On the 30th and 31st of May, the Executive Committee of the SJPSS Board of Prefects organised a Prefects’ Online Leadership Training Camp, attended by 59 prefects of the school, along with the occasional presence of Ms Chin and Ms Bong. The camp was held with the intent of arming the junior prefects with adequate knowledge to face problems a prefect would encounter on a daily basis. The online camp consisted of 6 modules with each focussing on aspects of leadership as a prefect; namely, duties and responsibilities, conflict resolution and de-escalation, and more. The 59 prefects were split into 9 groups headed by a facilitator who is an ExCo member.
Each day started with a 30-minutes buffer time for all prefects to enter the Zoom meeting. For those who enter early, there would be a Mentimeter presentation for the prefects to express their feelings while enjoying the exquisite selection of music being played in the background.
The daily address would proceed after all prefects have entered. On the first day during the daily address, the prefects were briefed by Ehlena Lau, the Events Head, about our activities followed by a few words by Ms Chin.
After that, we had our first ice-breaking activity which involved a virtual supermarket errand. The game was simple; each group was to order ingredients to make the most appealing dish on the website known as fairprice.com.sg. The task itself didn’t pose much of a challenge, that was, until the twist was revealed – we were to reach a total of $53.82, no more, no less. After spending time adding ingredients to our cart in breakout rooms, we were soon called back to the main room to present our dish. Sadly, none of the teams achieved the exact price, but two teams were off by only $0.02. This called for a showdown between Group 3, Group 5 and Group 6. After a tough debate between the groups, it was decided that their dishes weren’t that worthy, so the victory went to Group 4, which made a 3-course meal, and was off the targeted price by $0.03.
Shortly after, Module 1: Yearly Agenda, was presented to the prefects by Max Ng, the Secretary and Lau Zhi You, the Assembly Head. The presentation introduced the events that prefects were involved in annually such as Mass and assembly, photo-taking, Sports Day and Josephian Day. There were brief explanations on the duties that we were required to carry out so that the probationary prefects could get a gist of what’s to come in the next few years. As Max and Zhi You finished ahead of schedule, the prefects were let off early for lunch.
At 12:30 pm, they came back and we had a short energiser to get their minds focused. Ehlena, the Events, led everyone with 4 commands: to stand up when she said ‘sit down’, to sit down when she said ‘stand up’, to look left and to look right.
Subsequently, Bliss Lam and Jayden Chan conducted Module 2: Duties and Responsibilities. They first conducted a quiz on the platform Kahoot!, made by Jayden, then outlined some important points about prefect duties and then moved on to the fun part, roleplay! Three big groups consisting of 3 smaller groups were formed. The prefects were presented with a situation where they would have to solve a problem. Some prefects were chosen to play the villain and some prefects were cast as actual prefects to resolve the conflict. This activity was really fun and practical as the situations used mimicked real-life obstacles that every prefect would eventually face. It was really helpful for them to learn how to be quick-witted and think on their feet. After the roleplay, Bliss and Jayden concluded the session by giving feedback. The prefects were let off for a 30-minute break.
When they came back, we were once again split into our groups for a short trivia about the prefects and their identities. Afterwards, Bong Nyie Yuin, the Treasurer, started Module 3: Conduct & Must-Knows On The Job. This module revolved around etiquette and ways a prefect should carry themselves. She had also prepared a mystery game (from theescapegame.com) for all of us to promote critical and analytical thinking. In the end, Group 1 successfully figured out the homicide puzzle first. After this, Ms Chin gave a few more words regarding confidence and online etiquette to conclude the first day.
On the second day, we started at 9:00 am with another daily address from Ms Chin, followed by a short meme-sharing by Max. After that, we had an energiser to start off the day right. It was a Madlib Theatre (inspired by Jimmy Fallon’s Madlib Theatre) where the members in each group would have to come up with 10 words and act them out. We first acted out in our breakout rooms and then we shared our stories in the main room with the others.
The first module of the day was Module 4: Giving Feedback & Conflict Resolution which aimed to train prefects to deal with internal conflicts among prefects and also cope with behavioural problems. Similar to the first day, we had another roleplay session in a big group. This time, we saw a huge improvement in their responses and ways they tackled their problems. They were more cool-headed and able to de-escalate the situation even when the ‘antagonists’ were being very rowdy. Ehlena and Marcus Kon taught the prefects a general guideline that can be applied across many circumstances in order to keep emotions from clouding their judgement. Besides that, the participants were given an opportunity to give an opinion on how their peers handled the roleplay. After this, we had a short photo-taking session done by Nyie Yuin and Zhi You.
Right after that we jumped straight into Module 5: Expectations vs Reality, conducted by none other than our beloved Head Prefect, Irwin Fong. This module was aimed at getting the prefects to open up their opinions on being a prefect and whether or not they have accomplished their goals as a prefect, or lived up to certain expectations piled on by teachers, parents and friends. We first discussed in our small group to prepare a presentation and share with each other about our experience so far as a prefect. Then each team shared their observations in the main room. From all the presentations, we noticed a recurring pattern – being a prefect isn’t easy. After a personal sharing from Irwin, the ExCo decided to give the prefects a 20-minute break as they had to speak to Ms Chin.
After a lengthy discussion, we went back to the main room and started the last module, Module 6: From the Floor. Irwin created a Mentimeter for the prefects to share the issues they have seen in online classes and physical school. He then elaborated his stance by providing detailed and in-depth explanations of the solutions. He passed it on to Ms Chin to conclude the day after wrapping up Module 6.
At the end, Ms Chin gave some final words to the prefects, and encouraged them to ameliorate their qualities as a prefect, and reach even greater heights.
• Max Ng Tze Khai (F5 Phi)