Leadership, Improving Every Hour: Intern Post by Peter Johnson
An hour-by-hour summary of the leadership conference held June 10, 2011.
End of hour one: Three participants had arrived. We were expecting 26.
End of hour two: Most of the participants had arrived and we had begun introductions.
End of hour three: The Kinango District Education Quality Assurance Officer was still giving a talk on a lengthy list of qualities in a good leader.
End of hour four: We had completed tea and I began to lead a discussion in which I asked the participants for the qualities of a great teacher, a great headmaster, and a great school.
End of hour five: We discussed “tools for change” based on the book, “Influencer,” in which we discussed how leaders can utilize tools like identifying vital behaviors for success, harnessing peer influence, and creating rewards for students, parents and teachers. We used small group discussions to help participants apply what they had learned to real-life situations. Joseph had provided me with a few ideas beforehand.
End of hour six: Lunch was wrapping up.
End of hour seven: We were continuing our discussion on conflict resolution. After I had gone over some general principles of conflict resolution and had given an outline for the process, we discussed a current problem in a nearby community in which a teacher had been beaten by some boys after a parent learned that his child had been disciplined. The discussion was a good one and captured the interest of the participants.
End of hour eight: We had a teambuilding activity in which small groups of six competed to build the tallest free-standing structure using only straws and tape. We discussed the reasons for the winning team’s success and what each participant of the seminar learned about him or herself with respect to leadership and teamwork. Concluding appreciative remarks were given by about six different individuals.
I was amazed by the formal way the teachers and headmasters conducted and participated in the training, including standing to make a comment and taking copious notes. I was also blown away by how respectful and involved they all were for a facilitator who is not only foreign, but younger than the majority of the participants. The conference started late and ended late, but this seemed like business as usual. The lunch arrived about two and half hours later, but that did not seem to phase anyone. Although none of the women present held leadership positions, several demonstrate strong leadership skills in the teambuilding activity and throughout the conference. No one expected how excited everyone would get over the competition to build the tallest structure with straws. I was happy if this was not their ordinary leadership seminar. It certainly wasn’t for me.