Being a Leader

Help your students think critically about the dynamic and changing nature of what it means to be a leader. Below you'll find resources that will assist and encourage your students to explore their value systems, promote positive leadership discussions around school, and embolden your students to think beyond the traditional notions of leadership.

Bring these Leadership Principles into your classroom by sharing biographies of influential individuals around the world, watching speeches from world leaders, and discovering supplemental lesson materials to assess understanding and prompt classroom discussion.

  • Freedom Riders: The Inspiration

    In this video segment from the American Experience: "Freedom Riders" Web site, watch interviews and newsreel footage and see archival photos to learn how Mahatma Gandhi, the leader in the struggle for an independent India, inspired and influenced those engaged in the struggle to end racial discrimination in the United States. Gandhi's use of nonviolence had allowed the people of India to win independence from Great Britain in 1947. While Gandhi declined an invitation from American civil rights leaders to become directly involved in the U.S. struggle for equal rights, his encouragement persuaded them that the tactic of nonviolence also held great potential in a struggle for the rights of a minority. This resource is part of the American Experience: Freedom Riders collection

    Grades: 6-12
  • JFK - Primary Resources: Nation's Space Effort, 1962

    In September 1962, John F. Kennedy explained the nation's space effort and why mankind must go to the moon. Learn more with this primary source, from American Experience: "JFK."

    Grades: 9-12
  • Diane Nash and the Sit-Ins

    In this interview, civil-rights leader Diane Nash recalls her role in the 1960 Nashville sit-ins, the 1961 Freedom Rides, and the 1965 voting rights campaign in Selma, Alabama. As one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Nash mobilized her fellow college students to confront segregation and discrimination with nonviolent direct action. This resource is part of the Civil Rights collection.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Benazir Bhutto: First Woman Leader of a Muslim Nation | Bhutto Film Module

    This module traces the rise of Benazir Bhutto to power as a young woman. Students will learn about the status of women in Pakistan, the influences of Islam and the military on Pakistani politics, the leadership of her father, and her personal family life. The module raises the question: was Benazir Bhutto a feminist, or was she a pragmatist when it came to reconciling her position on women's rights with conservative Islamic elements in power in Pakistan?

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Analyzing King's "I Have a Dream" Speech Video

    In this video, schoolchildren take turns reading from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream Speech" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Will West Virginia Voters Elect an 18-year-old Lawmaker?

    Meet the teenager who could soon become a state lawmaker with this video and educational materials from PBS NewsHour from November 3, 2014.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Young Peace Leaders: Cultivating Empathy

    In order to gain the perspective of another person and explore the quality of empathy, middle school students do an exercise that helps their development of core values in this video from The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values. Students choose an actual shoe and imagine the life of that shoe. As they write about the shoe—figuratively “walking” in those shoes—they reflect on how the experience helped them become more understanding and compassionate toward others.

    This resource is part of the Transformative Teachers Collection.

    Find out more about The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT.

    Grades: 13+
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom's Cabin | The Abolitionists

    In this video adapted from American Experience: “The Abolitionists,” featuring historical reenactments, learn about the impact of novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe on the abolitionist movement. Stowe was an author whose commitment to the abolitionist cause was strengthened after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. She responded with the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an immediate best seller that was credited with “putting a human face on slavery” and ultimately helping launch the Civil War.

    Grades: 8-12
  • Career Gates: Leadership

    Career Gates: Leadership includes a variety of professionals that give their advice on how to be a leader in society and within your career. Included are a gymnastics instructor, a Congressman, and a bank chairman that emphasize "enthusiasm, knowledge, optimism, integrity, and a great work ethic" as vital components to career success. WLVT PBS 39, The Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board and CareerLink Lehigh Valley have teamed to create these innovative video clips about various careers around the Lehigh Valley. The concept is to provide an awareness about upcoming businesses and career opportunities in the Lehigh Valley.

    Grades: 6-10
  • Leadership: Activities

    Activities related to the media clips in Leadership.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Leadership | Segment 1

    Thomas J. Watson, Sr. was not a scientist or inventor but, through his leadership, he pushed the world of information processing into the mainstream and set the stage for the digital revolution that ultimately transformed the planet.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Rosa Parks

    This interview with civil rights activist Rosa Parks describes her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. On December 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her refusal sparked a massive bus boycott that lasted 381 days, ending on December 21, 1956, after the United States Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation on city buses was unconstitutional.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Freedom Riders: The Student Leader

    In this video segment from the American Experience: "Freedom Riders" Web site, watch interviews and newsreel footage and see archival photos to learn about the early efforts of a prominent student leader of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Diane Nash, a young Chicago native, was attending Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, when she was introduced to nonviolent direct action. She quickly became an influential student activist through her leadership of sit-ins in Nashville, her participation in the Freedom Rides, and her role in founding the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Selma Campaign. This resource is part of the American Experience: Freedom Riders collection

    This video includes language that is considered offensive. However, it provides authentic documentation of the bigotry of the era.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Nature Tracker Leader

    In this Dinosaur Train clip, the dinosaurs disagree about the leadership of the Nature Trackers club. This clip teaches students about compromise and conflict resolution.

    Grades: PreK-1
  • Promoting Leadership in Students

    Learn about how empowerment organizations like Banister Leadership Academy are helping African-American young men in this clip from American Graduate Day 2014. The Banister Leadership Academy in Omaha, Nebraska helps African-American young men in their community. Before Byron started the leadership program, he was just getting by in school and was using drugs. But mentors at Banister Leadership Academy helped him set high expectations for himself. Now, Byron is excited to continue his education and motivated to give back to his community.

    Grades: 9-13+