It’s very important that our young people do not limit themselves to a sedentary lifestyle, and at the British International School, Phuket (BISP) students are lucky to experience life to the fullest.
While at the school, all students are provided with opportunities for a wide variety of experiences beyond the classroom, including the numerous school trips organised throughout the year. All students above Year 3 undertake overnight group trips such as: the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (IA) for older students; team- building excursions all over Southeast Asia; service opportunities in the local community; expeditions; and ski trips.
The express aim of the school is to take children into a challenging yet safely supervised environment, well away from their normal comfort zone. This has become a vital aspect of the experiential education at the school and it’s safe to say that students invariably rise to the challenges they face.
Most recently, the Year 5 students went on their residential trip to Khao Sok National Park where they took part in team-building activities, kayaking and hiking and spent a day out on the reservoir. For some students new to the school, this was their first time away from home.
Similarly, the IA trips push students further not only physically but mentally as well, requiring them to set up their own campsite and cook their own meals after completing the day’s physical activities of cycling, kayaking or sailing.
When students return to school after these life-changing experiences, they feel a sense of accomplishment, even more so when not everything goes as planned. Dealing with the unexpected is crucial if we wish to prepare young people for the ‘real world’. Even something as basic as choosing a meal at a buffet without the guidance of a parent, or sleeping away from home and parents for a few nights, creates an environment in which students may mature and excel.
To quote from BISP’s guiding statements: “Life is a constant struggle – a never-ending flow of options that require, indeed demand, a response. Young people need to be prepared for this.”
Despite the technological innovations that are changing the social and global landscape, education for the 21st Century – perhaps more than ever – requires our young people to be creative, flexible and considerate of others. But, above all, if we wish our children to live meaningful lives, we must provide those experiential opportunities that will help them to mature and truly develop independent spirits.
David Berman is the Extended Curriculum Coordinator at British International School, Phuket – BISP. It is an English medium, coeducational, day and boarding school. Visit their website at www.bisphuket.ac.th or call them on +66 (0) 76 335 555 for more information.