Update from: Sumin Kang, Year 12 IB CAS Student
From 30th January to 1st February, students from Korean International School (KIS), Seoul International School (SIS), Senri and Osaka International School (SOIS), Yokohama International School (YIS), and Harrow International School Beijing (HISB) attended the leadership conference at The British School of Beijing (BSB), Shunyi. Students for home stay arrived on 29th January and met their hosts. My home stay was a student from KIS called Amy. She was very bright and we talked a lot getting to know each other. Everybody met their partner and introduced each other while waiting for the bus. We arrived at home and prepared for the leadership conference we were looking forward.
The next day, we gathered at BSB to attend the leadership conference. Mr. Lewis taught us about leadership during the first session in the new drama studio. We did a lot of activities. First, we had to gather into groups of four and discuss about the greatest leader and the reason why we chose the specific person. I met new students from KIS and SOIS during the first group activity. We decided Gandhi was the best leader for his clear vision and his sacrifice to achieve the independence of India. After ten minutes of discussion, each person from each team presented their ideas. Mr. Lewis then taught us about the characteristics of a good leader.
Next, we joined into groups again but with different people. This time, I got a chance to meet students from SIS and HISB. In our group, we had to write down characteristics of a good leader and examples for each characteristic. We discussed and came up with several characteristics. After everyone finished writing on the big paper, we hanged up the papers on the wall.
The third activity was a practical activity which was fun. We again gathered in new groups. It was an activity to see the relationship between leadership and teamwork. I met new people from YIS, HISB and SIS. One person was the leader, the rest of the team members were blindfolded and had to pitch a tent under the instruction of the leader. The observer could not help anything but just watch the situation. Under the instructions of the leader, we slowly followed the steps to set up the tent. It was very difficult as we could not see anything. We did well but unfortunately could not finish in time. This activity showed that good leadership makes good teamwork and vice versa, indicating the correlation between leadership and teamwork.
After lunch, at the beginning of Session Two, Mr. Puttock gave us a thirty minute speech about leadership. He described his personal experience as Head of School and how his experiences have shaped him to be a good leader. Although the speech was short, it was very impressive.
The final activity after Mr. Puttock's speech was the most exciting part. We divided into groups from A to F. Each team received an envelope which had a question to answer through presentation. Our team received the question “Is good leadership nature of nurture?” To make the presentation unique and interesting, we discussed various ways. Through discussion, we decided to do a game so that other students could participate and enjoy. We made the tiles of the floor into a big board. Some of the tiles were bombs. The game rule was this : Eight random students would be divided into two groups of four. Each team would have a leader that will instruct the team members to cross the board without stepping on the bomb. One team leader will have a map with numbers and bombs while the other will only have a map showing where the bombs were. The team who crosses the board first without dying would be the winner.
This idea sounded a great. We made maps and practiced whether our game worked well. Then we talked about how to conclude the game relating to the question we received. We decided to say that the leader with the map of numbers and bombs indicate the experience and background. The leader with more experience would be a better leader making a better team. Therefore, a leader was not “born” but was “made”. We were very organized. The process required a lot of communication between team members and it was really fun talking and laughing with them.
Our presentation was very successful. It flowed as we intended and we concluded our point with all the audience enjoying it. There was a counter argument question asked by one student but we managed to refute it well. Other team's presentations were fascinating too. The presentation carried on until the next day as every team had a good quality of presentation. By the end of the activities, I became closer with others and learned a lot about leadership skills through others.
The three days with students from KIS, SIS, SOIS, YIS, and HISB was a pleasure and great fun. Through the programme, I had a chance to communicate with one another and learn from them. At the beginning of the conference, I was very shy and nervous to speak to people who I met for the first time. However, everyone was so friendly and they helped me to be open-minded and be more talkative. I also learned many characteristics that a good leader should possess. The leadership conference was a memorable and meaningful experience to me. I hope that building this relationship with many friends from all over the world could help me in the future of globalization.