Written by Raffaela Corrias
Ms. Corrias coordinates the Advisory and Interfaith programs at UWC ISAK Japan.
Every Thursday, a group of seven to eight students alongside one or two advisors connect and spend quality time together. These groups, called advisories, meet on a weekly basis to work on a programme that encourages our students to practice their leadership skills (Identifying what is important and needed for self and others; Taking action in the face of discomfort; Using diversity as a strength; Supporting others in this practice).
In particular, this year our Advisory groups are focusing on three outcomes:
- Sharing to build meaningful connections
- Taking ownership of actions
- Actively listening to each other/Supporting-Coaching each other.
This academic year, the Advisory system has transitioned from a horizontal system, where advisories were composed of only students from one grade level, to a vertical system. This means that now, our Advisory groups are composed of students from Grades 10 through Grade 12.
Why did we promote this significant change? Firstly, we aim to strengthen our sense of community by bringing together students who would otherwise have less opportunities to get to know each other and bond. In addition, we want to create groups where our senior students are challenged to take the lead and support our juniors. Senior students are encouraged to organise and facilitate some sessions and to take a leading role in the coaching of their juniors.
“This year’s advisory system that includes all three grades in an advisory is in my opinion a great success. It helps improve diversity by uniting more grades and helps break boundaries between us. Last year, we were very separated in terms of class grades, but this year I feel like we are more united as a community. We can also ask our seniors for advice and see how they respond to challenges that we are going to have to face in the future.”
– Marco (Class of 2020, Italy)
Another new aspect that has been introduced in our Advisory groups at the beginning of this school year is the involvement of some of our staff members as co-advisors. Again, the idea behind this change is to build a community where all the different stakeholders (students, faculty, and staff members) come together and grow together.
Our ultimate goal is for our students to enjoy an Advisory experience that is meaningful and fulfilling, and to create an environment where they can truly feel supported while having fun.
“The staff’s participation in the advisory is an important aspect of our community-building process. It was a small step I chose to take to get a little closer to the open community I envision for UWC ISAK. Spending time with students reassures me as to why I chose to work for a school like ours, and as an Admissions staff member, I learn so much from students’ experiences, ideas, and opinions. It’s been such a rewarding experience for me and I really look forward to advisory time every week.”
– Tami Wada, Admissions Staff Member
Our advisors for AY2018-2019
- Kentaro and Catherine Iwata
- Estella Wong
- Francis Gonzalez
- Yaling Chien
- Jason Underwood and Tami Wada
- Simone Sgarbossa
- Stephanie Lin
- Jonathan Osorio
- Daisuke Masui
- Vineeth Parameswaran
- Brenda Hasham
- Cary Reid
- Monna McDiarmid
- Jaya Ramchandani and Ann van den Borne
- James and Laura Earwood
- Nicholas Barrett
- Jyothi Venugopal
- Catherine Mimuro and Lyndsay Sprado
- Ryan Murphy
- Izumi Tsurumi and Brendan McGibbon
- Carolina Buitrago
- Marcos Melero and Yuri Ishiwa
- Jennifer Paddock
- Jolyon Hinton
- Sharon Lacoste
- Kajsa Tuggey
- Mineko Kobayashi