Leadership is doing the right thing,
even when no one is watching.
The Leader in Me is a whole-school program aiming to transform the school community into a community of leaders. The program teaches students, educators, staff and parents 21st century leadership and life skills and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader. The program is based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey.
The process includes student participation in goal setting, data tracking, leadership roles throughout the school organization, Student-Led Conferences, leadership environments and Leadership Events. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is also a key component of the overall Leader in Me process and is a synthesis of universal, timeless principles of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness such as responsibility, vision, integrity, teamwork, collaboration, and renewal, which are secular in nature and common to all people and cultures.
The Leader in Me differs from other whole-school transformation processes in that it offers a holistic, schoolwide experience for staff, students, and parents, and creates a common language and culture within the school. The leadership principles and lessons are not taught as a curriculum, but instead are incorporated into coursework, traditions, systems, and culture.
The 7 Habits
Habit 1: Be Proactive
<you're in charge>
Be Proactive means to take responsibility for your choices and behaviors. Habit 1 is the key to all of the other habits; that’s why it comes first. Be Proactive says, “I am in charge of my own life. I am responsible for whether I am happy or sad. I can choose how I react to other people or situations. I am in the driver’s seat.” Young children can easily learn to understand that different choices yield different results. The goal is to teach them to think about those results before they decide what to do. Discussions can focus on taking care of themselves, taking care of their things, reacting or not reacting to others’ behavior, planning ahead, and thinking about what the right thing to do is.
Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind
<have a plan>
Begin With the End in Mind means to think about how you would like something to turn out before you get started. Reading a recipe before cooking or looking at a map before leaving on a trip is beginning with the end in mind. For young children, a good example is that of a jigsaw puzzle. Before doing a puzzle, they look at the cover of the box. They start with the end in mind.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
<work first, then play>
Put First Things First means to decide what is most important and to take care of that first. Thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow or by the end of the week can be overwhelming, especially for children. Learning to think of which things are the most important and taking care of them first allows children (and adults) to be less stressed. When your child uses a planner at school, then he or she has a great organizational tool to Put First Things First in writing. By writing down his or her responsibilities and planning ahead, last-minute trips to the store, missed events, or missed homework are avoided. Modeling this behavior is one of the best ways to teach children.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
<everyone can win>
Think Win-Win is the belief that everyone can win. It’s not me or you—it is both of us. It is a belief that there are enough good things for everyone; it is an abundant way of thinking. Think Win-Win is being happy for others when good things happen to them. As a parent, not everything is negotiable, but if you go into discussions with your child with a win-win mindset, you’ll find a lot less resistance.
Habit 5: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
<first listen, then talk>
Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood means that it is better to listen first and talk second. By taking the time to listen to another person, you reach a higher level of communication. Teaching Habit 5 to young children is done by first considering their age and development. Young children find it difficult to understand another’s paradigm (point of view). This habit is best approached by introducing listening as a skill that should be practiced. Learning to listen without interrupting and learning to listen with your ears, your eyes, and your heart will help children build a foundation for Habit 5. Simply put, we have two ears and one mouth so that we can spend more time listening with the intent to understand.
Habit 6: Synergize
<together is better>
Synergize is when two or more people work together to create a better solution that either would have thought of alone. It’s not your way or my way, but a better way. Talk about the equation: 1 + 1 = 3 (or more). How is that possible? 1 person + another person = 2 ideas + many more than either of them would have thought of alone. Synergy is taking good ideas and making them better by working together. Discussions can focus on other examples of
synergy in nature, history, literature, and personal experiences. For example, synergy happens in nature when a flock of geese heads south for the winter. They fly in a V formation because due to the updraft, the entire flock can fly farther than if each bird flew alone.
Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw
<balance feels best>
Sharpen the Saw means to have balance in your life. There is a story of a man who was sawing down a tree and not making a lot of progress. When a passerby asked him why he didn’t stop sawing to sharpen his saw, he remarked that he was too busy sawing. Habit 7 reminds us that we are more productive when we are in balance—body, brain, heart and soul. Just like the four tires on a car, if one area is being ignored or overused, the rest will feel the results. For young children, the car analogy is one they understand; a car could not go on fewer than all four tires. Explain the four parts of each person (body, brain, heart, and soul) and how important it is to take care of each part to make them all work better.
Implementation at RPA
In January 2016, Royal Primary Academy launched the implementation of The Leader In Me program. Students and teachers have excitedly embraced the principles of the 7 Habits. However, one question that some parents have asked is, “How is my child actually learning the 7 Habits?”
Essentially the students at RPA are learning the 7 Habits in three different ways: Direct instruction, integrated instruction, and opportunities to practice leadership skills. Following is a description of how this is actually being done.
Direct instruction refers to students learning about the 7 Habits through lessons that are directly focused on the 7 Habits. In other words, the main learning objective of a particular lesson is one or more of the 7 Habits.
Direct instruction lessons are taught by homeroom teachers 2-3 times a week. Lessons range from 20-30 minutes and often involve the use of TLIM Activity Guide. Each lesson in the Activity Guide typically focuses on one habit and offers students an opportunity to consider how they might use that habit effectively in their own lives.
Direct instruction lessons also occur outside of using the Activity Guide, as teachers aim to develop lessons that best suit our students here at RPA. For example, one lesson that can be found in the Student Workbook is about Habit 1: Be Proactive and focuses on the life of American social reformer and champion of women’s rights, Susan B. Anthony. While Susan B. Anthony’s story is inspiring, teachers may choose to teach the same objective through the use of an Indonesian heroine such as Raden Ajeng Kartini, who also proactively fought for the rights of women.
Integration in the context of education, means blending different subjects, topics, and elements of a curriculum or school program together in one lesson or unit. At RPA, this is done commonly as the IPC is an integrated curriculum, meaning that subjects such as English, Math, and Bahasa are taught in conjunction with Science and Social Studies aspects of the IPC unit, while also incorporating the IPC Personal Goals. Now that we have implemented TLIM, teachers regularly integrate the 7 Habits into their daily lessons.
An example of this is a lesson that was taught in P1A a few weeks ago. Essentially the lesson was a Reading lesson. Ms. Bethany read her students a book entitled Lemonade for Sale, which also linked in with the P1 IPC Unit: We Are What We Eat: Food. The story is about a group of friends who want to repair their treehouse, but do not have the money to do so and as a result, they decide to sell lemonade.
After reading the story, Ms. Bethany asked the students to work in groups to determine how the children in Lemonade for Sale demonstrated the 7 Habits. In order to do so, the students needed to practice various reading strategies that they had learned including making connections, retelling, asking questions, and inferring.
By using integrated instruction, students realize that the 7 Habits are a part of everyday school life, not simply isolated to a few direct instruction lesson taught during the week.
Opportunities for Practicing Leadership
Often times, lessons taught in a classroom setting are more theory than practice. In order for learning to occur at a deeper level, it is important for our students to have opportunities to practice the 7 Habits. One recent experience that RPA students had to practice one of the 7 Habits, Be Proactive, was our Earth Day activity in which students, teachers, staff, and parents cleaned-up up trash around school neighbourhood. Through this, students learned that, at times, being proactive means going out into the community and literally getting your hands dirty.
Additionally, classes have begun having Class Leadership Roles. These are opportunities for students to serve in various leadership roles within and outside of the classroom. Examples of Class Leadership Roles include: Safety Patrols, Lunch Leaders, Snack Leaders, Line Leader, and Library Leader.
Starting in the new academic year in August, we plan to offer students many more opportunities to practice leadership skills. One such opportunity will be a Student Lighthouse Team, which will be a group of students who will meet regularly to organize school events, as well as to discuss any changes they feel would make the school a better place for learning. We will also have a student led yearbook. Currently our yearbook is produced by our Marketing Team, who do a fantastic job. However, we want students to be intimately involved in creating a book of memories that captures their experience here at RPA. Students, with the help of advisors, will be responsible for determining a theme, designing the layout, taking and editing pictures and writing cations.
