think the world started seeing me so differently that I felt so excluded because I was wondering I was still the same person, except I was just using a mobility aid and somehow everyone defined what I was capable of with my wheelchair. And I think that definitely made me feel excluded in society.
And it was not a very good feeling. But my experience now when I see about when I talk about inclusion is, you know, we're all the same people we just happened to have like, you know, I happened to have a different body. I use a mobility aids, but that shouldn't have to define what I can or cannot do.
Um, I was also actually a student. I was doing the IB programme and I was studying in Canadian international school. So I had to do CAS. I volunteered to volunteer with a school which had people with special needs, people with intellectual disabilities and autism. And at that point, I think for me it was just like, Oh yeah, I'm just going to go do a service.
So this, you know, my teachers or no one actually prepped me for what CAS I'm going to do. It was just like, Well, you've got to do CAS And then, you know, they sent us off. So when I was volunteering my time with them, it was like, Oh, you know, I'm just letting them help us time just, you know, keeping them busy with what I did and I was just playing with them.
But now when I think about it, it's like many people who are living without disabilities think that you know, disabled people just have to pass time. You know, like many people approach me when I'm going to work sometimes and they ask me, where am I going? And when I say I'm going to work, it's like it's like, oh, it's good to keep yourself busy.
So this is coming from someone who was ignorant as a teenager. So, you know, I didn't I was not educated enough. I think my teachers never told me the right things. So language does play a very big role in in what we do. So I see teachers who are responsible for let the students know that, you know, you're volunteering your time, like do it at your own risk, but go to volunteer to maybe understand and learn how to interact with people with disabilities, you know, instead of just taking it as like a service that you have to do and complete the number of hours.
I think that makes a very big difference. And now that I'm a person with a disability, I have to go through so much ableism. Almost every single day. People don't actually have to, you know, yell out and say, hey, you're a cripple or like yell out mean things to me. But it's like the little things, maybe the inaccessibility or the language use or how underrepresented we are in mainstream society.
But I think what's important for us to truly be inclusive is think of the person first. You know, we're like people first before our condition. We are people first. We're capable enough first. And then you talk about the condition because right now you see me like just a headshot. It's like I'm still working for running hour. I work full time.
I also advocate for disabled people because of my experience as a disabled person in the last five years. Maybe you can move to the next slide. So what does inclusion really mean to me? I think right now so many people have so many different perspectives when it comes to inclusion. I think that is representation of people of colour, people of almost all body types.
You don't really see people with disabilities being represented enough in mainstream society. And I think, again, that puts people with disabilities as a different category itself. You know, when we categorise so much, there's no real inclusion because again, we're going back to, you know, like categorising people of different colour, maybe or people with different kinds of disabilities, when really I think real inclusion only happens when it comes as a community perspective.
I think really inclusion again, see someone like a teenager, like myself, like I didn't understand what working with people with autism was, for instance. But when you really interact and understand them, that's where real inclusion happens. I'm not expecting, you know, no person with a disability is expecting society to just suddenly become inclusive. We're saying that if there's real interaction, then maybe the other person would understand our challenges.
And that's what's great about running hour because we have people without disabilities running and walking and exercising with people with disabilities. So there's real interaction happening on a daily basis. And that's why I think running hour itself is such a good community. And like for so long I felt so excluded from society. But when I joined running hor, I think that's where it was the first place that I saw real inclusion.
You know, I didn't get any special treatment because I was someone with a disability and was like, Hey, you're working. We expect the same things from me, and I think that makes a very big difference because that really makes you work and it's like everyone is treating you the same. No one's giving me, and I don't expect any special treatment if you want real inclusion, it's like a two way thing.
You know, people with disabilities have got to prove ourselves too. And I think that's what has made a very big difference for me to get to where I am. I think how I would say real inclusion is by having a community mindset rather than getting special treatment or categorising every group, for instance. And I think maybe I'll pass on and let Chris share a bit more now so that she can share her perspective as someone with a visual impairment.
Chris Hortin Tan: Thank you, Zohra. Hello, everyone. My name is Chris and I'm the visually impaired with only 5% of vision, left in both eyes. This is due to an eye disease called glaucoma. So how much exactly can I see? If I look at your nose, I don't even see your eyes or your mouth descend into a pinhole. So I always tell the little ones, you know, if you're drinking bubble tea, take the straw and look into it.
