Empower Action – Service Learning through Community Development Workshop

Service Learning through Community Development Workshop
October 20 to 22, 2017
Na Chao Village, Mai Chau District, Vietnam

Event Description: A three-day experiential learning workshop designed to upgrade teachers’ knowledge and skills in facilitating service learning while engaging students in real life community development projects.

Set in the beautiful Mai Chau Valley, a three-hour drive from Hanoi, you will homestay in a rural Vietnamese village and conduct hands on needs analysis and project management techniques that link student learning to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This workshop has been created for those that are either 1) already involved in many service learning projects and want to find ways to improve impacts, or 2) shifting toward more meaningful service learning projects.

Over the three-day workshop we will take you through a series of tools, simulations and hands-on activities you can use with your students covering topics such as:

–    Stages of service learning

–    Project management tools (needs analysis, plan, implement, evaluate, fund)

–    Curricular connections

–    The UN SDGs

This is a great chance to connect with and learn from service minded educators in an authentic experiential setting.

Background: From 2016 the United Nations will adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aimed at creating a more just and sustainable future. These goals matter! Join three educators, from diverse backgrounds, share their hands-on and practical tools to empower students, teachers and communities to address the SDG’s. This workshop will help educators facilitate sustainable service learning experiences. Empowered actions come to life through student investigation, planning, action, reflection and demonstration. This is the perfect weekend workshop for CAS Coordinators, Service Learning Coordinators and educators searching for how their students can experience our world ‘through the eyes of another’ while developing knowledge, skills and attributes.

Cost: USD 400 per person

Includes

  • accommodation, hotel 1 night Hanoi (single) / 2 nights Village Stay (shared)
  • meals & drinking water (3 breakfast, 3 lunch, 2 dinners)
  • workshop fees and materials
  • in country transportation (air conditioned vans)

Excludes

  • airfare
  • visa & immigration fees
  • meals, drinks, service not mentioned

Questions & Registration Confirmation:

All workshop and registration questions should be directed to: 

adorn@nist.ac.th or graham@buffalotours.com

Workshop Detailed Outline:

October 19

Arrive at Hanoi, Nobai International Airport where you will be met by an English-speaking guide for transfer to hotel in town – Kuretakeso Hotel.

Day 1: October 20

Meet in the lobby of the hotel at 8 am for transfer out to Na Chao Village. The drive takes approximately 4 hours with stops along the way. On arrival welcome from community and lunch. We then have a full afternoon of community needs assessment activities and workshops. The activities today will be a mix of hands on, real-life applications of needs analysis and project management tools for use by teachers for their students.

The exercises and workshop events will be held in various locations around the village. Meals and accommodations will be at local homes. You will stay in a local family’s house. You will share a room with your workshop mates and be provided with fresh sheets, blankets, pillows and mosquito nets. There will be clean Asian style squat toilet and private bathing area (no hot water).

Day 2: October 21

Today we have a full day of community needs assessment activities and workshops. The activities today will be a mix of hands on, real-life applications of needs analysis and project management tools for use by teachers for their students.

The exercises and workshop events will be held in various locations around the village. Meals and accommodations will be at local homes. You will stay in a local family’s house. You will share a room with your workshop mates and be provided with fresh sheets, blankets, pillows and mosquito nets. There will be clean Asian style squat toilet and private bathing area (no hot water).

Day 3: October 22

In the morning community needs assessment activities and workshop. After an early lunch and saying good bye to our host community we transfer back to Hanoi, Nobai International Airport. Our ETA is approximately 3pm.

Please note that we will have an early morning departure for those with earlier flights. We can also extend visits for those that wish to spend more time in Hanoi.

See you in Vietnam soon!

Community Empowerment – Seuang River Builds Knowledge And Skills

Last month, Buffalo Educational Travel team in Laos facilitated a learning journey for the leaders of Seuang River Community Programme.

