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Adaptability Leads to Creative Solutions in Panther Activities

The last two years at International School Bangkok (ISB) have presented numerous opportunities to practice and develop adaptability, one of our ISB Attributes. Adaptability is defined as the ability to be flexible and adjust to changing factors, conditions, or environments - an important skill to have in today’s world. 

Anthony Giles, Director of Arts & Activities, said to him, adaptability means “adjusting our actions and our thinking to changing circumstances with a goal of trying to make the best of a situation.” This perfectly describes Panther Activities’ response to the ever-changing COVID-19 regulations this year. When the 2021-2022 school year started in ISB Virtual School then transitioned to a hybrid model, Panther Activities adapted, got creative, and asked an important question: what can we do instead?

What Can We Do Instead?

Lucas Rivera, Community Sports Manager for Panther Activities, said, “we asked the question ‘what can we do instead?’ and we got a lot of creative answers from our coordinators, our coaches, and then we got to see the finished product with our kids actually putting this to the test. And we’ve seen amazing outcomes, we’ve seen some new creative programs that we’re going to implement now - if we didn’t have a pandemic, we might not have thought about it this way - so it’s caused everybody to kind of stop, pause, and think about what we can do instead.” At ISB, our teachers and coaches exemplify what it means to be adaptable and creative, going the extra mile to provide the best possible programs and education no matter the circumstance.

The beginning of this school year was different from any other year in that it was the first time we opened in Virtual School. All prior periods of Virtual School occurred amid the academic year, requiring adjustment and adaptability as well as a focus on replicating what we’d already been doing. But this time was different; we had a new and unique opportunity to think differently. 

Rather than attempt to copy or replicate what we had done before, ISB and our Panther Activities team tuned in to what students needed most returning to school in a virtual setting. Anthony Giles said, “It was clear to us that what students would need at the beginning of the year after already being away was connection with other kids...And so that led us to trying to focus on the relationships, the engagement with coaches and other kids, more than the topic or the area of interest, and that was successful.”

Focusing on relationships meant a shift in the way we offered activities was necessary. What previously would have been offered separately as ballet, jazz, and tap became dance with a focus on moving, fun, engagement, and relationships. This shift provided students with a social platform to connect and check-in with each other, their coaches, and mentors. Some of the other programs offered were art, golf, gymnastics, music, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and yoga. 

This adaptation of Panther Activities was carried out during Virtual School to promote participation, engagement, and positivity. Once we received approval to return to campus in a hybrid model, Panther Activities had to switch gears again.

Creative Solutions in Hybrid

In the hybrid model, some students have been learning on campus, while some continue learning virtually. Activities safely resumed once this model was implemented. Some of the hybrid programs on offer have included basketball, dance, gymnastics, soccer, swimming, tennis, touch rugby, and PK-G5 camps. Anthony Giles explains, “now we’re back in Hybrid, and the complexities of the hybrid programs, although worth it...we had to keep everybody in a bubble, so again, we’re not offering a team sport, we’re offering a group of kids an opportunity to do that sport with maybe not even that same group that they would normally do that with. So again, what is the intent? It’s to get kids active, with other kids, doing something that they love to do, and connection with coaches.”

So while the activities, the groups, and the sizes may look different in the hybrid model, the intent has been the same all along - get kids active and connected. We’re seeing some positives come out of it already, Lucas Rivera said, “[seeing] how creative and innovative our coaches and coordinators have been to offer something totally different than what they're used to, right, so everybody's out of their comfort zone - it’s put the coaches out of their comfort zone, it’s put us out of our comfort zone and then especially our students. So it's been really fun to see the success and the growth in everyone...and we come out on the other side stronger, and it's been fun to watch that.” 

We’ve also seen students who were more reserved blossom in virtual settings. Anthony Giles said there is an “intentionality in Zoom, drawing kids out, making sure that everyone has a voice in that, I hope that that would come back to our Activities when we’re live - making sure that we’re letting some of the quieter voices come forward and be featured if we’re trying out a new activity or a new skill.”

Impact & Importance

Why are these activities important? After-school activities help build the total child. While they receive an outstanding international education during the class day, in after-school activities, they get to learn to be leaders, win and lose, and grow together with others. 

These adapted virtual and hybrid activities have had a real impact on our students. We wanted to offer students new opportunities and, according to Lucas Rivera, we saw “some amazing changes in students due to the recent adaptations that they've had to come up with during the pandemic. I've seen students shine in many hard situations and situations that they might not have been put into without this hybrid model - being in zooms all the time doing zoom activities. They're very excited to get back to on-campus activities, but it was really fun to watch them grow and learn in this hybrid virtual model.”

At ISB, we aim to develop learners who continually grow and adapt. Part of that process is reflecting on how we’ve done things in the past, getting creative, and adapting what we do in the present to produce a better future. Anthony Giles reflected, “What have we learned from this experience? So if this pandemic has given us a chance to pause and reflect on how we were doing things before, I hope our new normal would be a better one.”

It is adaptability, reflection, and growth like this that continues to make ISB one of the top international schools in Thailand. For more information about ISB, the education we provide, or the application process please contact our admissions office by submitting an inquiry.

 

Adaptability in Action - Panther Activities_FINAL_1.11.21 (1)

 

 

Athletics Arts Student Activities