Student A: “Teacher, can I buy a bottle of water please?”
Student B: “Teacher, my phone was dropped to the sewer.”
Student C: “Teacher, when can we reach the point? I am dying.”
Teacer: “Don’t give up. Fish balls, ice cream and drumsticks are nearly there.”
Please guess what activity is based on the dialogues above.
IA is short for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, founded in 1956 by the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II. It aims to encourage young people to go beyond traditional education to learn new skills, to learn to work with others, to gain self-confidence, to discover their potential and to contribute to a better future.
There are three levels of awards: Bronze, Silver, and Gold, the level of difficulties differs with the routes and time length. The awards are voluntary and non-competitive and are open to any young person between ages from 14 to 24.
Apart from adventurous journeys, every member in IA need to complete modules include community service, physical recreation, skills learning and online record books etc.
Skills learning in IA
Arriving at the destination ahead of time schedule is not the key in IA assessment. Instead, skills listed below are much more important to learn:
- Map reading and compass using
Navigation skills is part of the IA expedition, so learning how to recognize the symbols and use the longitude and latitude to find places on the map. Also, learning how to use compass correctly is of great importance when meeting the junction and making a complete route card.
- Camping, packing and cooking
A proper camping includes a stable tent and other necessary kits like sleeping bags, waterproof mats, head torch etc., which ensure your physical recovery and sleeping quality after a long day walk. With regards to packing, learning how to categorize items into different section of the rucksack is far more important rather than throwing all together, as it can protect your balance of the weight put on shoulder and waist for a safe walking.
If you want to satisfy your stomach, knowing how to use the gas and handy stove in a safe way is also essential. You can work with your team mates together in group or cook alone whatever you want.
Up and down, the more you hike, there is bigger chance that you may fall off or bump into something dangerous. Therefore, the first-aid training is necessary for all members involved. It includes how to use bandage to stem the bleeding, how to take care of the wounded after assessing the environment and contact the emergency call.
- Resilience and teamwork
Rather than individual performance, teamwork is the main part in IA assessment. The result could be NONPASS if each team members fail to obey the rules and go with their own wills.
Therefore, roles and jobs should be clear after the group division.
The IA Teaching Staff
Students ‘safety is the priority in every IA expedition, all staff involved must pass the training first. Not only the outdoor adventurous journey is organized, skills such as map reading, navigation, tent setting and first-aid training, furthermore, routes will be double checked for safety by leaders Gary or Brian before every departure.
Some lovely creatures along the way such as spiders, caterpillars, monkeys even snakes are part of the teaching materials. Teachers and students will stop by and observe the category of plants like moss or butterfly, usually ‘phenomenal education’happens when they find something interesting. For example, there was one time they came across the snake sloughed skin, all groups studied together for finding out when this happen by touching the wet of the skin and doing some research. Meanwhile, for some special incidents like being surrounded by wild dogs or food robbed by monkeys or boars, students will be trained to protect themselves well.
IA Reflections from Graduates
IA is certainly one of the most unique and rewarding experience a high schooler can ever have. The things IA teaches us are much more than any book does. Thank you Gary for always being there encouraging us to grow into helpful teammates and responsible adults. — Gloria (Class of 2019)
I didn’t get the point of IA when I started my first Bronze practice. It was a nightmare. I sweated like hell and swore that I would never join IA the next year. But later on, I gradually figured out the joy of hiking while immersing myself in the beauty of nature and freeing myself from constraint of electrical devices and manic-pace urban life. I started to look forward to next IA journey. I started to look forward to every chance in weekend to refresh myself in nature. –Kelly ( Class of 2021)
IA remains one of the most important achievement during my time at the SCIE, and it will continue to inspire me in the future when facing adversity. I am so grateful for the difficult time we spent together in Bashang in 2015. –Susan (Class of 2016)
Being a part of the IA SILVER AWARD is a special and memorable experience for me. And I still remember the bonds formed among all of us while countering obstacles during those expeditions. –Lancelot ( Class of 2016)
Hiking and suffering among different levels of IA for 5 years with students together, I feel like an ascetic whose physical pain and wiliness keep fighting from time to time. I swear this is the last time in every adventure but enroll again when new journey starts to challenge my limit.
When facing the endless stairs, I sighed, “The road to Shu Kingdom is far more difficult than going to heaven. When hiking on the stretching hills tirelessly, it reminds me of a poem, “ Long, long had been my road and far, far was the journey. “When climbing on the stiff rocks, I immerse myself in a scenario: “ Thee day will be down to the great man also must suffer the pain of their will, the labor of their bones, the starve of their bodies, the poverty of their lives, the mess of their behaviors, which lead to their patience and resilience and enhance their skills.”
“Nonpass”,”Feel the pain”,” You’re getting there”, these familiar slogan inspire the IA challengers group by group. Apart from acquiring knowledge of nature, they have shaped themselves with strong will, resilient patience, close teamwork and lifesaving skills.
PS: Because of the pandemic influence, the HK border is still closed. We will have the IA Bronze Level around Shenzhen, for any G-Level students who would like to join in, please contact Brian in Chemistry Office.