From the 19 to 21 July, twenty-five community representatives, and our very own Chipseng Thor, visited community-based tourism projects Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. This was a great opportunity to exchange and explore; to build skills to improve sustainable tourism in our local communities.

The main objectives of the learning journey were to improve:

  • Village Stay (clean, secure, welcoming and friendly)
  • Meal service (clean, high quality and organic)
  • Community management (product, equity of benefits and future)

The group included representatives of local government and communities, including:

  • Pakxeng District Governor
  • Pakxeng Tourism Director
  • Seuang River Committee Chair & Vice Chair
  • Head cooks
  • Ban Napho Village Stay representatives
  • Ban Pakkeng Village Stay representatives
  • Ban Vang Ngern Village Stay representatives
  • Ban Buam Phaxeng Village Stay representatives

Throughout the three days of learning all participants were very excited. For many it was their first time away from Seuang River to exchange experiences as they learned from another communities, organic farms and restaurants.

The learning journey cost approximately USD 2,500. All this budget was paid by the community from funds saved from the running of the educational tourism activities with Buffalo Tours. Community leaders were happy to make such an investment as they want to develop their knowledge and skills to better manage the student groups Buffalo provides.

Main highlights of the learning journey included exchange of experience with the successful Ban Naduang Community Homestay Project, which has achieved the ASEAN Homestay Standard (clean, separate rooms, bed sheets, blankets, pillows, mosquito nets, fan, living room, bathroom, toilet, hot water shower, foods, welcoming and community service).

Another highlight was a visit to an organic farm to learn from people passionate about preserving our land, fruit trees, animals and food without use of chemicals. The group also visited Luang Prabang Night Market to see all the products tourist buy and Namtip Restaurant they learn how to improve food hygiene, quality and overall meal experience.

The learning journey was a great success, sparking many new ideas and enthusiasm. BET are proud of the initiative of empowered community leaders taking action to learn and grow.

David Begbie Discusses Strategy, Sustainable and Transformational Service

Let us introduce you to our inspirational advisory board, a team of educators and development specialists who are passionate about innovate and sustainable solutions to the world’s needs.

When you ask David Begbie a question, you may have to wait a while for your answer.

Having spoken widely to audiences across the world about development and answering the call of our world in need to heads of giant corporations and members of the UN – people who have the power to facilitate real change – David knows the significance of saying the right thing and saying it well. Everything he says has weight and importance, because everything he does has weight and importance. There’s too little time to waste on not speaking with meaning.

So, our conversation one morning over Skype becomes a long one, full of comfortable silence and the expectation of important and meaningful discussion. At one point he paused for so long that I asked if he’d like to move on to another question and his response was simply:

“It’s not that I can’t answer; it’s that if I turn on the fire hydrant, you can imagine the water that would come forward”.

His passion – for development, for education, for the world – is evident in everything he says.
We begin by discussing how he first began working with Buffalo Educational Travel and he jokes that a bit like one’s first date he cannot recall how exactly him and Graham met, but that it was certainly through the “work of exploring strategic guidelines to help ensure school’s service is strategic, sustainable and transformational”.

It is these ambitious joint goals that we hope to achieve with the help of David as one of our inspiring Advisory Board members. Bringing along the experience of the Crossroads Foundation, who have worked with tens of thousands of students across the planet, we are confident that we are going in the right direction.

Here is what David has to say:

“We run programs and service opportunities for these tens of thousands of students and, in that context, we have begun to realise that while schools have rightly heard the mandate to serve, this does not necessitate that schools know what best practice is.

Most teachers are not trained humanitarian workers; most of them don’t understand development and development work. So while the mandate in schools is right, the service is suboptimal, both for their students and the planet. Fair enough, when no guidance at a higher magnitude has been provided; no strategies have been deployed to help them ensure that their service is doing right by this world.

So, it is into this space that crossroads is working. To help guide schools, whatever their curriculum, to strategic, sustainable, transformational service.

What we long for, both Graham and I, is that schools will not just do more of what is, but will do more of what should be. So that the world’s needs, that are crying out for scaled response, can be met through the hands of students and others. In tactical ways, with understanding.

