On 9 & 10 November, the groups that went to Beijing and Shunde in May 2010 finally have a chance to experience something what the rest of their peers experienced while they were overseas--the Service Learning Workshop! However, it is not exactly what their peers have experienced, it is something totally different.
The workshop title is called CLASS, which stands for Compassionate Leaders Always Serving Society and it is conducted by Touch Youth, particularly the Leadership & Mentoring Sector.
On the first day, the workshop kick-started off with an ice-breaker, called Body Google, where they have to send a representative and compare parts of their body, such as their eyebrows and ears.
Ice breaking - Longest Breath
Its back to business and we went to their pre-assigned teams to create our Group Norm, the Agreement, Rules and Expectations. This is followed by a ‘Gallery Walk’ presentation of their Group Norms to let others ‘like’ their Norms.
Agreeing to the rules set
Next, they started by learning the topic on the Heart of a Servant Leader, with the main activity called ‘Pass it on’, where they had Cheng Ngee (S1-01) as their elected leader to instruct us how to play this game, which involves passing items quickly and without dropping them. Those who passed too slow will be outcasted in the game, but that was not true as in the end. The outcasts were actually chosen at random by the mentors.
Pass it on
They moved on to the second topic of the day, Effective communication. Using what they learned about effective communication, they have to look at pictures which form a story and find out what is the story out of the pictures. But here’s the catch, they can only see our own 1 or 2 pictures and nothing else. It took a while for the students to try to make sense of the stories, but eventually, some of them managed to figure it out.
Telling a story
After a scrumptious lunch, the workshop proceeded by touching on the topic of Service-Learning, what it means, why there was a hyphen in the topic. The mentors then revealed what our field trip was for the next day--Doing a survey with the Elderly! They gave details of how we were going to do the survey and the students found out an undeniable fact. Majority of the Elderly speak Cantonese and Hokkien and they have to learn these languages in order to do the survey.
Luckily, the students do not to be fluent with the languages as the mentors have helped them translate the survey questions into these languages, along with how they can introduce themselves. All they need to do was to be able to pronounce the words. So, for the next few hours, they were learning how to pronounce the questions in both of the languages. They had difficulty pronouncing in Cantonese, so the mentor had already put up and audio file link to be able to listen how she pronounced the words. But that cannot be said when the students were learning Hokkien. They sailed quickly through the class as it was easy to be able to communicate .
Before the end of the first day, there was a challenge waiting for them. They tied strings around their wrists and the strings were tangled with others. The goal was to free themselves without untying the string, cutting the string and burning the string. It took quite a while to get themselves free until one pair managed to set themselves free and teached the rest on how to free themselves. And with this, it marks the end of the first day.
On the second and last day of the workshop,
it started off with a surprise challenge, where there are stages. Whichever stage the mentor shout out for, we have to do that particular mini-game. Stage one is a thumb wrestling match. Stage two is a finger-poking match. Stage three is a knee-tapping match. The floor was full with moving people as they played this challenge.
This was followed by a re-cap of what they have learned before breaking up into their smaller groups to brush up on their language skills. The buses to the different destinations came and they left for either Toa Payoh or Whampoa to conduct their surveys.
Some of them managed to interview all the three elderlies assigned to them, while some did not even manage to even interview any of the elderlies. But with that experience, they learned about compassion and related it back to the experience earlier on.
Along the corridor
After that, they learned about the last topic, resilience. The main highlight of this topic was going through a journey with their group right in the basketball court under the sweltering sun! Their task was to get to the other side of the court without stepping onto the court itself. They can use the resources to get them through but their have to carry the responsibilities above their heads. Try after try, some of them got tired and frustrated that they do not really want to move on.
Activity at the basketball court
At the end of the activity, it was a time of the closure of the workshop and a time of reflection, reflecting through the topics they learned during the past two days. The session ended off with one last activity, which is to get a piece of paper through your body. Many of the students were thinking for a long time as to how to solve it. But in the end, one of them managed to solve it, by tearing the paper.
That marked the end of the day and the end of the workshop. Though it was not really a long workshop, but still, it taught them many things, from the Heart of a servant leader to Resilience. These were effective to be applied into their daily lives, moulding their character through the experiences and giving them the skills to be a better leader. This workshop has succeeded in giving the students that.