That's how much I can see. So I had joined Running Hour for almost ten years as one of the one of the beneficiaries. And now I give my time back to Running Hour to servuce the running club. So what is Running Hour? Running Hour is the very first sports cooperative in Singapore. Our mission is to integrate people with disability or special needs into this society through mainstream sports.
Why we choose run? Because we just need a pair of running shoes and we can run all parts of the world, all parts of Singapore. So and then it's also a social platforms for social networking, networking for all our buddies and guides and who are the members in Running Hour? Beside our guides who come and run together with us.
We are the buddies, the buddies consist of visually impaired hearing imparied and physically impaired and also our biggest clients are the intellectually challenged runners with all conditions So I always like to change the mindsets of the people, so it's like see our ability and our disability. I myself as a visually impaired person since yeah, I always tell my boys, you know, mom is visually impaired, but that doesn't stop me from achieving my goals.
Fulfil my dreams and I have achieved lots and I can't imagine. I climbed Mount Fuji mountain, I have run full marathon. I had completed Olympic distance triathlon. All I can do all this is because Running Hour given me the platform to do so. And I must say that Running Hour means a lot to me, it's a big family and see also I think promoting inclusion to start from home and this school play a big part because I believe UWC has a very good opportunity for the young ones to interact with people with special needs to a community service. Next I want to emphasise this: there are people I talk to
who tell me say, hey, how can the blind person do first aid course? And I say, yes, possible I did my basic first aid course before so you know people always have a different mindset and perception about visual impairments and also I personally prefer to there are times when I was running with my guides because we are running side by side as a pair and now what we shout please be aware blind runners coming through and people just turn around and they don't bother I can understand because everybody have a choice.
They have a choice to we can't force people to be inclusive. We we can we can educate can encourage them well. So another incident is, I should say in Singapore context when they come to traffic like crossing you know, when I was to me it's not very inclusive because Singapore is a developed country, but our infrastructure is not well designed to the extent that when you do realize the traffic lights doesn't have the audible soud system, the button that you press for you to cross the road, don't make a soudns ptt.
So not all traffic light have get systems and even you have it but by 9pm it shuts off. And this is also I do not know why because they say it is noise pollution to the neighborhood. So I feel that Singapore has a lot more to do, but I think they're getting there. Some improvement in terms of transport too. I would like to say that we we cannot force people to be inclusive.
They have to give choices. But sometimes I have to put myself in their shoes and try to understand why I think being a human being we should always do good. Thank you.
John See Toh: It's well, if I can just add that Running Hour is very diverse. We have about 300 running guides from 12 different nationality. Everyone is different. So when everyone is different, there's no difference. All right, then perhaps you can take a step back and look at the disability landscape in Singapore. All right. So what proportion of students under 18 years old in Singapore are officially identified as having a disability?
Shall we make a vote?
Giles Jacobson: Hopefully it will come on the screens.
John See Toh: All right. If you can get started on the chat, that would be fine. So the percentage I see, 7%, 10% 20%. Wow. Okay. Right. Yes. A majority of you have that more than the 3.4%. Right. So what's the answer? Right. Okay, exactly like this. So actually the answer is about 2.1%, right? So two in every 100 students are going to be officially classified disabled.
That means they have been evaluated in that way. Well, while there are many students with learning difficulties, these are few in the mainstream school. Right. So this group of student disability consists of 50% of them with sensory and physical disability, and the other 50% comprises of people with intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities. Now Special Education in Singapore is sadly segregated from the mainstream.
Unlike other more developed countries, they are run by a social service agency which are charities. However, they are supported by the Ministry of Education in many ways. Right. So that's a very summary of how special needs education looks like in Singapore. I'll pass over to Giles to touch on the inclusion in UWCSEA.
Giles Jacobson: So thank you. Thank you all three of you there for just yeah those those insights from from a Singapore perspective let's just get a bit closer to home just for a few seconds and then we will go back out to Singapore shortly. This is the the inclusion statement that we have as a school. So don't dwell on it too much.
But how about have a quick little read of that? And and what key words what key key language is there? that resonates with you about about what this is saying and what this is meaning bouncing back from the very first question is UWCSEA inclusive two thirds of you said yes and I very much agree. Yes, it is.
And one third said no. But again, it depends on your perspective of how you understand inclusion. And so from from this language, what I what I pick up is in green there we've got the the guardians, if you like, and then in blue we've got the learners, which is sort of like the the children being taken care of.