For any project to have internal combustion, it must be win-win. It must be meeting the felt needs of the schools: the students and their teachers and parents. But it also must be meeting real needs of the community. And one of the areas Educational Travel is seeking to develop, which I think is very right, is looking at what a healthy partnership, carrying those two objectives, would look like.

For us, we are working with the students themselves. Crossroads is working to create guidelines that nurture strategic, sustainable, transformational service, both within schools and in the minds of students, so that when students graduate they may be not only globally aware citizens but global transformational citizens.

One thing we are trying to do is help international schools and service learning professionals understand how to push service into their core competencies. Often, the best place from which you can serve is through your strengths. If teachers’ best strengths are teaching, how do we move service from one week a year into the classroom, sustainably and strategically? So, “I’m doing math and service; I’m doing science and service; I’m changing the world as part of my strength. I can use my skills as service”. It’s the same for everyone: I can be a businessman and do service; I can be a lawyer and do service.

Our job is to serve. And if we can find a way, through whatever means and organisations, to serve this world and those in need better, then that is a good thing.

And BET have, whether intentionally or stumbled upon, found an area of felt need and opportunity that is available in every country. In schools there is a need to do service and in most schools there is an opportunity for the kind of trips that could involve service. If we can help them take this opportunity and work with it in the right way then our impact can be profound. That’s why I’m on board.

It’s a genuine privilege to walk alongside Graham and BET in this endeavour. Because we are friends on this road and we are, all of us, too small. We’re all too small to meet these needs alone.

BET Vietnam Projects: Vinh Long

One of two major projects run by our dedicated Buffalo Educational Travel in Vietnam, Vinh Long lies deep in the Mekong River Delta.

Vinh Long city is a province 3 hours from Vietnam’s Southern Capital, Ho Chi Minh City and home to around 190,000 people. This dynamic town is in the bustling trading center of agriculture and aquaculture. Rich soil and abundant waterways allow tropical fruits, shrimps and fisheries to thrive alongside the high rice production. However, Vinh Long is still struggling to provide sufficient welfare and support for the disadvantaged, with the majority of people living on less than $5 a day.

In 2014 Buffalo Educational Travel founded the Vinh Long Community Development Association alongside Vinh Long Red Cross, Vinh Long Welfare Association, Vinh Long District Authority, Vinh Long Education Authority and Cuu Long Tourist Corporation. Our joint aim, alongside the community, is to promote the welfare and education of disadvantaged families in Vinh Long.

In our community meeting for needs analysis in 2014, the poor housing and sanitation conditions of twenty-two families were identified as the most pressing issues facing the community. Since then we have completed 6 of these homes with the help of visiting school groups. These homes have allowed 6 deserving families to focus on their futures – their children’s education and their work – rather than be stuck in a cycle of poverty worsened by harsh living conditions.

Our community health care project has also been incredibly successful in the Mekong with our strong connection to the Vinh Long General Hospital. In particular, a Midwifery placement program has seen local women, and men, learn crucial information about healthy pregnancy, delivery and childcare. Through our connection with Vinh Long Red Cross we also offer around 70 local students healthcare insurance.

Vinh Long’s rivers and waterways are a mesmerising place to explore and all who visit leave with fond memories of floating markets, endless rice paddies and delicious local cuisine.

BET Vietnam Projects: Mai Chau

One of two major projects run by Buffalo Educational Travel in Vietnam, we have been working in the beautiful Mai Chau valley for over a decade.

na chao village stay

In the past two years we have been working particularly closely with the Bao La Commune on a number of construction projects to improve their agricultural and farming systems. Bao La Commune is a small commune of Mai Chau District, in Hoa Binh Province, around 160 km from Hanoi. This commune has 8 villages and approximately 2,400 people. We work mainly with 2 villages: the 62 families in Na Chao village and the 42 families in Long Sang village, all of whom are ethnic Thai people.

