Over the past few weeks I have been seeing many different posts and pictures of quotes like the one to the left about leadership.
I have been thinking how do we as teachers help students develop their roles as leaders, and when it is appopriate to follow? This is something that I really never thought about.
We have little games like “Simon Says” and “Follow the Leader” that we like to see children play. I think both of these help to set the tone that there should be a leader, and a follower. Some children like to be the leaders, and some the followers.
Moving on to older children, how can we develop their skills to be better leaders? Something that I have done in the past, but not recently is when my students are in small groups I assign students roles. Each role has an assignment attached to it. Below is an exmaple.
Each card has a job listed and the role they must perform in the group. So in a sense each person is a leader of the group based on their role, but also each is a follower making sure each does their required job. In doing so, students find by working together they can get much accomplished.
Something else that can be done is to study truly great leaders. Begin to dissect their attributes into catagories. Look at what their personality is, how they handle others in stressful times and in regular times. Create a list of personality traits and see how students could emulate these great leaders. When choosing great leaders look for examples from multiple cultures.
Finally I think there is a few things as teachers we need to work on to help our students to be leaders.
- Help built their confidence: give students a variety of ways to help them build their confidence. Students should be give opportunities to publically speak, debate, or present to a small class, large group, or on line.
- Give opportunities to lead: Teachers need to allow students who want to lead to lead. For exmaple let them run for class president, or class officer. Allow students to be on committees that will allow them to feel like they can make a difference.
- Give feedback: Every leader likes to have some feedback. As teachers we need to give our students that chance to give feedback as well.
- Allow room for personal growth and exploration: Giving students room for exploration and personal growth you are allowing your students to mature. Students must know that a leader or to have leadership qualities doesn’t happen in a vaccuum. Those skills are developed over time. Here is a leadership questionaire to give yo your students. Give it at the beginning of the year and at the end. Compare the scores, and see how much they have grown.
I am sure there are many different strategies that can be used in the classroom. I would be curious to hear from you what you are doing to help cultivate leadership in your classroom.
As always comments are welcome.