Holiday Programme at SINDA STEP (Day 6 & 7)
We complemented the theoretical aspects of the Holiday Programme with the introduction of a guest speaker, Mr Kavind, who had overcome a host of challenges in his academic and personal life to become a motivational speaker and presenter. Mr Kavind shared how he had been sacked from being a prefect and demoted from the Express stream to the Normal stream during his secondary school days. He described the difficulties in coping with his parents and how he discovered his strengths which finally enabled him to be accepted into Republic Polytechnic.
The candid and frank session was well-received by the students (many stayed back after the workshop to ask the speaker more questions) and it was clear that he was able to connect with them. We followed the speaker presentation with a reflection exercise and posed 3 open-ended questions as follows:
- What are some of the lessons and values that you have learnt from this talk?
- The speaker mentioned some obstacles and problems that he faced as a student. Describe some of the similar problems that you have to deal with in your life.
- After listening to what the speaker has to share, in your opinion, what three personal values will be necessary to help achieve your goals? Please explain why you think these values are important.
Taking note of the overarching issue of dealing with various pressures (i.e. peer, family, personal) in the course of being a student, we decided to complete the Holiday Programme with a workshop on Peer Pressure. We opened the session by asking the students if they were familiar with the concept of peer pressure and were asked their thoughts on the issue. This was followed by the screening of an interesting advertisement that puts the issue of succumbing to peer pressure in perspective (reproduced below).
A real life scenario was then presented to the students and they were asked to share their opinions and thoughts on how to deal with the situation. A short exchange of ideas later, what actually happened to the person recounting the scenario was presented to the students which enabled them to reflect and compare against their own suggestions.
Subsequently, we conducted a case study exercise and broke the class into 6 groups of 5 students each. Issuing issued a sheet of butcher paper (i.e. 'Mahjong Paper') to each group, the students were tasked with identifying the various elements involved in the scenario (each group received a different scenario), discussing the ways in which the situations could be managed (i.e. the positive way and the negative way), considering whether the pressure was borne out of malice or ignorance (i.e. whether it was better to resolve the problem or simply walk away), and relating 2 examples of similar situations experienced in their own lives.
Groups were allowed to present their analysis in any manner they wished to and after their work was prepared, were asked to present to the rest of the class. Being generally shy and reserved, the students had to be encouraged to come forward and share their analysis but eventually, all the groups presented their findings. In all, the students were able to identify the elements of the situation (as well as whether the pressure was implicit or direct) and offer clear positive and negative approaches to each scenario. The personal recounts were also vivid and insightful and demonstrated the fact that the batch of students attending the Holiday Programe routinely face the challenge of overcoming peer pressure (perhaps even more so than other students).
The session was closed by addressing the fact that peer pressure exists in all areas of life and the point is to manage these pressures effectively and tackle the root cause that lead to each instance of pressure. A series of tools that could be employed to manage peer pressure was also shared and explained to the students. The relevance of all the workshops were tied back together (i.e. Time Management, Goal Setting, Ambition and Peer Pressure) and the students were encouraged to give these issues further thought and consideration.
Looking back, it is safe to say that the Holiday Programme has made an impact on the students and they seem to have taken away the intended learning points without having felt burdened at attending a school workshop. Almost all the students have returned to the centre at the start of this semester and our opinion is that they are motivated to try harder in their studies.
Back to Day 1 of the Holiday Programme...