The main work in these villages is farming and raising livestock. Some families have small shops or create handicrafts at home for extra income. Many people survive on as little as $300 per year, while sustaining themselves from their farms.

In 2016 the Long Sang community determined, after lots of discussion, that a major priority should be better traffic connections in the village. Buffalo Educational Travel helped facilitate the building of a new bridge and road that would make it much easier for the people of Long Sang and surrounding villages to access the fields, transfer the farming products and develop the local economy.

Our close connection to the Bao La Commune has allowed us to think outside the box on a number of sustainability initiatives. One of these is the cow bank project. With the help of our own generous donors, we are able to provide the lowest income families with female calves that they are then able to sell for a considerable profit if they raise them well.

We have also strived to foster social development through cultural exchange activities and educational initiatives for kids. This is achieved through our connection with visiting schools as well as a permanent library set up to encourage reading and self-education in the local youth.

Homestay experiences are common throughout the Mai Chau Valley and visitors are always charmed by the intricacies of the local culture; the textiles and traditional performances. We are proud to offer guests a chance to experience a village stay in Na Chao village and experience a more remote and quiet location.

BET Thailand Projects: The Om Goi Community

Buffalo Educational Travel in Thailand takes you to the mist shrouded mountains of Om Goi District in the northern province of Chiang Mai.

thailand development project om goi

Om Goi, one of the most impoverished districts in Thailand, is located 180km south of Chiang Mai. It takes around 4 hours’ drive through rural countryside and mountain roads to reach the communities who live there. The population of around 62,000 is spread into 6 sub-districts and 95 villages. 95% of the local population belongs to ethnic Karen and the remaining 5% are from other ethnic tribes including Hmong, Lahu & Thai. The majority of villages are difficult to access.

The people of Om Goi have survived for centuries through migration, slash and burn agricultural techniques and subsistence from the thick forests of the remote highlands. Tighter conservation of Thailand’s rapidly depleted forests, however, has placed the minority cultures at a crossroads between their traditions and development. Educational travel groups have a role to assist villagers in creating alternative livelihoods and support for environmental conservation and cultural preservation.

BET is creating cooperative, community based tourism initiatives tasked with fighting poverty through development and supplemental income-generation. Initiated in 2013 in partnership with the villages and Om Goi District Authority we are using responsible tourism to allow local residents to earn supplemental income through providing services and products to visiting groups. They are eager to have guests discover their local traditions & cultures in unique and exciting ways – in short ‘to see the world through the eyes of another’.

An ongoing and frustrating aspect of village development is the promotion of clean water, sanitation and toilets. Om Goi Hospital has been working on this, yet progress in remote villages is slow. Most of the villagers know the benefits but do not change traditional habits, such as allowing pigs to roam free and defecate throughout the village area. Likewise, the lack of toilets means the majority of the growing population continues open-defecation. The Om Goi Hospital Director states it is extremely frustrating to cure children of intestinal problems, only to have them return home to unhygienic conditions. Changing habits is a slow and difficult process, particularly in remote villages, yet there is a strong need for better livestock handling, toilets and clean water supply.

BET has been working alongside the local communities and hospital on accessibility to healthcare through the international nursing placement programs. The major construction projects have focused on improving sanitation and access to clean water in the higher mountain homes and villages.

Om Goi is both culturally rich and stunningly beautiful, with cultural performance and trekking being a major part of any program.

Village Stays: Experiential Learning at its Best

There is no better way to experience the local way of life than learning, living and laughing together with the host community. Participants have the chance to share homes in groups of 3 or 4 people and will have the chance to experience a simple, yet comfortable rural home.

Buffalo Educational Travel provides Village Stays at our community development projects in Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao and Thailand.

village stays - bedding

Bedding is arranged with fresh sheets, blankets, pillows and mosquito nets in a dormitory style set-up, sleeping side by side with your group. The bathroom facilities will be even more basic and all should expect a bucket shower and no hot water. But, after a long, hot and rewarding day working in the village, no one seems to care how they get clean! Also, get ready for very basic Asian-style squat toilet.

