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The case of the dethroned section leader was an interesting case study in leadership, learning and perspective. It also examines how the emotional self is invested in our professional selves, somewhat unsurprisingly. The situation presented could occur anywhere and is easily relatable for most students, either in having witnessed it or having similar thoughts. The study presents the opportunity to discuss the problems encountered and possible solutions. There are two core problems that the article presents, problems of communication and ego.
There is no real open communication between the section leader, Bea, and her students, it seems. At no point did she ever take into account any suggestions from her students, but rather chose to use her own experiences as her guide. Similarly, the student Jack also evidenced poor communication skills by waiting until his presentation to unload his thoughts. Speaking to Bea before or after class would have been a more appropriate step to take first. Both parties ego’s also add issues to the situation.
Clearly, Bea feels that she has much to offer these students. She is not necessarily wrong, but it is their time to learn for themselves, not to have Bea do all the research and guiding for them. Also Jack’s ego seems to be caught up with the fact that ‘their time’ is more important than anything Bea would have to say, even though she is given authority by the professor through her role as section leader. There are a few other underlying issues as well, such as an issue of respect and possibly Jack’s issue with authority.
These problems are easily addressed.
First, Bea and Jack should have a discussion outside of the classroom and see what compromises they can come up with for this class format. It is obvious that Bea wants to add something to their experience but it should not come at the expense of the student’s time. If a true compromise can be reached, their own egos should not be damaged and both should feel that they have achieved a desired result. Other solution, though less ideal, would be to take the issue to the course professor and use his recommendations, have another section leader mediate a discussion, or to have Jack move to another section.
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