The Secret of Leadership

By Neva Whiteman, the Marketing Officer & ELL Teacher at the British Columbia International School of Bangkok

Seth Godin, entrepreneur and best-selling author is adamant “The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.”

The British Columbia International School of Bangkok (BCISB) is a small school that creates big aspirations in their students. The school’s belief is to empower their students to inspire and engage communities as tomorrow’s leaders.

Rochelle D’Souza, Academic Advisor at the school, introduced the Leadership Club in her first year at the school in 2017-18. The club meets weekly and involves students from grade 7 through to 12. Each student has a distinct role in the club, ranging from Publicity Director to Sports Coordinator to President. The goal of the club is to foster a sense of school community, encourage students to cultivate leadership skills by organizing school events and to give back to the local community.

The students radiate positivity in their dedication, passion, and enthusiasm for bettering the school environment and the local community. Their positivity is infectious, inspiring other students to make a visible impact on the school.
Leadership at BCISB is student-led, encouraging students to develop and share their own opinions and engage in debate, discussion and critique of current issues impacting on them and the wider community. After initial teacher discussion on attributes of a leader and who they see as leaders, students take the lead. D’Souza says honoring student’s choices makes them feel empowered.

BCISB has small classes, very small classes with a school population of 140 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. These small classes tailor the curriculum to each student. Staff know all students by name, making the school a warm and inclusive environment. As the school grows new, exciting developments are happening, the latest are a swimming pool and qualified swimming coaches. The present British Columbia curriculum is internationally recognized as Canada’s leading curriculum. In 2015, British Columbia was confirmed as the world’s number one English speaking school system by PISA, the Program for International Student Assessment organization.

BCISB Principal Ryan Silverthorne says, “We create tomorrow’s leaders by focusing not merely on content we feel they should know, but on facilitating creative and critical thinking, in addition to personal and social development. It cannot be emphasized enough that the job market is rapidly changing due to the exponential growth of technology. Therefore, it is important we do not train our students to be passive learners. They must be active, form opinions and have the ability to transfer their critical skills to any context. I truly believe we inspire them to be the leaders of tomorrow.”