Equip students with a diverse set of tools necessary to be leaders of the future.
This is the goal of the Future Now Leadership Toolkit workshop series piloted for Middle and High School students at Western Academy of Beijing this year. Created in collaboration with the Inspire Citizens group, students interested in leadership can voluntarily join the series of 17 workshops throughout the course of the school year – each one focusing on a different “tool” – and eventually earn a certificate for completing the program.
“In today’s society it’s so important to go beyond the content of the curriculum to equip students with the tools needed to apply to their world and their future,” Lorraine McMullen, WAB’s Diploma Programme Economics teacher and CAS coordinator said. Topics students are learning about include examining frameworks for future economics, strategic foresight, and civic discourse.
On this week's episode of The WAB Podcast, two Grade 10 students join the show for a conversation about their experience in the leadership training workshop, how they have used their newly acquired skills, and why they think these lessons are essential for future success. Tune in using the podcast player above or by searching The WAB Podcast on Apple Podcasts or your preferred podcast platform.
Grade 10 student Billy Z. has been taking part in the workshops since they were first offered this year on Day 9s, a day in the WAB schedule where students can choose the workshops or seminars they take during the day. He said the skills and knowledge he gained from the series have been immediately useful and will remain so in his future.
“I didn’t think I was qualified to be a leader in the World Scholars Cup (WSC) group, but I learned that a good leader is someone who cares and someone who is passionate about a cause, so I stepped up and became a student coach this year,” Billy said.
In his new role, Billy used one of the tools, the Character Sketch, as a way to help his team create a vision for the ideal debater – an integral element of the WSC competition. “It helped us hone in on the skills the members of my group had and identify the areas in which as a coach I could help them develop.”
Sophie Y., another Grade 10 student, joined the series after the first offering. She has used the workshop series to improve an art project with her classmates to include an element of philanthropy.
“The Future Now Leadership Toolkit ignited a fire in me to start new projects. I’ve realized is that all it takes is not necessarily technical skills or certain abilities. It’s the attitude. It’s the confidence to do it and the ambition to do it” Sophie said, referring to one workshop that focused on how to translate an idea into concrete change.
This was the pilot year for the toolkit workshop series and certification program. Inspire Citizens Co-founder and Director Steve Sostack said the program will continue to evolve next year at WAB and is also expanding to international schools around the globe.
Students will dive into new skills and tools, have more opportunities to use them in their lives outside of school, as well as connect with students from other international schools around the world like Frankfurt International School.
"I've been really pleased with the energy and the positivity the kids have shown as they have explored these metacognitive frameworks or these civic global literacies," Steve said. "The fact that they're engaging in these new skills in such critical, creative, positive, and empathetic ways has made it an absolute joy to be facilitating those types of experiences at WAB."
To find out more, listen to the full conversation on The WAB Podcast.