Students from Matthew Flinders Anglican College took part in a Zoom ‘Postcard’ hosted by Round Square on Wednesday, 22 March 2023, allowing learners to meet and build connections with schools from across the globe.
In years gone by, it was traditional to send postcards from our travels, to share with friends and family back home a glimpse of the world we were exploring, to share stories, and to let them know we were thinking of them.
The concept behind the weekly Round Square Zoom ‘Postcards’ emerged in May 2020, designed to keep students and classrooms connected across the world during the pandemic.
Since then, students have maintained their global connections through weekly Zoom chats.
We caught up with several Flinders students to chat about this week’s meeting theme of ‘schooling around the world’ and the insightful topics of discussion that arose.
Flinders Round Square Student Reflections
Year 11 student, Tamsin Bradford shared, “I enjoyed working closely with the other girls in the group with the ability to easily build on each other's comments and ideas.”
“To start, I was nervous as we all did not know what to expect with it being our first time joining, but once the meeting got started it was so fascinating to hear opinions from all the other participants surrounding their schooling systems,” Tamsin said.
“It was also really interesting to see that when asked how we could improve our schooling systems, particularly the concept of subject testing, all representatives came together and shared similar ideas and concerns surrounding the acknowledged problems, even though our education methods are so diverse,” she said.
“Overall, this experience was a great way to gain knowledge about the diversity in cultures and schools around the world, and I couldn't recommend it enough to other students.”
This view was shared by Year 11 student, Sydney Elder who said, “The Round Square postcard was educational and fun. We learned about different schooling systems across the globe, and learned truly out of perspective how lucky we are to live where we do and attend the school we do.
“It's definitely an opportunity I would recommend taking up if offered to you because connecting with people from America and even Bangladesh opens your eyes to all different cultures, lifestyles and pressures of people who are all the same age but going through different experiences,” Sydney said.
The experience was “enjoyed by all” said Year 11 student, Samantha Lovely.
“I think the best part of the Zoom Postcard was realising how similar all of the students around the world are to us at Flinders,” Samantha said.
“Even though the students in countries such as China and Japan had very different schooling experiences, they all had the same stresses and thoughts surrounding academics; especially around tests and exams,” she said.
“It would be great if we could host our own Zoom Postcard here at Flinders!”
Embracing Global Perspectives
For Flinders Round Square Co-ordinator, Mrs Jodie Symons, being a member of Round Square offers students the chance to embrace a “global perspective”.
“Every week, there are opportunities for students to join Zoom ‘Postcards’ which are run by their peers from Round Square schools around the world,” Mrs Symons said.
“Students who choose to take part in these experiences are able to collaborate with and listen to the opinions of students from across the globe,” she said.
“This opportunity allows students to connect with the Round Square learning IDEAL of internationalism.”
Implementing the IDEALS at the College
As a Round Square school, Flinders shares a commitment to character education and experiential learning built around six IDEALS – International Understanding, Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Adventure, Leadership and Service.
As Mrs Symons explains, this commitment is set to become more student-driven in 2023.
“Our newly developed Round Square Committee in the Secondary School will be leading Round Square initiatives, in partnership with our Primary School, to promote more opportunities for all students at Flinders to embrace the Round Square IDEALS,” Mrs Symons said.
“Students engage in many aspects which make up the IDEALS of Round Square, providing a perfect vehicle in which to structure holistic programs that build character, competencies and life-learning attributes in our students,” she said.
“To be part of a network that promotes such philosophies enables our students at Flinders to learn from others, to be part of something that is bigger than themselves and to develop skills and attributes which will serve them well throughout their lives.”