How to Create Thought Leaders at a Young Age

As technology continues to outrun many predictions with regards to how quickly certain jobs are being replaced, we need to consider what kinds of characteristics will have the most value, both internally and by society. By rewarding I mean with regards to intangible rewards, intellectual rewards, social and emotional rewards, and with respect to being able to make a healthy living. Here are some ideas and strategies which I’ve used with all ages of students, and adults. Enjoy and make any adjustments needed to make these your own.

Rotate how you reflect on classroom experiences

Reflection on an experience of any kind is critical to learning in depth. Even more important is that you use multiple ways to reflect, at any age. Here are some reflection strategies I’ve used:

  • Written journal

  • Drawing journal

  • Individual reflection

  • Group reflection

  • Socratic Seminar (at any age)

  • Physical Theatre-like reflection

  • Create a comedy theatre experience where students must use jokes as the vehicle for reflection

Find ways to integrate the experiences of students outside the classroom into the classroom experience

If you’ve ever been in a building which brings the outside in, it is a free-flowing experience and one that used, even in formal events, can create a much more open ambience for communication. Thought leaders are able to create this sort of ambience in any setting. Thus, the introduction of this ambience is important early on.

This can be done in many ways, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Recalling outside experiences and discussing them indoors.

  • Recalling outside experiences and recreating them indoors via drawing, dancing, and visualization.

  • Bringing something in from outside and experimenting with it indoors.

  • Looking for similarities and differences that exist indoors and outdoors.

  • Shadows

  • Light

  • Shapes

  • Temperature

  • Any physical properties we can notice

  • Any emotional properties we can notice

Rotate students in the role-playing the positions of:

  • Employee

  • Manager

  • Director of Human Resources

  • CTO

  • CMO

  • COO

  • CEO

How exactly you do this is up to you. There are myriad ways to accomplish this. I encourage you to keep it play-based, strategic and specific with regards to the objectives. However, sometimes it should have no specific objective and should encourage the idea of embracing new ideas which do not come from any one individual, but rather from the ideas of many.

In general, questions which are open-ended and authentic, can be very empowering for young minds. For example, at the end of a week, try engaging your students with questions such as:

  • What would you title the “Big Idea” for this past week

  • What would you suggest we title the “Big Idea” for next week

Finally, model being a thought leader. How can you model being a thoughtful and inventive leader?

Think about it… lol