Next year we will also have a Service Leadership team of students and teachers, who will be responsible for finding opportunities for our school to help our surrounding community. This may involve linking with a less fortunate school, helping an orphanage or future neighbourhood clean-ups.
The Leader In Me is not meant to be a curriculum or simply an add-on to what a school already does. Instead, it is meant to transform the culture of a school community, including students, teachers, staff, leadership and parents. Our aim is for all RPA students to realize that they have the ability to be a leader right now. As Stephen Covey said, “Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.”
(Michael Breece, May 2016)
Leadership at Home
As a parent, you are your child’s first and best teacher. You lay the foundation for the education of your children’s mind, heart, body, and spirit. No matter what’s going on in your child’s school, you can help your son or daughter discover the leader within and prepare for a great life of contribution and service. If you are fortunate enough to have a school that already supports the principles laid out in The Leader in Me, your job is simpler, but no less important—it is to reinforce the principles your child learns at school and lives at home becoming a leader of his or her own life.
Here are a few tips and activities to help you on your way. Working through these activities with your child(ren) will help reinforce desired behaviors and create a common language, which will make them a natural part of your family life.
Most of us react to a situation immediately, without taking time to think about the results of our actions. Part of Be Proactive is being able to stop and think before we act. With your child, do some role-playing to practice the skill of stopping and thinking in different situations. Your goal in these role plays is to encourage your child to stop and think before reacting. Use the following ideas to get started, and then think of some that can be immediately applicable to your child’s life.
1. (In this role play, you should play the part of your child’s friend.) Say that you have a new best friend who lives close to your house and you don’t want to play with him or her anymore. Apologize and then wait for your child’s reaction.
2. (In this role play, you should be your child’s sibling.) Tell your child that you broke his or her favorite toy by accident. Tell him or her that you don’t think it’s a very big deal because he or she has many toys.
3. (In this role play, you should play the part of your child and your child should play the part of you). Tell your child that you are “sooooo bored” and there is nothing fun to do. Complain that no one wants to play and that he or she (as the parent) needs to amuse you.
Begin With The End In Mind
1. Habit 2 provides a good base for activities around goal setting. As a family (or with an individual child), choose an area that needs improvement. The area of improvement, or the broad goal, becomes your end in mind. Then think of specific steps that will lead to achieving this goal. For example, if the goal is to improve as a reader, specific steps may include reading a certain amount of time every day or working several times a week to improve oral fluency.
2. Ask your child if there is something special he or she would like to buy, then help your child plan how much money he or she will need to save and how long it will take. Discuss ideas for earning extra money like doing additional chores and helping around the house.
3. Create a “wants” and “needs” collage with your child. Cut out pictures of various items (toys, candy, vegetables, cleaning supplies, appliances, books, etc.) from a magazine and then ask your child to paste them under the correct column of “wants” or “needs.” Discuss why he or she chose to put the items in the respective columns.
Put First Things First
1. Create a list of things your child needs to accomplish throughout a week. With your child, rank the tasks in importance. Then rewrite the list in order of importance. Use a planner or calendar to schedule time so that the important things are done first.
2. Role-play with your child about the consequences of forgetting to study for a math test. How will your child feel? What are the consequences? Then role-play how it will feel to be well prepared and get a great match score!
3. Encourage your child to design or decorate his or her own planner or weekly activity log.
1. Play a game with your child(ren) that has a definite winner. Explain how competition is okay when you play a game, but it is not okay in relationships. Discuss how tense it would be in your home if every situation had to have a winner. A better way to think is win-win. This means we think of solutions that we can all feel good about when there is a problem. The more we Think Win-Win, the fewer problems there will be. You may want to display a chart
listing the days of the week. When someone is “caught” thinking win-win, he or she gets to write his or her name on the chart for that day.
2. Encourage win-win solutions to sibling disputes. Don’t always be the mediator; let them work out a solution and be sure to be lavish children with praise when they do.
Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
1. To better understand how listening can help or hurt a relationship, try “pretend listening” with your child for a few minutes. Your child will be frustrated. Explain what you were doing and discuss how your child felt. Now have your child ignore you when you are talking. Discuss how it makes you feel when you are ignored. Finish the discussion by thinking of ways to let the
other person know when you feel you are not being truly listened to. Remind your child that this is also an example of Think Win-Win.
2. Body language can be even more important than words. Play a game with your kids where you each try to guess the other’s emotion (happy, sad, angry, frustrated, bored, etc.) without using any words, just body language.
3. Demonstrate how saying the same phrase in a different tone of voice can give the phrase a completely different meaning. Try emphasizing different words in the phrase “I didn’t say you did it” and then have your child tell you how the meaning changed.
1. With your children, choose a problem you may have (like curfew or completing tasks). Use the Synergy Action Plan to summarize your child’s solution and your solution: (1) Define the problem. (2) Share your views. (3) Think of solutions. (4) Choose the best solution together. See if you can reach a better solution (the High Way) than either of you would have come up with alone.
2. Institute a “15-minute program” where everyone drops what they are doing and pitches in to work as a team to clean the kitchen, pull weeds in the garden, wash the dishes, sweep the front porch, etc. Cutting out a small block of time where everyone helps makes the work go quicker.
3. If your child has siblings, ask each to identify what they think their brother or sister is really good at, then share the lists with each other and discuss how they could Synergize on homework, chores, playing games, sports, etc. If your child does not have siblings, you can do the same exercise using his or her best friends—or you.
Sharpen The Saw
1. Develop a Sharpen the Saw activity center in your home. Include arts-and-crafts supplies, learning games, puzzles, classical music, books, etc.
2. Discuss various ways to Sharpen the Saw in all areas. Ideas might include: body (playing outside, riding your bike), brain (balancing reading with TV watching or making smarter choices about what you watch), heart (making a list of what makes you happy and doing something on the list every day, spending time with special friends and family), and soul (attending religious services, starting a journal) to make them all work better.
(Source: The Leader In Me Parents' Guide)
How is student data being tracked in a classroom? Is it by using binders, notebooks, or digital charts? Is there a collection of folders that teachers only pull out at parent-teacher conferences? Many teachers use some type of student data notebook to keep track of where their students are in achieving learning objectives and where they need to be. In Leader in Me Schools these data notebooks are called Leadership Notebooks.
The Leadership Notebook is more than a collection of charts and grades. It captures data and progress on academic and personal goals and is used as a vehicle for students to truly own their learning. Students benefit from data notebooks because they have a voice in their learning and can understand and work toward success in a systemic way. Students are then able to articulate their learning at Student-Led Conferences because they record and understand their own data.
Parents benefit from the use of this tool as well and become more engaged in their children’s education as they hear their children share their goals and academic progress at Student-Led Conferences.
Here's an overview of what you can usually find in a Leadership Notebook:
1. Personal and/or Class Mission Statement
2. Charts for tracking key metrics in various academic areas.
3. Both academic and personal SMART-goals that students have set for themselves.
4. Data that students have chosen to track as part of their Wildly Important Goals (WIGs).
5. Detailed information about leadership roles and what a student learns from them.
6. A specific section for students to collect things that affirm their worth and potential (e.g. trophies, awards, brag tags,...).
7. Detailed information about Student-Led Conferences and Data Chats.
8. Reference information (calendars, codes, agreements, ...)
(Betsy Wierda, www.theleaderinmeblog.org, 2015)
Measuring the impact of the 7 habits over time is a lengthy process. While it is too early to make bold statements supported by numerical evidence, we can see the impact the 7 habits have on our students on a daily basis. However, in order collect more tangible evidence of the impact of the 7 habits, we are currently gathering data such as attendance, tardiness, academic progress on standardized tests, student well-being and motivation, ...
In anticipation, feel to have a look at various measured outcomes on the official TLIM website.