26 October Leadership as Part of a Balanced Education
By Linda Belonje. Director of Marketing and Development, KIS International School
A well-rounded education offers students the opportunity of developing skills that are deemed useful in life, at school, and in the real world. Some of the skills that are in demand are leadership skills.
Leadership skills are those that help us manage a group of people. They include, amongst others, communication, delegation, decision making, providing feedback, taking responsibility, motivation and commitment.
Good leaders are open-minded, committed and goal driven. They respect everyone’s opinion and are trustworthy, confident and calm.
Developing leadership skills at school benefits students in several ways. Not only will the acquired skills help the student to receive a broader education, but practicing leadership also builds resilience and perseverance and provides experience for the workplace, giving a student confidence in working with various personalities and cultures and solving problems. When applying to universities, the experience of having had an active role in the school community will also strengthen their application.
Through leading a group, students learn how to resolve conflicts, prioritize, manage their time and manage resources while advancing confidence and agency.
While some students are more naturally leaders than others, leadership can be developed in everyone. KIS International School offers students a wide range of options for learning these skills. The Student Council, for example, has students from both Primary School and Secondary School representing the students, hosting events, and liaising between the school administration and the students. In the Student Council, students set the agenda of the meeting and work alongside their peers and adults who model the behaviours of a good leader. They solve real problems, learn from their mistakes and cooperate to improve the school.
Another area where leadership can be built is through the Drama Club, particularly the behind-the-scenes roles, such as stage management. In the build-up to a performance, and notably during show times, students in stage roles have to think on their feet and act quickly and decisively to solve problems in real time.
A third excellent opportunity for KIS students to become better leaders is KISCO. KISCO is a company run by KIS students that packages and sells fair trade coffee. Running this company allows exposure to real business challenges and problem-solving strategies. Students have to respect different opinions, consult with others and learn to understand conflict from different perspectives – a valuable skill for life.
Other obvious areas for leadership are captaining a sports team or being a house captain. These activities not only promote positive spirit and collaboration within school but also expose the leaders to the challenges of directing a sizeable group of people and getting them to collaborate towards a common goal.
The opportunity for students to take on leadership roles supports their development as a person and provides them with experience that matters on their university application and in their daily lives. Schools that understand the value of leadership as part of a balanced education will offer opportunities for students of all ages to gain this experience in a safe and nurturing environment with adult support.