When visiting Leader in Me schools around the world, I’ve noticed that the depth of implementation makes the difference. What do I mean by depth? It’s making sure that we don’t just scrape the surface of the 7 Habits upon teaching them, but to delve deep into the foundational concepts, paradigms and practices.
Let’s look at an overview of these for the private victory.
The 7 Habits are powerful because of its inside out approach. We have to first do the work on ourselves before we can be effective with others, therefore, to teach the foundational concepts, paradigms and practices with more impact, we must first model them successfully. Lead by example. Try some of the below ideas and discover other fun and informative ways to get the children to become actively involved in the thought process behind the habits and how they apply to them personally.
7 Habits Tree
When building the 7 Habits tree in your classroom, make it a robust learning experience. Ask pupils why the first three habits are in the roots under the ground? What happens to a tree in a storm if it has weak roots? If it was an orange tree (fruit tree), what would determine the quality of the taste of the oranges (fruit)?
The quality of the soil and roots would be an ideal answer. In life, if we want to be successful, we must first grow strong roots so that we can build strong character. Being a person with strong character means that I take 100% ownership and responsibility for my life. This is the essence of character, because if I’m blaming circumstances or others, I can make bad choices because the onus is never on me. When we put our first attentions to growing strong roots of character, we become more resilient and are much more likely to do the right thing even when others aren’t looking. Without the healthy roots, the tree can’t produce fruit. How our life will turn out is dependent on our character, it will determine our choices and actions. It’s an inside out process.
Also, take the opportunity to connect building the tree to being a lifelong learner. Many trees in nature continue to grow strong roots under the ground and in height above the ground well beyond a hundred years in age. Just like the tree, you must continue to grow throughout your life.
Levels of Maturity
Habits 1-3 focus on moving pupils from dependence to independence, whilst 4-6 move them from independence to interdependence. Clarify what it means to be dependent, independent and interdependent with a short sentence frame. Get the pupils to think about the kind of behaviours a learner in the classroom would exhibit if they were dependent, independent and interdependent. Take it deeper by facilitating what kind of long term results this would lead to for the learner at each level. Then I would recommend you create a list of things that you would like your pupils at their age level to be doing as an independent learner, do the same for an interdependent learner and also ask for their input. Create posters of all these up in the classroom so that they can become working documents that create and define your classroom culture. At every opportunity refer to the three levels, ask where the pupils believe they are now and what choices they could make to help them reach their interdependence? Celebrate moments when pupils show more independence and reach their goals because it’s the key to emotional well-being in your classroom. Independence – I can do things for myself and am capable. Interdependence – I know how to work well with others and support them when they need
SEE – DO – GET
The SEE – DO – GET model demonstrates how our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us drive our behaviours which in turn lead to the results we achieve. The results we get then further reinforce our paradigms, this leads to a negative or positive self-fulfilling prophecy. Teach the SEE – DO – GET model to your pupils by giving them examples of people who hold positive and negative paradigms, what behaviours this leads to and results. Then give them a negative and positive paradigm, for example; I am not intelligent/I am intelligent; I am not good at maths/I am good at maths, I can’t draw/I am a good artist; I am a bad person/I am a good person; I am good at sport/ I am not good at sport; I can’t be a leader/I am a leader. Get pupils to work in small groups to identify the behaviours of each ineffective and effective paradigm and their results. Finally, use the reverse SEE – DO – GET model exercise. In pairs pupils identify an area in their life where they are not getting good results yet. They identify the things they are currently doing (behaviours) and then look at what their paradigms are. The key is for them to recognise the belief (paradigm) that is causing the behaviour. They then rewrite a new belief (highly effective people are willing to change their paradigms) and commit to practising this paradigm. They share this new paradigm with the class and teacher and the whole class commits to supporting and reinforcing this paradigm. Teaching pupils the SEE – DO – GET model shows them how to change their habits.
5 Core Leader in Me Paradigms
Teach your pupils these 5 core paradigms and tweak the language so that it is specific to children. For example, when teaching the paradigm of change the ‘Not This’ paradigm becomes – for my life to change, my parents, my teachers and friends need to change. The ‘But This’ paradigm is change starts with me. Again, brainstorm the different behaviours these two paradigms create and put them into two columns. Take it deeper by looking at the long term results these behaviours lead to. This paradigm of change exercise connects to living habit 1 and clearly shows the impact of proactivity. Do this process with all five core Leader in Me paradigms and it will have a positive impact on your classroom culture.
Chairman, United Education Group