Our Wisconsin charter school uses scientific research and project-based learning as the focus of our curriculum. Project learning is based on a constructivist model of learning that engages you in real-world scholarly activity because you get to chose topics that interest you.
High School Leadership Academy
Posted on December 16, 2014 by -Ben B. 12th grade
During the first month of school, the teachers facilitated a teamwork and leadership development overnight trip to L.E. Phillips Scout Reservation, in Haugen, WI for the high school students. The juniors and seniors went up two days before the freshmen and sophomores to go through the "leadership academy", which is more focused on the leadership aspect of teamwork. The underclassmen came up later that week for "hiking boot" camp an experience more focused on team work.
Towards the end of the 2013-2014, school year, the teachers had meetings with each grade level and the responses from the upperclassmen were clear. "We want more of a say of how we're learning and more responsibility in the school." The teachers took this into consideration and in order to grant more power to the students, started the year with the Leadership Academy. This helped the older students develop leadership skills and
work with their peers that they may not choose to work with
under normal circumstances.
This trip consisted mostly of team building exercises designed to highlight one attribute of leadership at a time, such as communication or taking a backseat role. After the exercise we would have a discussion with the group where we were asked questions about what went well, what didn't, and what we would change next time. After this we were given time to journal about the experience and answer a topic question from the teachers.
On the second day the teachers presented us with a challenge. The challenge was to become the teachers. Our job was to plan and organize a morning of activities for the younger students that would allow us to apply our new leadership skills, while teaching the underclassmen about teamwork.
This process allowed us to become a good example of how Wildlands students act and participate. We used some of the techniques that the teachers demonstrated for us to get people to participate and become excited about learning.
One thing that I took away from this experience was that sometimes the best way to lead is to follow someone else's lead. What that means is to step back and let others take a leadership position. I may be able to complete a task faster than the person working on it, but they still need to learn how to finish that task so it would be depriving everybody the chance to lead, experiment, and learn. Over the course of the week we gained a new understanding of group dynamics and leadership skills.
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