A group consisting of nine students and seven teachers from Trinity College participated at an International High School Summer Programme conducted by the University of Nottingham, Malaysia. The seven day programme took place from the 3rd to 9th of August 2019.
The main objective of the summer programme was to give an insiders knowledge of universities to the students, and workshops for teachers on strategies to teach 21st century students.
Following is a review of the event written by the participating students:
Workshops on business, engineering and science
We were given three subjects Business, Engineering and Science to choose from and follow throughout the 7 days. The engineering students were involved in various fields such as chemical, civil, software and E-engineering. We did various activities and experiments related to them in ‘state of the art’ laboratories at the Nottingham University. We also learnt how to use modern technology in all the subject related matters. Programs like AutoCAD were used in our workshops related to civil engineering.
Those who chose to follow science were introduced to fields such as Psychology, Data Science, Computer Science, Food Science and Biology. We did a lot of activities relating to those different areas. For biology we did an experiment to extract DNA from bananas, which was quite interesting and fun! The university had a good panel of lecturers and well equipped laboratories which created a comfortable environment for us to learn. Overall it was a good programme. However, they could have included more experiments.
Child centered learning
Workshops for teachers on teaching strategies for 21st Century students were based on how technology can be used in the classrooms in the most effective ways and alternative assessments for creative and critical thinkers. The topics discussed made the teachers realize that most of the methods which are being used in Sri Lanka are teacher centered and that it only caters students to sit for an exam rather than coaching them to face the challenges they would be facing in life.
The teachers felt that the policies followed in our country were way behind, while most of the countries have been moving forward with their education systems and well arranged strategies. We also felt that the current education system of Sri Lanka burdens the students with more and more exams than helping them to be creative learners and critical thinkers. The teachers hope to enlighten their colleagues on the things they learnt and to encourage child centered learning and to reduce the burden of examinations.
Using ‘humour’ to teach
The teaching methods used in the lectures kept us all concentrated and excited during all the sessions. The lecturers used humour most of the time to keep us concentrated and also to entertain us while learning. We also took part in mini-games during the lectures and the winners also received complementary Nottingham merchandise.
Friends from other countries
In addition to the academic work all of us met many students and teachers from other countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Japan who participated in the programme. We learnt about other countries, their culture, religious beliefs and educational systems.
Touring in Malaysia
We were taken on tours to see some of the important places in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Some of us saw the Petronas twin towers for the first time and it was one of the most breathtaking buildings that we have ever seen. The sheer height of it was marvellous and also the design of the building was very beautiful.
When we arrived at Batu caves it displayed the rich culture of the Hinduism in Malaysia. To reach the top we had to climb a flight of stairs which had 207 steps. The climb was definitely worth it, the view from the top was fantastic and the Hindu devotees participating in their prayers was a splendid sight to see. We saw people of all religions here and we also witnessed ethnic harmony wherever we went in this beautiful country.
Putrajaya is in the South of Kuala Lumpur. This city is known for its late-20th-century architecture including the Putra Mosque, made from rose-coloured granite with a pink dome. Nearby is the green-domed Perdana Putra, which contains the Prime Minister’s office complex. The three-tiered Putra bridge is inspired by Iranian architecture, with four minaret-type piers overlooking the man-made Putrajaya lake. We were also taken on a cruise.
The Sarong dance
We had the welcome dinner on the 5th where we witnessed a variety activities representing Malaysian culture and we also performed a short Malaysian dance. At the end of the night all of us were given a chance to dance on the stage and most of us Sri Lankans were involved in the sarong dance, which is quite traditional to our culture.
A ‘fire’ dance from the Trinitians
We were given a farewell dinner at the last night of our stay. The Trinitians performed a dance which represented the Sri Lankan culture and after our dance we received lot of comments saying that our dance was the highlight of the night. We would also like to thank the effort put in Mr Imal Darshana who choreographed our dance even when most us were not trained dancers.
The farewell dinner was a really emotional time for all of us as we had to leave behind all the friends we met there.
This was memorable trip for all who took part and an experience that will stay with us for life. It made us realise that we have so much more to learn to be on par with the rest of the world.
Participants from Trinity College:
- Mr Mahesh Wijesekara
- Mrs Bhagya Weerasooriya
- Mrs Kumari De Tissera
- Mr Sahana Vajirasena
- Mr Wasana Dissanayake
- Mrs Fathima Majeed
- Mrs Shereen Ekanayake
- Master Wolled Noordeen
- Master Suhail Ahamed
- Master Maneth Wijeratne
- Master Anuk Jayasundara
- Master Dasun Kanishka
- Master Thilina Wijethunge
- Master Dhanushkumar Poopalan
- Master Tharindu Harankahadeniya
- Master Liviru Senan