A Leader Makes Effective Decisions: Applying 100 Leaders in World History in the Classroom

Post by Lynne O’Hara, NHD Director of Programs

The 100 Leaders in World History program, sponsored by Kenneth E. Behring, is designed to help students think about the idea of leadership. A key piece of a democratic society is the need to evaluate and select leaders at the local, state, and national level. We hope that this study of historical leaders will help students evaluate the leaders of the past and construct intelligent, informed opinions about the leaders of the present.

Each day this week we are posting to this blog about one of the five criteria that our selection panel used to determine the 100 Leaders in World History. The five criteria are:

  1. Articulates a vision,
  2. Motivates others,
  3. Makes effective decisions,
  4. Willing to confront tough issues, and
  5. Impacts history.

Today we are discussing how a leader makes effective decisions.

Ford-NYPL-1920s

Henry Ford Photographer unknown, n.d., New York Public Library

Makes Effective Decisions

Leadership is a daily struggle. Leaders are people who are challenged to respond to situations in which they often have imperfect information.  They need to make decisions that are the best for their society, even though they might be unpopular during their time.  Margaret Thatcher, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela reformed nations struggling with economic, social, and political challenges.

Not all leaders make the right decisions.  Students are encouraged to look at the legacy of the decisions made by leaders like Mao Zedong, Christopher Columbus, or Henry Ford and consider the decisions that they made.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow for an update on the next of the five criteria: willing to confront tough issues!

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A Leader Motivates Others: Applying 100 Leaders in World History in the Classroom

Post by Lynne O’Hara, NHD Director of Programs

Each day this week we are posting to this blog about one of the five criteria that our selection panel used to determine the 100 Leaders. The five criteria are:

  1. Articulates a vision,
  2. Motivates others,
  3. Makes effective decisions,
  4. Willing to confront tough issues, and
  5. Impacts history.

Today we are discussing how a leader motivates others.

Motivates Others

Jefferson-LOCLeaders need to convince other people to follow them. Religious leaders like Jesus of Nazareth, St. Paul, Siddhartha Gautama, Joan of Arc, or Muhammad are known because of the people who practice their teachings today.  Some motivate others with a vision of a better world, like Rachel Carson, a more just society, such as Frederick Douglass or Desmond Tutu, or an independent nation, like Thomas Jefferson. Military leaders like Ho Chi Minh and Julius Caesar led men into battle while other leaders like Mikhail Gorbachev, the Emperor Meiji, and Otto von Bismarck convinced their citizens that change was needed.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow for an update on the next of the five criteria: makes effective decisions!

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Applying 100 Leaders in World History in the Classroom

Blog post by: Lynne O’Hara, NHD Director of Programs

The 100 Leaders in World History, sponsored by Kenneth E. Behring, program is designed to help students think about the idea of leadership. A key piece of a democratic society is the need to evaluate and select leaders at the local, state, and national level. We hope that this study of historical leaders will help students evaluate the leaders of the past and construct intelligent, informed opinions about the leaders of the present.

Visit http://100leaders.org/ today!

100 leaders website

There are lots of ways to use this resource in the classroom. This is a great tool for a classroom bell-ringer or wrap-up activity – Using the profile for background information, they can compare and contrast with a different leader being studied in class that day, or decide that person’s best (or worst) leadership trait. Maybe you want to keep a classroom ranking of the greatest leaders studied in your curriculum, or challenge students to present alternate leaders who did not make the list.

Seven master NHD teachers wrote lesson plans to help you implement this resource in your classroom. Before looking at the website, Mark Johnson wrote a lesson to help students predict the list’s distribution over time and geography.  Julie Noble and Rory Dippold wrote lessons to help middle school students understand the concept of leadership and introduce the characteristics to students using children’s literature.  High school teachers might consider the ideas of Brian Weaver (running the historical figures in the 2016 presidential election), Amie Dryer (creating social media for historical leaders) or Rob Greenwood (building variations on Mount Rushmore).