But then in yellow, they're, they're all the support mechanisms, they're all the feelings, they're they're facilitating autonomy and they're facilitating the possibility to have responsibility and ownership for yourself, which is, of course, very much what we're about as a school. But with that with that autonomy there is different areas of how you can have control over over what you do and what you engage in.
How much freedom do you have in this type of freedom? You can have that and we'll touch on that a little bit a little bit later. But we're going to do another another poll now just because connecting with a Singapore Singapore context and that's going to be should we mandate a certain quantity of activities or certain types of activities each year?
So the IB programme, we've got caps where you have to do this, you have to do that, and different people have different tick box interpretations if you like. So do you think that there should be freedom for the for the students in UWCSEA to choose what activities they like? Or should there be a minimum? Should there be a maximum?
And that sort of set up so very loosely. Yes. Or no. Hopefully the poll will appear soon. A lot closer this one, although yes is now yes is tend to be dominating. So 60, 60, 40 approximately yes. So okay, so more people here think yes, there should be boundaries set, there should be certain levels of autonomy. Some levels of autonomy, I suppose.
But but the bigger picture there should should be boundaries. There is what some people say. Okay, cool. Yeah. Thank you. So I'm looking at looking at this from the school perspective. I'm thinking as a child, how would you join the school? You could be selected by National Committee or you could be a day student. And just by talking through students, in my experience in my six years in the college, there's a very different experience for the National Committee.
Some of them have to go through a few days of intensive interviews and workshops. Day students tend to be really surprised when they hear what National Committee students have gone through to join the school. But that's not the emphasis here. The main emphasis is on Singaporeans. And so this is where maybe this workshop is going to take a a slight, slight bend or side detour.
Obviously, Singaporeans are not permitted to be part of UWCSEA in an official directed educational capacity unless they've been expatriate themselves. So we're now going to look at this from a perspective of if you were a Singaporean person with a disability and you wanted to be part of UWCSEA somehow to to try, and we can spread our mission to that population even though it's not officially legally permitted in the, in the full time holistic sense.
How might we be able to, to, to be closer connected with with that community? So that I've got connections here with what Howard just said earlier, Howard Gardiner in the opening speech, how the first question he answered in the live Q&A was the vast majority of alumni and students used I instead of We. And he said it was far more prevalent from non-UWC
alumni and students and out in the wider world. So I think that language in that narrative that we use is a is quite important in terms of if we, we use the, the correct language early enough and young enough, then maybe that could help change the wider world later on. So let's hear from a few more people now.
Edwin joined East Campus a few years ago from Running Hour and he joined the middle school chess club. Hey, Edwin, great. Great for you to join us. Thank you very much. I just wanted to ask you about how you found the time in a couple of years ago when you visited our school as part of the chess club.
How did you find that experience?
Edwin: I think I had a great time there just making some new friends and having a good one on one with friendly teachers and students.
Giles Jacobson: Cool. How how good did you find them at chess do you think they were very good at chess or or they got a lot of improvement to do.
Edwin: Various levels. Some of them are really beginners who have elementary sills, and some are stronger and some can actually play very well. so that there are different levels, some are basic level on some of the lower level to somewhat more senior.
Giles Jacobson: Yeah. Okay. So did any of them ever beat you or did you always win every game?
Edwin: Um, sometimes I win, sometimes they win. There's no always winning in anything right?
I'm teasing you. Can you remember can you remember any time a conversation you had with any of the students, just like not about chess but anything else? Our how did you find those conversations? Any, any story that you can remember?
Things are different when I share with them my experiences in my school, comparing local school with international school. So we have differences, the culture is different for them, they have 30 or 40 students from different countries, compared to mine which is like 5 or 6.
Giles Jacobson: Try. Yeah I see. So what what type of how would you feel the schooling is different from your, your experience compared to what they were experiencing.
Edwin: They have a lot of other activities. Well, I mean, I think UWC provides one of the best, education environment for international students. So it is a good place for them to learn and really go through their education. Maybe there's something to the school can look into more
to make education more inclusive. Because they could look into the school infrastructure because I was there and found the infrastructure wasn't always so friendly for me, but the school is a great vibrant place, a very quality group, a good space and a good environment.
Giles Jacobson: Yeah, okay. So, so do you think you would have been able to to learn in this environment? Do you think do you think you could have thrived if you were in the school?
