Gifted and Talented Students Become Licensed to Lead

By: Mollie Lastovica

Assistant Professor Lori Moore, Ph.D., conducted a workshop in leadership with 16 Gifted and Talented students from across the state July 16-20 as a part of Texas A&M’s Youth Adventure Program, sponsored by the Department of Educational Psychology.

Last year, Moore was asked if she would be interested in coordinating a course for the 2012 Youth Adventure Program by the program’s coordinator after she took one of Moore’s graduate level classes, ALEC 616. Moore agreed to facilitate the five-day course.

“On the first day, we focused on introductions and defining leadership,” Moore says. “While most of them already knew each other from YAP activities, I needed to get to know the students and their leadership styles.”

Days two through five expanded on defining leadership in a variety of capacities. Day two focused on leadership by position and individual leadership styles. Students participated in a number of activities to help define their individual leadership characteristics.

“Day three focused on leadership by permission,” Moore says. “We discussed relationship building, trust and how to move from leading a group to leading a team.”

The fourth day of the YAP leadership course engrossed participants in leadership by performance including conflict management and problem solving.

At the beginning of the week, students were given a “License to Lead” assignment in which they had to apply the different leadership skills they had learned about over the week. They presented their assignments on the morning of day five and in the afternoon, focused on how to apply what they had learned in the session to their roles in leadership positions at home.

“Many of the students chose this session because they will be in leadership positions next year,” Moore says. “At the beginning of the week a number of them asked if we could talk about how to teach leadership, so we focused on that in the afternoon of day five.”

The students’ ages ranged from eighth graders to upcoming seniors in high school.

“The difference in age was a bit of a challenge when trying to keep all students engaged,” Moore says.

While students left the Texas A&M campus with a newfound knowledge of leadership, Moore notes how ALEC’s involvement in experiences such as YAP are sure to bring awareness to the department across campus and to prospective students.

“This gives us great potential to build networks with faculty in different disciplines which could lead to other collaborations,” Moore says. “It allows us to share our story and let people know what it is that we do.”

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