"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."
― William Arthur Ward
Leadership is one such trait that cannot be taught theoretically. Irrespective of the textbooks being full of stories of great heroes, or should we say, leaders of the nation, this quality needs to be practiced more than being preached, and the sooner the better.
When it comes to elementary students, it is very difficult to tell them how leadership should be inoculated in oneself. One easy way to teach students is to regularly organize leadership activities. There are many activities to inculcate these qualities, which will not only teach them the importance of leadership but will also promote their already existing leadership skills. The following section gives you a list of some intriguing activities that can serve this purpose quite efficaciously.
The aim behind organizing these activities is to make each and every student realize that they have a leader in them. This is done by creating an environment that takes them out of their comfort zone and puts them in the spot. A goal is given to them that can be accomplished only by taking an initiative to handle the scenario, brainstorming to come up with methods to accomplish the task within the given deadline, and managing the available resources efficiently to achieve the desired results. The best part is that although these activities involve serious learning, they can be quite a bit of fun.
Firstly, set small obstacles throughout a room. The game will start from one end of the room and finish at the other. Then, divide the students in two groups. Now choose one leader from each group. Either you can choose one, or ask the children to do so using chits.
Once the group leaders are chosen, blindfold all the group members, except the leader. It is better if a teacher blindfolds all the students, so that there is no cheating. At the count of three, the leaders of the respective groups should start leading their groups towards the goal. The group members have to cooperate with each other, to cross the obstacle course without falling down. The duty of the leader is to give accurate directions, be calm, guide the group, and obviously, to win. The group which reaches the goal point first, wins. Ensure that you use obstacles that aren't a threat to the safety of the children. You can use soft toys, balls, bottles, etc.
A deliciously interesting activity would be to sign up for the cookie challenge. The students need to be divided in pairs, where you will place a single cookie on each of their foreheads. Now, the goal of the team is to eat each other's cookie without using their hands.
They will have to adjust themselves, while balancing the cookie on the forehead, in such a manner that one member gets to grab the cookie while the other lowers down his/her forehead to that level, and vice versa. Each participant will have to instruct the other, taking turns, to accomplish the task. The team that eats the cookies first, wins. To ensure that no one cheats, this activity will need a careful supervision. Tying the hands would be a bad idea as open hands would help the students balance the cookie.
This one is truly entertaining! Although you needn't divide the class into teams as such, but you do need to know who is friends with whom. Because in this activity, the task is to advertise the leadership qualities in your friend.
You can use chits to determine the order. The speaker needs to remember the qualities of an ideal leader and explain what among these qualities does his/her friend possess, in the form of a commercial. It is crucial for the commercial to highlight the strengths, qualities, real-life examples in support of the product―which in this case, is the speaker's friend. To make things more interesting, you can also ask the friend to team up with the speaker and double the fun quotient.
One of the most essential quality of a great leader is to identify the things that seem unnoticed to others. This quality can come forth through this activity! Here, you need to divide the class into groups of two (or more) and ask them to choose a product that they use commonly, but think that it could be made better.
The key point is to ensure that the product chosen is common for everybody to relate to it. It would take the students' logical and visionary skills to see through the loopholes that can possibly be in a product that is otherwise considered to be perfect. From the point of view of elementary students, many interesting observations can come forth. Perhaps the appearance could have been made better, or some more colors could be introduced, or maybe the product could come in different shapes and sizes. The team whose points seem more relevant and logical, wins.
In this activity, you'll have to divide the class into teams of 4 or 5. A bowl would contain individual chits containing a single alphabet. Call a member of a team and ask him/her to pick up a chit. The team then needs to form the shape of that very letter that appears on the chit, with each team member brainstorming to come together and form that letter shape in the minimal time.
This activity would require exceptional coordination and teamwork from one and all. It would be interesting to see which student(s) takes the initiative to handle the entire group and makes them take the form of the said letter. Not only this, the kids will also have fun in the process. You sure can expect a lot of laughter and giggles.
Silence speaks more than words; this leadership activity will illustrate this saying. A leader is expected to be silent, a person whose actions speaks more than his words. In this game, this quality of the leader will be tested.
Divide students in two groups, of equal number, preferably of five to ten students. Now the leaders have to come forward, and the teacher has to whisper a specific shape in the each leader's ear. Start with simple shapes such as a triangle or circle. The game now starts. The leaders go back to their group, and try to form the shape told. There is only one rule, no words or pulling into positions are allowed! The leader can only use gestures. The group who is successful first, wins.
You will have to make two groups for this game too. Make each group stand in a circle. Each member of the group has to grab the hand of the person across him. When all have done this task, everyone will now grab the hand of any person in the circle, thereby creating a big knot. The leader will have to help the group untie the knot without actually helping to untie. He/she can take help of the members for suggestions. The group which succeeds first, wins.
While some students may instantaneously exhibit the leaders within them, enthusiastically contributing to the activities and stealing the limelight, there are some who would need extra time, perhaps an additional push to encourage them to come out of their shells. If properly administered, we are sure that the students will enjoy these activities. However, it is also important to explain the students why that specific activity was conducted, and what have they learned from that activity. In fact, it would be a good idea to ask the students on how they felt before the activity, and how they feel now. Have they gained some confidence when it comes to handling challenging tasks? Do they think that they have a leader in them?