Nurturing future leaders at Xinghua Primary School
08 Feb 2019
It’s been four years since Muhammad Amirul Fitrii Muhtadiin graduated from Xinghua Primary School, but he clearly remembers his stint as head prefect in 2015.
“I remembered giving motivational speeches, led workshops for my juniors and organising our school’s Teachers’ Day concert,” recounts Amirul, who is now a student of Victoria School. “In my role as head prefect, I had to interact with others a lot. It gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone.”
Amirul’s learning experiences are what Xinghua Primary School hopes to impart to its students through its leadership programme.
Every student has a role to play. They get to serve their class through different responsibilities, such as subject monitors or administrative leaders. Those who show greater leadership potential would be endorsed by their teachers for bigger responsibilities, such as leading their co-curricular activities (CCAs) or becoming prefects.
However, students’ leadership journeys do not just end with carrying out projects for the school. They would also be role models to their peers. Experienced prefects would be tasked with conducting workshops to impart their knowledge on leadership to their younger counterparts. CCA leaders become ambassadors for their activities, while house leaders take charge of promoting healthy living habits to their peers.
Beyond positive contributions to the school, the programme also creates rich learning experiences by encouraging students to leave their comfort zones and socialise and be positive influences to their peers.
These responsibilities allow students to learn that their team members in their group may have different opinions and they are challenged to rally them together and find a consensus.
“They learn to listen, respect and work together as a team,” says Ms Diana Yin, Xinghua Primary School’s subject head for pupil leadership. “These skills enable students to interact effectively and harmoniously with others.”
Leaders’ actions and decisions will inevitably affect the people who are supporting them. At Xinghua, students learn to look beyond their own interests and be aware of how they impact their friends.
“I have to give my best in my role so that I can help others. I would have to take the initiative to learn the song so that I can teach my friends if they don’t understand,” explains Huang Jing, leader of the Guzheng CCA. “In times when my decisions affect others – such as how to react to members who do not listen during practice sessions – I need to be able to make the right and fair choice.”
While all the students get to take on a leadership role in their classrooms at some point, not all of them will be assigned to more prominent positions such as CCA leaders and prefects. Thus, students may feel disappointed or even envious, if their schoolmate was chosen for a role which they had been hoping to get.
Not being selected is not a setback, but rather, it is a teachable moment.
“As teachers, we set out the roles and expectations of each leader and we have chats with those who are feeling disappointed about not getting a certain role,” says Ms Yin. “We encourage the students not to give up, continue to work towards the role and support their friends. This will definitely help them grow as leaders.”