By Ng Ziqin (20S03H) and Sophia He (20S03H)
It was the Year 5s’ first day back at school after a blissful six-day marking day holiday, which had passed by in the blink of an eye. While many were out and about with their friends, reveling in the (almost) carefree post-Promos life, or huddled in some corner of the school with their PW group, 27 individuals made the choice to spend their afternoon at the Team Raffles Tea, providing feedback on how their school experience had been thus far, and how it could be improved for the year to come.
The annual feedback collection platform, organised by the Student Council Communications Department (“Commz’D”), had recently undergone a rebranding from its previous incarnation as the ‘Focused Group Discussion’ to the catchier ‘Team Raffles Tea’.
“We wanted it to sound sexier”, explained the Commz’D teacher-in-charge, Mr Faizad. “It’s a move away from the traditional, conservative connotations of a focus group discussion, and towards something that you as students should be accustomed to.”
He added that the student council seeks to change alongside the “shifting student demographics”, moving towards a “less hierarchical manner” of feedback provision that students seem more receptive to.
The event took place in a very structured and efficient fashion. Participants filed into the Stamford Training Room at 2.30 pm, where they were briefly addressed both by Mr Faizad and Koh Yi Hui (20S03H), the Commz’D Head, who thanked the participants for their time and provided a schedule of the day’s events.
The participants were then split into three groups for their first Focused Group Discussion session, and led to separate classrooms by their Council facilitators for the first round of discussions to commence. The matters discussed during this segment included school spirit, the Team Raffles Games (TRG), National Day, Teachers’ Day, Orientation, Open House, Friendship Appreciation Week, Homecoming, the cRIb, and the Hodge Lodge.
At 3.50 pm, the participants switched venues and were then allocated to a different group—this time by their houses. During this segment, participants were asked questions both about house spirit in general, as well as questions specific to the different initiatives carried out by each house’s House Directorate.
Finally, at 4.10 pm, the participants and facilitators headed back to the Stamford Training Room for the segment which had played a huge role in Commz’D’s marketing strategy for the event, and which many of the participants were looking forward to: the food.
While the event ended officially at 4.30 pm, many participants hung back to chat with friends while eating. We decided to take the opportunity to ask the participants why they had decided to come for Team Raffles Tea.
“I think I signed up when it was first launched. Before Promos, when I first saw it,” said Moe Yin Zaw (20S03L), who might very well have been Team Raffles Tea’s very first sign-up.
“I came to rekindle old memories,” said Sia Xinyu (20A13A), who had previously been a member of a similar feedback-collection student group in her secondary school.
While many of the participants cited being there to support their friends from Council as one of the strongest pull factors compelling their attendance at Team Raffles Tea, others had far more straightforward motives.
“I was bored,” said Haris Irfan (20S06U). “I also came for the sandwich.”
While some participants appeared skeptical about the impact of such a relatively small scale event, Mr Faizad shared that the past sessions had actually led to tangible shifts in policy. Last year, students had given feedback on wanting classes to have the autonomy to decide which match support events to go for. Even though complete freedom of choice was not possible due to scheduling reasons, the school was able to provide classes with a few options to pick from. Council was also provided with wifi routers for the most popular matches, such that councillors could livestream the action and provide updates at every quarter for interested students.
All in all, Team Raffles Tea was a wonderful way to mark the Y5s’ return to school and also made for a lovely break from the stress of PW Oral Presentation preparation. We look forward to seeing the 39th Student Council’s responses to the student feedback, as well as next year’s tea-spilling session!