A few weeks ago, the Harvard Business Review blogged about the often under-appreciated value of assertiveness in leaders. As we seek to develop community leaders through our academic curriculum at Proctor, a number of salient points can be gleaned from this article
The article notes that leaders who exhibit assertive behavior help create a culture of innovation, foster teamwork and collaboration, act with integrity, create a safe environment, and communicate effectively. Attributes with which we hope each of our students graduate.
While some classrooms may not value assertiveness, believing those students to be pushy or disruptive to the flow of class, teachers who encourage assertive behavior in students ensure the open sharing of thoughts, allowing all to benefit from more fruitful discussions.
Assertiveness is not only valuable with regard to class discussions and shared learning, but in the skills of the student who learns to self-advocate; one of the most important lessons our Learning Skills
students develop during their time at Proctor.
Therefore, we, as educators, must be sure we value assertiveness as a desired outcome, rather than a suppressed behavior, in order to foster the self-confidence in students that leads to proactive, self-aware learners.
The correlation between assertiveness and confidence is strong, as those students who feel most comfortable in a learning environment will most likely be the students who are most engaged participants. Similarly, those students who are most engaged in the learning process will be those who best demonstrate the characteristics the above linked article highlights. We must be sure we not only value those students who are naturally assertive, but help build confidence in those quieter students to allow them to step out of their comfort zone and exhibit more assertive behavior.
By valuing, and encouraging assertiveness in the learning process, we help develop students who communicate effectively, value teamwork and collaboration, act with integrity, and are driving forces behind creating positive, organic change within the community.
If you have the opportunity to sit in on a number of classes, like more than 100 families did during last week's Revisit Days
, there will be little doubt in your mind that Proctor's faculty not only appreciate respectfully assertive behavior by their students, but allow their classes to thrive on it.