Monday, March 14, 2016

Building Leadership Skills in the Middle School Classroom

Hi everyone, Shyra here from Junior High Core Values.  One of my passions is encouraging student leadership in middle school students. They are right at that age where they want responsibility and want to have some input in their lives. Providing ample opportunity for positive leadership is important to keep students motivated and engaged.  There are many benefits to encouraging student voice in the classroom. Throughout the years, I've found that the more invested the students are, not only is academic achievement increased, but there are fewer behavior problems. 

There are four key leadership qualities that I like to help my students, and our student council, develop. At the beginning of the school year, we learn about each quality. Throughout the year, students look for opportunities to demonstrate their leadership ability and continue working on these skills.


Class Meetings/Class Council  In my classroom, we use a class economy. Each of the sixth graders has a job for which they receive a salary, pay rent, can earn bonuses, and pay fines (for talking, being out of uniform, missing assignments, etc) Every week we have a Town Hall meeting where the class mayor leads our citizens in a discussion about topics related to school. It is AMAZING to watch them discuss the things they think are important and make decisions.


Student Advocacy  My 8th grade social studies students are learning how to advocate for issues they think would make school a better place. When we studied the Constitution, each of them wrote a bill about an issue they would like addressed. We then debated each bill, sent some back for revision, debated some more and voted.  The students needed to consider what would have the best impact on school, any costs to their projects, how the project would be received by administration, and what the parish/broader community would think. Our winning bill, a proposal to finish a mural on the side of the school building, has now gone on to our principal and school board.

I encourage you to always provide student choice and solicit student input in order to build positive leadership qualities in your own students.
  

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