Reflecting on Our Presentation

8.12.16 - 7Our group presented first. I wasn’t nervous at the front, but I was nervous when I sat back down because I could remember all of the things I didn’t say that I wanted to. I’m not satisfied with my presentation because I forgot that the second step was Brad’s and I read his step. And I feel our presentation was not fluent, it was stumbled, but the teachers said they could not tell. Even though my action is very tiny to the society, big things consist of many small things. I believe that if I don’t use nepotism then more and more people will refuse to use nepotism also.

Tackling a Big Problem as a Team

8.11.16 - 13I was the group analyst for the project. Flame was the director. Cecelia was the designer. So I used my Iphone to find related information and summed up the data to the director. I think our presentation was just so-so because I was nervous a lot, but I also followed my plan to talk. So I think it was not bad. I think the community has started to change this condition of food safety, because government gives poor farmers money and this can reduce farmer stress from the economy. So in the end, everyone can win. I think our idea for food safety can start others to think about ways to make our food healthy again.

Learning to Works As a Team

8.12.16 - 3Today we started work on our design projects. We decided to draw pictures to help show the idea. The presentation was distributed by me. I wanted Danny to stand between me and Steven because I wanted him to feel support from us and become more confident. Sometimes he is very shy, but today we had no problems. We did nice, because all of us were devoted in this activity. But I’m not satisfied because I think there must be a way to make me and make us better than we are now. I think if I can speak more frequently, our presentation will be much better. I maybe can’t change the world, but I can change our community. I can present my idea to the people around me, and maybe change them too. Then, they can change more people. In the end, we may make this world our community and make it different than before.

The Leadership Academy Has Helped Us So Much

8.10.16I am very happy to be among you in the past weeks for the joy and experience of leadership that we all shared.  Here is what you have given me to prepare me for being a future leader:  belief, skills, and love.

Before I came to this program I used to think that leaders were associated only with words like   “president”, “chairman”, or “head”.  Now I know that real leaders are dreamers and believers. People follow you for your beliefs, not you.  As a future leader I believe in truth, in the strength of science, and  I the strength of humanity.  It is these ideas that I present to people; not my looks, my money, or my connections.  My team will stand together all leading, all pursuing, and all achieving.

This program also offered me skills as a leader:  interpreting the present; understanding people’s cognition and behavior, and solving conflicts.   I am not afraid anymore.   I am not afraid of disagreement; not afraid of bad temper; not afraid of prejudice; and not afraid of losing.  I will employ the EZ skills to create the freedom for creativity in a group that is so dear to my heart.

The final thing you gave me during the program, unexpectedly, is love.  It is the power of love, of all the goodness in humans that holds a community together and thus gives birth to leaders.  I see goodness in all of you.  But I have also seen disturbance, prejudice, and insults among certain people.   I tell these people: be self-aware when you do that your classmates.  If you want to lead, be kinder.  Niru, Hitler, and Stalin are not leaders. Ghandi, Lincoln, and, Einstein are because they loved.  It is the conscious love that made them fearless when trying to be masters of themselves.

Above all are some of my gains through this summer.   We are all flyers here and you have helped me upward.  All I want to say is “thank you”.

Leaders Never Give Up

8.11.16 - 6I am a badminton player.   I love the spirit of sports – never give up.  In the badminton competition it is not only a match for the skills but also a match for the spirit.  Only the person who sticks to the end can win.  It is the same for a leader.  If the leader gives up the whole group will not work.

What is a leader?

8.11.16 - 3A leader is the spirit in a team or group.  He should control all the things and all the members.  However, it is difficult to be a good leader.

Confidence is important to a leader.  It makes it easy to face the difficulties or challenges.  Before I took part in the Leadership Academy I felt nervous whenever I had a presentation in front of many people.  But now, I usually take a deep breath and tell to myself  “I can do it” before I walk onto the stage.   It makes me feel relaxed.

During the activities I learned more about myself.  As a leader the first thing I should do is to learn who I am.   Meditation is a good way to think.  During mediation I walked into my head and imagined my life.  I found a lot of things I never imagined.

It Is Important to Believe in Ourselves

8.11.16 - 9When we made the building, I had my own design.  However, one of our teammates said he had already played the game for three years so I gave up my idea.   When I saw the building of the winning team I surprisingly realized that my design was so similar to theirs!  I think I should believe in myself and present my ideas bravely next time, even if they are wrong!

Working as a Team

8.11.16 - 10We need to separate the work and everyone needs to have a clear mission.  Meanwhile, although teammates have different missions they all should contribute their ideas to the team.  Teamwork needs different ways to view the problem – not only the surface, but also inside.

Practicing Organization

8.11.16 - 14When we started to build the tower we had the best use of roles.  Eric and I designed the tower and mixed the straws together.  Ivy and Eva cut down the top.  It was really good organization, I think.  We discussed who could do the different tasks better and then we voted on how to organize.

