At Fall Project Week 2023, our Grade 10 students made remarkable progress. “They are already two months ahead on their project compared to the previous year’s group,” says Jason Underwood, our Grade 10 Leadership Coordinator. The highly personalized nature of our Grade 10 Leadership program makes it challenging to paint a detailed picture of each student’s project. The program offers Grade 10s the autonomy to define their learning objectives, chart their project paths, and engage in critical reflection about their progress, aligning with their individual interests, strengths, and needs. Despite these complexities, here’s our effort to capture the essence of Project Week for our Grade 10s and offer a sneak peek into what lies ahead.
Learning to Identify Needs
At UWC ISAK, one of the initial and crucial steps in the student Leadership journey involves recognizing and understanding both needs and priorities. Right from the beginning of the academic year, many students were already focused on specific issues that were important to them. For example, Lingwen from China, who, even before joining UWC ISAK, had begun an online education initiative for children in Myanmar. His work is a testament to the proactive and forward-thinking approach our students embody.
Similarly, several other students have targeted various essential fields. Educational needs regularly emerged as a focus for many, mirroring Lingwen’s commitment. Health and wellness is also a common theme, where we are seeing innovative projects taking shape, like the one from Annie of Vietnam, who is developing software for teaching sign language. Meanwhile, Arunabh from Bangladesh is channeling his skills into environmental sustainability by programming object detection software to aid in trash sorting. Each student’s project reflects a unique blend of their interests and challenges to their communities and the global community, illustrating the varied and impactful ways our students aim to contribute to the world.
Design Thinking in Action
Throughout Fall Project Week, students tested their project ideas against three key criteria: feasibility, desirability, and viability. Mr. Underwood highlights the dynamic nature of this exploration, saying, “Due to the personalized dimension of the program, about a third of our students opted to pivot their projects in a new direction. Another third is confident in continuing their current path, while the remaining third are reflecting on what they learned during Project Week and weighing whether or not they should proceed with their initial ideas.”
Enhancing Leadership Skills
Following Fall Project Week, the journey for our students continues. They’re gearing up for a series of diverse workshops focused on leadership skills, budgeting, and project management. Additionally, the Wednesday afternoon coaching sessions promise to be a nurturing ground for further growth. Anticipation is building around what our Grade 10 students will unveil at the Spring Project Week early next year. The progress they have made so far, combined with their ongoing enthusiasm, tells us that there’s much to look forward to!