During the week prior to our first trip, we had organised ourselves into groups of either six or seven people, where each group had a variety of nationalities and a couple of Vietnamese speaking students in order to help communicate with the students in the Thao Dien Disabled School. Then, we began to plan out and decide what fruit and vegetable related activity we would want the students to participate in and learn about. Having decided on the activity, we produced a list of equipment that could be provided for us and made some of the things we needed in our own time.
A week had passed and we found ourselves waiting to board the bus, carrying and holding a range of equipment that we required for our activities. This was our first visit to the school. When we arrived, we were greeted by the staff and students at the school and immediately prepared for the activities that we had planned. We were informed about the ways to approach the students in the previous weeks and used that knowledge to encourage the students of different ages to participate.
My group had decided to hold an activity in which students of BIS HCMC and the disabled school will be seated in a circle. A parcel would then be passed around while everyone was singing a local song. When the song ended, the person holding the parcel would tear the next layer and we taught them how to say the names of the fruit/vegetable that was shown in both English and Vietnamese. Other groups planned activities like throwing and catching, colouring and naming a range of fruit and vegetables. Throughout this visit, some of the students from my class were experiencing difficulties and problems and some had many other thoughts about the trip. All of these were to be shared and discussed during the next ILS lesson.
Our next ILS lesson was based solely on reflecting and improving our activities and experiences in the Thao Dien Disabled School. Individually, we wrote down our thoughts on the trip in our books and then joined our group members to discuss the positives and negatives about our activities and visit. Some groups had decided to completely change their activity while others chose to refine it and make some changes.
The week after our reflection lesson, we headed back to the school and saw some new and old faces when we arrived. Like our first visit, we got straight to preparing our activity. My group had noticed that it was much harder to get their attention and keep them interested throughout the 30 minutes while we were there as there were two classes in the school at the same time and they continuously switched activities. My group had decided to keep our activity from our first visit but made the activity easier as we learned that our initial game was too challenging for the students. The activity that I found to be the most unique was where they gave the students small samples of different fruits and helped them learn about the taste of different fruits and vegetables.
We left the school with a wider knowledge of how to interact with the disabled students and with many thoughts and ideas, ready for our final reflection of our visits.
Sean Sia, Year 8
Community Service at BIS HCMC
The British International School, HCMC has a core commitment to the all-round (holistic) development of each child. Through a range of planned community service and fundraising activities we provide appropriate opportunities for students of all ages to develop a respectful and caring sense of social responsibility towards other people on both a local and global scale.