All meals are eaten together as a group and prepared in the village by well-trained local cooks. We are proud that the meals in our Village Stays are often one of the most memorable parts of the experience! We can cater various dietary requirements if we are informed in advance.

Village stays are not only the best way to experience true local lifestyles, they are also a significant economic benefit for the host community. In 2016 BET groups successfully supported Village Stay with total accommodation fees of $12,474 USD.

  • Chan Sar, Cambodia       – $1,899
  • Seuang River, Lao PDR  – $5,419
  • Om Goi, Thailand            – $3,873
  • Mai Chau, Vietnam          – $1,283

Meet Your Hosts

The families that open their homes are eager for visiting groups to experience their cultures, life styles and stories. Shyness and limited English mean many Village Stay hosts are reluctant to boldly interact with visitors. Yet, with smiles and simple gestures of friendship these barriers can be quickly overcome.

Here are two of our host, the Thoan family in Vietnam and Mon family in Cambodia, that have gained greatly from visiting educational travel groups.

na chao village stay

Mr and Mrs Thoan were our first hosts at Na Chao Village in northern Vietnam.

They feel that since the Village Stay programme began in 2014, there have been many improvements in Na Chao and their family. The biggest change for the Thoan family is a new toilet. Before they did not have a toilet and followed the ancient practice of open-defecation. When they started Village Stays the Thoan’s built a basic bamboo toilet with support from BET team. Mr Thoan proudly states that

“…after 2 years of hosting we could afford to upgrade to a brick toilet and a new tiled bathing area for our guests, and the whole family! We now see how important it is to have a toilet in the house.”

 

Na Chao villagers find it difficult to find the words to express how happy and grateful they are to welcome the student groups.

“They bring fresh air to our community. They give us a chance to communicate with people from many countries. They also help us with lots of building projects for schools and farming which improve our community a lot.”

 

For families earning approximately $2000 a year from farming, the supplemental incomes generated from Village Stays are greatly welcomed and appreciated.

Mr and Mrs Mon together with their three children were very nervous when back in 2013 they decided to become  Village Stay hosts in Knapor Commune in Cambodia. A relatively successful farming family their main income is from selling vegetables grown in the communities to the markets in town. The Mon’s have a strong reputation in the community and take part in the various decisions and leadership, yet the first time they welcomed foreigners into share their home was a momentous occasion. However, after a while the nervous feelings faded and Mr Mon looks back at that with a smile. Mr Mon strongly states the Village Stays have:

“tremendously transformed our family with income generation, meeting people of different cultures, learning to share with those in need, new job opportunities like cooking, and my kids can learn and speak good English through interaction and consistent practice.”

 

Managing Risks

Village Stays can raise concerns for parents, school administrators and overseas travel agents. There are perceived risks to staying in a village home of a developing country. Missing out on the learning opportunities of a Village Stay due to risk avoidance though may limit opportunities of experience and growth. As Dr Malcolm Pritchard states:

“Through overemphasis on risk aversion, however, we run the greater risk of trapping learners in an artificial world of childish simplicity, ill-suited to developing the skills and understandings that are expected of adults managing the risks of the real world.”

 

Regardless, concerns are valid and taken seriously through BET risk management and standard operating procedures. BET has created voluntary documentation and declarations for each Village Stay in recognition of our desire to set industry-wide best practices. We train all our staff in Child Safe practices. We provide fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in all sleeping area. In addition to these BET standards we are fully licensed and covered by AUD $20,000,000 Public Liability, Product Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance.

Being a part of the Buffalo Tours family and Flight Centre Travel Group provides our clients with peace of mind while gaining experiential opportunities of Village Stays.

BET Risk Management with Host Communities

Each time we try something new, we take risks. Stepping out of your comfort zone incurs risks. Travelling to a rural village poses risks. Taking risks is always part of experiential learning. At Buffalo Educational Travel, as many of our groups participate in the village stay which might be a world away from what they have at home, we strive to eliminate the risks involved to make their stay a pleasant one.

