This week, our guest at #gtchat was Dr. Mary Christopher, Professor of Educational Studies and Gifted Education at Hardin-Simmons University and Program Director: Doctorate in Leadership. Dr. Christopher is a Past-President of TAGT and also does consulting in gifted education and leadership. She is the co-author of Leadership for Kids: Curriculum for Building Intentional Leadership in Gifted Learners from Prufrock Press.
The definition of leadership has been evolving in recent years. It now includes the ability to expect the unexpected and adapt quickly to change. Leaders today are seen as innovators and producers rather than simply consumers of someone else’s information or product. According to Robert Sternberg, gifted leaders possess creativity, intelligence and wisdom.
“Since the Marland Report, experts included leadership in definitions of giftedness and viewed leadership as integral to giftedness, but leadership remains the least served domain of giftedness. Gifted leaders may not be served within the gifted program.” ~ Dr. Mary Christopher
It is important for GT students to learn about leadership. Depending on their personal interests and goals, GT students often become future leaders and the quality of their leadership depends on understanding what makes a great (intentional) leader even better. Today more than ever, it’s important for GT students to see the value in moral and ethical behavior, clear communication with those they are working, motivating others through personal positive actions and providing inspiration.
“Gifted kids will often be ahead of the pack in some regard throughout their lives. Learning to achieve goals through teamwork whether they have formal authority or not is going to be crucial for a sense of satisfaction.” ~ Kate Arms
What characteristics, skills, and perspective of leadership are needed to become intentional leaders? Intentional leaders should be able to develop ideas to be studies, provide new solutions to existing problems, persuade others to assist in solving problems, and ensure implementation of those solutions. (Sternberg) They are willing to work with a diverse group of colleagues engaged in problem solving and seek to involve all stakeholders.
“It’s important that we balance students cognitive abilities with skills that allow them to be successful people in the world. It’s about challenging Ss to tap into the affective domain that will grow their capacity to bring positive change to society.” ~ Matt Cheek
Educators can use many different strategies to incorporate leadership training into their curriculum. Students should be presented with opportunities for critical thinking, analysis and creative problem solving. For young gifted students, teachers can include biographies of great leaders in their LA curriculum to read and discuss.
Where can students find opportunities to develop leadership skills outside of the classroom? Finding mentors who are leaders in their community can help develop leadership skills and allow skills to develop naturally. Volunteering exposes students to opportunities to practice and model leadership skills while helping others. Extracurricular activities can provide avenues for developing skills necessary to lead within group and team activities.
Below find curated resources from the chat and additional ones that can be used in and out of the classroom when teaching students about leadership. A transcript may be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1 PM NZDT/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: email@example.com
Leadership for Students: A Guide for Young Leaders (Prufrock Press)
Building Everyday Leadership in All Kids (Free Spirit Publishing)
Photo courtesy of Dr. Mary Christopher.
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.