Developing leaders by fostering leadership skills is an integral part of the All Saints’ curriculum. Our educators believe that students should take active roles in their education and develop competencies to carry to adulthood. We believe that student leadership is a critical way of creating independent thinkers who can positively influence their peers, communities, and organizations.
Instead of telling our students what to think, our teachers have adopted teaching techniques that teach them how to think. Thus, student self-reflection and self-awareness have become essential techniques used to foster leadership skills.
The primary aim of student leadership is to develop a culture of ownership, teamwork, and a sense of community within the learning institution and other social settings. Self-reflection contributes to this goal by encouraging students to take charge of their learning processes by reviewing their work and reflecting on their progress.
What is Student Self-Awareness?
Student self-awareness refers to learners’ capability to understand who they are and how to relate to the world around them. Embracing leadership roles requires an in-depth understanding of the surrounding environment and communities. Self-awareness is a technique used to help students become better by ensuring they understand how they learn.
We believe that learners can regulate their behavior and optimize learning if they know how they acquire knowledge and skills. Self-awareness begins with understanding individual strengthens and weaknesses and how they affect performance. Scientists define self-awareness as a tool for controlling and monitoring behavior and adjusting beliefs about the world [2
]. As a metacognitive process of the brain, self-awareness alters the brain structure to make it more flexible and capable of learning.
Here are some of the ways the school encourages student self-reflection and self-awareness:
1. Student-Led Parent-Teacher Conferences
To help reinforce these skills in students, the school organizes student-led parent-teacher conferences. These platforms allow student engagement in discussions regarding their achievements and progress. The primary goal of these student-led conferences is to ensure that learners are invested in their education and to facilitate a growth mindset through conversations on individual goals, weaknesses, and strengths. Their success requires the teacher and parent to allow the student to lead the discussion on their learning progress, including performance, goals, strengths, and areas of improvement.
The benefits of student-led parent-teacher conferences are:
- Increased parent involvement:
A positive learning environment involves parent engagement in a child’s education. Families create a supportive environment that improves children’s behaviors and motivation for better grades.
- Increases / improve student confidence and engagement:
Student-led conferences create an opportunity for the learners to talk about social and academic goals. As a result, they become aware of their progress and can discuss how they can improve with the teacher and parent.
- A better picture of student achievement:
The strategy allows the student to present a portfolio of what they have completed and achieved throughout the academic year. Both the teacher and parent can ask questions for further student engagement. Consequently, the three parties collectively develop student-centered action plans.
- Gives teachers new insight to make the learning environment more effective:
Student-led conferences are platforms where learners get to lead discussions from their point of view. Thus, the teachers better understand individuals to ensure the environment caters to each student’s needs and expectations.
2. Collaborative and Cross-Disciplinary Projects
All Saints’ curriculum integrates collaborative learning, where students work in pairs or small groups to understand course concepts or solve problems. According to educational researchers, peer-to-peer learning allows students to clarify misconceptions and misunderstandings. It also leads to deeper learning since students are active and engaged, improving social and contextual understanding.
The cross-disciplinary approach allows students from different fields of knowledge to interact and exchange ideas. Given the rapid pace the world is changing and technological advancements, students in the 21st century need to have diverse knowledge and skills to keep up. At All Saints’, cross-disciplinary projects are used to ensure students acquire appropriate knowledge and skills to function in multidisciplinary fields.
Collaborative and cross-disciplinary projects contribute to cognitive development and critical thinking. The projects expose students to complex issues that require a broader understanding of issues. By working together to develop practical solutions, learners exchange ideas, challenge varying opinions, and improve communication and self-expression.
The benefits of collaborative and cross-disciplinary approaches include:
- Learners develop higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills
- Promotion of student-faculty interaction
- Improved student self-esteem and responsibility
- Through the improved interactions, students have a better understanding of diverse perspectives on the course material, assignment problems, and real-world issues
Given the turbulent changes happening worldwide, self-reflection and self-awareness are essential for improved understanding of the world, people, and systems.
Students use these strategies to make sense of their life experiences and enhance their thinking. However, achieving this awareness and reflection requires collaboration with peers, teachers, and parents. For this reason, student-led parent-teacher conferences and collaborative and cross-disciplinary projects are appropriate techniques used to foster student leadership at All Saints’.