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Students at ISM have embraced opportunities for judicious activism.

Springing into Action

Ian Storey
Ian Storey (8 posts) Head of Secondary and Upper Campus View Profile

Judicious /dʒuˈdɪʃəs/ adjective
‘Having or showing reason and good judgement in making decisions’

With young people finding new social media and platforms to express their voice, student activism has surged in the last decade. Change, however, does not always come from complaints, protests and petitions but, instead, from positive actions inspired by a collective spirit of influence and innovation. Therefore, activism in schools should be seen as a quality improvement tool in developing student voice and an understanding of the wider world.

We have put together a quick guide on activism and included a few examples of how school communities can bring about change while committing to social responsibility. 

Pinpointing Passions

Students at The International School of Moscow have embraced opportunities for judicious activism by identifying the issues they feel are most important to them. Whether it be a change they think should be brought about within the school, such as a new lunch menu, or a campaign that calls out a broader injustice, or out in the world. 

Getting the advocacy right 

Lobbying, the process of organising initiatives that seek to change laws or rules, often by talking to or influencing decision-makers such as government officials or school leaders, can lead to positive outcomes for change. During the Nord Anglia European Conference in March of this year, students demonstrated their skills in advocacy by presenting proposed pledges to senior leaders that commit to reaching many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

During the NAE Conference in March, students demonstrated their skills in advocacy.

Educating yourself and others    

It is vital that any campaign for change comes from having a solid understanding of why the change is necessary and what the benefits will be. This is also necessary if others are to be motivated to go along with efforts and ventures. Furthermore, when educating others, the voices of those most affected by the issue should be prioritised. As with most areas of activism, it is likely that others out there may be fighting for the exact same cause, so communication with other schools and organisations could further help goals to be achieved. 

Avoiding ‘Saviorism’

In an age where information and communication can be spread rapidly across the world, the nature of modern-day activism lends itself more readily to flash actions. However, whilst immediate actions, such as the sharing of a protest post over social media, may get people talking and lead to quick change, they sometimes provide nothing more than instant gratification for the ‘activist’ without them genuinely understanding its cause which they are suddenly fighting. 

True activism that can lead to long-term benefits requires time, research, understanding and planning. Genuine activists not only act but also raise awareness and influence others to act. They are educated on their cause and remain open to discussion and dialogue.

For more information and valuable resources on this and related topics please check out the following links:

https://350.org/ 

https://sdgs.un.org/goals