Good Energy for Grownups: All In! — Leadership Page
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Follow along as our panel of experts discuss leadership for children and students of all abilities, presented by Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools (R).
[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to Good Energy for Grown Ups: All In, with Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools. I'm Tajha, a former US youth ambassador for Special Olympics, North America. Today, we're discussing leadership with some special guests. Hey, Kaleigh. Can you please introduce yourself, please? Of course. I'm Kaleigh Gardner. I am a former middle-level educator, focusing in literacy and special education. And I am currently the education advisor for Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools. Sophia, can you please introduce yourself? Sure. I'm Sophia Arnold. I'm a high school special education teacher. I teach students with a range of intellectual disabilities. I'm a Go Noodle teacher ambassador and a mom of four beautiful children. How do you define leadership? Well, I feel like leadership is developing a set of skills to help then leaders guide students, use those skills, and guide others to reach a common goal. I really feel like the emphasis there is on guide. There is no forcing and pulling. It is, well, leading someone towards that common goal. I think good leaders are very intentional about presenting opportunities for all students to eventually lead. Yeah. Yeah. Why should we spread inclusion through the world? That's a good question. Yeah. I think inclusion should be spread through the world, because our world is vastly diverse, and I believe that students and children's first introduction to inclusivity is the classroom, is at school. Because we see so many moving pieces in so many different people, that if we give them the tools they need to learn how to respect and accept others, it would be a piece of cake, when they get older. What do you think? Let's say this. We can't imagine this world without inclusion. I agree. Exactly. We always say, what would this world be like with inclusion? What would this world be without inclusion? What's amazing is Special Olympics has a global campaign called Spread the Word Inclusion, and basically, this campaign is set up to help schools learn ways that they can share and implement inclusion within their schools on a daily basis and ultimately help their schools thrive. So it's an amazing campaign. There are so many activities and resources on www.generationunified.org. What are a few qualities that you think describe a good leader, and how can we help our students see those qualities within themselves? This is a good question. I know I think a second. Because it's so subjective. Right? For me, I think the leaders are patient. I think they're intentional about seeing strengths in every person, and they're really good at just bringing everyone together. Yeah. I'd have to agree. It's definitely subjective, because I think we all look at different people, types of leaders to lead us, especially in different situations. But I also think just like calm. I think good leaders need to sometimes-- like they actually aren't always in the spotlight. They're taking that step back, and they're learning how they can help guide their group towards a common goal. How do you, from day one of the school year, set the tone for your students to lead? Well, actually, I do it in a couple of ways. So the first day of school, before we do anything else, after introductions, we set our classroom expectations, and we do that together. I get a large sticky pad, and I write down, hmm, one thing I think we should do as a class is always respect each other. And then I'll do a popcorn and have different students say what they think our classroom expectations should be. After we have them all written down, and then we'll establish about six core good ones. And we'll circle those, and those will be our classroom expectations that we have posted. And by just stating the expectation of always following those expectations, I'm putting each student in a leadership role, because they have to hold themselves and others accountable. So I think that also just really connects with teamwork on how, yes, there's leaders, but leaders are part of a team. And there can be different leaders within one team that work together to get that done. What are some key takeaways for kids coming out of conversations around leadership? Well, I think right off the bat, anyone can be a leader. I think knowing like you have the skills and the traits within you to be a leader of some kind, whether it's on the field, in the classroom, whether it's more of a silent role, or front and center and on stage. You possess something to be a leader. Leadership to me is something that I take very seriously. It's something that I'm just so committed to. I feel like as kids, like kids and students, like this is like their time to shine. Like they're the upcoming generation. Like these are going to be our future leaders, and why not give them these leadership roles at a young age? Why wait until they get into middle and high school? Why not start now? Yeah. I would say the same thing, to just know that there's something in you that's needed to help this world become a better place and to own it. Own it without shame, and two, yeah, take your step and lead. [MUSIC PLAYING]