In our quest to activate meaningful shifts within the development of people and systems to be able to deal with the challenging environment today, probably the most critical element of all is that of leadership.

Of self, of individuals managing systems, and of individuals looking to improve their own lives.

In a deep dive forum into this element of leadership that TSF were privileged to be part of, all participants were in agreement that in order to achieve the progress developmental agencies, philanthropy and governments were looking for to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and other targets within education and community development, there is one crucial element that cannot be overlooked. And that is that the global development community must take clear steps to lead with a 'people-first' approach in all they do, and look to activate the will, volition, self-belief and leadership capabilities of people within each system.

The need to do this is clear. Any substantial shifts in the success of development work globally will be reliant on the connection to individuals - and the depth of activation, capability and ingenuity of all people in each system - if we are to have any real chance to activate the changes humanity so urgently requires.

Aligned to that is the element of Conscious Leadership very ably expressed by Teach For All's ground-breaking core Conscious Leadership Team around developing new mindsets to:

  • Recognize that energies of 'helping' or 'fixing' are not transformational energies. They keep us in a circuit of solutions that stem from fear. We need to raise our own consciousness so we become a transformational energy. We are the system, and how we are being can shift the system. We need to shift from learning models that focus solely on knowing (linear problem-solving, information-seeking) to those that focus on being (creativity, unlearning).
  • Break free of limiting beliefs and behaviors including: an obsession with looking good or avoiding looking bad; holding on to disempowering stories about ourselves and others; striving & competing; judging and complaining about ourselves and others to avoid responsibility.
  • Break out of the false paradigm that we are all separate and instead learning to inhabit a paradigm of connectedness and create from there.
  • Digest our life and creating space within by grounding ourselves and working with meditation and mindfulness practices - for ourselves, our teams, our organizations, and our systems. Many nervous systems are too over heated to create real change.
  • Develop leaders as healers recognizing that we operate in trauma systems that are intergenerational. We need to develop our healing capacities to avoid replicating these trauma systems in ourselves, in our relationships with others, and in the world.
  • Build new leadership intelligences in pillars of: awareness of ourselves and the world we live in; commitment to something that transcends ourselves so we take a stand for creating a future that might not otherwise happen; integrity to operate from a place of wholeness and honor our word so we can translate imagined futures into reality; and authenticity to live and act consistently with who we hold ourselves out to be.
  • Accessing fresh approaches so the future can land now rather than a future that keeps staying in the future. Recognizing that we have the power to create the future vs. being resigned to a future that is predictable, conventional, and continues to imitate current broken systems.

Why Teach for All (and TSF) believe this matters?
We believe in a world with greater equity, connection, love, freedom, and self-expression for all. To create this, we must invest in students today. They are the now and the future. This will require a paradigm shift in education, moving away from factory-based models of education, to classrooms that help students discover who they are, ask critical questions, learn how to ‘be’ with others who are different from them, and grow their capacities to shape a better future for themselves and for all of us. To grow students as conscious leaders, we need the adults who surround them to embody this as well.

About Teach For All
Teach For All is a global network of 56 independent, locally led and governed partner organizations and a global organization that works to accelerate the progress of the network. Each network partner recruits and develops promising future leaders to teach in their nations’ under-resourced schools and communities and, with this foundation, to work with others, inside and outside of education, to ensure all children are able to fulfil their potential. Teach For All’s global organization works to increase the network’s impact by capturing and spreading learning, facilitating connections among partners, accessing global resources, and fostering the leadership development of partner staff, teachers, and alumni.

For more information on Teach For All’s work, contact Radha.Ruparell@teachforall.org