Future Problem Solving Programme International (FPSPI) Awards, USA
Future Problem Solving Programme (FPSP) is one of the three premiere Humanities and Social Sciences programmes offered in Dunman High School, along with the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Programme (HSSRP) and the Moot Parliament Programme (MPP). Future Problem Solving Programme comprise of different sub-programmes such as Global Issues Problem-Solving (GIPS), Scenario-Writing and Community Problem-Solving (CmPS), all of which seek to stimulate creative thinking skills as well as hone writing skills, and to encourage students to develop a vision for the future/and or solve identified problems in their communities through research. In 2015, I took part in the Scenario Writing competition, which requires individuals to develop short stories set at least 20 years in the future, featuring an imagined, but logical, outcome of actions or events taking place in the world currently, related to a one of the five Future Problem Solving topics for the year.
As a result of getting second place in the Middle division in this competition, I was invited to the FPSP international conference 2016 held in Michigan State University in the United States of America (USA), along with students from Raffles Girls School, Hwa Chong Institution, School of the Arts, Nanyang Primary School and Methodist Girls School. The eight day long trip held many learning experiences, both from the FPSPI event itself and the interactions with a country so different from Singapore. For example, having never travelled out of Asia before, I was introduced to the tipping culture in America, which binds a waiter to one table and encourages the increase in the quality of the service rendered. The education system in America is also very different from Singapore’s in terms of the primary focus, there it seems like the schools are really going for the holistic education approach, with students having their equivalent of Co-Curricular Activities almost every day, which is made possible because the academic side in school is not as demanding, whereas in Singapore, even though schools are trying to provide a more holistic education, the focus is still very much on academic performance, and this is backed up by the mind-set of the population, something that is not so simple to change.
In terms of learning points from the conference, I noticed a growth in my ability to incorporate futuristic elements into my stories, something I struggled with at the beginning of my journey in FPSP. Meeting other fellow Scenario Writers from other countries and working with them in the Team Scenario Writing Competition also exposed me to new styles of writing and linguistic expression. This competition is carried out such that the exploration of the FPSPI topic “Energy of the Future” becomes a catalyst for analysis on human’s impact on the environment and what courses of action is available in the future, including all the economic, political and social impacts that influence the practicality of the discussed method.
Overall, this has been a very fulfilling experience which thought me many hard and soft skills. It has certainly increased my passion for FPSP, and I plan to continue to participate in this program in the near future.
16Y4L Andrea Tan Wan Ling