Teachers Developing Leadership Capacity in Students
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Young adults finishing school and entering the workforce today require a wide range of unique skills to succeed in their personal and professional lives. Today’s youth are expected to demonstrate and exemplify knowledge in many additional areas that are currently commonplace, such as technology skills, the ability to communicate effectively, and exhibit numerous leadership and citizenship qualities. Cabus & De Witte (2016) indicated the drop-out rate of Canadian high-school students is a concern. It can be argued that many adolescents are not receiving the training required to effectively lead them and their careers in a positive, lifeward, proactive direction. There is currently no leadership course mandated in the core curriculum of Alberta schools, which may leave today’s youth without particular knowledge, skills, and attributes related to leadership which is an important life skill. Building leadership capacity in students during their formative years can help inspire adults who are willing and able to think critically, solve problems, effectively lead day-to-day operations, take risks, set and reach goals, and help create other capable leaders. Societal expectations of today’s young adults are currently at the highest standards in the 21st century, with particular Grade 12 core courses being not only a prerequisite to post-secondary education, but also for entry-level positions within the world of work. Further to the societal demands of a high-school diploma are the knowledge, skills, and attributes of equally high standards in today’s youth such as character and citizenship education and the application of those attributes in a leadership capacity. Examples of character and citizenship traits, included in many Christian-based school divisions, are leadership attributes such as faith, hope, charity, gentleness, hospitality, humility, kindness, patience, prayerfulness, respect, forgiveness, and righteousness (Alberta Education, 2005). Students are expected to be engaged thinkers and ethical citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit, who contribute to a strong and prosperous economy and society, as per the Alberta Government’s Ministerial Order on Student Learning (Alberta Education, 2015). Teachers have a critical role in facilitating leadership capacities in students through both curricular and non-curricular training within the framework of the Teacher Quality Standard (Alberta Education, 2018) and the Leadership Quality Standard (Alberta Education, 2018). Teachers, as lifelong learners and leaders, have the expertise to develop those same learning and leadership qualities in their students which may enable them to become critically thinking responsible citizens who contribute to both the economy and society.
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