Leadership is a skill that children exhibit in many different ways, whether it be, taking charge of a group project with their classmates, being a class representative, taking the role of team captain in P.E. class, and more! While often overlooked in children, this skill is important for success in personal and academic settings, community involvement, and other areas of life.
Why Being a Student Leader is Important?
A few reasons why it’s important for children to hone their leadership skills by being a student leader are as follows:
1. Developing Responsibility and Accountability
When children take on leadership roles, it means having a lot of responsibilities and taking accountability for their actions. In this process, they get to make important choices and learn about the possible outcomes of their decisions, which also trains them to be quick on their feet. A good example would be when they are given multiple classroom responsibilities, including serving as a line leader, greeting classmates, or taking up leadership roles in student organizations such as the Student Council or the soccer team. These tasks help students take on responsibility and contribute to the school.
2. Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
Being a leader often means being a quick thinker and figuring out a solution to a given problem right when they happen. When students take on leadership roles, they are trained to assess a situation, think critically, and make informed decisions. By gradually building up their duties, they can master this skill inside and outside of the classroom.
3. Building Confidence and Self-Esteem
If you are working with a child or student who is struggling with confidence and self-esteem, this can be a perfect way to assess those pain points. By taking on leadership roles, they can demonstrate their skills and talents and receive recognition for their achievements. The feedback they will receive can also help build their confidence and positively impact their growth.
Characteristics of a Good Leader in the Classroom
As parents, you can encourage your child to thrive as leaders in their classrooms by fostering these characteristics at home. Here are some characteristics that a good student leader should have:
1. They are Honest
As quoted in the Bible, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9), honest students are committed to finish their work ethically. They believe that being honest will earn them God’s love. Everybody in the class knows that this student is able to be trusted, whether working on group projects or in personal relations. If there is anyone in the class who tries to cheat, this honest leader will call them out on it, or refuse to go along with such activity.
2. They Love to Serve Others
As mentioned in 1 Peter 4:10-11: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord”, a good leader wants what is best for other people, and are willing to serve those in need. In a classroom, this student will often show acts of selflessness or kindness. For example, if they see some of their classmates facing difficulties grasping a complex math concept, they will decide to organize a study group during lunchtime. This initiative not only helped their classmates understand the math concepts but also established a nurturing learning atmosphere.
3. They Love to Listen to Others
Student leaders care about the concerns and thoughts of their classmates. Even when some students seem to only feign interest in their friends’ problems, a student leader will occasionally show a genuine desire to help others. In group work, they are willing to compromise and be receptive toward others’ feedbacks.
Certainly, students can enhance their leadership skills outside the classroom. Therefore, here are activities in which students can participate in school to improve their leadership skills:
1. Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities are an excellent way for students to develop leadership skills outside of the classroom. Students can explore their interests, passions, and hobbies by participating in after-school programs while developing their communication, problem-solving, and collaboration skills. All of these are necessary to possess to be a great leader!
These activities can range from sports to music, academic clubs, and more. For example, students who participate in sports can take on the team captain role and be responsible for leading and motivating their teammates. Music club members may also have the opportunity to organize events and take on officer roles where they can assist in organizing events and fundraisers.
These are just some of the ways extracurricular activities can be a valuable way for students to hone their leadership skills and become well-rounded individuals.
2. Community Service
Community service is another excellent way for students to develop leadership skills while also giving back to their communities. When they develop a routine of volunteering their time and talents, students can learn to be compassionate and empathetic while working on their organization, communication, and decision-making skills. To get started, students can simply search for these opportunities through their church or school. At Sekolah Pelita Harapan (SPH), we provide volunteering opportunities through our Mission Service Learning (MSL) program that occurs in each grade level from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Through these opportunities, students can engage in meaningful community service while honing their leadership skills.
Students can also be encouraged to partner with local organizations to provide assistance for orphanages, disaster relief victims, and support environmental conservation efforts. When participating in community service, children may have to converse with people from differing backgrounds, cultures, and norms. They may also need to explain their projects and assist other community members.
Additionally, students can learn to be active listeners while expressing themselves clearly and respectfully. Ultimately, community service can provide students with a unique opportunity to practice and develop their leadership skills in a real-world context while positively impacting their communities.
3. Internships and Work Experience
For students who are in high school, internships and work experience are valuable opportunities for students to develop leadership skills in a professional setting. These experiences allow students to gain practical skills and knowledge while also learning to work collaboratively with others and take on leadership roles.
In the workplace, effective communication is essential to ensure tasks are completed efficiently and successfully. Students participating in internships or work opportunities must collaborate with coworkers, supervisors, customers, and other stakeholders. By putting them in this environment, students can learn to build positive relationships, learn to adapt their communication style to different situations, and clearly convey their ideas and opinions. Not only is this important in helping them in the workplace but also in their future careers!
4. Student Council
Student Council is a student-run organization that arranges impactful programs and service-oriented events. Student Council members plan events to enrich student and teacher relationships and serve their community. Upon joining, students will learn how to plan events and solve problems with their peers while building lifelong friendships together.
Some of the key responsibilities of Student Council members include listening to others’ ideas and negotiating to resolve conflicts effectively. All of these lessons can become transferable skills that will benefit them once they head out to college or enter the career field!
Overall, there is plenty of fun, engaging, and exciting ways for students to develop and practice their leadership skills outside the classroom. From sports teams to music programs to community service projects, extracurricular activities offer unique opportunities for students to take on additional responsibilities, communicate effectively, collaborate with others, and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Moreover, the leadership skills children develop through extracurricular activities can be invaluable not only in school but also in their future careers! Keep in mind that leadership is a transferable skill that can be applicable in many different aspects of life. Therefore, both parents and educators should encourage children to explore and participate in programs that align with their interests and passions to help them become the best versions of themselves.
At Sekolah Pelita Harapan (SPH), we offer a range of programs to help students grow and develop both personally and professionally. One of the ways SPH does this is through our robust Student Council program that allows students to participate actively and foster a sense of community among their peers. In addition, during the summer months (June-July), SPH offers a variety of summer programs that focus on academic enrichment, personal growth, and cultural immersion. Through these programs, SPH aims to equip our student body with the skills, knowledge, and values they need to become leaders in their communities and make a positive difference in the world.
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