On the 2nd of March 2019, The Foundation For Tomorrow supported all 131 Shepherds Secondary School scholars from Form 1-4 and their teachers to participate in a Student Business Competition utilizing the SuitUp Competition Framework. The creative competition for scholars was based on them collectively bringing their minds together to come up with a new cutting edge design for a Nike Company sports shoe, produce a commercial and market it to a team of adjudicators and an audience of their peers. I was one of 8 mentors from the TFFT family assisting the students to translate their great ideas into simple, practical, creative, highly participatory actions, reinforcing there is no “I” in “T-E-A-M-W-O-R-K”. Here are some important lessons that we picked up from the activity which will go a long way in improving the learning environment as the business competition had lots of edutainment value that captured the imagination, creativity, innovativeness, organizing and leadership skills of the students.
- A well organized competition challenges participants to give their best and thus it enhances students’ motivation and active learning. The goal of the competition was clearly set: Quoting from Meghann Gunderman Sehorn in her opening speech: “winning or losing is very low in importance in comparison to learning and improving while competing”
- The competitive element acts as an incentive for all students to put in more effort and allows even weaker students to tap into some underutilized strengths or resources (such as acting, public speaking) to participate and contribute towards team effort.
- It effectively improves their learning skills. Prizes were symbolic in order to assure the students’ efforts are intrinsic and not driven by the expected outcome thereby fostering healthy and cooperative learning in an improved social atmosphere that boosts student motivation
- All participants felt like they had an equal chance to win and this gave the process and quality of work that was produced by the students a conspicuous value.
- The Student Business Competition demonstrated the need for scholars to have space for students to develop their soft skills.
“I have stage fright but I am proud of myself that I actually got up on stage and in front of my peers and spoke.”
—Glory kiDory Form 2 Student
“We are grateful to TFFT for this opportunity for creative and expressive learning which showcased the many hidden and underutilized talents in the students. I hope we do more of this.”
—David Abraham TFFT Scholar and Head Boy Shepherds Secondary School
“I was overall impressed by the ideas coming through from our students and more over the spirit in which the students took to the competition inspiring collaboration and instilling confidence to stand up and present in front of their peers. We have seen the massive potential this healthy way of learning can have on boosting self-esteem, engagement, improving learning and skills that we are committing to adopt it and doing regularly.”
—Bernard Benjamin: Operations Manager Shepherds Secondary School
Out of this activity, Shepherds School on their own has decided to take this model and host a business idea competition monthly for their students. We are excited to see the critical thinking skills and fabulous ideas come out of these exercises.