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Authored by Dr Jimena Zalba, ISB Primary School Principal

Learners As Leaders

The International School of Belgrade is deeply committed to engaging, inspiring and equipping every student with the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to be leaders who make a difference today and will impact their own future, and that of the world, positively

At the International School of Belgrade (ISB), we believe that every student has the capacity to lead. Rooted in this belief, we create conditions and intentionally design learning experiences that nurture, support and promote student leadership.

Student leadership refers to the ability of students to lead and influence others, as well as managing their own personal development and growth.

This can include taking on roles and responsibilities in their schools, engaging in community service and developing such qualities as communication, collaboration and critical thinking skills. Impactful student leaders are able to inspire and motivate their peers, and create positive change in their schools and communities. At ISB, we are deeply committed to equipping our students with the skills to be compassionate and competent leaders, and to providing them with multiple relevant and age appropriate opportunities to exercise leadership.

ISB offers three of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes and central to these curriculum frameworks are student agency, approaches to learning and a focus on action. These three key components of the IB programmes guide our school in designing experiences for our learners to develop their leadership capacity.

Student agency refers to the ability of students to play an active role in their own learning and development. This involves giving students a voice in the learning process and providing opportunities for them to make choices, set goals, and take responsibility for their own learning outcomes. Student agency helps students become more self-directed and motivated learners, and also promotes a sense of ownership and engagement in their education. By having a say in what they learn, how they learn, and why they learn something, students are able to develop skills connected to leadership.

Impactful student leaders are able to inspire and motivate their peers, and create positive change in their schools and communities

The ‘Approaches to Learning’, representing a central component of the IB Programmes, provides a structure for ISB’s students to actively develop and practise thinking, research, communication, social skills and self-management skills. These skills are all central to leadership. Through these Approaches to Learning, our students identify and foster healthy relationships, an understanding of shared responsibility, and the ability to collaborate effectively. Connected to these 21st century skills, students regularly engage in learning that is intentionally designed to help them grow in their ability to make informed, reasoned, ethical judgements. Furthermore, our students have opportunities to exercise the flexibility, perseverance and confidence they need to bring about positive change in the wider community and beyond. Hence, the IB Approaches to Learning represent 21st century skills that enable, support and promote our learners’ leadership competency.

At ISB, we also promote student leadership by providing our learners with multiple opportunities to take action. By taking action, ISB learners become responsible and successful changemakers who engage actively with complex real-world issues that they encounter in their school, their community or the world at large. Student-led action projects involve learners considering multiple perspectives, taking informed risks, reflecting on their own learning and experiences, and acting in ways that contribute to their communities. These learning experiences allow our students to explore ideas, pose questions and develop solutions that may have an impact beyond themselves. Our world needs young people to exercise leadership that will make our world a better and more peaceful place.

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