In January 2014, I taught a class on International Human Rights and Leadership to 8th graders at Heritage Academy in Ajumako, Ghana. At the beginning of the class, I asked the students to identify important qualities of leaders. Afterward, I asked them to vote on whether or not they believed the qualities listed on the board are something that leaders are born with, or something that leaders learn throughout the course of their life. Their initial votes are indicated in the first and third of the four columns. I then opened the class up for discussion, where students explained why they either voted “born” or “made”, and then had them re-vote, which is indicated in column two and four. By the end of the class, we discussed the specific qualities of the leaders they identified (to the far left of the board), and the ways through which leaders obtain these qualities (faintly written on the right-hand) side of the board. After realizing that leaders learn to have these particular qualities through various experiences, I wrote the following question on the board – “Who thinks they can be a Leader?” Students jumped out of their seat, their hands extended high in the air. Each of the students screamed “ME!”. The students were so excited and enthusiastic about this lesson that they wanted me to take a picture of them in front of their work. I will never forget these students or their enthusiasm that day. Upon leaving the classroom, I felt that I had accomplished my goal of inspiring the students to realize that they too can become leaders like the individuals they had identified.
– KT Nelligan, F&M Trip 2014.