International Student Leadership Takes Flight
When Leaders of Evolution launched in July, 2015 a major goal was to share our passion and learning opportunities with people of all ages around the world. This vision has taken us to North America, The United Kingdom and New Zealand as we engage with athletes, teachers and students to share our 4 C’s of leadership and learning – Competence, Confidence, Character and Connectedness.
What is perhaps our most exciting partnership to date is the relationship we have formed with Ark Greenwich Free School, an inner London school with over 500 students located in the Borough of Greenwich. Not only has the school implemented our Young Leaders in Schools e-learning courses into the curriculum successfully but have also formed a partnership with Irymple South Primary School, in Victoria, Australia.
Su Reddy, Assistant Head Teacher (Co-Curricular) has been at the forefront of this global education initiative. “Greenwich Free School is aiming to be the best school in London and as such brining in quality education programs is core to this vision. The school has a robust senior student leadership programme and the team have a critical role in the school, bridging the gap between students and teachers. To strengthen this, we wanted to provide our younger students with the foundation to move up into senior student leader positions and as a result launched the leadership programme from Leaders of Evolution.”
The flexibility of the online courses provide the perfect addition to complement the schools enrichment programme, challenging students to apply their learning from the course into their authentic leadership context.
Students in Year 7-9 participate in enrichment clubs under different themes; creativity & performing arts, growth, fellowship, scholarship and ambition and community and charity. The aim of the programme is to provide students with the opportunities to develop these school values and have experiences outside of the classroom.
With detailed lessons that include Self-awareness, Leadership in Action, Communication and Influencing Change, teachers have at their disposal an engaging resource which can be deployed and taught with the aid of videos, quizzes, self-assessment data and reflective writing activities.
Jordan Carter, Head of Geography Department led the enrichment program during the 2018/19 school year and was impressed by the pedagogical approach and the impact this had on students. “The overall learning experience was excellent as students were challenged and engaged by the course and as a teacher I was able to call on various support mechanisms to deliver the content. The students demonstrated growth in all of the 4 C’s, which provides a wonderful lens for them to learn the skills of leadership.”
The 4 C’s of leadership and learning are adapted from sports coaching research and provide a clear and purposeful framework for students to unpack what effective leadership looks like. The 4 C’s stand for:
The skills and behaviours which allow them to perform their role successfully and influence positive change within and outside their school community.
Displaying positive self-worth in their own knowledge and abilities and be able to instil this in others to meet their potential.
Having a deep understanding of themselves, be intrinsically motivated by the desire to help others and show integrity in their leadership role.
Creating positive working relationships with people by demonstrating an awareness of individual, school and wider community values and inspiring others to achieve positive outcomes.
With every student on their own unique leadership journey the Leaders of Evolution Success Criteria Matrix provides context to them as to what success looks like and how they can set goals to move through the stages of Emerging, Evolving, Embedding and Excelling.
The Success Criteria and Teacher Lesson Plans are modelled on the Victorian Education Department’s High Impact Teaching Strategies and form a crucial part of the overarching pedagogical framework constructed by Leaders of Evolution. This considered approach is one of the reasons teachers are finding the resources so complementary to their teaching and students are demonstrating such pronounced growth within the 4 C’s.
The international education partnership has amplified not just the leadership development of students but also provided a cultural angle to their learning. With video diaries shared between the schools, students have been able to uncover what leadership looks like in schools on the other side of the world.
Year 6 teachers Tim Smith and Shannon Allen have coordinated the partnership at Irymple South Primary School and discuss its impact within their learning programme. Smith takes up the story, “The video diaries are effective in two ways. First, by exposing our students to a different culture and asking them to reflect on what leadership looks like in a school so far away from us. Second, students reply videos challenge them to reflect on their own unique environment and leadership journey, enhancing their self-awareness.”
Allen adds, “With so many students goals focused on public speaking, the diaries provide a purposeful learning platform to enhance this element of their leadership. Those who have alternative goals are challenged to reflect on their growth, with the added benefit of needing to articulate this in front of a camera. This process requires the need for effective planning and communication, other critical areas of growth that we wish to promote with our student leaders.”
This global education partnership provides a model which can be easily replicated in schools all over the world. Rather than being an add-on without considered thought, this approach can be harnessed to build upon the strategy of the school and the intended learning goals of students. As we all seek to develop competent, confident, connected and character driven global citizens, elements such as these partnerships are guaranteed to enhance the outcomes of any student leadership programme.
Our final word belongs to Greenwich Free School Assistant Head Teacher Su Reddy who has overseen the implementation of the e-learning courses and international partnership since inception.
“Through our collaboration with Leaders of Evolution our 20 students have successfully completed the programme and have developed their leadership skills with confidence.. We have not only made an international link but the programme itself really focuses on the key skills you need to be a leader and embeds this foundation into our students. We are continuing to work with Leaders of Evolution this year and look forward to developing this partnership.”
For further ideas of strategies to effectively enhance student leadership at your school check out our 10 Ways to Engage Student Voice article
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Leaders of Evolution are passionate about education. We expertly design and deliver technology enhanced e-learning courses focused on leadership, social and emotional learning, career readiness and sports coaching for students, teachers, athletes, coaches and the wider community.