Encouraging Student Agency to Bring About Change

The learning process at One World International School differs from the classroom experience you might expect. As the parent of a school-aged student, you’re trying to raise children who are accountable, who have a sense of responsibility, and who exhibit concern for the world around them. At OWIS, we strive to achieve these same goals. The way we accomplish this is by giving students the tools they need to affect genuine change. We emphasise teamwork and real-life experience, and we encourage our students to go out into the world and advocate for the causes they are passionate about. Students who attend One World International School have the unique opportunity to change the world in the following ways:

Discovering the Power of Teamwork

OWIS students make lemonade for a good cause

Teachers at One World International School are experts at stepping back and encouraging students to take the initiative. They’re more facilitators or guides than they are classroom leaders. Instead of telling children which causes are worth more exploration, they allow the class to come together as a team to brainstorm and develop their own ideas. Students work together in groups to discuss world problems and to decide which problems are worthy of solutions they can contribute to. Children then decide how they can become a part of those solutions. Examples include:

  • Working together as a class to clean refuse from a local beach as part of a Unit of inquiry on ‘Sharing the planet responsibly’.

  • Engaging in a school-wide contest to collect the most bags for recycling as part of a sustainability drive.

  • Making items such as slime or lemonade to sell in support of a charity or NGO like the World Wildlife Fund.

The important takeaway is that OWIS students go a step beyond discussing world problems. Instead, they take part in real-world activities that provide solutions. As a result, they learn to claim a share of the responsibility in making the world a better place.

Taking Advantage of Classroom Flexibility

At OWIS, classrooms are open-concept to encourage collaboration. Students are seated in friendly groups, instead of the traditional rows. This makes it easier to work together to achieve team goals. Classrooms also feature non-traditional layouts that include reading nooks, quiet areas, designated spaces for group projects and room for teachers to lead small focus groups. The unconventional classroom is key in boosting creative thought and play, and OWIS students benefit from the freedom and unique opportunities it provides.

Adhering to Written Rights and Responsibilities

Being a good citizen begins with appropriate behaviour at home and school. At OWIS, we encourage students to show character in all things. For this reason, students have a written list of goals to which they’re expected to aspire. Studying hard, completing assignments on time and creating a welcoming environment for other students all top the list. OWIS prides itself on being inclusive and diverse, and we hope our students model this goal in their own lives.

Having clear and concise written expectations helps encourage acceptable behaviour in all things. Students at OWIS understand what’s expected of them and their peers. This promotes accountability and responsibility, both socially and academically. Our students try hard to maintain high standards of conduct and participation, and they emerge stronger students and better citizens as a result.

Gleaning Knowledge From Life Experiences

There is a world of difference between reading about a problem such as pollution, racism, or poverty between the pages of a textbook and taking your knowledge into the real world. Students of One World International School learn the importance of involvement in our Primary Years Programme. They participate in age-appropriate activities that provide solutions. As they advance into our secondary programme, the opportunities to become involved deepen and become more complex. It’s perfect training for future success as a citizen of the planet.

At OWIS, we’re training a generation of caring, responsible students who will go on to become empowered adults. We invite you to share with us your child’s experiences when they are given ownership and responsibility. Get in touch with us or follow us on social media.

(All OWIS photographs in this blog article were taken pre-Covid. The school is adhering to hygiene protocols and social distancing measures as recommended by the CPE and Ministry of Health, Singapore.)

(This blog was originally written in collaboration with Ms Bharti Dadhwal, former Primary School Teacher, OWIS Nanyang.)

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