Even though I came on the second day of the Inme programme, I still took a lot out of the programme. Our instructor was sincere and a very experienced man. He very well knew what he was talking about. He was very interactive and he made nothing in that programme boring.
We first started off the session with the handbooks the Inme team provided. The handbook was full of motivational poems, autobiographies of leaders, self-understanding tests and writing spaces to write our thoughts about a few situations in life. We first did the multiple choice test to find out who we actually are (the enforcer, the negotiator, the collaborator, the lone ranger or the soother). This test gave all of us a clearer understanding of who we actually are, and who do we want to be. What changes can we bring about to ourselves to make us better leaders. This test honestly was surprisingly accurate and helped us to understand what type of leaders we want to be.
The next few activities were all based on teamwork and utilizing our leadership qualities. Before doing these activities we went through an article about “How to become a student leader” The main points were:
• To start by taking small steps
• To be approachable and accessible
• To share the credit and shoulder the blame
• Learn to say things the right way
• To thank people for their contributions
• To acknowledge accomplishments of different people
• To be flexible about how to attain a goal
• To make sure each and every individual feels important
• Give feedback in a timely manner
• To take initiative
These points influenced our behavior in the team activities. Some people who were afraid of giving their thoughts started taking some kind of initiative. People were more flexible to other views and we all actually accomplished a lot by working as a team. It was astounding to see how much we gained in such a short period of time.
We ended the session with brainstorming new ideas we could initiate in the school. My group worked on getting a student-body initiated, where the student body represents a student who is in trouble to the authority. Some of the other projects were also interesting like having new events like pajama day at school or Halloween day and some new ideas for punishments.
The over-all experience was extremely knowledgeable. The only down-side to the programme was there were to many team work activities and no individual ones, which would have been essential. Most of the activities were also done earlier in the Inme class trips. So some new activities is a must since we already would know what to do and what the output must be and in turn the activity loses its charm.
Other then that, the programme has helped me become the leader I wanted to be and the handbook is still helpful. Thank Inme!
Grade 10 IGCSE
Tell a bunch of high schoolers to spend the weekend at school doing leadership activitiesand you will not exactly hear cheers. On an early Saturday morning in July, 2011, we sat inour school, drowsy from the heat, waiting for our instructor from Inme to arrive. We couldonly imagine what sort of dreadfully boring lectures lay ahead of us. But then we met ourinstructor, Brigadier Trigunesh, or as he’d asked us to call him, “Trig”, and the room wassitting up straighter, as Brigadier Trig energized us with his words and message.
First, Brigadier Trig divided us into groups, as he led us to the school field for our firstactivity. It involved blindfolding each member of the group, placing them in a formation, andthen handing them part of a loop of rope. We were timed, and told to form a star shapedfigure with the rope to the best of our abilities. This was one of the most difficult activitieswe had done as a class! It required teamwork, cooperation, and patience to achieve a formeven remotely similar to that of a star. It really tested our communication skills. Lookingback, it was a great, challenging way to start off the workshop and made us realize whatcoming together as a team meant.
We were then asked to come back inside, and each one of us was given an Inme bookletwith information and anecdotes. In it, we took a personality test that we could later comparewith one another. We were also told to write our thoughts on the success/failure of theactivity we just attempted outside. This was followed by a briefing on what we would betrying to achieve this weekend. To give us some inspiration on the sort of teamwork anddedication we should be exhibiting, Trig decided to show us an American comedy moviefrom the 90’s, called ‘Cool Runnings’. This movie, loosely based on true events, is about agroup of Jamaican boys who want to learn how to bob sled, in the hopes of participating inthe Winter Olympics taking place in Canada. It was a truly amusing movie, relating the upsand downs of the bobsled team and how their determinations helped them move forwarddespite their many obstacles. The movie clearly reflected the very ideas thatTrig wanted to help us inculcate in our lives as students and human beings.
Our next activity started out in a rather interesting way. We were all given a scenario, wherewe had Rs. 84,600 to spend in whatever way we wanted, but of course this came withconditions. We weren’t allowed to save any of the money, and we could spend no morethan Rs. 5000 in one go. This was yet again challenging, but at the same time intriguing, asnone of us could understand the point of the activity. Only at the end, once we’d all sharedwhat each of us had written, did we understand.Trig explained to us that thereare exactly 84,600 seconds in a day, and that this exercise was meant to demonstrate timemanagement. He told us about how to practice it every day, and how it was an essentialquality of effective leaders.
Then, to reflect the results of our personality tests, we were asked to write out anddecorate, on a piece of paper, specific things like, ‘what we like most in other people’, ‘whatwe like least in other people’, ‘my best quality’, and so on (These were put up all around theroom the next day, for everyone to look at.). We all parted on this note, with very interestingideas of what might await us the next day.
The next morning, we were much more excited, knowing that this workshop wouldchallenge and stimulate us. The first thing Brigadier Trig did was to give us a poem, withoutany title to it. It was a poem that was a bit hard to understand, and we read it out loudtogether several times to finally understand it. Trig then asked us to give our best guess asto what the poem might be called. Everyone gave guesses in relation to how the poemreferred to things like speaking up, and the way we treat one another. He later told us thatthe poem was called “Talk”.
We were then told that we would be divided into groups that we would have to stay in forthe rest of the day. Within these groups, we spent the day making posters for schoolimprovement, which included inventing a school code, and coming up with inventive ideasto promote school unity, with things such as a ‘spirit week’. It was an activity that reallybrought out our inner creativity, and most of us were pleasantly surprised to see the sorts ofideas we came up with. Our creativity and strategy building were further discovered by twodifferent activities involving making a tower out of wooden blocks, and then making differentsorts of planes and boats out of nothing but paper.
My most favorite activity of all, however, was the ‘furniture company’ activity. Each grouphad to pretend to be a furniture company, and come up with a name for themselves.These “companies” had to assemble shelves. But these weren’t ordinary shelves withordinary manuals! In fact, the pieces were slabs that only fit into each other in a veryspecific way, just like a puzzle, and it came with no instructions whatsoever. And to makethings even more challenging, this activity was timed! The team which was able toassemble the shelves the fastest was the winner.
The reason why I loved this activity so much was because it really brought togethereverything we had learnt within those two days; time management was key to finishing theshelves within a time limit; strategy was needed to figure out the order and position of thepieces; teamwork was necessary to assemble the shelves; and cooperation andcommunication was needed to stay calm and stop us from shouting over one another. In away, we had all become more responsible and resourceful. We could all really see adifference in the ways we were able to work with each other.
Brigadier Trig and Inme gave us all something to think about; a wonderful experiencein which we learnt that with teamwork, nothing is impossible. I hope to see our schoolorganizing something like this next year too!
Grade 10 IGCSE