Leadership is widely identified as a critical skill for successful economic and social development. It is widely recognised that leadership skills are formed through access to leadership opportunities and that these are all too often concentrated on the few individuals who already have the basic skills rather than aiming to improve the potential of all. It is analogous to only teaching literacy to those who show early signs of reading. A school must embed leadership opportunities throughout the whole institution. Leadership at every level.
Teacher: Student Leadership
In the classroom this can be as simple as: setting a ‘lead learner’ for each group activity; establishing subject experts in each topic; asking students to provide a lesson or lead on an activity; providing public speaking opportunities; moderating arguments to provide students with the skills of moderation. Examples of specific projects can be found at http://www.learningbyladders.com
It is right that every person in an organisation should be expected to contribute to the development of that organisation and lead their own project within it. These contributions can be tiny or large but it is critical that they are the brainchild of the individual, are allowed to fail and are given the respect of a public or team presentation at the end. For example, the cleaner who suggested she start ten minutes earlier, before the supervisor arrived because some of the students were bringing their breakfast in and there had been occasional spills. She tried this for six weeks then reported back, having spoken to the staff on duty to see if it had made a difference. The concept that all members are contributing members, can be extended all the way up to head teachers in national forums.