The best ways to boost student leadership skills include helping them form strong bonds with each other and with their school, thus combating student disengagement.
According to Daniel Oscar, President and CEO of the Center for Supportive Schools, educators who wish to create safer and more supportive school environments need to address the challenge of disengagement throughout schools in the USA. He cites a Gallup study which showed disengagement at 24 percent of fifth graders, 39 percent of middle school students and 56 percent in high school. The high number of disengaged students in high school did not include young people who had dropped out.
Oscar says that in order for adults to combat disengagement among students, they need to also experience engaging experiences together, creating connections with each other and their students. Remembering the difficulties of their own adolescence enables them to walk in their students shoes.
Oscar has ideas for how this adult process can be addressed in professional development, and then transferred to interactions with students. He also states that it is critical to engage the leadership potential in each student, by making school a safe environment for them to interact with each other, forming strong bonds. When they have each other’s backs, they have less likelihood of becoming disengaged.