An additional goal of the 100 Leaders initiative was to help bring the 2015 Leadership & Legacy in History theme into the classroom.  While it is true that this theme was inspired by the past theme of The Individual in History (1980, 1989, 2009), this theme is a little different because it asks students to frame their inquiry around the concept of leadership.

One warning: please do not see this list as a list of topic choices. There are thousands of historical leaders to choose from for the 2014-2015 contest. This list was selected by a group of historians and NHD teachers who met for one day.  You might want to consider leaders from the list who did not make the cut for the top 100 or look more locally. Also check out the list of sample topics, the theme narrative, or the theme book for ideas and inspirations.

While most of these leaders on this site had an impact on a national or global scale, there are thousands of leaders whose impact was felt in a state or local level. Yes, Thurgood Marshall successfully argued for school integration in the Brown v. Board of Education case. But who led the efforts for (or against) school integration in your community?

This week we will write a new post every day on each of the five criteria that our selection panel used to determine the 100 Leaders. The five criteria are:

  1. Articulates a vision,
  2. Motivates others,
  3. Makes effective decisions,
  4. Willing to confront tough issues, and
  5. Impacts history.

Today, is all about how a leader Articulates a Vision.

Articulates a vision

Leaders start with ideas. Leaders see a world that is, but rather than accepting the world as it is, they look to see what could be. They set their goals – whether they be Genghis Khan’s military conquest, Fidel Castro’s vision of a socialist Cuba, or Susan B. Anthony’s view of a more equal nation – and then they figure out how to make them happen.  Some leaders see economic opportunity, like Ray Kroc’s expansion of the McDonald’s Corporation or John D. Rockefeller’s domination of the oil industry with the Standard Oil Company.

These leaders need to be able to see a vision, but then they also need to able to articulate, or communicate these ideas to others.  Some leaders like Vladimir Lenin, George Washington, or Queen Elizabeth I displayed their political power by acquiring and maintaining power. They had loyal followers who maintained their position and allowed their vision to become a reality.

Sometimes great leaders disagree.  Fundamentally, most modern political debate can be traced back to the competing views of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. Consider the historical conflicts that stem from the economic visions articulated by Adam Smith and Karl Marx. Many of our great leaders stood against each other – consider Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow for an update on the next of the five criteria: Motivates Others!

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WEBINAR: Leadership & Legacy through the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Our first NHD webinar held on September 9th talked about the NHD 2015 Leadership and Legacy in History contest theme. We were fortunate to have both the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and The White House Historical Association presenting with us. Thank you to everyone who attended, we had great participation at this event. Watch the Exploring the Leadership & Legacy Theme Webinar recording here: 

Lets keep the participation and excitement going next week when NHD welcomes the Library of Congress in presenting a new webinar on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 7pm-8pm ET / 4pm-5pm PT. This free webinar will introduce participants to the collections of the Library of Congress and how they can help with resources for the 2015 Leadership & Legacy in History theme.

Register: http://tinyurl.com/NHDLoC916 

Leadership & Legacy through the Women’s Suffrage Movement 

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NEW! NHD and the National Archives and Records Administration Webinars

A new school year has just begun and NHD wants to welcome you back with fresh webinars to get you ready for the 2015 National Contest: Leadership and Legacy in History. Join archivists and education specialists from the National Archives and Records Administration, NHD staff, teachers, students and coordinators to get the ideas flowing!

These webinars are free and open to everyone. Whether you are brand new to NHD or an NHD all-star, everyone can learn a thing or two from these three webinars. Choose just one or commit to all three, it is up to you to decide which you would like to attend.

  • Exploring the Leadership and Legacy Theme – Tuesday, September 9, 2014 @ 6PM ET – Teachers, Students, and Parents welcome!
  • Research 101: Primary and Secondary Sources – Tuesday, October 7, 2014 @ 6PM ET– Teachers, Students, and Parents welcome!
  • Decisions, decisions: Choosing an NHD Category – Tuesday, December 2, 2014 @ 6PM ET – Teachers, Students, and Parents welcome!

These webinars are interactive so we encourage everyone to come ready with their questions for our experts and participate in the live event. With that said, the fall is often a busy time for students and their families and we don’t want anyone to miss out. The recorded version of each webinar will be posted online in the weeks following the live event.