Edwin: I think so. I don't think I'm the best student. In school sometimes I lose my focus, I do not worry. I will drop all my work.
Giles Jacobson: Yeah, understood. So what are you doing with yourself now? What? What work you engaging in? What? What hobbies are you doing now?
Edwin: Well, there's two different questions. Hobbies, obviously, is chess. Level is still low, so currently with the help of my friends I start up my new chess club to is currently not in cooperation I can go it completed soon. In. the coming weeks.
Giles Jacobson: Yes so that that chess club what what's the name of it. Well how do you become a member? What sort of things do you need to do to join it?
Edwin: There's no membership but to try out just sign up. So before I email I promote on Facebook or Instagram, to spread the word about it. So the link goes out for various events.
Giles Jacobson: Got it. So if you go to a physical venue or will it be online chess.
Edwin: Physical venbue because particiapnts are craving for physical chance, they are sick of online. 2 years online. We all need more face to face.
Giles Jacobson: Sorry, I forgot to say that Edwin is visually impaired. And so he. He had to have discussions, wonderful discussions. He came a few weeks into the middle school chess club before the COVID lockdown. So that was just getting his perspective I think because he's got a good value system and he's quite interested in education and of course he's going to value every opportunity can.
So he of course, he thinks he would thrive here for about a year now. We've on Monday nights we've been training up some Grade 11s to learn how to rock climb and belay. And then we've also been given some running hor members experience in rock climbing. I know Chris came down and did the recce and she's been able to see all of those lanes on the left hand side that I'm so in terms of that being a local service, maybe we could define it as a community partnership just in terms of the labelling of what the word service means.
And we really allude to that a little bit later. But just showing that little seed maybe to more people now, one of them is Bennett. He's been in running our for the last two years.
Bennett: In school I receive different types of support due to my visual impairment. I have an assistant always reading loudly and clearly what is there on the board. Also I'm allowed to write all my exams online because I need the text to be in bold letters on black background so I can see it easily and also more times for writing exams. 50% more than the others.
This includes also the IB exams that they took in February. Also due to my visual impairment, the school avoids giving me class materials with images and diagrams they hands on it. Before, the school used to print any school material on large sheets of paper to make it easier to see. But now all of my assignments are done online.
Giles Jacobson: So my main takeaway from that was what he said at the very end about all his class assignments are now online that may be. Is that an indirect, proactive, positive, forward thinking that may be could that not be something for everybody? And he's been included in his school and that now happens because that helps him. Is that something that may be could be normalised with everybody?
One final one now, and this is a student that I taught about ten years ago in a previous school. I taught her GCSEs, so just the two year is there, but she stayed within the school of actually homeschooling. And when I when I first met her at age 14, she was told she had about two years to live.
I believe a few years to live only. And she's now in a mid-twenties and she's in the USA. I reached out to her a couple of weeks ago and she's just given us this message.
Kristine: Hello my name is Kristine Cho. I attended school in Singapore for 13 years, my school was very inclusive and I was welcomed by students and teachers alike. There were some logistical issues such as having to go the wrong way around between buildings or a ramp sometimes being blocked.
But overall my teachers were very accommodating of my needs and they were more than willing to go far beyond what they had to do. For instance, they helped me brainstorm to create meaningful relationships with those students or on how to catch up on missed work after hospitalisation. I also made some very good friends, some who I still keep in touch with. We would hang out during lunch and break times and do homework together on the weekends and watched movies. I look back very fondly of my time in Singapore, especially when looking at my schooling. And I'm very grateful to my school for creating an inclusive environment.
Giles Jacobson: And what I find interesting was when they graduated from school, I perceive that the student community suddenly valued Kristine a little bit more when they found out on the 6th of July that she got 45 points in the IB programme as well. So it's very interesting the way perceptions and way just the way we we we take people and understand people from from face value.
So jumping back to Singapore now, John, what's Singapore's community mindset and their perceptions? If we're going to define inclusion as community mindset, how does Singapore see this?
John See Toh: That's right. Hi Let's look at the education curriculum in Singapore. What is the relationship between social emotional learning in short SEL and inclusion? How does SEL look like in Singapore schools? If I may summarise the key element in social emotional learning there will be having good self awareness, ability to empathise, which I think is critical to building positive relationships and inclusion and making responsible decision in Singapore schools SEL is the foundation for care and education.