As groups will share homes with local families, we need to ensure that selected homes meet our required standards in terms of location, facilities, cleanliness and, above all, low levels of risk. In rural communities, most of the villagers do not pay enough attention to fire prevention and an immediate evacuation plan in case of emergency. At our initial meeting after selection, we talk about the importance of safety during the group’s stay; especially when most of our groups are students and safety always comes first.

From discussion to action, each home commits to set up ladders at certain places around their house for evacuation and Buffalo Educational Travel provides them with in-house fire extinguishers with clear instructions. However, villagers have little to no chance to familiarize themselves with the fire extinguishers. Believing that practice makes perfect, we find it necessary to organize hands-on training for all host families on how to use the fire extinguishers properly. The villagers share their excitement and feel confident that our groups will stay safe in their houses.

Empowering communities and strengthening their capacity has always been BET’s top priority. Through training, we are able to raise awareness of the villagers not only about welcoming guests but also staying safe and strong in their everyday lives. From families to communities, we believe everyone deserves to live in a safe environment. Their knowledge can also be passed on to visiting guests and other villagers as not everyone is master at taking action during a fire and other emergency cases.

Safe travels!

We simply ‘learn by doing’ – don’t we?

“We simply ‘learn by doing’ – don’t we?”
Empowering Learning: the importance of being experiential

Dr. Malcolm Pritchard

Published by John Catt Educational

empowering learning

Experience: it is our first teacher in life, our early warning system, and our guide to world discovery. Yet, hidden in plain sight, experiential learning is largely taken for granted by educators and researchers.

There is a world of difference between ‘doing’ and ‘doing intelligently’. By understanding how experience acts as a mechanism to inspire and scaffold memorable learning, we stand to gain greater control over this most powerful and universal force in human development. Learning, empowered by experience, is lifechanging for learners; experience, purposefully harnessed, is transformational for schools.

Empowering Learning: the importance of being experiential’ explores risk, experience, and learning to offer a practical guide to powerful and inspirational experiential learning programs for teachers and school leaders.

To explore more on risk, experience and learning, please read on…

Risk, Experience and Learning

The passage of every child into adulthood is marked by the ever-present tension between risk and experience. Each time we try something new, we take risks. Each time we experience something, we create the possibility of learning that will enable us to manage or eliminate risk when faced with similar novel situations in the future. We can eliminate or reduce risk, often by taming the experience, and in so doing we remove elements of uncertainty from the learning equation. This does, however, potentially sacrifice learning opportunities in the name of safety.

Of course, the safety and wellbeing of every child is the primary concern for parents and educators. Schools are designed around the elimination of harm; anything that is uncertain poses a risk and is thus undesirable. In reducing uncertainty, schools have become highly sensitive to risk and vigilant in its management. Educators and parents have become more risk averse in an age of accountability, oversight, and safeguarding. Our ultimate goal is to protect children from harm through safer learning.

We might ask, however, what do we lose in the pursuit of safety and the elimination of risk in education? A very old idea is that learning is a process of trial and error: we ask learners to ‘try’ something and work to eliminate ‘error’. This seems to imply that with trial, we are prepared to accept a degree of error. The extent to which error is absent in anything our children do is probably the most common benchmark of achievement. A ‘right’ answer marks success; a ‘wrong’ answer is undesirable. In one sense, learning is about the elimination of errors. Ideal learning is a process that takes a learner to ‘right’ from an irreducible number of ‘wrongs’.

There is a strong deficit view of risk and error in many educational settings, but is risk always harmful? Are mistakes always bad? The real world is neither perfect nor predictable. As soon as we inject human agency, or indeed any novelty, into any situation, we generate the potential for the unexpected. Beyond the controlled and contrived world of school, life is complex; it is full of hazards and uncertainties. We cannot expect that students on graduation from school will step into a world where challenges have been simplified to a point where they cannot fail.