When I started this class I could not say anything to my classmates.   I thought that was so embarrassing.  However, during today’s training I could stand in front of my classmates and say “I am strong, confident leader”.  I found that I can overcome my lack of confidence.   I can show myself to my friends.   That was amazing!

Sharing a Memorable Experience

8.11.16 - 5The most memorable experience this week for me was the show of personality.  I had the role of “zest”.  At first I was shy about talking with my partners about the role, but after a moment of thought I changed my mind and talked with them bravely.  Although I got the most fun role in the show I told myself to perform as best as I could.  When the show started and I stood up I was aware that I was the brightest star at that moment.   Although others may laugh at me, I should try my best to let this star continue shining, maybe just 2 more seconds.  After I finished I heard everyone’s laugh, but I don’t think it was satire, it was praise.

A Toxin in Our Team

8.12.16 - 6One time I was in an American Hotel and we were assigned to different rooms.  Due to the task that some of us had to finish that night we asked another member of the team to exchange rooms so it would be more convenient for us to get work done.  To our surprise he showed extreme contempt and was not willing to even talk to us.  If he refused to exchange rooms, we could accept the fact.  However his attitude really angered us.  We tried to negotiate and promised to help him with his luggage.  Still, he said nothing buy eyed us with stonewalling and contempt.  In order to not make the conflict more serious I left at once and asked the others not to beg him.

How I Overcame a Toxin

8.13.16 - 7When I performed at a cello examination I felt nervous even though I prepared well.  After I played all my pieces I encountered criticism from the examiner of the professor.  He told me where I was not doing well and said that I played without emotion.  I was angry and ashamed so I cried for a while and after that I practiced harder for the whole year.  When I met the professor again at the examination for a higher level I performed much better.

Helping Others Deal with Toxins

8.10.16 - 3One of my best friends at Middle School was stonewalled by the rest of the class because they viewed her as annoying, bossy, and weird.  I helped her by breaking the ice.  I became her friend first and helped her to try to interpret her own inappropriate behavior from other’s standpoint.  She gradually changed and made several more friends.  Then the class finally accepted her due to her own improvement and the protection of friends.

Dealing with Toxins in Our Daily Life

8.10.16 - 2After I entered and began a new semester in Senior High School, nervousness and shyness surrounded me for a long while. I couldn’t speak fluently with my classmates or do a presentation in front of people.   I tried to crush down stonewalling in my heart.  However, it was not until I made a few friends and felt the kindness of my classmates that I gradually began to remove the bricks from the wall.  I have not finished, but I’m already able to appreciate the beauty beyond the wall.

Learning about Ourselves

8.1.16 - 9After coming to this camp I know more about myself.  I know that I actually have some traits that can be developed into a leader.   I know that I can have the courage to try new things, such as acting or drawing.  Also, through the stories I told, I know that I can persist in one thig and unwind appropriately.  I appreciate the characteristic of persistence.

Leaders Must Evaluate Their Assumptions

8.1.16 - 6People’s assumptions are not usually true!  To know whether an assumption is true or not is very important. When a leader needs to make decisions he needs to know the difference between assumptions and truth to make reasonable decisions.   To understand one’s assumptions is also a way to understand one’s beliefs and behavior so we can get on well with others.

Assumptions and Leadership

8.1.16 - 4Understanding assumptions can help a leader know the follower’s thoughts.  Through assumptions the leader can create wonderful things, such as rules for the follower.  Also, assumptions are not always right, so understanding assumptions helps a person differentiate right, wrong, and unclear things.  This makes a person a better leader.

Some Thoughts on Assumptions

8.1.16 - 5Assumptions come after experiences. Every second the brain of human beings receives a limitless amount of information from the outside world.   To deal with this information people, from the moment they are born, gradually form assumptions to reduce the burden of tasks for the brain and to help understand this world.  However, there are problems with assumptions.  People tend to preserve their previous assumptions before new experiences so people may make wrong judgment.  People should always be ready to alter their assumptions to adapt to new circumstances.

Using a New Strength

8.1.16 - 2I used to think of myself as a bit shy and now I find that I can be more outgoing and to be more brave to express my ideas.   At school I organized many activities with my team and we did such activities very well.

Reflection on Performance and Powerful Questions

8.3.16 - 2I feel embarrassed about my performance today for your top three strengths. In the morning, I wanted to express that Steven is a coward, but my brain was blank and I couldn’t find the right words to talk.  Just “you are too small” as my ending. I was so embarrassed to not know the word! In my opinion, I think powerful questions are useful because a powerful questions can’t be answered yes or no, the answer is always personal. So in this way a powerful questions is useful for a leader to make a decision.

