By Alice Fraimovich
Tue., Nov 16, 2021 | reading time 5 minutes ⏰
Blyth Academy London and Blyth Academy Mississauga students attended Globeducate's annual Student Leadership Summit in October, which lasted three days. Two senior students from 23 different schools came together for a three-day online symposium. Students from Blyth Academy, as well as students from Europe and India, participated in the event, which was held electronically for the first time rather than in person at Stonar in England, to improve their leadership skills in theory and practise.
Dr. Lucy Walker of Britten Pears Arts joined the Stonar School faculty to give motivational presentations, seminars, questionnaire evaluations, and feedback. Dr. Walker has delivered study days at concert venues and opera houses in the UK and overseas, as well as curating exhibitions and writing on the lives and works of musicians Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. She discussed how leadership may take many different forms and approaches.
Matt Way, the Headmaster of Stonar, kicked off the evening with a talk on leadership philosophy, relying on his own military experience as well as figures such as Tito and Shackleton. Students were asked to consider the qualities of a good leader, and the session ended with a discussion on Belbin's leadership styles. The students had all completed a questionnaire that was then used to determine which of their main leadership styles they possessed. Smaller groups of students were able to debate what they had learned about themselves and each other, as well as how to form a successful leadership team, in Zoom break-out rooms.
David Wicks, a former British Army Colonel and current Head of Science at Stonar, spoke on leadership in action and distinguished between leadership and management. The need of honesty and integrity as the foundation for every successful leader was also emphasised by David. More break-out sessions focused on students developing presentations on an inspirational leader of their choice – and the kids did not disappoint with their selections, ranging from Michelle Obama and Jesus to Stalin and Colonel Gaddafi!
The second day began with a workshop on public speaking delivered by Jamie Dyde, Stonar's Head of English; many of the pupils had already mentioned that communication was a critical talent for any future leader. Dr. Lucy Walker listened to the outstanding presentations after further group work. The presentations were vibrant, insightful, and given with flair because of the confidence with which the students talked, their involvement with the subject matter, and their infusing their study with the leadership theory they had acquired the day before. Dr. Walker commended the students while still delivering constructive feedback, and she left the event unsure of her own leadership style. Students took part in a fun scenario planning session prior to Dr. Walker's keynote speech, where they had to apply their leadership abilities to plan for survival or escape on a deserted island.