Developing young adult leadership and innovation skills

In Education and Labor Market Demands, Engineering, Transforming Pedagogy

In 2009, I attended the Active Learning in Engineering conference in Barcelona. With my colleague Dimitri Dagot, we facilitated a workshop to showcase the pedagogic innovations introduced at Ecole Centrale Paris.

You might discover more about this pedagogy and the workshop we conducted in the article that we co-authored with other faculty members from Ecole Centrale Paris.

Excerpt from p.5:

Some participants realized that lack of listening skills is one of the reasons why mankind faces so many challenges and conflicts. They realized the responsibility of education and educators for this lack of istening skills. In traditional teaching, students are used to listen to the professor, and professors to deliver their knowledge. The implicit role modeling is therefore that authorities are not supposed to listen, but students are. With the ‘teaching with emerging experience’, the professor positions him or herself not only as an authority figure, but also in a listening mode. This type of teaching therefore ambitions that the students – when in authority position, as engineers, experts or managers – will also be able to demonstrate better listening skills, the kind of skills that can help societies to be more inclusive, creative and innovative.

Whether you are a student, a pedagogue, a manager or a consultant, we welcome your views on our approach to develop leadership and innovation skills.

6 comments on “Developing young adult leadership and innovation skills”

  1. Jianfeng Ge says:

    I believe it defiantly will be a very good method to teach students in a innovative way. As a student I would like to be involved into class as much as possible to keep focusing on the lecture, because if professor only talks in front of us by using of his ppt or handouts, perhaps less than 40% of teacher’s idea could be absorbed by us. However, it is very essential to control the extent of this “free talk” strategy. Students may easily lose the main subject of lecture if professor gave too much space for that. Also, ensure everyone in the class is involved and interested in listening what are others talking about will be a very heavy task for teachers.

  2. Andrea says:

    I absolutely agree. I also think that lack of listening skills can cause serious problems. However we have to admit that listening is the hardest part of communicating. To listen properly requires respecting interlocutor as an equal. Many leaders use the time when others are speaking not to listen but to prepare their next point. My own opinion is that the ability to actively listen to others is the mark of a true leader, and provides an often under-estimated pathway to understanding and knowledge. I also believe true listening can only happen when a leader has a genuine love for other people – the leader ultimately has to care and that essential part of listening is empathy. I would say that one way of solution this problem is to cultivate self-reflection skill by coaching.

  3. Jana Simonova says:

    I partly agree with these statements. Innovative way of teaching is in my point of view applicable just for students who are motivated to learn something. In my opinion it could cause many problems for example in primary and secondary schools. But older students are more they realize that they should study by themselves. Because of this I totally agree with innovative way in universities. The reason why agree with this is comparing 2 different ways of teaching in Universities and in University of Applied Sciences. The innovative way here in Steyr helped me to more thing about topics not just listen and repeat things during exams. And this is most important for me. Students all around the World should be able not just listen (but it is also important – to listen and understand), but also apply what they have learned in real life.

  4. Salla Paajanen says:

    I agree with this approach to develop leadership and innovation skills, as many of my colleagues here also. In Finland, where I come from, this approach is widely used in Universities of Applied Sciences but not so much in Universities. I study in University of Applied Sciences and in our school interaction, innovation and listening as well as responding skills are emphasized in everyday studying. I think that these skills continuously increase importance in working life and in leadership. In this kind of studying approach the teacher has bigger influence on students and he/she has to consider more factors than in traditional teaching approach. For instance in a class of more than 60 people, it is hard to get everyone to participate during one lecture and still have time to teach something as well, so the students and the teacher are being challenged in a constructive way.

  5. Kaisa Kuusinen says:

    I believe that the motivation to study needs to come from within the person, and that the main role of teacher (at least in higher levels) should not be (just) motivating but to never be de-motivating. Also the motivating activities that the teacher does need to be done so, that the student does not only go as far as the teacher can push him/her. It has to be done so that it creates an inner motivation.

    For long there have been studies conducted about what are the traits of a good manager and it has been clear that just telling people what to do and not listening your employees is very de-motivating. So why would we imagine this would work in school? To bring this to another level we could say that using good managerial skills in teaching would be a good idea. Like the concept of Management by Objectives. What is the point anyway learning theory word to word by heart if there is no real understanding involved.

  6. Laura Casati says:

    I’m personally reallly concerned about the education issue, believing it leaves a decisive sign in your life. Whereas it is a bad or an excellent experience, is certanly something you have gone through that shapes your attitude. Therefore, the more positive is the experience, the more we will be likely to have learnt and put it into practice.
    All around the world there are several ways to see the entire process, and thanks to the exchange in Austria I experienced a very different style from what I was accustomed to-back in Italy, where I study. The fact that students are frequently asked to lively participate it’s strongly challenging, it boosts confident towards others and to authority( the professor in this case). Moreover, it makes you able to be more attentive. In my curriculum studiorum I’ve always lacked from creativity. Professors- at least for what I have experienced- are always more focused on keeping the pace with the programmes they should cover, rather than caring about establishing a wider dialogue with their students. That’s why I regard debates as the way to fight boredom and lack of attention.

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