When Dr. Hedger got to the International School Yangon, he started exploring in the community to see how ISY could be more engaged in service learning. Since working with one of his favorite professors years ago, Dr. Hedger has been very passionate about service learning.
Dr. Hedger has seen great service learning examples before, but one that stood out was when he was at a school in Colombia and the school built a new campus. Eventually, they wanted to sell the old one, but then they realized that they could make it into a school for the poor people. He has also seen great examples of service learning at Qatar Academy, when he and his colleagues worked with a school in Sri Lanka, immediately after their civil war ended. The school in Sri Lanka is still going strong.
Next year, at ISY, we have a specialist coming to work with our school specifically on service learning projects. The specialist can help us with service learning in our classrooms and outside of our classrooms. Dr. Hedger hopes that with programs like United World Schools, students will understand the relationship between education and poverty and they will become change agents who can make a positive difference.
Asked about his thoughts on service learning at ISY, Dr. Hedger said that it is going better than he had hoped. “When I think about people in the ISY community who show great service learning already, I think of the Board of Trustees, who serve our school community; I think of the High School and the group of students who worked with doctors to promote immunizations, or shots, for kids in rural areas.” Like many of us, he said he also thinks of the Yangon Animal Shelter.
We are very lucky with the education we receive and so it is our responsibility to give back to the community and to the world. As ISY students get older, there will be a greater need for fortunate people to be more engaged, whether they are working with people in their communities, or the environment, or with the animals.
When students leave ISY, Dr. Hedger hopes that they feel like service learning is part of the culture of who they are and what they do. Hopefully, service will be a part of their lifestyle and their jobs, whether they work for an NGO, or in business. As long as service learning is a part of who you are and your beliefs, you can be compassionate and make those positive changes in communities and you can do it anywhere!
- By GLOBAL ES