So what does SEL got to do with inclusion. Next slide please. So if you look at the social model of disability states that people are disabled by barriers in the society and not by their impairment or difference, I think as Zohra has articulated this very well just now, and these barriers can be classified as environmental, attitudinal and organisational. So SEL would impact greatly on the attitudes of the ordinary people towards person with disability.
Now you can't appreciate what you're don't understand. So the thing to do is to understand disability. And then when they show empathy, which can translate into effort to support person with disability in one's personal interaction as well as in the public domain. One approach taken in Singapore school in SEL is a head, hand and heart approach. Now what was that right?
Head is about knowing and understanding. Hands will be doing and experiencing. Heart would be connecting and valuing. So there's a policy in Singapore requiring students to participate in mandatory community involvement programme. There's argument that we should not compel student to do community service and it should come from the heart. I want my personal perspective and experience as an educator is that it is easy to convince the converted, but more important is to influence
Those who have not experienced the joy of giving so sometimes the hands have to come first. And the experience will convince the head, and then the heart. I've seen students transform in such programmes that are well designed and implemented. Now how does it looks like in UWCSEA? I pass over to Giles Yeah.
Giles Jacobson: Cool Yeah. So let's try and tie it all up now and pull it together. And these are just thoughts from our context, understanding Running Hour as I do and understanding UWCSEA as I do and all I am. I'm a high school maths teacher up in the top corner of D block in East Campus. So of course, there might not be some of these blue sky thinking, might not be feasibly, realistically possible in the short term.
But we've got to try and create an Overton Window somewhere somehow. So maybe this is this is how we can do it. So we've got the motto Opening Eyes, Opening Hearts, Opening Minds. We've just seen at the Singapore mantra is the hands, the heart and the head. So there's lots of parallels that resonates there. But what springs to mind is the emphasis on the hands in the Singapore context.
Let me be opening eyes. Hearts and minds doesn't feel quite as experiential, doesn't feel quite as as tangible. So if we're thinking about a community mindset, thinking inclusion is a community mindset, then how can we incorporate the hands a little bit more? Well, hands is doing and that's experiences. And obviously Kurt Hahn, his whole mantra was about experiential learning.
And so there may be how we doing experiential learning, where can we do it and could we maybe do do some a little bit differently and in different places. So this is where maybe the mandate coming in of should certain activities and certain types should that be mandated or not, maybe less is more maybe focus on quality rather than quantity.
And again, doing the hands part, like John just said, might then be able to open the heart and open the mind that that little bit better from that direction. So we've got all of our five elements of the learning programme. So just thinking about these five elements, the learning programme very quickly, I'm going to going to mention a little thing about each of those five in terms of a Singaporean.
So they cannot be a full time member of the UWC community child who has a disability and to be part of this learning provision. So there we go. In terms of service, let's just maybe put out the possibility, let there's different mindset, say we could even approach it with a savior mindset or approach it with a learner mindset.
What is the rhetoric? What is the language used as to what the approach is? Zohra just mentioned earlier about how when she was doing her CAS in IB, how it was very much going along and ticking the box and not engaging that much. Maybe we need to focus more on what do we out of it and rather than what they get out of it in terms of activities, maybe we could categorise them in terms of competitive or social.
Could we consider the social activities a little bit more? Could we maybe have people like Edwin come into more of our activities like the chess club that he did? And what about personal, social education, personal, social. What proportion of the curriculum is dedicated to personal compared to what proportion is dedicated to social? Could we become a little bit more experiential and tangible and hands on and focusing on our socialisation sites, not just within our YouTube community, but with the wider community as well, and incorporate Singaporeans Singaporean children with special needs more in that way as well.
So trying maybe we could try and then think about what activities we do and what provision we provide and what mandates of activities that students have to do. In terms of the partnerships of what we want to get out of it. And we focus to say we want a relationship with, for example, running our because we've got the same value system as them.
So it's very much an equal, equal partnership and very much on level footing. What about sorry, but all of that up, maybe all three of those could come under an umbrella term community learning, which again for me resonates a little bit more, it feels a little bit more equitable and. Feels a little bit more, yes, we are lifelong learners here and we can we using more meditative language, which is less hierarchical, maybe in terms of the academics.
