A school is a place where students are expected to acquire academic learning. Through time however, it has become evident that schools have become indispensable partners of parents and the community in the aim for holistic development among the youth. Thus, we have been seeing more and more efforts of schools towards helping their students achieve mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual growth. Producing student leaders is one of the expected results of these efforts.
What Defines a Student Leader?
In its simplest definition, a student leader is one who occupies a leadership position in the school or campus. These would include class officers, organization officers, and other students holding positions that require decision-making affecting the student body. These are students who wield a certain degree of influence because of recognized competence or even popularity.
What makes them leaders in the eyes of others? Student leaders typically possess a number of leadership qualities that set them apart from the rest. These would include self confidence, humility, trustworthiness, authenticity, assertiveness, enthusiasm, and sense of humor. They are also expected to have passion, emotional, intelligence, flexibility, sense of responsibility, and courage, when they perform their tasks. Obviously, being a student leader is not easy but it is considered one of the best training grounds for future leadership in the workplace.
How Can Schools Develop Student Leaders?
If student leadership provides such advantage, the next question to ask is how schools can actually help in developing students leaders. Most schools have accepted their critical role in achieving the task. The success in such endeavor works both ways since aside from the benefits to students, it has a corresponding advantage for the school as it gains the reputation of producing individuals who are able to lead.
Here are some of the ways schools can develop student leaders:
- Administrative Support – This includes providing the structure within the academic program to achieve it. Merely talking about it will not serve any purpose as the lack of such structure results to having no basis to pursue it, at least within the school framework. It is common knowledge that anything not sanctioned by the school either leads to conflict or nowhere.
- Integration of Leadership Programs in Extra-Curricular Activities – Extra-Curricular Activities provide the best venue for leadership training because aside from the basic rules of conducting these activities, students are usually given a freer hand in directing its course. Of course, it helps if the school can also assign a specific person to oversee the program , not to interfere, but basically to guide students as to the “limits” applicable to the prevailing circumstances as well as to give related inputs from the view of the school administration.
- Conduct Leadership Seminars – Schools can conduct leadership seminars as guided by their vision/mission. It is also recommended to send student representatives to related seminars conducted outside the school. Parental support is critical at this point since the attendance of students will require their permission as well as their logistic and financial assistance.
Everyone has the potential to lead. I have proven that with my own son who I thought was contented in being a “follower”. Nothing bad about being a follower but I’m very happy that he found himself in a leadership position because of his passion for writing. As the editor-in-chief of his school’s paper, he couldn’t be happier himself.
Today, he joins other student leaders in a Student Leaders Assembly which brings together student-officers from different Don Bosco schools for the purpose of enhancing and developing servant-leaders. I know this will help him attain his full potential. We will always be here to support him.
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