Should I let my students lead?

Letting our students lead is a risk.  They don’t have the experience or perhaps the maturity to see things the way we do… they are bound to make mistakes. Is it worth the risk of giving them some control over their own learning and the things that shape the culture of the school?

Here are a few reasons I can see why allowing our students to lead is worth the risk:

  1. Ownership. Students will take responsibility for things that they help create. If we allow students to develop and implement their own solutions to the challenges they face they are more likely to follow through with them.
  2. Relevance. Allowing students to exercise leadership gives them opportunity to connect what they are learning in the classroom with their own concerns and God-given passions.
  3. Service. Students who are given the opportunity to lead gain experience in using their God-given gifts to serve their school and wider community.
  4. Character. Trying (and at times failing) in leadership is character-building. Painful, possibly, but character-building in the long-term.

What do you think? Are these benefits of allowing students to exercise leadership in our schools enough to make it worth the risk? What are the risks of not allowing our students to lead?  Join the conversation by posing your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • If we let students to lead is a short-term risk. We risk successful lessons, a successful project. But if we do not encourage them to lead, the risk is long-term. We risk to not teach them how to make the right decisions for life, how to be leaders with a positive impact on others.

  • I just read a new post on this by Tim Elmore: https://growingleaders.com/blog/happens-students-lead-school/#sthash.9eDBBV8C.dpbs

    Tim highlights some excellent reasons to let students lead and states, “effective leaders are not weaker, but stronger, when they invite those being led into the leadership process.” It also important to understand the goals of the educational process. We want to develop students who will be able to lead well when they leave our high schools, so we must give them opportunities to lead now while we have opportunity to mentor, coach and shape their character and their leadership skills.

    Thanks for posting this interesting discussion! I look forward to the comments of others. What are some ways that you are encouraging students to lead in your school?