Home' Teacher : November 2009 Contents 10 TEACHER NOVEMBER 2009
We were concerned at Sacred Heart Primary
School in Preston, Melbou rne, that many
of our Year 6 students arrived in their final
year of primary school education seemingly
lacking direction, so we decided to take a
preventive approach as a means to give them
both direction and leadership opportunities.
We wondered if we could turn them all into
school leaders, would that give them direc-
tion and our school some real energy?
Our strategy was multifaceted, but was
centred around creating opportunities for
all Year 6 students to be leaders and to make
that leadership worthwhile and valued.
To begin, we made all Year 6 students
captain of something. We had the obvious
school captains and sports captains, but
then we started to look at issues within the
school and started to tackle them through
the leadership program. This is when things
started to become really creative.
Some of the examples of captains include:
door captains who monitor the locking
of doors, which was a constant problem
throughout the school; sports equipment
captains who look after the recess and
lunchtime sports equipment; competition
captains who respond to the many competi-
tion opportunities that arrive at school. We
also had assembly captains, microphone
captains, recycling captains, water captains,
and the list goes on.
It sometimes seems that the simplest ideas
are the best. Our leadership program isn't
very complicated. In fact, we've tried to
keep it simple, and it seems to work best
The students have really thrived on their
leadership roles. We've seen students who
were lacking some direction now becoming
good leaders. We had a phone call from a
parent this year of one of our Year 6 boys,
proudly telling us that the her son was con-
stantly talking about the good example he
had to set this year, including his desire to
make su re he had the full school uniform
because he was worried about what the
younger students would think. He has con-
tinued to act responsibly this year as a good
example to the younger students.
At first, we staff thought the notion of
door captains was pretty funny, but there
have been some real practical benefits. Our
door captains have solved the problem of
doors being left unlocked and we even had
them call a locksmith to get a broken door
fixed. We phoned the locksmith before they
did, but they were justifiably proud of their
efforts on that day.
Our captains have significantly reduced
the workload of teachers, too. Our religious
education captains took over some of the
planning for our ceremonies and did a lot of
setting up and computer work. Competition
captains read all the competition materials
that come our way, and they do it very seri-
ously, so it doesn't end up in the recycling
bin unread. Our students actually entered
some really good competitions that have
been of great benefit.
Probably the best achievement was
through our recycling captains who won the
school a $4,000 prize for our environmental
work. They organised the entry about their
work and proudly won the state prize.
Conditions for success
Creating opportunities for all Year 6 stu-
dents to be leaders isn't as simple as making
someone a captain and then sitting back to
watch them, expecting them to automati-
cally be good at it. You need to begin with
'THAT CLASS FINALLY GETS TO YEAR 6, AND KIDS WHO VE HAD TROUBLE EVERY PREVIOUS
YEAR ARE FINALLY YOUR SCHOOL LEADERS, SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THEM?
ANTHONY HOCKEY HAS ONE ANSWER.
Leadership opportunities for students
Who wants to be
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