Student leadership valued
This module offers suggestions about ways that school staff can seek student input and enable students to lead activities and offer support to their peers.
- Did the “Student leadership valued” sub-aspect data suggest any next steps for your school?
- Do you have other school data about this area of school practice? What does this tell you?
Key ideas about valuing student leadership
A sense of connectedness to school is a protective factor for young people. Students who are connected to school have improved longer-term health and wellbeing and education outcomes. Providing students with opportunities to have meaningful input into school decisions, and show leadership at school are ways of enhancing students’ sense of belonging and connectedness. These opportunities are also one way of enabling students to develop social competencies.
Active student involvement can take a range of forms as discussed below. One way students can have input into school life is through planning and undertaking health promotion activities. This is one of the key concepts in the Health and PE learning area and is often an important part of whole school approaches that aim to promote wellbeing.
- Do we have processes in place that enable us to consult in a meaningful way with students about approaches to wellbeing?
- At this school, are all students able to show leadership in an area of strength for them, or is it mostly the same students that lead activities?
Ways of working could include
Enabling student consultation and action relating to health and wellbeing
- Involving students in school self-reviews or on school or student health teams. Student can consult with their peers about ways to promote health and wellbeing at school.
- Putting in place processes that enable students to connect with and support their peers in different year levels (e.g., through mentoring programmes for young leaders, peer, buddy, or tuakana–teina approaches, whānau or house groupings).
Encouraging school-wide student leadership in ways that build relationships and connection to school
- Ensuring students are offered a range of leadership opportunities (e.g., student council reps, class leaders, senior leaders).
- Supporting students to take lead roles and have input into co-curricula activities such as kapa haka, cultural groups, clubs, enviro-schools, or sport, physical activity, dance or drama.
- Supporting students to lead school activities such as running assemblies, hosting visitors, or inducting and looking after new students.
- Monitoring approaches to ensure all students have at least one extra-curricula interest or leadership opportunity.
Increasing student involvement in health promotion through the curriculum programme
- Planning health or integrated topics so that students can design health promotion inquiries to improve aspects of school or classroom life (See the Caring learning module).
Addressing student conflicts or social concerns in a way that builds students’ strategies and skills
- Adopting a school-wide focus on positive youth development or social problem-solving approaches to support students to resolve conflicts in ways that build relationships (see the Safe School module and Addressing conflict in ways that build students’ social competence [pdf]).