Focused on stopping youth violence among youth in their high school, this particular group was led by a pair of 18-year-old students who were set to graduate. Other students in the group were from throughout their high school (secondary school), with the youngest ones being 13 or 14. There were 15 students in the meeting when I was there.
One of the oldest students facilitated almost the entirety of the group’s 40 minute session. The other took notes and questions, and seemed to have the “behind-the-scenes” authority. In 40 minutes, the students did a short training on strategic summer communication to their peers, voting for the next year’s leaders, finishing plans for the end-of-year celebration, and reflecting on this year’s challenges and successes.
However, instead of those two student leaders talking the entire time, watching conversation throughout the session was like watching a great juggler handling a dozen balls in the air. One student volunteered to take notes while another showed them how; everyone engaged in brainstorming when a different student stepped forward to lead the key question period for that section; while students took student-driven reflection to a whole other space through its depth and brevity!
- Student 1 gives direct instruction, mentoring, and critique to Student 2: In this group, that meant training and facilitation by the senior students throughout the school year;
- Student 2 provides instruction to Student 3: Roles in this group were designated according to interest, versus the age of the students, so younger students actually facilitated the reflection questions for the whole group;
- Student 3 learned from Student 2 and led reflection for Students 4 and 5: When less-capable students were stumped, students with a bit more experience or knowledge were empowered to assist them in activities;
- Student 5 was acknowledged for their role: All students were involved throughout the group’s activities, both within the 40 minute meeting and throughout the group’s operations in the rest of the school year.
- Download Adam’s complete article, “Cascading Leadership Among Students”, at http://adamfletcher.net/products/articles/