How we made school councils Smarter
During these five months, I participated in 30 school council sessions in schools mostly around London. We went to school in North, East and West London to show them a way of making their school councils Smarter. We did this by showing a model that would make School Councils student led while being totally inclusive, fun and democratic at the same time.
To do this I, was a part of a team of Young Trainees along with two other young people from North London. This was a new experience for all of us. We quickly found out that to do this we, had to be relatable to young children, being able to explain things in a simple, but very clear way and be enthusiastic while doing it.
We started our sessions by introducing ourselves, followed by a game, a “mock session” and finally a class meeting ran by two randomly picked students. We played a game called “Crisp Game”, where the students in a pair or a group would have to pick one flavour of crisps through a 10 seconds discussion. With this game we tried to introduce concepts like Compromising, Voting, Negotiation and Agreement. These would be some skills they will have to use in order to make their school council smart. Then, we (Young Trainees) would run a “mock session” in which we would demonstrate how to run a Smart School Council. To do this we, need a Class Leader and Class Reporter. It is important to note that these roles must be taken by two different students every week, so that they can experience leading a session or typing in the information into our Web Tool. The Class Leader’s job is to read the questions of the board and the Class Reporter’s job is to type the information into a computer on-line app made specifically for these meetings. After showing how to do it, we picked two students randomly to do these roles, which they did pretty well.
One thing I noticed in every single session, is that all classes seemed enthusiastic about being a part of something that would involve everyone in their school. With our sessions, kids learnt how to lead their sessions and at the same time developed some leading and computer skills. Sometimes it was difficult to keep students from making too much noise or talking too loudly. I also believe that most teachers loved this idea of allowing students running a class meeting on their own.
Looking back, I think we did a decent job in writing our own script, rehearsing for our sessions and deliver the sessions. I think we should have had more time to practice, I believe if we had smaller roles in earlier weeks we could have got even better results. Speaking for myself I think I made a good job, it was my first time working with kids and it allowed me to experience what difficulties a primary school teacher might face. As a Young Trainee we trained 700 people (majority of them in London) since September and I think we played a part in changing the way School Councils are run across the country and at the end my hard work was rewarded with the opportunity of continuing working with Smart School Councils Community in a more office based role. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse!!
My main objective for now is to get my degree, I know it will take a lot of hard work and responsibility but it will be worth it in end. I have an idea of what I want to do in the future, but still not 100% sure, as I need to find the answers to many questions I have asked myself. More than career objectives, I got life objectives as I would prefer living a lifestyle that I enjoy, than having a great career but with little else to enjoy.
Before I finish this post, I’d like to thank everyone who helped me during these incredible 5 months they helped broaden my horizon, made me become an even more experimental person and I’d like to think I helped them in the same way I helped them. The main advice I can give is to embrace the future not fearing it.
Thank you!! 🙂
Nuno, Young Trainee