I just spent three days with some great people. Our organization, Growing Leaders, hosted our 2011 National Leadership Forum in Atlanta. Then, on Saturday, we held a Habitudes certification event, to license 51 Habitudes facilitators.
I met leaders from great schools like Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Baylor, Liberty, Texas and so many more. Three key leaders from Player Development at the Pittsburgh Pirates participated as well. Our theme was “Develop: Cultivating Growth, Engagement & Success in Students.” Over the weekend, I reflected on some of the ideas and highlights from the Forum, and decided to share a few with you here in this blog.
1. One participant shared that students are allowed to write down problems around the world that trouble them on a slip of paper, and fill a jar in her college class with those slips. Then, whenever they get the work done and have some extra time—they can pull out one of those slips of paper and brainstorm what could be done to solve that problem. It gets the students used to problem-solving habits and thinking about solutions instead of excuses and complaints.
2. Another participant talked about how they’ve changed the way they receive incoming freshmen. Instead of immersing them into a series of college lectures and seeing who can last, they get them working on projects. The kinesthetic learners (which is most students today) love the engagement of actually doing something. Immediately, the lectures are relevant and students have incentive to listen to them. Next, those students choose a problem and work with a team to solve that problem by creating an invention or a strategic plan. Again, it fosters problem-solving habits.
3. Still another participant talked about the power of “fun” with students today. If instructors can invest a little time having fun in the classroom—getting acquainted with the students and being “real” it pays off with huge dividends in students liking the teacher, the subject and even realizing higher grades at the end of the semester. Doing something fun seems like a waste of time, but it is so much the language of a young person today—it is an investment in student engagement and success.
If you weren’t there, I wish you could’ve been. May I invite you to join us next year at our National Leadership Forum where our theme will be: “Growing Leaders Not Just Graduates.” We will talk about growing leadership in yourself, in your team and in the students you teach. The dates are: June 28-29, 2012. Mark your calendar now.
See you there!