Enabling teachers to redefine ‘leadership’

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One of the key challenges we face in our leadership programs is how to break the stereotype conventional thinking that is obstructive to positive learning among children. And the prevalent definition of ‘leadership’ is one we feel requires an urgent change – one small step at a time. The traditional meaning of ‘leadership’ restricts the concept to certain exceptional children with certain leader-like qualities.

 

However, at Enabling Leadership we believe that leadership skills are not just for the ‘gifted’ ones and that every child can be a leader, a role model, a global citizen and a positive contributor to the society. Leadership skills can be developed in every child by enabling them to be aware of themselves and their communities, and by making the right choices for themselves and their communities.

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This is why our teachers’ training process is a critical component of our work. Through these trainings, we enable our teachers to break the stereotypical definition of ‘leadership’ through a range of playful activities that help them understand the real meaning of leadership – so they can inculcate the same in the children they are engaging with in their classrooms.

 

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This year’s teachers’ training program was conducted right before the beginning of the new school session in July. Spread over a period of two weeks, this intensive training started with an orientation program for our newly-hired teachers who will be teaching essential life-skills through the mediums of music, football and Lego games to children in eight schools in the rural area surrounding the town of Dharwad in south India.

 

The program had 32 participants – 16 teachers and 16 program coordinators. The first four days, the participants engaged in several activities though which they learned about the vision and goals of Enabling Leadership and our partner organisations Music Basti and Just for Kicks. They were also familiarised with the essential life-skills, as identified by Enabling Leadership, which need to be developed in children to help them become responsible global citizens. These life-skills fall under three broad categories – 1) Belief and understanding of oneself (having a positive outlook and integrating ethics into decision making), 2) Problem solving approach (through critical and creative thinking), and 3) Awareness of self and surroundings (developing meta-cognitive skills and learning to care for the community and the environment).

 

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“It’s very difficult to find good teachers who understand the work we are doing. This year we focussed on hiring not just great musicians or football payers, but those who were interested in using these mediums to teach life-skills to the children and could commit to this cause. We believe we have a very youthful and energetic team now and we want to see them grow along with the children they teach,” said Aparna Nayampalli, Program Manager of Enabling Leadership.

 

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The participants engaged in a variety of games that taught them the importance of many essential life skills like how to communicate properly, how to strategize effectively, how to focus on the objective, how to build trust among team-mates, how to work responsibly in a group, and how to constantly adapt to situations, along with the importance of being honest and using ethics in decision-making.

 

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One of the aims of this training session was to show the teachers how learning can be achieved through fun and playful means, and does not require a serious ‘classroom’ setup. Through these high-energy fun activities, our teachers learnt a lot about managing children as well – for instance, how to respond to a child who is distracting the class, or how to energise a group of tired children.

 

The four-day orientation training was then followed by specialised coursework training, conducted by trainers from our partner organisations, Music Basti and Just for Kicks.

 

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Throughout the training period, the teachers also got an opportunity to voice their concerns and apprehensions with each other and the trainers. They also shared their own aims and goals and what they expected for themselves from these programs. As a result, we have decided to periodically run one-to-one self-assessments of all the teachers, where they can share their learnings, set goals for themselves, and track their progress on a regular basis.

 

It makes us immensely proud that our programs are not just helping children develop essential leadership skills, but are also providing the teachers and coaches an opportunity to learn new teaching methods, set new goals for themselves and chart a self-growth plan through these programs. We will be constantly in touch with them to know about their individual experiences throughout the new school cycle and will keep sharing the same on our website. Watch this space for more updates!

 

To see our teachers and trainers in action, please click here

 

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