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Saigon International Schools Network: Learning to Lead Student Conference

On Saturday 14th September, nine Year 11 and Year 13 students from the British International School Ho Chi Minh City (BIS HCMC) attended the inaugural Saigon International Schools Network (SISN) student leadership conference, entitled ‘Learning to Lead’.

Saigon International Schools Network

This conference was created by a team of teachers from across 9 international schools in Ho Chi Minh City and was hosted at the European International School. Students were treated to a variety of leadership workshops, including those led by BIS HCMC’s Mr Sean O’Neill, Deputy Head Teacher, and Ms Lauren Binnington, Assistant Head Teacher. 

The sessions were designed to encourage students from across the international schools to work in mixed teams on some core skills of leadership, including difficult conversations, motivating others, communication, and building communities. In the afternoon, students regrouped in their school teams to discuss a change that they would like to make in their school and how they could go about using their skills to make it happen. We’d like to say a huge thank you to the entire team who put this fantastic conference together.

Saigon International Schools Network - BIS HCMC

Our Year 11 students share their experience below.

“The aim of the SISN Learning to Lead Conference was for us to reflect on and improve our leadership through a wide variety of workshops. We were given an opportunity to evaluate and learn different skills and share ideas through discussions.

The core workshop for all school leaders was Humility in Leadership, in which we learned about different leadership styles, how to embrace mistakes and the importance of being humble. We were able to acknowledge how they affect people in different situations. We found out that Nelson Mandela ‘led from the back’, guiding people to achieve their goals and helping them recognise that success is the result of their own efforts, rather than letting them rely solely on the leader. 

To give some examples of what we have learned through other core workshops, one of them gave us advice on how to help build a sense of community in and out of school by providing specific examples, such as volunteering and taking care of the environment, and the importance of doing so. 

There was also a workshop that taught us different tactics to become a motivational, democratic and visionary leader. This enabled us to experiment with different methods of leadership and test the outcomes which accordingly provided us with knowledge of different situations in which we may use each method.  Furthermore, we could learn the importance of maintaining a positive relationship with peers but ultimately looking at the bigger picture. 

In one of the optional workshops, we explored the ethics of leadership. This taught us that being sustainable doesn’t only apply to environmental issues, but also social issues. We also had the opportunity to learn about the solution they gave to the issue regarding the Sustainable Development Goals

Our favourite part of the day was using the Design Thinking process to find practical solutions to two main problems within our school. This method of problem solving focus more on people rather than statistics, which is a way that may work better in school as we are, after all, dealing with people. After this, we participated in the Marketplace activity as people from different schools rotated and learnt about other school’s issues and the solution brought up to address them. We took away the solution we came up with along with the creative solutions from students from other schools that will help us grow as leaders in and outside of school.”

Hannah Lee (11H), Moc Lan Nguyen (11H), SoYoung Park (11H), Chloe Brakenbury (11N), Halle Fang (11C) and Su Do (11I)

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