Powerful Questions Are Helpful

8.3.16 - 3I think I can do much better than I did. Maybe it because I didn’t do any presentation for over a month. After I finished my presentation I came up with lots of great ideas to make my performance better than I did. I think there are two situations in which powerful questions will be useful. First is when the team meets some problems, this time, the powerful questions can help point out the biggest and the main problem, and can help the team solve it much better. The other situation is when some people want to join in the team, the powerful questions really can help to test that they are suitable for the team.

I think when I am bored, I will assume a lot of things. Because in that situation, I can’t find anything to do and everything will cause a huge brainstorm in my head. I will assume a lot. But the result always is that my assumptions are incorrect and full of personal things.

Powerful Questions Can Help Us Be Better Leaders

8.3.16 - 1Today I performed my strengths with Andrea. I think our performance was very good. Because we showed our topic clearly and made the audience laugh. In my opinion, powerful questions are very important when you are having a conversation with someone, because when you ask a powerful question the people you are talking with will feel that you are paying good attention to what his/her said and will make him/her have a lot to say. When I am curious about some thing or some actions, I will assume a lot until make myself satisfied. And maybe 80 percent of my assumptions can be right, but not all.

A Strength I Did Not Know I Had

8.1.16 - 10Today when I was telling my story, my partners said “you have love”.  Actually, it’s a little unfamiliar for me because sometimes I’d like to do things by myself, do them alone. But today, I felt I really value my close friends and want to be close friends with others. Today my partner is Brad. He’s really humorous and likes to discuss with me. Besides, I can translate for him, it can improve my English. Another interesting partner is Danny. He’s a little shy, but gradually began to talk with us. My three strengths are love, curiosity, and leadership. My partners gave me four words, another one is teamwork. But I think do not always prefer teamwork, so I let it go. The other three words are my first choice and they can reflect in my daily life, like my two stories.

Learning about Our Strengths

8.1.16 - 7Today I found that I can do self-regulation well. I had three partners today and all of them are teachers. Elias told me something about culture shock and he said that after several months, culture shock will never be so serious. My top three strengths are kindness, love of learning, and self regulation. These three strengths are all from my partners because they picked some strengths for me from my stories.

Our Leadership Academy is a New Experience

8.1.16 - 9When I first heard that we were going to make the rules for the class I was very surprised because I never know or hear of a class that makes rules by the students.  When I was studying in my city, our head teachers always make the rules for us and we have to obey.  By participating in this activity I think I learned not only about these rules but also that different people have different opinions and how they explain their minds.  So I think this is a very interesting exercise.

Learning about Leadership

8.1.16 - 3To be a leader a person needs to be brave, to explain and show his or her ideas to others.  Her or She should have the courage to experience something new, something himself or herself has never experienced.  Such kind of people would have the courage to break rules that are unreasonable and unfair and set up rules that most people agree on.

A Great Start to the Leadership Academy

Today I experienced 2 things that I think the most interesting. First; I moved to student dormitory and that means I can start life in school and become free. Second, we had an outdoor activity in the morning. And we got to know each other better. I participated most at the part of the class when we make agreements because the agreements in our class is about everyone. As teacher asked for our opinion, we should share our ideas. But the activity I participated least in is the one in the afternoon. Because I felt a little tired at that time. I think self confidence is the most valuable thing for today. Because with it, we can show our ability better and influence others. Someone who lacks confidence,8.1.16 - 1 although he has great talents, they can’t become a leader.


Class-Day-1-5-1024x1024On behalf of the entire faculty, we welcome you to the Summer Leadership Academy, class of 2016!

Our two-week, highly-interactive leadership program is designed around the Social Change Model of Leadership Development, and the book, Search Inside Yourself (SIY) by Chade-Meng Tan. We believe that everyone is a leader, and therefore, every student will lead.  We will introduce practices that will help you become more self-aware, regulate your emotions, increase focus and clarity under stress, improve presentation skills, and work more effectively in small groups.  You will learn to lead from your strengths and values while maintaining compassion for yourself and others. Most importantly, you will have fun. These skills will be required if you choose to attend university in the United States where students are often graded on their participation in class and group assignments. You will also use these skills as you build your career, and experience new challenges.

Thank you for choosing Duke’s Summer Leadership Academy. We look forward to meeting you in China!

2016 Leadership Teaching Team

Preparing for The 2016 Leadership Academy in China

Flip ChartOur staff has been busy preparing for the LEADERSHIP ACADEMY IN CHINA on Duke’s majestic campus.  We invited our highly trained staff members who will be leading the ACADEMY in China to Duke’s campus to teach and coach the currently enrolled Summer Academy for High School Students through cutting edge leadership techniques. This training design helped us to fully prepare our staff by providing an environment for real-time teaching so we can confidently bring top level leadership teaching teams who have now been working and teaching together to create a cohesive instructional community.

We look forward to implementing the program in several schools in China.  We will be gathering blog posts from students and staff members through the program in China, so be sure to keep checking the blog to hear from everyone involved in this exciting new program presented by Duke University Summer Session.


Dr. Nicki Charles