Hello everyone! I am very glad that I got chosen to be part of the facilitators’ team to lead an IFP conference that will be based in Maesot. Currently, we are divided into several groups planning the actual activities on each day in the conference itself. And I, with another person from East, and with 4 other people from Dover, are planning activities on the theme of “Making a Change”.
First of all, let’s talk about the whole group atmosphere. I don’t want to be frank, but since this is my reflection post and about my opinions only, I think I shall be honest with myself in this writing as I am in my head. In the past, there is from time to time, at the back of my head, where I felt like this is not an authentic experience as it supposes to be. I feel like people do stuff because they are told to do because they want to impress but not because they want to do so. Sometimes, it feels a bit fake. Not only me, I’ve talked to some people, and they have expressed similar concerns. However, this might be just some prejudices that I have against people in a school lead activity.
However then, I thought to myself, this is not about me, this is about the delegates who come to the conference. They want to get something out of it, they want to make connections, they are real people out there. So, for once, I shall not think about my own comfort, and just plan the conference. Once, I’ve accepted the fact, I think I start to see people from a better spotlight. Maybe, I was wrong, maybe it was me who’s not true to myself, maybe I was just not comfortable with a different group of people that I used to work with, maybe we all are in the same situation after all. I think my thoughts have evolved better for the group! 🙂
Then, back to my final group. I think we worked well together, we all each have an equal say in coming up with the conference. I can sense that everyone is comfortable enough in a group to comment on everyone else’s opinion nicely which is nice. Maybe, one more thing we need to work on is I think we are a bit behind schedule. I want us to finish the planning of the activities and prepare for every nook and cranny.
Overall, I am really, really excited to meet the delegates! I am ready to be inspired, I am ready to make connections!
During one of our mentor session, I and my partner, Sanah, went to a Grade 5 classroom and have a mini session introducing IFP with them. It was to bring in the idea of positive and negative peace, identifying the conflicts and different ways to solve the conflicts. First of all, I myself really did enjoy it. I like their enthusiasms, their willingness to participate in discussions and raise up their hands to voice in their opinions. It makes me feel that we actually have done a good job. So, this is not necessarily an informative and hopefully interesting session to them, but to us as well. Hence, it’s a 2-way beneficial session.
(Out of topic: No offence, but what I had in mind already for some times is that these small kids tend to be more passionate about different activities than teenagers. They are at the age to want and try new things. For example, if 2 same activities are done during lunchtime, I’ve observed that there will be more people during middle school lunchtime than the high school one. There might be several factors to this. I don’t know. I just want to put it out there.)
Anyway, I can see that they are very eager and they do know how to approach these conflicts. We are not there to tell them anything, they know how to approach it themselves. They also realize that in the real situation itself, it would be not as easy, but it’s worth to keep in mind. We are just there to remind them that they could this or that that they’ve discussed among themselves.
Talking about my skills in the session itself, I think my strength is that I can control the crowd really well. I spoke in a clear manner, sometimes crack a joke, but also serious when needed, I know my audience well, and how to make the most out of it. And one of my weakness in this session is that at one time when some group is speaking, the rest of the group in the far back corner might not really be listening. However, I can’t just cut in and move everyone to the front and make sure that they listen to each other because I also realize that we don’t have much time left. Hence, I just left it to go with the flow for the last 1 or 2 minutes. I think I should have calculated in my head, in the beginning, and bring everyone to discuss this together at the start.
Looking back from where I first started IFP in the beginning of the year, there are quite some moments that I like to look back and reflect. Without a doubt, the joint training at Dover really stood out for me. It’s the first time that we are exposed to work with completely new people from Dover, and it really inspired me with the fact that everyone was really opened and friendly. It really does help me to improve my collaboration skills. Because in UWC east, we mostly work with people who we tend to know about them a bit already, however, when we are put to work with the students from Dover, I think it really brings me out from my comfort zone. It allowed me to share my ideas with others as well as listening to theirs as well. That also brings me to the next session: Active Listening. After that session, I think a good peace builder also needs to be a good and active listener, too. Remember the time when we are divided into group Jay and Kay, where 1 group is meant to go to the other country and helps giving advice but instead a chaotic debate occurred. This happens because we didn’t really listen to the other partner to whether what exactly is the problem they have and what they need help with. We just assume that something is the problem hence come up with a solution that is not going to help them. This makes us reflect again on our local services in our school as well as our abroad conference soon. We should be a good listener first, LISTEN to their problem and ask for help and then discuss together the solution.
Now, it makes me think about the team that we are going to be in to lead the conference. This is really important in my opinion. A team needs to feel comfortable with each other enough to bring forth an idea or ideas for improvement but not to the point where one is completely ignorant of your responsibilities and tasks in the group. After the personality test, I realized that there sometimes should be a balance in the different personalities. When you have 2 very strong personalities with the same skills in the same group, it might be very hard to get things done to one unable to compromise to another. Hence, it’s better to have a cooperative with different people with their own strong points to compliment each other.
The one last session that I remembered was the Social Media session, I remembered that I had so many good discussions with different people on that day, and it was very nice. To be honest, there are times that my enthusiasm has lost out a bit during the sessions, however once in a while, just to sit down with some other people who share rather similar or different opinions with you and discuss some issues really help brighten and sharpen my inspirations and enthusiasm a bit.
My other IFP reflection:
As a captain of the team for the last Badminton tournament away, I was asked to write 200-word paragraphs to reflect on how it went. And this is what I wrote:
“Last Friday, we had our first away tournament against the Canossian school. I think it was a very good opportunity for each of us to identify each individual’s strengths and weaknesses during a real-pressured game situation in order to work on it during our future training.
It’s beautiful to see everyone giving it their best, both from our side as well as the Canossian. Even though badminton is a game that you play individually, however, during this tournament, we can really see that collectively everyone fights not only for their own wins or loses but for the faces of the school and the team as a whole.
What we also learned from the Canossian school is their great sense of sportsmanship. It’s almost inevitable to feel competitive during any games between 2 different schools. However, what really touches everyone is that the during the games, the Canossian School even provides energy drink not only for their players but also us as well. And they even give each of our players a badminton keychain as a farewell gift, too. This gesture is beautiful! Be fierce in the game, but as soon as the game ends, no hard feelings, we are all friends. Our UWCSEA is very spirited that sometimes there are cases that we went overboard, hence I think our school can really learn a lot from the Cannosian School.
Overall, in our upcoming tournament, I think we can all look back to this experience and try our best to improve as a badminton player as well as a human being.”
Thank you! Have a nice day! 🙂
Badminton Dragon Club is a weekend training for badminton players. And below is my reflection on how my sessions so far have gone!
Last Saturday, we had our second joint sessions with the Dover campus. And I have to say that it was really fun! It’s a bit different from last time because, for this, we get to mix with about 2-3 others from East and 2 others from Dover, and you have to stay with them for almost the whole day, discussing various activities to lead later for everyone without any supervisors. In here, we can really see everyone’s most comfortable behavior, so it in a way kind of break the ice between the Dover and East and that’s as closest as we can get together.
During this session, I think I learn how to balance between voicing your own ideas and listen to other people’s ideas. Because I used to lead a conference in Cambodia for about 20 people in a similar way as in IFP, and it went really well. I also used to organize icebreakers, and activities for the orientation in the boarding house, too. So, I feel like I know what to do and what to avoid. However, not everyone in the group knows that, and maybe they also have their own experiences in leading some activities, too in the past that I don’t know. So, we might all have different styles, so I think I learned to speak my ideas when I think it’s a good idea, and at the same time trying to open up to other people’s style of organizing activities as well.
Thank you! 🙂