|Kelly Rose, Ed.D|
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
—John Quincy Adams
by Kelly Rose, Ed.D
Library Media Specialist, The Out-of-Door Academy
Graduate, Brain-Based Teaching Studies, Nova Southeastern University
In honor of Presidents’ Day, I reflect on the essence of leadership. President Adams eloquently explained this topic with very few, but powerful, words. These words stand out to me as key advice for students of all ages who are interested in leadership. Recently, I have heard from many professionals who have entered fields different from what they originally studied. The ability to lead and learn is becoming even more desirable by employers. To prepare my students, I seek ways to integrate the discovery of cognitive assets and leadership into the curriculum.
As Library Media Specialist, I have found that I support my students in a number of ways, and leadership is becoming a more dominant part of my curriculum. Lately, many of my students have discussed struggles when working with others in a group. Regardless of age, this can be a challenging task. Our conversations on the topic of leadership all become lessons learned through reflection. I model metacognition during my own tasks and encounters, but also guide students as they learn to be metacognitive themselves.
Recently, one student missed a classroom deadline. He quickly became concerned about the consequences and how the situation might impact his grades. As we discussed the cognitive asset, understanding time, he realized the importance of time management and how he could improve in this area. He connected this experience to a future job. As he noted the problems that can come with waiting until the last minute, he discovered how missing a deadline could potentially impact his career. This lesson was more valuable than the original assignment.
When working with a team, I strive to make my students more aware of the mindsets of others. They seek to discover the strengths and weaknesses of their group, not only as individuals. They are finding that teamwork does not necessarily mean that each member must do an equal piece of every part of the project. Teamwork means collaborating in an effort that inspires every member to want to learn and contribute to the outcome.
It is easy to take these skills for granted and assume our students will acquire them naturally. However, cognitive assets must be taught, and students must have time to explore them. Systematic planning, thoughtful behavior, and finishing power are just a few of these assets that support strong leadership skills. Upon learning these valuable skills, students can model them for others and have the tools to inspire others through leadership.
Our students need these opportunities to learn, and discover for themselves, the cognitive assets that support their leadership endeavors.