“People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.” Tyron Edwards
A positive role model is a person of influence. One by which students are inspired and encouraged to strive for greatness. An example to learn from, admire, and aspire to be like. A reservoir from which guidance and advice are gained (Teachers as Role Models, n.d.).
Inside Leadership Role Models, Seaton posits that one’s most influential role models are “local”, in that they present the people you encounter and interact with most frequently. Seaton further outlines a role model as one who teaches not only through word but through unspoken and observable behaviors.
Role models allow students the advantage to build upon skills and attributes of others as they learn and develop themselves in light of another’s example. Of course you’ll want to be careful who your students pattern after as they select individuals worthy of attention. When selecting role models for your learners, consider what it is that makes leaders exceptional. What type of influence do they portray? Of course, be sure to observe not only what to do, but also allow your students exposure into what NOT to do. Mistakes are inevitable. They’ll be made be everyone. So encourage your students to minimize their mistakes by learning from the errors of others (Eikenberry, 2009).
Introduce positive role models into your classroom by way of exploring stories of leaders. First, have your students read examples in which specific qualities are exemplified. From the reading, explore in conversation specific characteristics while drawing connections to your student’s individual lives.
Explore stories around men of valor and influence – individuals who lived and died well. Journey through the lives of people such as Winston Churchill, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, and Abraham Lincoln. Raise the bar of expectation for your students as you expose them to a world of greatness.