By WONG EE LING
It is one thing to sit and listen to your Moral class teacher, but it’s a completely different case to believe in the morals learnt and to put them into practice.
One of the main ways children learn is through play and experience.
We learn to solve problems when life throws them at us; we learn self-control when we are provided monthly allowances and are forced to budget.
It’s safe to say that the best lessons we learn are often from the experiences we go through.
What are Leaderonomics Clubs?
The Leaderonomics Clubs in schools aim to drive improvement in leadership and performance, which focus on character development and project management.
We developed a five-year curriculum based on the 49 character traits under Character First education, a curriculum approved by the Education Ministry to be used as a teaching tool during Leaderonomics Club sessions.
The setting up of Leaderonomics Clubs in schools, also approved by the Education Ministry in 2016, is part of the co-curricular activities where students meet for an hour, bi-weekly for 12 weeks, depending on the schools.
In the course of the 12 weeks, besides learning about leadership character traits, Leaderonomics Clubs also provide a platform for the students to build communities of love by putting what they learn into practice and carrying out Making A Difference (M.A.D.) Projects.
These projects enable students to think, plan and execute a plan for their community.
One of the projects, conducted by Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Puteri Titiwangsa in 2017, was an anti-bullying campaign.
The Leaderonomics Club held a one-week campaign where they sold badges with meaningful messages to stop bullying.
They also set up a Confession Board for students to encourage each other and to open up conversations from victims of bullying.
They set up posters around the school talking about the effects of bullying.
With the money they earned from selling badges, they bought sweets and stuck a friendly note on each candy, asking students to ‘pay it forward’ as a way to promote kindness and friendship instead of hostility.
Hearing from those involved
Asha Aditi Arun from SMK (P) Sri Aman shares her experience: “As the president of the club, organising activities and projects helped me grow as a leader and a person.
“The highlight of my experience was the M.A.D. Project we executed. It was a week-long bake sale that raised almost RM1,000 for the school.
“The money was channelled towards enhancing the landscaping in my school.”
“Everyone played their part in the project and that made me feel like we were really making a difference in our school community as well as enhancing our personal growth.”
After the students have accomplished their respective M.A.D. Projects, the clubs usually close the year with an annual LEAD Convention.
This is the time where all the schools come together to share on the M.A.D. Projects they had introduced.
Leaderonomics Clubs have grown to 23 across the Klang Valley. This number also includes two new regions: Penang and Johor.
We hope to grow to 40 Leaderonomics Clubs by the end of this year and to have the opportunity to venture into more states.
As our clubs grow, we are also relying on our trusted volunteers to partner with us on this journey.
We currently have nine volunteers being trained as Leaderonomics Club Coaches to be sent out to schools.
When we asked Pauline Kok why she wanted to become a club coach and what she hoped to achieve, she said: “I am convinced in reaching out to the young ones through education.
“A club coach can make contact and positively influence students which helps them to develop positive characters and life skills.
“I hope to bring the students to another level of maturity, allowing them to improve the quality of their communication and interaction with others.”
Joel Vergis shared on his experience going for a club meeting: “The experience was good. The kids are really smart, and mostly compliant to all that we had to present to them.
“They are participative, and eager to learn more about leadership.”
My personal experience
As a Leaderonomics Club Coach myself, working with the Leaderonomics Youth team has given me the opportunity to impact youth in the secondary school setting. Students look forward to club meetings, as they enjoy experiential learning, and they learn better while playing games, too.
This year, I am looking forward to see the setting up of of a Leaderonomics Club in my alma mater, SMK Taman Desa.
Being a prefect there in the past, I am thrilled to be returning to my old stomping grounds to impart leadership skills to my prefect successors.
One may wonder what kind of impact can be made in just a one-hour session. Will students be able to expend their energy during the session?
You’d be surprised by the students’ enthusiasm when it comes to executing projects. They can really go all out in giving their best effort.
They even meet outside of club hours to prepare for their projects.
I sometimes wonder what drives them when there are no tangible incentives in committing themselves into these projects.
While most are eager to practise their leadership skills, it is even more encouraging to know there are many students out there who are hungry to make a difference in their communities.
There is a place to grow with them in this journey, and that is the Leaderonomics Club.