Selecting student leaders

September 19, 2018

The role of student leaders whether a Head Prefect, Prefect, House Captain, Committee Leader, Sports Captain or whatever your school calls them is extremely important. 

If chosen well, these students can positively influence the student body, act as advocates for other students, help instil the values and goals of the school, all while being a good role model, setting the example for other students to follow.

Therefore these student leaders need to be chosen for the right reasons, using an effective selection method, not just the best speakers or most popular. Some schools do this well, while others either don't have a robust student leadership program or choose leaders without a genuine selection process, which should include three key steps:

 

Step one - Define roles, responsibilities & outcomes

Step two - Conduct a selection activity

Step three - Ongoing leadership training

 

Using the example of a Head Prefect/Student...


Step one - Define the leadership roles, responsibilities, and what the desired outcome is

 

The teachers, heads of department or school executive should focus on two aspects before starting the selection process.

   1. What are the key tasks or deliverables that the leaders will coordinate during the year.

   2. What are the over arching values and principles that the leaders should live by and instil in their fellow students.

 

The key deliverables could include leading the other prefects and/or council leaders, running school events, conducting mentor and 'student voice' sessions, growing student participation and attendance.

 

Having a clear set of values will give the student leaders the foundations to shape how they conduct themselves and any activities during the year. These could be built upon the school's existing values, or general values that all good leaders should have, including trust, courage, integrity, commitment.

 

Step two - Conduct a selection 

 

To choose the most suitable students to become school leaders, an activity to identify the attributes and qualities of those that express interest in applying for the roles needs to be conducted.

 

We suggest that a full selection day for leadership role candidates be run toward the end of term four each year. This day will have a number of activities that could include:

   1. Team leadership scenarios

   2. Leading group discussions

   3. Public speaking

   4. Planning scenarios

   5. Delivering a training lesson

   6. Presentation of values

 

These activities should be observed and performances marked by a selection panel, made up of a suitable cross section of appropriate assessors. At the conclusion of the activities a panel decision will be made for each leadership role. This approach will help select student leaders on merit specifically as a young leader.

 

Step three - Ongoing leadership training

 

Once the student leaders have been selected based on their natural character and assessed abilities to perform as a leader, they need to have expectations set and receive specific leadership training (not just 'rock climbing' and 'kayaking') to develop them so they grow personally and contribute to the best of their abilities. It's about taking their natural ability then developing it.

This type of training should be delivered by someone within the school or externally who has the skills and time to develop these young and upcoming leaders of the future. Let's ensure we add value to themselves and their schools.

 

 

 

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