Bigger & Better Challenge

On a sunny day on 27th September 2013, 30 students & 6 teachers from Sri Emas found themselves on an excursion of a different kind in the streets of Taipan.

Our close partner Seeds Training had an interesting task lined up for 30 of our students. They were split up into groups of 5 - a mixture of Year 10 & 11 students - and were required to engage in business with random strangers in the Taipan area. Here’s the catch though: all they got was a single paper clip to start off their trading. Their time limit that was a mere 3 hours so they wasted no time getting started.

Teachers were assigned to each group and were under strict instructions not to provide any assistance. During the briefing, students were only given instructions by Greg Evans (Founder & Executive Director of Seeds Training), but weren’t clued in as to the main intention of the whole activity.

In my mind, ‘impossible’ was all I could think of when I heard that the students were only given a paper clip and expected to trade with random strangers for something either bigger, better or if possible, both.

Students set off on their tasks at 10am, and mind you, the weather that day was seriously warm. During those 3 hours, there were some ups and downs that my group of students encountered. Firstly, they traded in their paper clip for a health pamphlet. Next, they managed to find a very nice baker that was willing to part with 6 cookies in return for their pamphlet after listening to their explanation of this activity.

In the middle of their adventure, there were some setbacks. They faced a stranger that questioned their motives, as they are from an international school, so why the need to trade paperclips, pamphlets or cookies? After being thrown such question by a stranger, the kids were quick to explain that really, it wasn’t about the value of the items but much more about the interactions and experience that they felt Sri Emas and Seeds Training want them to learn and embrace. Just to remind you, none of these students were briefed or informed about the real purpose of it all.

By 2pm, the students and teachers were all gathered at Seeds Training Centre at Taipan for lunch. After lunch, they were all asked to draw their journey of trading. Back in school, Greg enquired with the students what their experiences were. As predicted, there were ups and downs. One thing that Greg did highlight to the students was to bear in mind that not everything will go according to our plan. So when we are faced with rejection, it should not become a defining, negative moment but rather one of motivation and drive. It was a great experience for the students, especially at this stage in their education because it opens up the young minds of the students to possibilities which are essentially all around them and will definitely not be one which they will forget so soon.


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