Schools are training grounds for future leaders of the country. The trouble is, a lot of educators lose sight of this fundamental truth, in between writing hurried lesson plans and reading piles of students’ homework and essays. Don’t miss the opportunity of instilling excellent leadership skills among your students. If you want your teaching efforts to have a real, profound impact in society, apply these everyday strategies to raise highly effective leaders in your class.
Make them in charge.
What could be a better leadership-inspiring tactic than putting young people in positions of authority, right? Treat your pupils as leaders, and they will act like one. Introduce peer-to-peer teaching in your class discussions. Assign one pupil to tutor another or a group. Coach the ‘mentors’ on how they can share the lessons correctly and then measure the learning of the mentees through seatwork exercises. Another way you can make your students in charge is to give them a school-wide project to oversee. For instance, challenge them to raise environmental awareness on campus by organising a tree planting activity or a bike-to-school program. Allow them to supervise your sports day or Christmas special plays and concerts. When kids see the fruits of their labor, they’ll gain a boost in confidence, which will help them take more risks and have a growing passion for leadership.
Muse about leadership stories.
A minute before or after your class, dive into some good story-telling about leaders. Pull up an image of one of the presidents or a famous businessman and share a short narrative about how they exercised leadership at a particular situation in their life. From there, group students into smaller teams and let them answer thought-provoking questions, like ‘What’s a leadership quality you admire about this person?’, ‘What makes him a good leader?’, or ‘What didn’t you like about them and what do you think would a good leader do, given the same set of circumstances?’ The more that you talk about leadership, the more that it will be taught in the consciousness of your students. Over time, you might hear your students casually talking about Karl Marx or Marie Curie over lunch at the cafeteria or under the school canopy while waiting for their school buses.
Model good leadership.
Of course, there’s no better leadership lesson than the one pupils can see right before their eyes. Kids learn habits best when they see people they look up to (aka you) do it. Whether you like it or not, you set an example for your students. They may catch your temper when scolding someone who’s misbehaving in class. Or they may copy your servant-like attitude when helping a kid struggling in math. Take a step back then and go back to just how you’re leading your class. Jot down your strong and weak points. From there, draw up a game plan to improve the good ones and shake off the bad. The school administration should equally do their part as well, organising leadership-building and character-development training programs for teachers and non-teaching personnel.
Raising Young Leaders
Again, your school isn’t just an academic institution. It’s where young people get groomed to be future leaders. Embrace this truth, and you will approach your students differently — with a sense of promising hope and serious responsibility.