Last 26-27 June 2014, one hundred fifty student leaders of Marist School in Marikina participated in Better Steps Psychology’s signature student leadership program called BLAST – Basic Leadership and Skills Training.
BLAST is a whole day activity designed for high school students to learn inspirational leadership and to equip these leaders with the courage, responsibility, and knowledge of self, as well as skills in effective communication and conflict resolution. The BLAST curriculum was the product of consultations by the Better Steps Team with the moderators of the Marist School Student Council – Ms. Susan Afable and Mr. Rodgie Polidario. This collaboration is at the heart of every Better Steps workshop and seminar where members of the Better Steps Team work with the stakeholders and clients to customize our existing core programs to fit their unique needs and requirements. At Marist School, the moderators shared that they would like to see their student-leaders to be more engaged in their roles as student-leaders and to empower them to own their roles.
The day began with a quick getting to know you activity that served both as an energizer and icebreaker for all participants. After this, a leveling off session was held so that Better Steps facilitators could get a better sense of where the student-leaders were coming from in terms of their understanding of leadership and other related contexts and issues. After this, we dove right in to look at their difficulties and challenges as student leaders. It was very revealing how the students were able to identify very specific and clear difficulties they had. Most of the responses included their difficulty handling the pressure from teachers and peers, that being student leaders, they were held against a higher standard than everyone else, and that being exemplar students was stressing them out. Other difficulties included their classmates not respecting them and frustration in trying to be everything to everyone all the time.
After the leveling off, the students then went into the first phase of their activity which was to understand their own selves better. What better way to begin to own up to their new roles than to understand themselves and integrate this new role into your own identity! Students worked in groups and shared their insights about their own self-awareness and understanding. Many students had an easier time than the others but mostly, everyone was able to learn something new about themselves and was able to share with others. The students were also able to apply the three A’s of self-discovery: Aware, Accept, and Apply.
The student leaders felt a little sluggish after lunch so another activity was done where the Marist boys had to decide to work in a larger community or to work for their own groups ends. It was a fun learning activity that made the most out of these teenage boys’ energy level! After this activity, the students were pumped for the afternoon activities where they were able to take their learning from the morning activities and see their roles in the context of communities that they lead. It was a time of discovering the skills and mindset of how it is to be a leader and not just someone who barks orders. The realization that student leadership is servant leadership came to life for them.
All in all, the students were very receptive and open to the activities. They were able to make the things we talked about come to life with their experiences and stories. It was a tiring workshop because there was so much to do but at the end of it, both the students and the Better Steps facilitators were able to grow and learn from each other; that each person present took home an important lesson that learning and growth happens no only on the inside but also from each other.
The Better Steps team would like to thank the Marist School for being open to our program and for all the support that they had given their students. We at Better Steps Psychology appreciate the trust that the school administration and the student council moderators have given us and we look forward to working with them again in the future.
BLAST! is the pilot student-leadership training program of Better Steps Psychology, Inc. If you or your institution are interested in this or other programs for schools, business organizations, learning institutions, or organizations, please do not hesitate to contact us at (02) 216 1586 or (0917) 894 3988 and look for our Training Director Ms. Teddi Dizon (firstname.lastname@example.org).