The greatest desire of most parents is to see their children have successful and fulfilling lives as adults. Parents can help their children learn leadership skills that will help them advance in their future career by enrolling them in a school like Gordonstoun.
As a top-rated boarding and day school in the United Kingdom, Gordonstoun’s focus goes beyond academics to include learning by travel, volunteering, and extra-curricular activities such as sports, music and drama. This post highlights 4 things parents and teachers can do to develop leadership skills in students that prepare them for 21st century careers.
Help Students Think Beyond the Here and Now
Children and teenagers typically do not have mature thinking when it comes to their studies. They may complain about learning certain topics they are certain they will never use and resent studying when they would rather be having fun. Parents and instructors can help change the way students think by emphasizing how learning new skills will help them in the future.
As challenging as a rigorous academic program can be for students, they still have the protection of being minors and learning from their mistakes in a supportive environment. Teachers should present material in a way that makes sense in the real lives of students. When teachers use stories, examples, and visual effects, students are more likely to retain the information long-term rather than just long enough to pass a test.
The real test of a student’s education does not begin until after graduation when they become responsible for themselves. When students view school only as something they must do to get to the next phase of life, they tend to live for the moment just to get through it. Parents and teachers can do a great service to students by presenting material in a future-focused manner that ties into their adult plans and life goals. The staff at Gordonstoun School incorporates its motto “Plus et en vous” (there is more in you) into every interaction with students.
Teach Students How to Think, Not What to Think
Young adults who obtain leadership roles while still in their 20s usually possess greater complex thinking skills than their peers. They understand there is more than one way to solve a problem, and they explore their options until arriving at the best solution. To develop complex thinking skills, students should have the opportunity to make decisions and solve problems while not yet having to face the real-life consequences of those actions.
Today’s employers value innovation and creativity as much as the ability to willingly tackle complex problems. A well-rounded education includes subjects such as mathematics, English, debate, world government, and computer information technology. However, topics such as art, theater, music, and physical education are equally important.
Gordonstoun offers advanced curriculum at the senior and junior levels that cover the first subject examples and broader curriculum that encompasses the second set of examples. The more exposure students have to different subjects, people, and experiences, the easier it will be for them to develop critical thinking skills.
Teach Students the Value of Teamwork
Collaboration is a big part of modern work life. Students who work independently most of the time will leave school unprepared with the skills needed to work as part of a team. Some important teamwork skills that students should learn before they graduate include professional communication skills, the ability to compromise with other teammates for the good of the project, and giving credit where credit is due.
When students have enough opportunities to work on group projects, they will learn that greater satisfaction comes from sharing credit with the entire group rather than attempting to take it all for themselves. Gordonstoun School encourages teamwork in the classroom with group projects and with extra-curricular activities. Students who join a sports team or work with others to put on a play are likely to learn teamwork skills that are just as useful as those they learn in class.
Much of today’s work is tech-centered and requires employees to form cohort groups to complete projects. Managers expect those reporting to them to manage a project without excessive conflict, deliver it on time, and not to go over budget. They also expect teams to work as independently as possible without needing their constant direction or supervision. Setting up mock work projects in class gives students a taste of what future collaboration on the job will look like.
Provide Access to a Broad Curriculum
Gordonstoun School has focused on offering students a broad curriculum since its beginning more than 80 years ago. Because of this focus, many in the field of education consider the United Kingdom boarding and day school as a world leader in providing character education. Gordonstoun also focuses heavily on helping all students reach their full potential. Here is a brief description of each of the seven pillars that make up a well-rounded and broad curriculum for all students:
- Achievement: Student success requires incorporating their strengths and interests into everyday curriculum and learning opportunities outside the classroom. The ability to explore varying interests in a safe and controlled environment allows students to feel the pride of achievement as they discover where they excel.
- Compassion: Today’s world is more multicultural than ever, and students who have a respectful, tolerant, and understanding attitude towards others will go far. Volunteering in the community and occasionally charging older students with the care of younger students are two important ways to develop compassion in young people.
- Internationalism: All people can become ethnocentric when not exposed to the workings and beliefs of other cultures. Students have the opportunity to visit other cultures and learn from their peers who represent over 40 unique nationalities.
- Resilience: The strongest leaders know how to push through a challenging situation and do not give up when it seems nothing is going right for them. Students learn how to deal with disappointing grades or not making a team, in a constructive manner that enables them to experience better results with their next effort. Quitting is never an option.
- Responsibility: Young people given few responsibilities at home or school grow up to be adults who cannot take care of themselves, much less have a successful career. All students at Gordonstoun must keep their dorm tidy and contribute positively to their boarding house. Staff also encourage them to pursue other areas of responsibility such as offering support to new students. Students who demonstrate that they can handle responsibilities given to them will have the opportunity to take on even more.
- Service: An important aspect of being a well-rounded individual is the ability to put the needs of others first. Participating in community service projects while in school gives students the chance to develop social responsibility and a sense of compassion for people who may be quite different from them. Raising money for local charities, visiting aged care homes, and cleaning roads and beaches are just some common examples.
- Teamwork: From group projects to playing on the soccer team, students need exposure to a wide range of teamwork opportunities to develop skills for their future career.
Schools like Gordonstoun Prepare Young People for University and Career While Still in School
The middle to late teenage years is a time when young people are discovering who they are and what they want to do with their future. A strong college preparatory junior and senior program helps to get students accustomed to the expectations they will face in university. Students also need to learn everyday skills like managing a budget. Parents who want to help their children become future leaders would do well to consider providing them with an education at Gordonstoun that focuses on developing the whole person.