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Student Leadership Development

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Student Leadership Development
by Jill Fitzsimons - Wednesday, 5 February 2020, 11:45 AM

A key foundational quality of Marist pedagogy ‘is an attitude towards the young that believes in them and fosters their self-esteem and self-confidence’. Therefore, in creating our Student Leadership Development Program for 2020, Melissa Mackellin, Sarah Pyle and I have given careful thought to what we can put in place to fulfil this central part of our mission.

This began in earnest in late November when our student leaders worked with Bright Star Executive Coach, Jon Yeo, to develop their public speaking skills. Our leaders speak to a range of groups, on a range of occasions - to groups from the large to the small - so developing their confidence to do this in an authentic way was a priority.  Jon’s brief was to help our leaders articulate their strategic messages in a clear, simple and meaningful way, while building trust, empathy and engagement - a difficult task, given Jon’s observation that we live in ‘an increasingly distracted world’.  Jon delivered a workshop to the group as a whole and then worked with individuals and pairs to help them fine-tune their delivery. It was terrific to work with a coach of Jon’s calibre and wonderful watching the boys deliver their speeches with real pride.

In late January, our leaders worked with Summer Howarth from Eventful Learning to explore how high-performing teams achieve success and build integrity, particularly through the story of the New Zealand All Blacks and their focus on ‘mana’. The workshop prompted them to identity the attitudes and attributes they wished to intentionally bring to 2020, both as leaders and as a team, while creating opportunities for the boys to determine the role wanted to play as leaders, their central purpose and hopes for their leadership legacy. The afternoon finished with the group understanding more about their individual strengths, and those of their peers; our leaders making a personal plan for enacting their values and the group identifying some way of working together as a team.
Some of the key things that resonated with our leaders from the workshop included:

  • Jon helped with getting to understand and target your audience which helped with being able to adapt to different age groups and backgrounds. Luca Mills, Kenny Captain
  • I learnt that when doing a stand up speech to a small audience, asking question is a great way to get them involved and know that they are understanding what you’re saying.  I learnt that having a team of leaders with different strengths and weaknesses is very important to creating a team that is successful. I learnt from my peers that we all have different strengths, which is a good thing because we will then be able to rely on certain. Oliver Stapleton, Champagnat House Captain
  • Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean to be liked but to be respected. How to be a leader and what it means to me. Tiny Habits. ROLE PURPOSE LEGACY. What leader I want to be. I plan to incorporate everything I can remember into this year of leadership. Lauchlan Mant, Champagnat Vice-Captain
  • Jon Yeo was very helpful with teaching JP and I about how to make sure the audience stayed focused on at all times and how to speak clearly and slowly. Summer helped us get to know the leadership team that we will be working with this year while also making us aware of our own strengths and weaknesses. Nicholas Cleland, Carnie House Captain 
  • I really enjoyed these sessions and the feedback in which Jon gave me to help with my speech and was very impressed with his professionalism and his techniques in improving my speech. I loved the feedback in which I received.I really enjoyed the leadership session discussing leaders’ attitudes and the role of a leader as well as what makes a leader. I plan to use these skills this year in my role to help the House change and evolve throughout the year. Harry May, Faulkner House Captain
  • I learnt that no matter who you are, you will leave a legacy behind. People look up to you so you have to make sure you are aspiring to be the best role model possible. I will try and incorporate my new insights into how I display myself as a student leader in 2020. Elijah Micallef, Year 9 SRC
  • That good leaders don't place themselves higher than others or their fellow teammates and good leaders leave legacies for others to build on. Cayleb Wilson, Year 9 Carnie SRC
  • It was such a joy to work with the students yesterday. It struck me how so many came up to shake my hand post session. A true testament to the leadership, mentorship and excellent example they are shown each day by the wonderful adults in their lives. Summer Howarth