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Signature Programme: Bowen ChANgeMakers
Bowen’s ChANgeMakers programme is a signature programme that envisions all Bowenians as creative thinkers and future innovators who are able to use a spirit of enterprise to do good for others. Through this, Bowenians learn what it means to be a 21st century leader: empathetic, socially responsible and inventive individuals who will view problems as opportunities to engineer change. ChANgeMakers is an intergration of Bowen’s Applied Learning and Lifelong Learning Programmes.
Secondary 1: ChANgeMakers in the School @ Bowen
Over two terms, Sec 1 students utilise the design thinking methodology to search for ways to improve the school environment or community. Putting themselves in the shoes of a range of stakeholders—students, teachers, cleaners, canteen stall operators, security officers and more—they are tasked to design and prototype solutions to tackle issues ranging from learning issues, dirty classrooms, canteen queues, protecting the environment and more.
This culminates in a project showcase where they get the chance to hone their presentation skills by pitching their ideas to teachers, addressing queries and finally will harnessing votes to be the best projects in a few categories.
Secondary 2: ChANgeMakers in the Community
The Sec 2 programme broadens Bowenians’ perspective beyond the school. Students undergo a special 5-week programme which blends the twin processes of service learning and design thinking. Students get the chance to wear the hats of both community youth leader and social entrepreneur as they experience the Singapore Spirt, find joy in learning and Dare to Try.
Bowenians serve weekly at partner VWOs – MINDS, AWWA (School or Elderly) and Bright Vision Hospital. These significant and sustained interactions between Bowenians and those they intend to serve, are thoughtfully curated such that Bowenians develop empathy, compassion, inclusivity and respect for those they serve over the course of their interaction. After each session of service, teachers facilitate student reflections so that values and life lessons can be crystalised and learnt effectively. When these values are internalised, the likelihood of nurturing a spirit of lifelong service is increased.
Concurrently, they also undergo design thinking workshops which help them think deeper about their observations of the community they interacted with at the VWOs. Students are empowered to identify gaps and solve real-life concerns that the people at the VWOs may face. Students then develop prototypes that aim to meet the needs of their respective beneficiaries. These prototypes are eventually pitched to a panel comprising teachers and staff from the respective VWOs.
Upper Secondary: ChANgeAdvocates @ Bowen Congress
The upper secondary ChANgeAdvocates program requires students to champion a social cause of their choice, and equips students with needs-analysis skills and a problem-solving mindset, building on their Lower Secondary curriculum. Students are given greater autonomy over the choice of VWOs that they want to serve.
For a small group of students keen to pursue design thinking at a higher level, the school provides an additional platform through the ALP Interest Group. As they embark on their projects, Bowenians learn to become confident individuals who champion their chosen community cause as they convince their class / the special interest group to serve a particular VWO or community. Students are given the space to initiate, plan and implement their own service learning project with their preferred community. Subsequently, to promote sustainable change, students raise awareness at the annual Bowen Congress about their project and influence others—particularly their juniors—to adopt these worthy social causes.
The ALP Interest Group will expose the students to rich learning experiences that enhance their awareness of the local social entrepreneurship and industrial design scene. Through learning journeys to makers’ studios and meet-ups with local innovators, students are inspired and encouraged to use design to enact social change. They will also work under the guidance of an industrial expert, such as an AWWA Occupational therapist to prototype, test and actualise products that would directly bring comfort and convenience to the lives of communities they target to champion for their choice social cause as ChANgeadvocates.
Through this, Bowenians learn to become more thoughtful in their service to their chosen causes, and act as advocates to educate others on the importance of service and using entrepreneurial skills to do good for others.