Now, though, we've got an amazing opportunity here with the Grade nine and ten programme that we're we're designing across the next few for the next few years. We can if we can harness that with the interdisciplinary thinking, incorporate some of some of these other other activities, and make unique, diverse units involving peace, education, etc., then I think we could we could be very much at the forefront of of modern global thinking here in terms of outdoor education.
Yes, the week long holiday trips activities are amazing. And of course, we need to keep those. But how about maybe, maybe having some smaller bite sized habits of life, so maybe having a trekking club or local global concern clubs rather than global concerns which are all external as well. So I'm going to throw out a final story here linking in with the academics.
Again, when I joined East Campus, there was a parent who was a helper within the maths department and she wanted to interest in education and wanted to engage with the mathematics. And so she sat in to some further maths class with classes within the IB programme. And so therefore it got me thinking and she's a member of the community, she's been vetted, she's, she's part of UWCSEA
And so she can sit in this small maths class because it was a small math class and it was like, why not let her improve herself and better herself in that way? It turns out that she ended up getting her teaching certificate. She went to away and taught somewhere else. She was a colleague of mine until till just over a year ago.
And then she just left. But but with that in mind, we're going to have one final poll now. If you are a teacher in the high school, then you might be able to resonate with this a little bit better. But if not, try and put yourself in their shoes. Let's say you had a maths further maths class that happened to be a smaller class, you know, ten, ten students or less.
Would you be willing would you allow an observer learner into the lessons in that same way? Would you be comfortable with we've allowing Edwin to sit in the back of your class, for example. Whoa straight in there. Everybody saying yes. So far, I think that says a lot about the university community. I'm very surprised. I was thinking maybe a few people might be no, but yeah.
So. Wow, that's yeah. There we go then. Hopefully that hopefully this is so to see that maybe maybe we can think about that in the not too distant future. Awesome. Thank you very much, everybody. Cool. I am gobsmacked at that. So yeah. And in terms of that, with a discussion, in terms of the discussion, I see there's a few people that have written the chat.
If anybody has got anything that they would one to want to throw out, want to have, have a discussion. I think we've got a few minutes now that we could we could respond to some some live questions. Or you can join us in the virtual platform later on. Rennee or Christina, is there is there anything there anything there for Chris or John to to answer while we're here?
Renee Gallant: No questions. They were more comments, but I think we do have some time. You guys did a great job. Thanks so much. So perhaps if people you're welcome to turn your microphones on, turn your cameras on. If you have questions, perhaps identify who you're directing the question to when you pose it. John Lui has raised his hand.
John Lui: And good morning, everyone. I mind is maybe part question and part commentary. I'm wondering a lot of what we talked about as far as inclusion and ability are things that people can view and see. I'm wondering also about the importance of inclusion of people maybe, you know, a lack of abilities for things that we cannot see. One simple thing could be neurodiversity and differences of learning, but that can go much more beyond that.
So just another thought to, you know, all the fellow educators here to keep to to have that of the thoughts. And then, you know, to dovetail also on what Howard Gardner had mentioned this morning about how can what are the really challenging things for our students and even for ourselves to see that relationships are not transactional and it is something that we really develop together?
What purpose and how purposefully should we seek that out? And purposes? Should we also celebrate the various diversity and abilities that people do have? Because clearly, you know, our educational system and our structure, our society favours a certain type.
Giles Jacobson: Yes. Yeah, I agree with you fully. Yeah, there's that. You know, it associates everybody. Everybody has got a disability, everybody has disabilities and some are visual. Some are more obvious than others, some are not. And so it's acknowledging that everybody is an individual really. And what labels are, what categories we use some some people are okay with some categories and some other people are not okay with with the same category, even though they might they might have the same visual impairment, for example.
I don't know, maybe. Maybe. Chris, could you answer this? What what type of language are you comfortable with people with people using in terms of your condition?
Chris Hortin Tan: For myself, I'm pretty comfortable with the word blind because I'm a blind visually impaired person. So when it comes to doing sports, always emphasise, use the word blind runners, blind because is and the impact is stronger. And then with the people hear blind straight away turned around and take a quick look. But you want to say visually impaired, visually handicapped runner coming through is just a lost word
and then by the time they react its too late. . So but but in general I tell people when you meet someone who is visually impaired, it is better to use the words visually handicap or visually impaired rather than blind. To some that might sound very rude.
Giles Jacobson: Yeah, no, definitely. Absolutely. Yeah.
