Why schools should be teaching leadership

Nijmenag me I recently attended a Leadership Pathways skill development day based around the leading of teams.  During the day, I couldn’t help but reflect back upon my own experiences of leadership training.  I strongly believe that leadership can be taught and that it exists on many scales, from the leadership of our personal actions to the leadership of countries.

This post aims to consolidate the Leadership Pathways session, and sets out some thoughts of it’s application in teacher training and within classrooms

It wasn’t until we were shLeadership Vennown a diagram similar to this one that the penny dropped: that this was all very familiar.  It took a while to figure out – but I had been taught leadership as a 14 year old cadet in the Air Training Corps.  On reflection, this early experience of leadership training has served me well.  It then wondered when I last taught leadership in the classroom.  The scary answer was that I don’t think I ever have.

The diagram is based upon Adair’s Action Centred Leadership, and was introduced to me very early on.  The model was used to support the Sports Leader Award.

Sports Leadership

It also struck me that one of the grating issues that I have with education is that many people see teachers and pupils as different.  I agree with the point of view that we are all learners.  This means that we should be openly using leadership models with classes.

Gold Prac For example, Bekhard’s model of team effectiveness could be used with each class that a teacher works with.  The model outlines the process of creating an effective team.  I think that it applies to any group of people, whether a department team of teachers, or a GCSE Geography Group. The diagram below is based upon Beckhard’s model.  I have added Reflection, and as I see this as a continuous process it is also a cycle rather than a linear route.


So how could this be applied to schools?

  Geography Teaching Team Year 10 GCSE Group
Goals Vision of learning across the age group. Measurable e.g. % of L6+ For every pupils to achieve their best grade
Roles Ensuring that there is no conflict or repetition of goals. What is the role of the teacher and the learners? Negotiated roles shared within the first lesson
Processes How are decisions made? How will meetings be run? What is expected in lessons, how progress will be communicated
Relationships What are the values of the department? Do these conflict with those of individuals? How are emotions, attitudes dealt with?


Similarly, Tuckman’s model of team development applies to classes just as much as it applies to teaching staff.  I have reproduced the model below.  When I look at the model I know that it applies equally to the teams of adults and young people that I lead.


So, what am I trying to say?

  • Leadership training was absent from my teacher training experience.  I think that it should form part of it, and applied to classes of young people.  In this way, these models will be another tool that supports professionals.
  • These models of leadership should be used overtly with groups of young people, especially in team work activities.  This may mean that extra time is needed, but I think it would be valuable.
  • Having exposure to leadership theory training at an early age has helped me to lead myself and groups of people now.

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