Hands-on Experience Best Way to Learn Leadership Skills, New White Paper Shows

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Student-centered, hands-on experience is the best way to learn the skills needed to compete in the 21st century, according to a new white paper released last week by Envision EMI, LLC. Based on a review and analysis of a wide array of studies conducted by educators, leadership experts and cognitive scientists, the white paper suggests five key elements of high-quality experiential leadership education. The document gives parents and educators a guide to educational best practices that will assist them in determining what elements to look for in a good program.

Parents and educators of high-achieving youth are typically inundated with opportunities promising to develop their students’ talent and leadership. This white paper will give them a guide to educational best practices to help in choosing a program.

Student-centered, hands-on experience is the best way to learn the skills needed to compete in the 21st century, according to a new white paper released last week by Envision EMI, LLC, America’s leading creator of leadership and life success skills training for high-achieving young people.

Now available for downloading, “Experiential Leadership Education: Building the Foundation for a Lifetime of Success” details the best learning practices and pedagogical foundations underlying successful youth leadership development programs.

“Parents and educators of high-achieving youth are typically inundated with opportunities promising to help develop students’ talent and leadership,” said Dr. Linda McGarvey, Envision EMI’s chief academic officer, “and we believe this white paper will give parents and teachers a guide to educational best practices that will assist them in determining what elements to look for in a good program.”

Based on a review and analysis of a wide array of studies conducted by educators, leadership experts and cognitive scientists, the white paper suggests five key elements of high-quality experiential leadership education:

  •     Students learn about effective leadership through shared examples and time spent identifying, applying and practicing these skills.
  •     Leadership must be learned actively: students step into leadership roles, taking risks in their actions, being allowed to make mistakes, revising strategies and improving leadership skills.
  •     Students learn how to function as groups of leaders through teamwork, collaboration and networking with peers.
  •     It is important for adults to participate in the learning process as mentors, guides, and collaborators.
  •     Raising students’ awareness, understanding and tolerance of other people and cultures is essential to being an effective leader and developing the capacity for excellent communication and problem-solving.

According to sources cited in the document, over the course of a year, students spend on average only 14% of their time in school, leaving a significant portion of time for learning to occur in other settings. In addition, due to the constraints of testing, time and subject barriers that classroom teachers face every day in our schools, it is increasingly more and more difficult to meet all of today’s educational demands.

As a result, the white paper asserts that out-of-school educational programs are no longer viewed as nice add-on activities, but are critical to developing the life success skills necessary in the 21st century. The research cited demonstrates that high-quality, extracurricular experiential leadership education complements classroom learning, improves academic achievement, and develops personal and interpersonal skills (the so-called “soft skills”) that experts across disciplines agree are essential to creating a competitive advantage.

Envision EMI, LLC is America’s leading provider of leadership and life success skills for high-achieving young people. Through its experiential leadership education programs, Envision EMI has educated, motivated and inspired nearly 600,000 students during its 25-year history. For more information, visit http://www.envisionemi.com.

The second in a series of planned white papers, the document can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.envisionemi.com/about/education.php.

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Larry Akey
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