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Leadership -unexplored content in a World in need of leaders……

womens-leadership While classroom teaching fills a great deal of my “work plate,” I have during my 24 years in education always held the philosophy that schools allow for the opportunity of great learning to occur outside of the class as well as in the classroom.  To put my money where my mouth is so to speak, I have  always felt a compulsion to invest myself in sponsoring activities to allow students to have those opportunities.  Mainly this has taken the form of being  Senior Class sponsor.  Over the years, a theme began to resonate/emerge that we often held students up to expectations of leadership without having amply offered them the training/education necessary to assume the skills.  To quote the kids– “winning an office is a popularity contest”  – but the dark side of winning these popularity contest was that the prize for them was a great expectation from adults and peers for them to lead their class – a task many proved incapable of doing.  I became convicted quite a few years ago that we needed to find the opportunity to at least try to offer kids the chance to attain some leadership skills and have some time to analyze what good leadership looks like and how it could inform their own leadership philosophy.  Within the confines of hectic school days that bled into test date driven content delivery years that are overrun with accommodations, make-up work, ,meetings, smart goals…….. it becomes clear that adding leadership skill sets/content would be virtually impossible.  So along with another teacher and ultimately a dedicated group of teachers– we decided to build a leadership field of dreams—- i.e. a Summit.  We had a vision for a summer event that would be content/skill rich in letting the kids have access to some incredible training.  We didn’t know where the money would come from, what the sessions would look like and mainly how were we going to talk kids back into a school building for 2 days of their summer to LEARN?????? Well that is a longer story than the blog or your interest will likely allow– but suffice it to say when we pulled it off we felt like we had hit a gold mine.  These kids set the tone for what would be an amazing academicyear that followed and one which led to our hosting the next year- the statewide VHSL leadership conference to rave reviews.  The summit program has grown and the buy in by kids is amazing— and even better– half of our teaching faculty invested itself in this program this summer.

AND YET……… there is room for so much more growth in their skill set and understanding these kids have of leadership.  I have become particularly fascinated by the challenges/hesitancy I see for young female leaders so the module will definitely specifically address this but as I research and store away tidbits of information I think there is a way to structure a unit on leadership that can offer some open ended avenues for students to explore leadership ideas/concerns in a way that speaks to them individually and specifically; political, corporate, religious, athletic, gender,etc.   I believe it also has a natural tie in to my government curriculum because at its heart it will  be about good citizenship and strengthening morals and ethics.

I think that thanks to the presence of TED talks and a plethora of You tube videos, there is a great deal of content out there that could be organized and presented in a way to really help students understand and think critically about leadership.  The modules would be intended for upper high school students, likely Juniors and Seniors and would run across our schoology platform.  I believe the module would work best as a hybrid module where it is a mix of discussion and online interaction and reflective journaling/writing.  The timeframe is  at this point a question that stumps me as my thoughts are leaning toward the idea that it would be an evolving module that the students connect to throughout the year as we touch on different topics and institutions rather than it being a straightforward linear module that has a specific start and end point.

I think the greatest misconception about leadership is that some people are and others aren’t meant to be leaders– it believe that because leadership is needed in so many facets of life, I think it is a topic that every student should explore and consider how they might improve their skill set in this direction.  I don’t know that leaders struggle to learn this topic as much as they struggle to step up into leadership positions.

I would love some input from others about how lack of leadership impacts your curriculum/activities or thoughts about what sub-topics could be included in this module.

 

2 Comments

  1. I really like this idea. Which students would take it? For this course, you could start with a small module in this larger idea.

    I know in terms of K-12 teacher use of technology, school leadership is one of the most important aspects.

  2. I feel like I can make this module fit well into my Honors Government course– we tend to have a bit more flexibility with this curriculum and it fits in the study of the Presidency, problem solving and how institutions work.

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