Martin Doherty has over 20 years experience of managing schools in over 13 countries across five continents, including North America, Europe, Asia, the GCC/Middle East, and Africa. He helps schools broaden their student bodies, improve best practices, modernize the teaching and learning environment, and cultivate an overly “happy” school climate while also helping them obtain a global perspective. Also, he is a former Senior Project Manager / Business Process Manager, for over 10 years with Fortune 500 companies (head offices: IBM, Bell Mobility, Sprint PCS, TELUS Mobility, Canada Life, Minacs) in Toronto, CANADA, and the USA.
I’ve had the honor of serving as a school director for 20 years in over 13 nations & 5 continents, including North America, Europe, Asia, the GCC/Middle East, and Africa. I assist schools in gaining a global perspective while expanding their student body, enhancing best practices, upgrading the teaching and learning environment, and fostering an excessively “positive” school climate.
I have launched new schools and managed improvement projects on all varieties of international curriculum schools. I specialize in new school start-ups and school improvement initiatives. I often observe recurring issues that many international schools abroad tend to overlook.
I place a strong emphasis on student life skills – increasing confidence, self-esteem, and motivation, all characteristics that create direct and lasting results at home, in school, and in life.
Unfortunately, most schools today focus solely on academic results and fail to acknowledge (or comprehend) that the most important determinant of a student’s success in life is whom they become as a person. This narrow-minded approach is setting students up for failure in the long run, as they may excel academically, but lack the necessary skills and qualities to navigate the real world.
Academic scores / Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is often used as a predictor of success in an intellectual career, however, it is not the only predictor and cannot foretell how successful one will be in life. Other factors such as emotional intelligence, motivation, persistence, social, communication, and leadership skills all play a crucial role in determining overall success in life. I would say more so than academics.
The most important determiner of a student’s success in life is whom they become as a person.
Leadership and character development are essential for success in life, as they provide individuals with the skills and qualities necessary to navigate the challenges they will face. While academics are important, they do not provide the same level of preparation for life. Leadership and character development include traits such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, communication and collaboration skills, problem-solving, decision-making, initiative, and creativity. These skills are crucial for success in both personal and professional life and are more important than a good academic record. Investing in leadership and character development will lead to a more successful and fulfilling life.
Leadership development is crucial for children and youth, as it helps them grow into confident and capable adults who can positively impact their communities. The purpose of a school leadership program is to provide students with the skills and experiences they need to become effective leaders.
Components of Leadership Development for Children and Youth
Self-awareness and emotional intelligence are key components of leadership development. Students must understand their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to manage their emotions in order to be effective leaders. Communication and collaboration skills are also essential for leadership, as they allow students to work effectively with others to achieve a common goal. Problem-solving and decision-making abilities are also important for leaders, as they allow students to navigate complex situations and make sound decisions. Initiative and creativity are also important for leaders, as they allow students to think outside the box and come up with new and innovative solutions to problems.
Steps for Implementing a School Leadership Program
To implement a school leadership program, it is important to identify and recruit students who can be effective leaders. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as student surveys or teacher recommendations. Once students have been identified, it is important to provide them with training and development opportunities. This can include workshops, mentoring, and leadership camps. It is also important to incorporate leadership opportunities into the curriculum, such as through service learning projects or student government. To create a supportive school culture that values leadership, it is important to encourage parent involvement and support.
An evidence-based approach is essential for a successful leadership development program. This includes collecting and analyzing data, identifying and measuring desired outcomes, and utilizing research to inform program design and implementation. By using data and research to guide the program, it is possible to ensure that it is effective and has a lasting impact on the students.
Integrating Leadership Development into the School Culture
To integrate leadership development into the school culture, it is important to build a program that aligns with the school’s mission and values. This includes creating opportunities for students to demonstrate and apply their leadership skills, such as through service learning projects or student government. Additionally, it is important to encourage a culture of mentorship and support for developing leaders. This can be done through programs such as peer mentoring or teacher-student mentoring.
Cornerstone Leadership Programs I Implement in All Schools
- Since I am a 3rd-degree black belt in Kempo Karate (2nd in Kung Fu), with kickboxing, Jujitsu, etc.); one of the first programs I implement in a school is an in-depth Leadership Martial Arts program, based on the same curriculum format I created and used at my own Martial Arts school in Canada.
- At the same time, I will implement a “Character theme of the Month” that emphasizes teacher/parent discussion sheets, student worksheets, student assembly presentations, and awards based on the monthly Character word theme.
- I also ensure the school’s Mission and Vision are updated to incorporate a focus on Leadership development.
Value of Adding a Martial Arts Program to the School
Adding a martial arts program to the school can provide a unique and valuable opportunity for leadership development. Martial arts not only teach physical skills, but also discipline, focus, and respect. These are all important traits of a leader. Additionally, martial arts can be a great way to build self-esteem and confidence, which are crucial for leadership development.
I also implement something called “The Black Belt Principles of Life” – 5 keywords that is a summary of the Samurai Code of Honor (Bushido code) … that is ordinated from Confucianism Principles of a Good Life. I will discuss this in a future article.
Other Examples Leadership Building Activities
- Outdoor education programs: such as hiking, camping, or survival skills training, which can teach valuable lessons in teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making.
- Entrepreneurship programs: which can teach students how to think critically, take initiative, and develop their own ideas.
- Mock trial or debate teams: which can teach students how to communicate effectively and think critically.
- Monthly charter development themes integrated into the activities and culture of the school.
Leadership development is essential for children and youth to help them become confident and capable adults. A school leadership program can provide students with the skills and experiences they need to become effective leaders. It is important to identify and recruit students who have the potential to be effective leaders, provide them with training and development opportunities, incorporate leadership opportunities into the curriculum, and create a supportive school culture that values leadership. An evidence-based approach is essential for a successful leadership development program, which includes collecting and analyzing data, identifying and measuring desired outcomes, and utilizing research to inform program design and implementation. Integrating leadership development into the school culture can be achieved by building a program that aligns with the school’s mission and values and creating opportunities for students to demonstrate and apply their leadership skills. Adding a martial arts program to the school or other leadership-building activities such as outdoor education, entrepreneurship or mock trial teams can provide unique and valuable opportunities for leadership development.
Schools should consider implementing leadership development programs for children and youth to help them become leaders in their school, community, and most of all their life.