Community outreach as a key step toward learning and development
ISB developed its vision and mission with the aim of building enriched and sustainable communities as a contribution to a more inclusive global society. A key component of this effort are special service-learning opportunities for students from Elementary School through to High School.
Community projects feature regularly in the school life of ISB students both on and off campus. Whether it be our friends from Bangkok School for the Blind making cookies and playing games with our Elementary students or our High School Global Citizenship Week, we ensure our students are invested in the wider community. Through a number of school activity groups - from art councils to environmental clubs - our Globally-Minded learners act to serve and enrich local communities.
Through assisting the wider community our students reap the significant rewards of enhanced social intelligence, leadership, adaptability and responsibility. Many students find true inspiration, courage and gratitude through these programs and elect to pursue service opportunities beyond their time at ISB. Service clubs and their activities are excellent ways for students to nurture and live out their values and attributes. We are encouraged to see our Alumni form NGOs and commit to charity work outside of their normal day jobs.
Students participating in our High School service clubs gain valuable real-world experience by leading new kinds of projects and hands-on activities. This experience of learning through action helps our learners truly discover the importance of empathy and community.
The House That ISB Built – Learning beyond classroom walls
This year our Habitat for Humanity Club added an extra dimension to its community-building efforts. Timed to coincide with our staff’s Personal Development Day, the club invited teachers and administrators to participate in the club build which takes place over a few days in February (please see more about our teacher development initiatives here).
This year students also extended participation to ISB parents so the build could be completed both for and by the community. The combined efforts of our students and community members produced a beautiful new home that changed the lives for a local family.
Club members were challenged to step out of their comfort zones and display courage and adaptability as they problem-solved immediate challenges common to a project management scenario. This collective effort truly demonstrated experiential learning in all participants. It was an impressive example of our attributes in action as participants ensured successful completion through a self-managing, value-driven, globally-minded and adaptable approach.
Nae Nae, an active member of the club said: “I have been involved in the Habitat for Humanity Club ever since I moved to ISB in tenth grade, taking part as a member and an officer of the club. Having the opportunity to go on Habitat builds has made me more aware of the social issues in our local communities and ignited my passion to serve the community.”
Of the far-reaching value and impact of the club she went on to say, “I have formed invaluable bonds with the students, teachers and the Habitat for Humanity Thailand staff that are involved. The most valuable experience from being a part of this club, however, is the opportunity to witness the sustainable impacts of our efforts and seeing the hope in the homeowners’ eyes and the smiles on their faces after each build. In short, this project enables us to make the school’s values and attributes become more tangible to students and staff in our community, as we improve our local communities.”
Building bright futures
When asked about the wider objective of encouraging student involvement outside the classroom, Nae Nae’s experiences gave her plenty of insight:
“I strongly believe that service-learning is a good example of experiential learning. In fact, service and academics are more closely related than many people may think. My passion for service has ignited me to research further into economics and development.
As an IB Economics student, I was able to connect many topics discussed in class to real-world issues through my Habitat for Humanity experiences. Because of my involvement in service activities, I was inspired to pursue my own research on health and development as part of my Extended Essay, and interned as a university research assistant at Chulalongkorn University to examine the social issues in Thai communities over the summer.
Needless to say, service-learning serves as a gateway to apply classroom knowledge to the real world. ‘The House that ISB Built’ is a prime example of how service learning fosters meaningful relationships, improves lives and ignites changes.”
This viewpoint is shared by others within the program. Bryan, a Habitat for Humanities Club officer offered a similar perspective:
“I believe that the habitat build helped our overall learning and development – not just academically but also socially, through seeing our direct impact on another individual's life.
Service-learning is an excellent example of applied learning. I believe that service-learning is a necessary and crucial component of any individual's development and schooling. It is a tangible method in showing emotional intelligence and gratitude and even building new profound relationships.
I've learned that people are good, and people are always looking to lend a hand as well as receive one. We just need to know where to reach. Having a club within a community allows the club to build a community within ISB. And because it is a much more hands-on club, it also builds community outside of ISB.”
Student participants in our service-learning clubs demonstrate our values and attributes through their work, whether they are teaching English at a neighborhood elementary school; spending time with toddlers at a local orphanage or helping fellow students to swim, bike and run in the Kid’s Triathlon.
Through their efforts and the commitment of the wider community the world is made a far better place for many. Looking ahead we envisage many opportunities for the students of tomorrow to grow their skills, nurture their empathy and enrich communities by helping others around them.
Click to find out more about our Community Activities at ISB.