How International Schools Help in Developing Leadership Skills

A person with good leadership skills has effective communication skills, enhanced self-confidence, and an empowered character. Although not everyone is meant to be a leader, having some extent of leadership skills is vital in building a strong character. Leadership skills help to improve relationship, personal and professional lives. The truth is, if we looked deeper within ourselves, there is a leader in each one of us.

IB-Based Curricula System 

International schools adhere to the international curricula structure known as International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. IB program offers 4 tiers of innovative learning structures for students from age 3 to 19. According to the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), the core elements of IB programmes are developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills inclusive of promoting diversity, international mindedness, inquisitiveness and a wholesome interest in learning and performance. Those IB programmes are Primary Years Programme (aged 3 to 12 years), Middle Years Programme (aged 11 to 16 years), Diploma Programme (16 to 19 years) and Career-related Programme (16 to 19 years). Pont et al. (2008) observed that a handful of mechanisms are being implemented by educators in a number of IB-based schools in Southeast and East Asia to underline the five disconnection points between intent and inaction; instrumental, intellectual, cultural, professional and communicative disconnections. Fundamentally, international schools tend to opt for a more student-centric approach in the biosphere of learning. Student’s needs and interests are prioritised over traditional style of knowledge dissemination where lessons are conducted in lecture style by teachers who take on the authoritative role.

Collaborative Classroom Practices 

Teamwork and collaborations are the extensive focus of international schools. Teamwork between peers is encouraged in the school grounds alongside the teacher-student collaboration synergy. Collaboration among peers is carried out in the form of jigsaw classroom and group activities. Jigsaw classroom is a type of cooperative learning which combines ideas from each individual student to form the ‘Big Idea’. In this highly structured collaboration, students are the active participants responsible for their learning. 

Group collaboration makes room for character development when students start to learn how to delegate tasks, share responsibilities and receive feedback from peers. Additionally, student’s leadership will be enhanced when they inculcate the value of responsibility in their character instead of just being a passive learner. The attributes of a leader is having the ability to communicate effectively, motivate the team, accept responsibilities and the ability to problem-solve in complex situations. This aspect can go by the phrase “managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing”.  

Savvy School Climate 

International schools place strong emphasis on inquiry-based learning where students are accountable in finding their own resources and forming personal understandings. It is definitely a practice that induces autonomy in learning and decision making rather than the conventional teacher-centred approach. The teacher-centred approach may sap the creativity out of students when they are trained to go by-the-book instead of developing their own train of thoughts. Leaders need to have the ability to make accurate decisions in a fast-paced environment. The climate in international schools is a suitable breeding ground to encourage such autonomy development. Moreover, the conceptual based learning implemented in the school will further enhance students’ ability to connect the dots and heighten their disciplinary understanding regarding a subject. Naturally, when students are in an environment which constantly encourages independence and proactive learning, they will eventually be inclined to culminate some of those skills in their lives.

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