Students understand the dynamics of leadership firsthand, both from the perspective of being a follower of their teachers and being role models for their peers. They have strong opinions about how leaders should behave and what ethical responsibilities they should have to others. It’s important to give students space to reflect upon the qualities of good leadership.
Students are no strangers to power. They have parents, coaches and teachers exerting power over them and telling them what to do. Students slowly develop a moral sensibility towards authority figures and are quick to point out when they feel power is being used in negative and positive ways.
When students hear the mantra “You can make a difference in the world,” there’s often an eye-roll. Students struggle to see how the actions of a few can have big consequences for the many. The fallout of this attitude is that many won’t decide to participate in that school-wide fundraiser, start that club or vote in the next election. What’s the point? It’s not going to make a difference.
Some students are dreamers who live comfortably thinking about a world not yet created. Then there are the ‘down to earth’ students who find comfort in facts. Often, these two groups clash during group projects when there’s a need for a clear vision of an end goal but then also a clear, step-by-step plan to get it done.