TIS validates and embraces student voice, agency and leadership. TIS continues to build a culture where teachers and students work together and contribute to the notion of empowerment and a sense of school pride. Authentic student voice provides these opportunities for students to collaborate and make decisions with adults around what and how they learn. This is known to lead to improved educational outcomes. The Student Voice Group has 15 participants at present and is made up of students from Grade 8-12. These amazing students aim to be agents of change in our world by writing and publishing on relevant and often contentious topics. Below is an offering from the Grade 8 Student Voice team – Eliana Joaquim Ho and Eunice Cordeiro Hoi – who wrote about a Call To Action that was inspired by the visit of Salva Dut to the school last year.
The South Sudan hero Salva Dut not only captivated us with his story, but also motivated the grade eights to start their own call to action project. The students chose a problem that they were passionate about and found innovative ways to help fix it. The grade eights worked really hard on completing their call to action projects, which they were able to proudly present to their peers. It wasn’t just their peers who they inspired, but they also persuaded future generations to help save our world, in more ways than one. These creative minds found various solutions to support their cause, from food fundraisers to making shopping bags out of recycled clothing. All of these projects were unique and captivating in their own way, but the following three stood out the most to us.
The first group consisted of three students with a similar passion for helping prevent and clean up oil spills around the world. They came up with the idea to have a cupcake fundraiser to help donate to their cause. The name of this group is “Cupcakes for a Cause”, as you would buy a cupcake to help them raise money. To support this group of ambitious minds by signing their petition to persuade the government to take action, and by visiting their website where you can find out more information about them. In addition to these initiatives, they also wrote a letter to the government to go along with their petition, and they were even able to secure a speech at the Macau local radio.
Secondly, an inventive individual found another way to help her cause. While several people opted for a local presentation, this student decided to take on the task of creating a board game. This enabled her to present her cause in a way that was more appealing to a younger audience of the future generation. Her motivation for making the board game was to help raise awareness about the lack of infrastructure in developing countries, specifically South Sudan. Also, to keep it realistic, there is a sense of danger from war included in the game. At the end of the instruction manual, there are examples of three different organizations that help her cause in which players could then donate to if they wanted. Everyone was amazed when playing the game, so much that the teachers even decided to send a copy to Salva Dut himself.
Finally, another trio also had an idea for helping the cause of oil spills. These three girls decided to do a presentation to support their cause, but their presentation was different compared to others. While they still presented to their peers, informing them about what oil spills were, the dangers and effects of them etc, the girls’ presentation also included an experiment where the students would take on the role of cleaners of the oil spills. Players would have to clean 25 ml of oil out of 50 ml of oil poured in a water bowl. To get this vegetable oil out, they used spoons, cotton balls, and paper towels. Moreover, to motivate the students, the reward for successfully cleaning up the required amount of oil was a lollipop. All in all, it was a very difficult task to even get the 25 ml out; imagine cleaning out an ocean full of oil!
A shout out to the Grade 8 students who took up the Call to Action, inspired by Salva Dut’s visit.