Incorporating role models into everyday lesson planning is one of the most effective ways to increase engagement, boost confidence and inspire students to take an active role in pursuing their dreams.
For children and students who are particularly impressionable and learn through mimicry and modeling, providing examples of positive and inspiring role models can significantly increase the quality of their learning experience.
Read below for three tips on how to introduce the most effective role models for your students.
The Importance of Character
When selecting positive role models for students to relate to, it is crucial to avoid promoting individuals who have a record of public misbehavior. Selecting people who strive to maintain a respectable image and introducing individuals who stand for a purpose greater than themselves will help curb disruptive or questionable behaviors and encourage (or reinforce) positive values
Focusing on Innovation
According to Opportunity Insights, a research institute led by Harvard faculty, children who are exposed to innovation at an early age are significantly more likely to innovate when they grow older. Because many of the jobs children will apply for do not yet exist, it is crucial that educators instill the importance of 21st-century skills including perseverance, creative problem solving and entrepreneurship. Promoting role models who display these characteristics will help attract students to these valuable skills and encourage them to pursue problems which lack simple solutions.
Embracing Outside Opportunities
Because educators do not always have as much freedom as they would like when it comes to lesson planning, seeking educational programs outside the classroom is a great way to introduce inspiring role models. Programs like those from the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), including the flagship Camp Invention® summer program, offer great opportunities to inspiring innovators whose work has moved society forward. A 2017 report by the Wallace Foundation supports the effectiveness of Out-of-School-Time programs, finding that reputable programs offer measurable benefits to those who attend them.