Course Description: “This course views leaders as authentic servants committed to transformation. Students study the leader’s motivations, the dreams of followers, conflict resolution, as well as personal, intellectual, and civic virtue. Perspectives for steering clear of bad leadership and toward collaboration with those who share the leader’s commitment to the common good are considered. The class focuses on the development of leaders who are responsible, good, humble, and who understand the diverse values of others.”
How this Course Impacted my Leadership & Core Values:
Overall, this course shaped my understanding of myself and my core values in two key ways: understanding Cognitive Learning Styles, affirmation of self, capabilities, and my personal philosophy and definition of Leadership.
In understanding my learning styles through this course, I found that I am in-between in being Field Independent and Dependent and that I tend to use and enjoy Reflective Observation as a means of absorbing and applying all that I have learned into my life (Witkin, Oltman, Raskin, & Karp, 1971; Kolb, 1976). Often, I have felt conflicted within myself regarding how I best learn and understand content: through thoughtful reflection, consideration, and watching others go before me as trailblazers and experimenters in what we seek to change and accomplish. Given time to ponder and think more critically and deeply about a task or subject helps me feel more prepared and more capable of understanding and grappling with difficult subject matter. Essentially, I am someone concerned with ideas, principles, and philosophical concepts and problems. I had never heard of these types of personality and cognitive measures, nor had I critically considered the value of others’ learning styles. From this, I realized our need for others who are different from ourselves – if this had been a world full of dreamers, we might never accomplish a significant goal; if this were a world of planners and executors, we would not have the dreamers who humanize and love those around them, giving them a voice by which to be heard.
Because of our focus on learning styles, I felt more empowered in who I am and the unique ways I use my strengths and values in every area of my functioning. With all the confusion I had about who I am and the different ways in which I learn, I began to see myself in a new, more loving and kind manner. This course helped me begin to love myself for who I am and who I am not, being authentic with everyone in the course and in my relationships about these. I came to realize that it is okay to be Ivory, whoever that may be in reality. Though I may sometimes feel insecure about others’ perceptions of who I am, I have come to realize that it is not others’ perceptions and ideas of who Ivory is or who Ivory should be that make me a meaningful or valuable person, but it is my character and willingness to share my story and be vulnerable with others even when this may be daunting or new territory.
Integration into Play Therapy Internship:
Over the course of six months, August 2016 – February 2017, I interned in a shelter for women and children, engaging in Play Therapy and meaningful one-on-one sessions with mother and child.
In two applications, this course helped me to become better at affirming each member of the family’s worth, ability to love and be loved, and capabilities to make good choices and decisions, no matter what occurs in their lives. Because I was able to become more authentic, vulnerable, and genuine in who I am over the course of the semester, the children and I developed a deeper, more loving bond and relationship. Though they were relatively young (between ages 7 and 12), there were interactions in which we began to re-affirm, uplift, and show compassion for each other, our stories, and the conflicts we find between what we have been told and what we have experienced.
We quickly developed a sort of shared balance between reaffirming each other and openly discussing what bothered or worried us about certain aspects of our personality – making and keeping friends, intelligence, and acceptance of appearance. In some cases, when the kids became distressed about homework or grades, I applied what I had learned from the Field Independence test, and the Kolb Learning Inventory, to how the children may use a certain learning style. Often, they were concerned that their progress and grades showed they were unintelligent and worthless. I explained to them that they might have a different and unique way of learning, compared to some of their classmates or the teacher. Most importantly, these helped me re-affirm and build the children’s self-confidence and acceptance of who they are and how they operate.
Acknowledgments & Commendation:
“Ivory is one of the best students I have ever taught. She is brilliant and so willing to learn difficult material. She also produces papers and projects that are both thoughtful and meaningful. SHE CHANGES LIVES. She has certainly changed mine. She is one of the finest Christians I have met at APU. It is an honor to know her.”
– Dr. Michael Whyte
Adjunct Professor & Provost Emeritus
What I am Passionate & Driven By:
From everything I learned in this course’s work and my friendship with Dr. Whtye, I was reminded of my passion to know others as deeply and as fully as I can, and what makes them who they are. In my work with children and adolescents, I am driven by an intense longing to help others to see their innate potential and value, building up self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-love in the process. There is so much hurt in our world, on the micro and macro levels. How others see and perceive us can take root in our understanding of who we are and the level of authenticity we choose to utilize in our relationships in positive and negative ways, especially for children. I am driven to help others confront those negative views of the self, and replace them with an appreciation for what makes them unique, valuable, and lovable. When we can love and appreciate ourselves, I believe that our lives and worldviews are transformed, such that we see others in more compassionate and loving lights and how they are valuable and unique for their differences from us.
Kolb, D. A. (1976). The Learning Style Inventory: Technical Manual. McBer & Co, Boston, MA.
Witkin, H. A., Oltman, P. K., Raskin, E., & Karp, S. A. (1971). Manual for embedded figures test, children’s embedded figures test, and group embedded figures test. Palo Alto, Calif.: Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.