Importance of student leadership in the 21st century
In the rapidly developing age of the 21st century, with new, never-seen-before challenges presented in today’s world, having great leaders who can lead their teams through change and ambiguity is highly sought after. Leaders are often made, not born, and the easiest and quickest way to expose someone to the world of leadership is through student leadership.
Having student leadership opportunities helps pupils learn how to form and build relationships with others, define their identities, and delegate and complete tasks effectively. Cultivating student leadership skills from a young age can help pave the way for their success and the future success of our society.
Read on to learn about the traits of a good leader and methods to develop leadership skills as a student.
What is student leadership?
Student leadership is when pupils are in a position where they can influence, motivate, and guide others towards a common goal. For example, becoming a president of a club, chairperson of a class, or even a leader in a group project are ways pupils can be involved in student leadership.
What is the importance of student leadership?
1. Student leadership exposes pupils to new experiences they are not aware of.
Since birth, children are likely to just take advice from parents, teachers, and classmates, and to do things because others taught them to.
Introducing student leadership positions to them in school helps to reverse the roles and allows pupils to take ownership of their learning and develop their own identities.
2. Teaches students how to manage interpersonal relationships
When leading a group, pupils will have to interact and socialise with others in their team. This teaches them the importance of interpersonal relationships, letting them know how to get everyone on the same track and how to effectively build connections. Student leadership can help toughen them for the workforce, teaching them how to lead others before they even start working.
3. Enables pupils to feel more confident
Student leaders often have to address and manage a group of people, as well as help organise activities or events.
To be able to carry out those tasks, pupils need to have a certain calibre of confidence. Putting themselves in student leadership positions helps to develop their self-confidence and cultivates a deeper sense of maturity.
What are some skills and qualities of a good student leader?
1. Be authentic
Anyone can become a leader, but not everyone can be a good leader. To become a good student leader, one needs to stay authentic. Putting up a façade makes one seem less trustworthy, and if the followers do not trust the student leader, it is hard for the student leader to lead. Staying authentic earns people’s trust and helps the leader perform better when they have the support of others.
2. Be receptive to feedback
A student leader will sometimes hear criticisms and even face pushback from their followers, so it is important to have an open mind and always listen to the opinions of others. Becoming used to handling suggestions creates a comfortable environment for others and is therefore an important aspect of becoming a good student leader.
3. Admit your mistakes
No one likes to admit that they are wrong but knowing when to accept fault is an important trait to have as a student leader. Learning from mistakes and avoiding them in the future is a mark of a good student leader. Having the willingness to take responsibility and proactively plan for the future is how a good student leader improves.
What extra-curricular activities do schools provide to help pupils develop their leadership skills?
Plenty of student leadership opportunities are present during extracurricular activities. These activities help pupils become self-aware of existing leadership skills and nurture them so they can become better leaders.
1. Become a class leader
Starting with baby steps, one can become the leader of a classroom project, like conducting a pupil voice survey. Classroom projects usually only consist of 3-5 group members, so starting with small teams can gradually build up the pupil’s courage to lead others.
2. Join a sports team
For more active pupils, being a part of a sports team teaches them how to work with others to strive for a common goal, learn how to delegate positions based on each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to strategise for a match. Joining a sports team can thereby propel a pupil’s leadership skills through the spirit of teamwork and sportsmanship.
3. Become a prefect
As prefects are normally voted in by their classmates, they are likely to already display signs of a leader. They might already be naturally good at listening to others, are responsible for their actions, or communicate their thoughts effectively. Joining prefect programmes which serve the student body can help further develop these skills, transforming them from a good pupil to a good student leader.
For parents who are looking for an international school that promotes student leadership, check out The Perse School Singapore’s pupil leadership programmes.
What are some examples of student leadership?
Student leadership can be nurtured via many school activities, including becoming a prefect and participating in pupils’ affairs, joining a club, and becoming involved in ECAs. Here are a few examples of how pupils built their leadership skills in school:
Example 1 – Andrea is a House Captain and her duties are to maintain discipline and to lead her House in school events and activities. Through this leadership role, she learnt how to be a confident speaker who can converse with pupils and teachers alike. She also makes sure that the pupils in her house actively participate in events and find ways to encourage and motivate them.
Example 2 – Daniel is a prefect who serves as a role-model to other students. He observes and adheres to the school rules, maintains excellent grades, and carries a positive attitude. Daniel also mentors and helps others to become the best version of themselves.
Become a student leader at the Perse school Singapore
At The Perse School Singapore, developing students’ leadership skills is one of our main priorities. To inculcate the values needed to become good leaders, our school offers multiple pupil leadership programmes that can help students develop their leadership skills.
These programmes include our Pupils Organised Democracy, House Captains, and Prefects. They are designed to help pupils achieve their maximum potential in leadership positions by allowing collaborative activities and encouraging risk-taking. Pupil leaders in our school have the freedom to organise school-wide events under the supervision of teachers, are responsible for mentoring younger children by reading with them, and more.
The Perse School Singapore also organises pupil leadership workshops for student leaders and actively encourages pupil-led ECAs where they set up their own origami and chess lunchtime activities.
To find out more about the school and how our programmes can help your child become a better leader, book a tour with us today.