Be a postitive ripple

A friend of mine wrote to me last night. He asked,

I am teaching a program called COAST – an outdoor education program for grade 10’s. One of the courses that I will be teaching in second semester, is Leadership and I immediately thought of you. I am wondering how you would structure a course now that you have gone through the various experiences with leadership that you have been exposed to. Any ideas you can send my way would be greatly appreciated – I am looking forward to putting together something really unique and making this course as innovative as I can.

This was my response:


First, download my master’s paper from here: Student Leadership Paper (direct link to pdf). Do NOT read the paper… no need to… Go to page 54 and see all the resources I’ve shared. Some of the activities are great warm-ups to get students thinking about being leaders.

How would I run the program? I’d challenge my group to make a difference in the world! Give them some options or they can come up with their own.

These videos make good discussion starters. Examples include: Raise enough money to build a school or do something like this on a global scale. Or even support a local charity… the key idea:
Do something beyond the school walls, be leaders in the community or around the globe.

Use blogs for your students and create an online learning journal for the kids, either as one shared blog or 1 per kid. Call it a leadership journal and make that the only think you “mark” – That said, don’t give marks! See Why letter grades/percents? (which I did for Planning 10 in your district 3 years ago).

So, give them something real and meaningful to lead and have a goal that is nothing less than making the world a better place.

Expect regular reflections and base you feedback on their reflections, not their successes/failures… Leaders that do not fail, are not taking enough risks to be good leaders.

Finally, for yourself, read The Tao of Leadership: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching Adapted for a New Age and share parts like this with them, (also on page 120 in my Masters Paper). I’m happy to continue the conversation, let me know if you have any other questions and do keep me posted on how it goes!


A course like this opens the doors for us to be creative and so the only limits to what’s possible are the limits we create. So, what else might others want to suggest?

Cross-posted on Connected Principals.

2 comments on “a goal that is nothing less than making the world a better place

  1. This is great guidance, Dave. I was just pondering how I will structure my second term English conversation course, which includes presentation on the Millenium Development Goals. I want them to do more than just present information to their classmates, which is actually a big step forward in awareness for them in the first place. But I think adding a class goal do something to make the world a better place would be great, and now you’ve given me the resources to consider how to structure that into the plan

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