“I was first!” “You are doing it wrong!” “I want to go next!” “Can I be first!” These are a few statements from students that most likely exhibit leadership skills. They are often told to go to the end of the line, or given a consequence for telling someone what to do, but maybe they need someone to tell them “what to do.” Silly to think of someone that calls themselves a leader, but have yet have no followers.
However, there are future leaders around us that need to learn how to find followers to influence, but they just need some direction. For instance we may describe these future leaders as:
- “Bossy,” but they are really “Leaders” that need some tweaking.
- “Caretakers,”but really they are “Helpful” but need to get permission to help: “May I Help You.”
- “Class Clown,” but really they are future “Entertainers” who need an outlet and training.
- “Gossipers,” but they are just future “Communicators” that need to talk about the positive qualities of others.
Consider how a student views leadership. Basically, they see leaders (parents, teachers, principal, police) as anyone that “tells them what to do (bosses them).” So when they start to assert their leadership skills they start telling their friends what to do and tell them how to do things and therefore they are called “Bossy.” Big surprise!
So instead of calling these kids “Bossy, Caretaker, Class Clown or Gossiper” maybe we could give them suggestions on how to:
- Build others up
- Brag on other’s rather than themselves
- Take an interest in someone’s life or passions
- Give them a stage to Entertain
- Offer help to someone, share an idea, etc.
According to Dr. Russell Barkley, MD, students with ADHD/ADD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder) as well as students with aspergers are often 25-30% behind socially and emotionally. Students like these may not have ADHD and need help with boundaries, assertion, impulse control, coping skills, starting conversations, greeting, etc., to help close the gap.
It is tough to find Social Skills Leadership Groups so this curriculum is for you to lead a group or teacher your student social skills andleadership. Once they know how to lead and do some of the above listed items, they will in turn make their peers feel good to be around them and gain their influence. Once they have influence they have “friends” and can call themselves a leader. Students are taught how to roll with teasing with comical statements that do not provoke their peer.
Our Curriculum incorporate the following:
- Power Point – Professionally made Power Point slides with pictures and sound effects that compliment the Social Skills Workbook Handouts.
- Handouts – Professional made handouts with fill in the blank exercises to role play conversation in the group or with a parent.
- Point System – Using Poker Chips the students earn points toward a reward at the end of each group.
- Parent Involvement at the end of each session so the students can share or teach their parents what they learned. “Teaching is the best learning.”
- Experiential Learning which include games used at ropes courses to improve communication, teamwork, and help students connect with their peers (Social Skills Workbook).
- Building Trust: Students learn “Trust” is the glue in relationships and everything we do with our peers either builds trust or breaks trust.
- Resolving Conflict with Peers: Students are encouraged to “Rebuild Trust” with a peer in our groups by doing something nice for whomever’s trust was broken in an effort to repair the trust.
Our groups have been very effective and Channel 13 did a story on one of our students who reported having no friends to having friends as a result of this group program. See the video above.