Students become more effective leaders through ASDAN Short Course
Students’ self-esteem has been boosted through ASDAN’s Leadership Short Course. Jeremy Thomas, coordinator of Abingdon School’s Developing Leadership Programme, tells us how the course has continued to accredit soft skills during lockdown.
“ASDAN’s Leadership Short Course has been an ideal way to recognise the development of leadership and soft skills in a more formal way, through a well-structured programme. We offer the course to our students from Year 9 up to sixth form,” says Jeremy Thomas, coordinator of Abingdon School’s Developing Leadership Programme.
“The Leadership Short Course isn’t just about giving our senior pupils the tools to become a prefect or a sports captain, it’s about encouraging them to have the confidence in themselves to step forward, to improve their communications skills.
“Abingdon is an independent school committed to promoting partnerships with all sectors of the education community through its Abingdon School in Partnership (ASiP) initiative. Our partnership contains three independent schools and three state schools. The Leadership Short Course is an essential part of our interschool peer mentoring scheme,” says Jeremy.
Soft skills accredited
“ASDAN’s Leadership Short Course is a great opportunity for students to develop soft skills in teamwork, presentation skills, time management and project management, all of which give our students the edge when they write their CV and university applications.
“The Leadership Short Course is growing in popularity at Abingdon School. The ASDAN certificate given at the end of the course makes it really worthwhile to the pupils.
“ASDAN’s Leadership Short Course has boosted the confidence and personal development of our students. I think it's well worth incorporating into a school’s programme.”
Nathan Brittain, Head of Modern Languages and Year 9 leadership activity at Abingdon School, says: “The pupils report having gained a deeper understanding of different leadership styles and how to be effective as a leader in whatever situation they find themselves in.”
Peer mentoring certificated
“As mentors, our students develop tutorials in maths, English and sciences to benefit groups of younger pupils who struggle with those subjects,” says Jeremy. “In a tuition session, there are three to five sixth formers from different schools mentoring a class of younger pupils, also from a mix of schools.
“Due to the disruption caused by Covid-19, Year 7 and 8 students need catch up sessions on how to work well at secondary school level. Sixth formers from schools local to Abingdon town are supporting the younger students in our local state schools. This mentoring is accredited through ASDAN’s Leadership Short Course.”
ASDAN’s e-portfolio supports remote learning
“The great thing about ASDAN’s course is that we were able to continue whilst remote learning. I hadn’t looked at ASDAN’s e-portfolio before lockdown but it’s brilliant.
“Students were able to sign in to live sessions or upload evidence, such as slide presentations, photographs or scans of written work in their portfolios. We have Zoom sessions with breakout rooms for our mentoring sessions and it works really well,” says Jeremy.
Flexible and supportive course structure
“ASDAN’s Leadership Short Course provides an ideal set of ways to run sessions. The way a teacher can deliver it is flexible, but the structure is already there to work with.
“The Leadership Short Course encourages students to plan and record their mentoring work. In Module 3 Review your Leadership, the students must practise self-evaluation and discuss what worked and what didn’t work in their mentoring sessions, which is a crucial skill for life.”
Develops personal growth
Two Abingdon School sixth form mentors summarise how the Leadership Short Course has impacted them:
“The skills I have acquired from the programme will help me in my everyday life as well as when talking to younger pupils,” says one student. “It has helped me develop as a person.”
“The Leadership Short Course has helped me develop clear communication and organisation skills,” says another student. “I would definitely recommend it to others, both because of how enjoyable it was and the skills it teaches you.”