I am an Eagle Scout, member of the Order of the Arrow, and have been an assistant scoutmaster and merit badge counselor. I've learned a lot from Boy Scouts that I have been able to use in school, college, career, and life.
One of the training for leaders that the Boy Scouts do is called Woodbadge. I thoroughly enjoyed this training and learned things that helped me as an engineering manager and help me now as an educational leader. This is an excellent program that has even been used by corporations for managers. The basic ideas are good for any leader in any area, including education.
Here are the main topics from when I took the course:
- Knowing and using resources - Know the resources you have and use them to benefit your organization. Educational leaders should know what resources they have in their own staff.
- Communications - communication is a must-have skill for every leader. You must be able to communicate verbally, as well as written, and communicate effectively.
- Characteristics and needs of the group - knowing the group you lead, and what their needs are, is the only way to support them and give them the resources they need to be successful. Knowing their characteristics also helps you manage conflicts and help organize them.
- Representing the group - as a leader, you represent your group. You need to do this professionally and ethically.
- Setting an example - what all leaders must do - set an example for your team.
- Planning - the leader must create a plan and then help the team follow the plan
- Controlling the group - this is one that most teachers are good at (classroom management) but some leaders are not good at it.
- Evaluating - evaluate your self, your team, your efforts and actions, their actions, goals, etc.
- Effective teaching - as a leader, you must teach others so that they can be successful
- Sharing leadership - this is paramount. No leader can do everything on their own. It also works with using resources.
- Counseling - counsel your team to help them improve, to let them know when they are doing well, to help them deal with issues and problems.
The newer courses have changed some of the categories, but the basics are all still there.
Values, Mission & Vision
Stages of Team Development and Leadership Styles
Coaching and Mentoring
Listening to Learn
Valuing People and Leveraging Diversity
These are leadership skills needed by any leader, no matter what profession or area they are in. Many of them are not taught, not taught effectively, or not learned or utilized by many leaders and that usually leads to failure.
Another nice tip for education from Sir Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts:
"The secret of sound education is to get each pupil to learn for himself, instead of instructing him by driving knowledge into him on a stereotyped system" - Robert Baden-Powell, January 1912
David Andrade is a Physics Teacher and Educational Technology Specialist in Connecticut. He is the author of theEducational Technology Guy blog, where he reviews free educational technology resources for teachers, discusses ways to use technology to improve teaching and learning, and discusses other issues in education.
He is also a professional development trainer and presenter at conferences, helping educators learn new and innovative ways to educate students. He is also a Discovery Education STAR Educator and member of the CT DEN Leadership Council.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of his employer.