Student Leadership Elections Excitement in the Primary

What are the qualities of a leader? P4 learner Rhea tells us, “A good leader should be organized, responsible, kind, and a good leader should never give up.”

In early September, 36 learners aged eight to 11 made a decision. Each decided to try and be a leader, to represent her or his peers. Representing an inspiring 55% of eligible learners, 18 girls and 18 boys stood for election. Here is an example of agency and action at work in the PYP.

With virtual elections, each candidate submitted a speech video via Flipgrid, which was then added to a Google Forms ballot. Voters viewed the minute-long candidate speeches on the online ballot and made their choice. Through the magic of technology, each voter was allowed one vote and votes pie-graphed themselves into election results. This process shows how we integrate technology with a clear audience in mind. This creation of a video is also linked to our PYP Language curriculum and the viewing and presenting strand.

Seventy-nine voters in P2 through P5 cast their ballots for President, chosen from P5, on September 14th and 15th. On Wednesday, September 16th, the President was announced and Class Representatives were ready to be elected. The student community took on the responsibility of voting and showed they are engaged with their class.

Candidates for President who were not elected had the option to run for P5 Class Representative. Each class, P3 – P5, voted for their Class Representatives on September 17th and 18th, one boy and one girl for each section, and the election was complete. Following the Thursday and Friday vote, there was a tie for one Class Representative position in both P4 and P5. Run-off elections were held the following Monday and Tuesday, September 21st – 22nd, and elections were at a successful conclusion.

In all, 11 leaders were successfully elected. There was a result, a product if you will; yet, we know that learning is all about process and little about product. In practicing the democratic process in India, the largest democracy in the world, young learners learn about something larger than themselves.

On its surface and at younger developmental stages, the conversation about “who gets picked” is ripe for learning. It is a conversation about serving for the benefit of others, and being chosen to represent.

Why encourage the learning of leadership? Action is a keystone of inquiry in the IB, and natural to the position of a leader. How many skills – our approaches to learning (ATLs) – developed through leadership do you spot below?

Thinking skills

  • Critical-thinking skills (analysing and evaluating issues and ideas)
  • Creative-thinking skills (generating novel ideas and considering new perspectives)
  • Transfer skills (using skills and knowledge in multiple contexts)
  • Reflection/metacognitive skills ((re)considering the process of learning)

Research skills

  • Information-literacy skills (formulating and planning, data gathering and recording, synthesizing and interpreting, evaluating and communicating)
  • Media-literacy skills (interacting with media to use and create ideas and information)
  • Ethical use of media/information (understanding and applying social and ethical technology)

Communication skills

  • Exchanging-information skills (listening, interpreting, speaking)
  • Literacy skills (reading, writing and using language to gather and communicate information)
  • ICT skills (using technology to gather, investigate and communicate information)

Social skills

  • Developing positive interpersonal relationships and collaboration skills (using self-control, managing setbacks, supporting peers)
  • Developing social-emotional intelligence

Self-management skills

  • Organization skills (managing time and tasks effectively)
  • States of mind (mindfulness, perseverance, emotional management, self- motivation, resilience)

Leadership is fertile ground for planting and cultivating ideas, asking questions and creating new understandings through collaboration to benefit one’s community.

This week, we celebrate and congratulate all candidates who tried for Student Leadership this year. You are risk-takers, and you can be proud of yourself. In the words of Michael Jordan, American basketball leader, “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” We learn great things in trying. These are life lessons which build resilience.

Announcing the members of 2020 – 2021 Student Leadership:

President: Océane

P5 Class Representatives

  • Andre
  • Mrunmayee

P4 Class Representatives

  • Anaya
  • Rhea
  • Tristan
  • Shreash

P3 Class Representatives

  • Ishan
  • Saanika
  • Sophie
  • Vandan

Congratulations, leaders! Candidates, please take this opportunity to show leadership in your family and give heartfelt gratitude to your caregivers for their support! It is because of our caregivers’ leadership that we can lead.

by Jeff Underhill, Primary Counselor

Student Leadership


IBO. 2019. Learning and teaching. Geneva, Switzerland. International Baccalaureate Organization.