Renee Gallant: Giles We've also had a comment in the chat about the accessibility of the UWCSEA campus. I know that was something you were going to touch on. Do you want to speak to that right now?
Giles Jacobson: Yes. Yeah, I've just noticed that as well. Yes, I agree. It was actually something we were going to try and do a little bit of a joke, but it wasn't able to work out. We were going to pretend that if Zohra had a day in my life, how it would be like getting around the East campus. And we were going to film her getting around and trying to come up to this classroom, but it didn't quite happen.
But I will I will respond to that in that I remember when we had the forum a few a few months ago now, maybe a year ago with Manan and the chair of the governors and the presentation that he did. And I actually put some some inclusion questions in and two of them got asked by Carma at the start of the session.
And I was really impressed with the way one of them was answered. And it was about any potential design of any new buildings or any new campuses is very much going to be with inclusion in mind. So obviously what type of inclusion is that? I think Barbara is directly relating to two predominantly wheelchair users and hopefully that presumption is okay.
So I've got belief that the governors are very much in the got that in mind and and maybe any future buildings and campuses could be could be a lot more inclusive for wheelchair users. That's my perception. Yes. Kate, I agree with you as well there. So we're just seeing another one in. Yeah. Use of language. It's best to ask.
Absolutely. Yes. That's what that's why starting that conversation and maybe if you see somebody with a particular condition, maybe we need training on what to say or what to ask, what language to maybe use, maybe. Zohra, could you maybe respond to that? Yeah, I remember you mentioned about how you've been treated differently since you've been in wheelchair, since before the wheelchair, and how you've been sort of like ignored, how any any ideas of how, you know, if somebody passed you in the street and wanted to say hello or a conversation about life and anything, anything that I.
Fathima Zohra: I think it really depends on the person. But I think many people have the stereotype in society that disabled people are like very childlike. And if I can say with someone else, it's like people don't even make eye contact with me. They would look at the other person like say, the caregiver. It's almost like, hey, I'm not an adult.
I'm actually 25, but I'm almost treated like I'm a child. And I think it's really about I think it's okay to ask, but ask politely. And then people will be comfortable to answer whatever question. And again, when it comes to like, I'm okay with being called a disabled person, but I think it's different for many people, but I think it's important to address the person first, then the conditions as a person with a disability so people are more comfortable and and there's no hard feelings in that when you're talking about accessibility.
But I think I don't know if it's the right people. Yeah, but I think it's good to involve disabled people in the planning, you know, because sometimes it's like people are trying to make the place accessible. But then I've had to go to like super steep ramps, which are going to be almost impossible to go. OR could be like a risk of injury.
I mean, it's I think accessibility is not just putting a ramp somewhere So I guess during the planning of all of this, it's very important to have disabled people come in and be a part of it.
Giles Jacobson: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I agree that. Very much so. Yeah. David, David, Caleb written here, very interesting in terms of inclusion, is it? I'm struggling with the notion of is it possible to be 100% inclusive of everyone, everything. And I don't know, part of me feels it's a no. But then that means how we started off this workshop. And that means does that mean you've got to be deliberate in who you exclude and therefore, are you willing to put that on paper, if you like to say we exclude these people?
I was that doesn't sit right as well. So I don't know whether you want to unmute my 1 to 1 to chat or we chat later. But yeah, I.
Renee Gallant: Actually I'm going to step in here we are at we are actually at our time now but this sounds like the perfect opportunity to step over into our online networking. So this that's where we can continue this conversation. And if that's okay with everyone, we have just dropped that link here in the chat. So that should be fairly seamless for you to go right there once we closed the meeting here.
But I just want to take this opportunity to thank the presenters. Thank you to Giles. Thank you, John. Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Zohra. Thank you for bringing so many diverse voices to this conversation and for really challenging us to think differently about inclusion and how we are inclusive as a community and as individuals. So again, please do join us over in the online virtual networking session. Again, I'll remind everybody to keep your apps refreshed and updated over the course of the two days so that you always have the most up to date links to get into the sessions you want, get updates about upcoming events and other announcements.
And again, we hope you look forward to joining many of the other presentations planned over the course of the weekend. All of them can be found on the app, in the agenda. And again, if you have questions, you can pop them into the Q&A or send them to Forum@UWCSCA.edu.org. So thank you again.
We look forward to seeing you over in the online networking. Thank you.