Given the complexities of the adult human experience, avoiding risk may carry hidden risks. A completely ‘safe’ education may set up young learners for immediate and devastating failure when they leave the carefully curated experiences of school.

Our capacity to control the life experiences of a learner is finite. Our ultimate goal must be to prepare our children for life beyond the years of formal education, when control is no longer possible or desirable.

Through overemphasis on risk aversion, however, we run the greater risk of trapping learners in an artificial world of childish simplicity, ill-suited to developing the skills and understandings that are expected of adults managing the risks of the real world. In seeking safety in the short-term, we remove the opportunity to learn about assessing and managing risk; we deny our children the very experiences that will generate coping skills to recover from mistakes and grow. In effect, we create the very thing we fear the most: we ensure that our children will fail when they move beyond the sanctuary of school and home.

In fact, learning as a process of developmental change, cannot be separated from risk. The more interesting and challenging the learning experience, the greater the range of potential outcomes; and the greater the uncertainty, the greater the risk. The truly novel, by definition, lies beyond the learner’s existing experiential frame of reference. How a learner responds to a novel learning problem is therefore inherently unpredictable and hence entails risk.

In one sense, ‘safe learning’ is something of a false tautology: it might be harmless learning – innocuous, inoffensive, inert, and ineffective. Safety is sometimes pursued as a stable state, a place protected from harm. Learning is a process of change and growth, where learners are exposed to uncertainty and risk. Errors are an essential part of that growth: they should be embraced as real evidence of engagement in

learning. One must ‘try’ in the trial, before experiencing ‘error’; one must risk error in order to succeed. To use a medical analogy, exposure to risk and experience of error is a form of inoculation: we reinforce our mental and emotional defence systems by exposure to controlled and relatively benign risks.

Safe learning is thus experientially rich; it builds capacity to assess risk, judgement to measure risk, agility to cope with change, adaptation to the unexpected, recovery from failure, confidence to grow and develop. If learning is genuinely aimed at preparation for life beyond the safe harbour of school, our aim must be to encourage trial and celebrate error on our way to success. At the same time, we must be wise in managing the ever-present tension between harmful risk and learning reward.

Dr. Malcolm Pritchard is currently Head of School at The Independent Schools Foundation Academy, a unique Chinese-English bilingual, K-12 International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Hong Kong. In previous senior appointments, Dr. Pritchard was the Principal of Komilda College, an IB school with a strong Australian Indigenous boarding enrolment, located in Darwin, Australia. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators in 2016.

Buffalo Educational Travel hopes that by sharing experiences with the global education community we continue to develop innovative and life changing experiences for our partner students, schools and the communities we serve.

IB Global Conference Yokohama 2017

Over 1,500 educators from 34 countries have gathered in Yokohama, Japan, 29 – 31 March to experience, exchange and empower. Buffalo Educational Travel is honoured to join this year’s IB Global Conference for the first time as an exhibitor.

The IB Global Conference provides an opportunity for educational leaders, decision makers and practitioners from schools, universities and governments to share best practices. Motivated by the IB’s mission, the conference fosters partnership and participation, providing a forum for discussions on educational quality, pedagogical leadership and international mindedness.

Buffalo Educational Travel has taken the opportunity to meet with many existing partner schools and make connections with new friends. Our full range of educational programmes are on display, including service-learning, mindfulness through outdoor education, community health, Duke of Endinburgh’s International Award, charity challenges and experiential learning through travel.

Interestingly, areas that have attracted the most attention are our work integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals into Empower Action teacher workshops and student workshops. The ability for students to investigate root causes of situations within a community, then plan and prepare actions are an approach that more schools and educators are seeking for their students.

Another area of interest has been with developing student skills required for social enterprises and the self-reliance required for Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. For all the IB schools are looking for new, innovative programmes that assist CAS and service-learning requirements.

Buffalo Educational Travel hopes that by sharing experiences with the global education community we continue to develop innovative and life changing experiences for our partner students, schools and the communities we serve.

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