The First Curriculum Day

Submitted by LVooys on Fri, 05/09/2014 - 13:14

To be completely honest, I was rather nervous to start this course. I have never really considered myself a leader and did not feel I had any of the personality traits traditionally associated with a leader. I'm not assertive, public speaking gives me nightmares, and making large decisions that will affect people stresses me out. Although the retreat was enjoyable, I was still a bit apprehensive heading into the first classroom day given both my fear of the unknown and lingering insecurities about being a leader. Though I still have slight anxiety surrounding the course (but who doesn't when they start something new?!), the first curriculum day was enlightening. Rather than referring to leadership as this sort of vague, overwhelming term, the instructors provided a concise definition of leadership as well as clearly defined the approach to leadership the class will take. They provided a history of different "leading" styles in an effort to distinguish the difference between former leadership models and the strength based model which this class utilizes. Rather than creating a cookie-cutter approach for leadership – saying “all leaders need to have a certain set of skills and traits and if you don’t have these desirable traits, you need to be fixed” in a deep, pompous voice – the strength based model encourages the proto-leader (me) to develop and utilize their own strengths. Additionally I appreciated how we learned about interconnectedness. I thoroughly enjoyed tree exercise in which we were asked to identify a main issue, name symptoms which can be seen, and describe what the roots of the issue are. Having taken sociology classes in college, identifying and discussing the root causes of problem is absolutely fascinating. For example, rather than simply saying we need to ‘fix’ poverty, I like asking ‘why does poverty exist’ and discussing how this issue is inexorably linked with social structure, familial background, and cultural forces. This interconnectedness is then extended to our community – realizing that everything is in some way connected, that our actions and attitudes contribute (either positively or negatively) to our community and that as leaders, it is necessary for us to understand it and use our skills to try to address the root causes of our community’s issues. To briefly discuss the format of the class, I enjoyed the equal balance of lecture, group work, and solo work. Rather than spending hours in a lecture or doing group work, it was (in my opinion) appropriately broken up and appealed to just about every learning style. The presenters were well informed and guided conversation and activities quite well. So… forgive me if I aired too many insecurities or if my opinion doesn’t agree with yours. Feel free to give me feed back so that blogging doesn’t feel like I’m typing into a void or writing a paper that I know no teacher will read in-depth. Thank you for reading! Author: Leah Vooys

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