School and Social Enterprise: A Case Study in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
September 18, 2023
Case study - A 5 years meaningful partnership between MAD (Make A Difference) Courses and British School Manila (BSM) - exploring how merging the strengths of a forward thinking international school and an impactful social enterprise can #makeadifference
Service, Sustainability, Global citizenship - when we ask schools about their approach to these timely topics, they all have different answers. Most international schools set this as a priority although, for a variety of reasons, some are able to ‘walk the talk’ more than others. In this post, we’d like to share with you the story of our work with the British School Manila (BSM), whose purpose-driven leadership team have paved the way for a truly meaningful and innovative partnership. Hopefully this story will give your school more ideas on ways to engage both educators and students in sustainability and help #makeadifference.
Our collaboration with BSM began in a more conventional mode - as an external 3rd party service trip provider for the school. And yet Martin van der Linde (Head of School), had other ideas: What if BSM might bring a social enterprise such as MAD to work within the school? Martin’s brief to the MAD team (we are paraphrasing!): Help us to forge closer connections between the school, its students and a wide array of NGOs and social enterprises and, in so doing, help integrate sustainability within the curriculum.
The outcome has been the creation of a robust program for Global Citizenship Education, based around 3 pillars:
- Community Outreach and Service Learning:
“Working with MAD has allowed us to really increase the quality of the opportunities that we offer our students. MAD has built an amazing web of connections and links between a whole variety of communities and environmental groups.” Michael Guinness, Whole School Global Citizenship Coordinator at BSM.
A dynamic partnership begins with dynamic individuals. Representing MAD is our co-founder, Raf Dionisio, who is now part of the British School Manila campus, collaborating closely with their Service and Sustainability coordinators and teachers across all levels.
That being said, Raf knows he wouldn’t get very far without a committed colleague at the school: “To create real, meaningful change in Service and Sustainability, you need support from staff within the school who share that common purpose. Fortunately, Michael is a true visionary himself, and we’ve been able to develop an amazing working relationship right from the get-go,” Raf explains.
So what ‘action’ might this all translate into? One highlight is our large-scale initiative called "Make A Difference Week", which happens annually. This week blends online learning (interactive adventures) with engaging activities and excursions all in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, service, and leadership building. Meanwhile, this initiative has been supporting CAS (Community, Activity, and Service) programs and SAA (Service as Action) for younger kids. The objective is to engage, encourage and empower students when engaging with their local community partners.
2. Curriculum Integration:
“(Thanks to this partnership) we always have opportunities for a meaningful real world transfer of learning across our curriculum.” Michael Guinness, Whole School Global Citizenship Coordinator at BSM.
Quite surprisingly, despite sustainability being one of the utmost concerns in the minds of students, Sustainability or Global Citizenship continues to be seen as beyond curriculum. Some educators might see this as a daunting task:
How might curriculum integration of the SDGs become more engaging, relevant and accessible, so that students across the school - not just those fortunate enough to go on a trip - are able to discover the world outside their regular ‘bubbles’?
The MAD team, alongside Michael Guinness and other educators at BSM, have therefore been working in tandem to integrate service and sustainability seamlessly into the curriculum across all grade levels. In particular, stories are a great way to engage students. With this in mind, MAD leverages the immersive power of interactive video adventures, bringing fun and engaging experiences that cultivate skills and insights vital for global citizenship. This way, every student in the school, regardless of which trip they go (or whether they go at all) is able to explore global issues through the unique lens of local communities.
3. Community Trips/Adventures:
“The expertise of the (MAD) team works well alongside our understanding of our own context to develop learning journeys that work right for us both inside the classroom and out in the field (and often in combination)” Michael Guinness, Whole School Global Citizenship Coordinator at BSM.
Service trips remain a fundamental pillar in most schools’ Service and Sustainability missions, and with good reason: they provide students with an opportunity to connect deeply with surrounding communities, embrace nature, foster teamwork, enhance self-confidence.
And yet, how do we ensure that students are engaged and equipped with the right tools to make the most of their experience? Again, this is where online tools can bolster real-life experiences. From this coming year, students will be given access to MAD’s ChangeMaker Launchpad, a self-guided online journey which will enable students to better analyse, understand and tackle the issues they will experience while travelling.
There is still much room for growth, but our partnership so far exemplifies the magic that happens when shared-values meet innovative education. Our shared vision of nurturing well-rounded, empathetic, and proactive global citizens is at the forefront of this partnership.
Of course, there are many other ways to engage students to become empowered changemakers, and we’d love to hear what you will be working on this year. Also, If you’d like to collaborate with us on Service & Sustainability and set up a holistic culture of global citizenship get in touch with Sophie, our head of school partnerships. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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