Brendan Lee is a Year 6 Teacher at ICHK Hong Lok Yuen, and runs the Legacy Challenge Award.
“It is time to make your mark. Your contribution. It is time to leave a legacy. Your legacy. It’s your time.” James Kerr
The Legacy Challenge Award was developed in 2015 with the aim of inspiring, challenging and instilling lifelong positive attitudes and attributes in nine and 10 year old students. It has been founded based on my view of what is important for young people growing up; that is to live a life of adventure, make a positive impact on the world around them and inspire others, while making the journey to find peace within themselves. I believe life is about making the most of the moments in time you have been given.
There are five sections of the award: Action, Microadventures, Kaizen, Leadership and The Summits of My Life. On the completion of each section a badge is awarded. The Legacy Koru Greenstone is awarded at the completion of all sections of the Legacy Challenge. The highest award represents personal growth, positive change and awakening.
The Action section is closely connected with the PYP programme. It is a chance for students to discover authentic ways to take action from the Units of Inquiry that we study in class. I believe it is important for students to use their learning to make a difference in their own or other people’s lives. In this way learning becomes relevant and meaningful for them.
The Microadventure section is about stepping outside of comfort zones and embracing the unknown. It is about exploring new places or doing something students have not done before; escape the city, climb a hill, cook over an open fire, sleep under the stars. The possibilities are endless.
In the two years since the award was established students have open air camped at the beach and on mountains, made fishing rods from branches and fished in the open sea, scaled rocks, stream hiked, cooked their own food over campfires and participated in adventure races.
The Kaizen section is about continuous improvement and developing lifelong learners. This year the section was linked to the Year 6 PSHE unit. Students set dream driven goals and then show how they have improved over time. It is about improving themselves in a creative way.
The Leadership section encourages students to make a difference by taking responsibility or leadership in the school community. As Year 6 students they have a unique opportunity as leaders of the school to make a positive difference to an individual, a small group or the whole school. Leadership projects have included: organising art workshops and sports tournaments, mentoring students and facilitating buddy reading, leading ICT and science lessons and much more.
Summits of My Life
This challenge was designed to stretch participants’ limits and what they thought they were capable of. I have allocated points to a number of mountains in Hong Kong. A points system was developed with 12 points earned for climbing the highest mountains down to 5 points for smaller ones. Students autonomously plan how best to tackle as many of these mountains as possible over two days. This involves organising transport, food and gear, planning and navigating routes. Adults that attend act as facilitators while students take ownership of the process.
The current school record includes the following peaks: Lantau Peak, Sunset Peak, The Twins, Violet Hill, Mt Butler, and Jardine’s Lookout. This equated to approximately 15 hours walking time, 25 km distance and 2, 200 m elevation.
The Legacy Challenge Award has been a great journey for me as I try to find innovative ways to develop a unique and holistic approach to teaching. I hope, that in time the Legacy Challenge Award represents more than just an award for the students; that it becomes a metaphor for life.