School is a time of great exploration. Yet it can also be a time of great fear, or of self-consciousness.
Public speaking, answering questions in class and trusting one’s own voice are all hurdles many students learn to overcome during their school years. It’s not always an easy journey though.
That is why, at Haut-Lac International Bilingual School, we provide pupils with tools and experiences to help them have faith in their own opinions and ideas.
- Two Student Councils
Many schools have a student council, but not every school has both a primary and a secondary council.
At Haut-Lac, we give students the chance to have a say in the way their school interacts with its pupils from a young age. Through pitching their peers' suggestions regarding meals, uniform or breaktimes to their section leader, running fundraisers and speaking at school events, student council members come to understand the value of their voice as they equip themselves to have fruitful, conducive discussions.
A school is in large part made up of its students, so we encourage ours to be in conversation with each other, and with our senior leaders. It is Haut-Lac’s way of continually adapting so as to remain the best place of learning it can be.
2. Eco-Committees, Digital Leaders and Ambassador Roles
Not everyone has the inclination to be student council president, but that doesn’t mean they have nothing to say.
On the contrary, Haut-Lac’s Environmental Committee members, Eco-Leaders, Digital Leaders, Global Citizenship Ambassadors, Language Ambassadors and Science Ambassadors are passionate about their roles. With climate change, technology and globalisation currently dominating many aspects of their lives, they leap at the chance to shape the way we broach these topics at school.
Opening the floor to students to discuss and influence their impact is a very modern yet necessary step. Children and teenagers are some of the most conscientious, aware people on the planet when it comes to sustainability, and savvier than many adults about technology. Thus, hearing their voices enables us to remain up to date and them to understand that their actions matter.
3. Four House Teams
Where a student council is run by members from one school section, each of the four Haut-Lac house teams give students from across the school both the chance to lead and a taste of responsibility.
The house badge holders have a duty of care towards their house members. By making the student network a tighter and more intimate space, they give even the more timid students the confidence to speak up in smaller groups or to reach out to their house captains and ambassadors if going to the student council feels too intimidating.
Being a badge holder is a position open to any student who shows passion, kindness and maturity. It is an honour and something to aspire to, as well as an asset on a university or job application.
- The MUN Club
The Haut-Lac Model United Nations club is an institution. For years, students have attended and represented at MUN conferences across Switzerland and Europe, bringing their debating skills and passion to the fore.
Students interested in history, politics and current affairs gravitate towards this club. There, they get to work on their public speaking and view situations from new angles to find the best arguments. It’s a particularly great club for naturally shy students, given the transformations and evolution in confidence we have witnessed over the years from our MUN delegates. Timidity eventually falls away to make room for strong, confident public speakers with powerful convictions!
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, our students are our greatest asset at Haut-Lac. And the reason we are constantly devising new platforms for student expression and encouraging them wholeheartedly to trust themselves.
Their opinions count. Their thoughts count. Because one day, theirs will be the generation that runs the world.
Baarding House Supervisor