Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.
To begin your leadership vocabulary lesson, ask your students which leaders they admire and why. Based on the conversation, continue by giving them the beginning of a definition of leadership. For instance, you could say, ''Leadership is the ability to... ''
This should elicit responses from your ESL students about different leadership activities like:
- ...direct people to achieve a goal.
- ...guide others in times of trouble.
Once your students have their responses, you could ask if they can think of a family member who has directed the family toward a goal, for example. Or, you could ask your students to think of a time when they guided others. This way, your students get the sense of leadership in their personal lives.
Now that you have your students thinking about leadership, they are ready to review some leadership vocabulary.
Since leadership includes abilities, actions and characteristics, your ESL students can benefit from learning leadership vocabulary in these different categories.
This category includes the vocabulary of important leadership abilities, such as:
With each of these words, you can give your ESL students a basic definition of each word. Your students can then tell why the ability is important. For example, you define guidance as a skill that enables leaders to direct a group toward a goal. Then, your students discuss or write the importance of guidance, for instance, because a leader directs people who don't know which way to go.
As another activity, your students can think of how a leader exercised an ability in a specific situation. To illustrate, you could give your students your own example such as: ''Mayor Jones has initiative. She is creating more green spaces in my city.''
For characteristics of leadership and leaders, you can present the following words:
For this vocabulary, your ESL students can think of leaders who have some of these characteristics and explain how those leaders demonstrate them. You could give your own example by saying something like: ''Mahatma Gandhi was a charismatic leader. His charismatic personality showed in the fact he had many followers.''
This list gives your ESL students verbs for the actions leadership involves:
- To manage
- To direct
- To guide
- To decide
- To observe
- To advocate
- To represent
- To empathize
- To communicate
- To motivate
These verbs can get your ESL students thinking about examples of leadership actions. For example, when it comes to the verb to manage, you could ask your students what a leader needs to manage. Responses could include that a leader manages people, information, troubling situations, etc.
An alternative activity is to get students making lists of verbs that are related to abilities or qualities. For example, responsibility and responsible are related. Then students could use these different related words in sentences.
Finally, once your ESL students have a working knowledge of this vocabulary, they could write or orally present an essay about the main components of leadership. Your students will be more engaged if they can include a leader they admire in their work.
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