To participate, be sure to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8605240154487714306

Tweet your questions to us before or during the webinar @NationalHistory #TeachNHD. For questions about the webinar, please contact Lynne O’Hara, NHD Director of Programs, at lynne@nhd.org.

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Special Guests visit Behring Teacher Ambassadors on Day 2 of Training in Denver

On Tuesday Behring Teacher Ambassador training re-convened at History Colorado in Denver, Colorado.  We were so lucky to be joined by Kenneth and Patricia Behring.

Kenneth and Patricia Behring with Behring Teacher Ambassadors in Denver. Photo Courtesy of Moni Hourt from Nebraska

Kenneth and Patricia Behring with Behring Teacher Ambassadors in Denver. Photo courtesy of Moni Hourt from Nebraska

Behrings and Teachers

Kenneth and Patricia Behring along with Dr. Cathy Gorn, meet with Behring Teacher Ambassadors. Photo courtesy of Moni Hourt from Nebraska.

Kenneth and Patrica Behring visit with NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn at the Denver, CO Behring Teacher Ambassador Training. Photo courtesy of Moni Hourt from Nebraska

Kenneth and Patricia Behring visit with NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn at the Denver, CO Behring Teacher Ambassador Training. Photo courtesy of Moni Hourt from Nebraska

Mr. Behring shared with the group his favorite quote from U. S. President Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,  who strives valiantly, who errs and  comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

In the morning the group focused on the 2015 Leadership and Legacy in History theme, discussing historical leadership and the best ways to help students approach this new theme.

Kenneth and Patricia Behring talk to Behring Teacher Ambassadors at History Colorado.

Kenneth and Patricia Behring talk to Behring Teacher Ambassadors at History Colorado.

In the afternoon the group had the amazing experience of watching 46 men and women take the oath of citizenship and become American citizens. The naturalization ceremony was an unexpected surprise and a great experience.   The teachers spent the remainder of the afternoon collaborating with their state coordinators and developing their Ambassador plans.

Thank you to History Colorado for being a fabulous host in Denver, Colorado!

Congratulations to our Behring Teacher Ambassadors:

  • Mark Bach, Washington
  • Amy Boehning, Hawaii
  • Carol Dallman, Minnesota
  • Elizabeth Green, Mississippi
  • Gayla Hammer, Wyoming
  • Terry Healy, Kansas
  • Moni Hourt, Nebraska
  • Kyle Johnson, Kansas
  • Rona Johnson, Idaho
  • Dorian Langi, Hawaii
  • Dan Marsh, Indiana
  • Dean Smith, Washington
  • Tom Thorpe, Wisconsin
  • Al Wheat, Mississippi
  • Deb Wrye, Indiana

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Guess who is in Denver this Week? NHD Behring Teacher Ambassadors!

On Monday training started for the second cohort of Behring Teacher Ambassadors.  These teachers, all past winners of the Behring Teacher of the Year Award in their respective affiliate programs, applied to be trained at Behring Teacher Ambassadors.  Their training focused on expanding the role of teacher leadership.

All participants arrived in Denver from as far away as Hawaii and enjoyed an opening dinner looking out over Union Station.

The day began with a welcome from April Legg, who works in Educational Outreach at History Colorado.   After an opening session discussing ways to reach new teachers, NHD Deputy Director, Kim Fortney led a session featuring NHD in Mississippi state co-coordinator Renee McClendon and NHD in Colorado co-coordinator Stacey Pendelton.

After some morning training sessions and lunch in the Denver sunshine, the teachers were treated to a tour of the History Colorado museum by School and Teacher Program Developer April Legg and a behind the scenes tour by Curator Natalie Elder.

History Colorado Curator Natalie Elder gives a behind the scene look at the museum's collection.

History Colorado Curator Natalie Elder gives a behind the scene look at the museum’s collection.

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School and Teacher Program Developer April Legg talks to the BTA during their training in Denver, CO.

The day ended with teachers working on their elevator pitches and heading out to small group dinners in Denver.

Stay tuned, day two of training at History Colorado might have some special guests….

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