Professor as Facilitator: Shaping an Emerging, Living System of Shared Leadership in the Classroom

From the perspective of emergence, professors can facilitate and shape a class as a complex, adaptive, and living system. A case study illustrates phases of emergence in the classroom by tracing how a professor may use this perspective to empower students to share in the leadership of the classroom. Instead of presenting lessons, the professor facilitates emergent activity, creating a classroom structure where students practice leadership behaviors. In this classroom structure, the professor assumes the leadership roles of coach and facilitator. As a result students building the classroom culture together they connect with each other: they develop strong relationships, take initiative, and learn important lessons about leadership. This article concludes with design principles for establishing a classroom of shared leadership in any teaching environment in any subject.