The Connection Between C&L and High School Education

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in ComLead

Who doesn’t benefit from developing leadership skills and becoming a more competent communicator? As a former High School English Teacher I cannot begin to count the endless stories from inside my classroom where students attempted to sway or change my classroom rules and expectations.   “I couldn’t finish the essay because I have a job after school and no free time”; though I told my Seniors to talk to me ahead of time with concerns so we could create a workable solution together. “That’s so unfair, I didn’t know the due date was today”; despite the due date clearly labeled on the assignments handout. “I didn’t know a rough draft was worth points!  I’ll write one right now and hand it in”; after receiving back their final graded essay.

The excuses and stories that young people create to compensate for their lack of ability to communicate effectively in their workplace: the classroom, are countless.  I remember thinking about how invaluable it would be to have a communication class for high school students, one that teaches the importance of using the right words, at the right time, in the right manner in order to set themselves up for academic success.  So, naturally, I did what any teacher would do, I looked to my own education in an attempt to bridge the gap for my students and teach them the tools I learned in Persuasion and Social Influence and my Organizational Communication classes.  I stripped down complex theories and methodologies so that a 17 year old could understand and apply this newfound approach to interacting with classmates, teachers, Principals, and even friends and family. I taught Communication and Leadership skills via the mandated curriculum, using authors like Shakespeare and Frank McCourt as catalysts. By the end of the semester many of my students had learned how to ask for what they wanted before it was too late, express themselves more effectively during class discussions and group work, and ultimately take ownership of their learning.  Teaching Communication and Leadership skills at a young age provides these students with lifelong tools that will allow them to be successful not only in school but in their relationships and careers.  Start today!

Written by guest blogger Zita Juska


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