Towards the beginning of the semester, we discussed the educational philosophies in residential life which help paraprofessionals understand why ResLife does what it does (Welcome & Intros Chickering & Development, 2017). According to The Resident Assistant, throughout the years residence halls have been guided by many philosophies ranging from those that considered residence halls responsible in “instilling piety and obedience” to others that merely saw residence halls as just the place where students lived. There are four main philosophies that influence the way residence halls are run. The first philosophy is the student services approach. Based on this approach, residence halls are a service offered by the university like dining services or health services. In this approach, residence halls are businesses. Paraprofessionals such as desk managers and resident assistants are a service for the residents to use. The paraprofessionals are there to serve as a friend, confidant, mentor, and resource (Blimling 93). Resident assistants along with other paraprofessionals do different things such as plan programs to keep the residents happy and involved. The second philosophy is the custodial care and moral development approach. Based on this approach, residence halls are used as “extensions of the philosophy… of the institution” that model the values that are consistent with those of the university. In this approach, residence halls are used as modes to control the behavior of the residents (Blimling 93). We see this in our residence halls through policies, community guidelines, and living principles established. When residents break the rules, paraprofessionals write up the residents. The third philosophy is the student learning approach. Based on this approach, the policies, programs, and practices used in the residence halls are done in a way to encourage the educational growth and development of students (Blimling 93-94). We see this in our residence halls through the availability of study rooms in the dorm halls and various programs that help geared toward being academically successful. The last philosophy is the student development approach. Based on this approach, “the in-class and out-class experiences” a student has helped shape who they are and how they develop (Blimling 95). Because this approach focuses on personal growth, residents on an individual base are the priority. This is seen through the practice of resident assistants getting to know each one of their residents. By focusing on each individual resident, the RA can better help them. The educational philosophies help support the reasons for the various duties as a resident assistant. For example, we may think about custodial care and moral development as being overly controlling, however, at the end of the day the main reason for having the policies and guidelines put in place is to ensure the safety of all and a positive environment. Although reading about what each philosophy is about as a standalone model seems unattractive, Reslife brings altogether by using a blended approach.One of the RA’s primary role is to facilitate the development of the members of a residential hall. Chickering’s theory of psychosocial development in college student is key in understanding the type of growth and development our residents are going through. By understanding the different vectors of psychosocial development, RAs can help and better understand the residents as they move through the various vectors (Blimling 137-139). For example, first-year college students deal with transitions and adaptations to living away from home and being in college. Building friendships, fitting in, and feeling confident in academic performance helps the transition of a first-year student in college easier. RAs can plan programs that help residents in the development of competence. The facilitation of the formation of study groups and recommendation of tutoring services by the RA helps those residents that need to build up their intellectual competence develop the confidence in their ability to compete academically. When residents feel that they are “smart” enough and able to keep up with the academic work, then we see the dropout rate decrease. Social programs are also important because they help promote the facilitation of making friends that in turns helps build residents confidence in their social skills and manual dexterity. When residents feel that they belong in their residential communities and have the support from their friends, they have a more positive experience from living on campus and being in college. As an RA, most of the problems we encounter with residents are attributed to them maturing, adjusting to a new environment, and experiencing stress brought on by being in college. In extreme cases, we may encounter residents with emotional problems. When residents come to RAs for help, the approaches we take to handling the situation is extremely important in helping the resident maintain a healthy wellbeing. The counseling model is the most important topic we talked about in class since as RAs we act as a peer counselor. The counseling model helps RAs establish a framework to follow when dealing with emotional crisis situations. As the RA is handling the situation, they can use the counseling model as a mental checklist. Before an RA can even help a resident with a problem, it is important for the RA to establish themselves with their residents in a manner that gains their trust. If the RA does not take the time to do this, then the resident may not feel comfortable in approaching the RA for help. This helps enforce different components of the curriculum for first-year dorms such as conducting Retriever chats every semester. The first step of the counseling model consists of the RA preparing themselves to help the resident whether it be because the resident came to them for help or the RA noticed that the resident has not been acting like themselves lately. The second step is the listening stage where the resident talks while the RA listens. This stage is important because this is the resident opportunity to express how they feel about the problem. At this stage, it is important to practice attending skills such as asking open-ended questions so the resident talks more. By asking questions not only are you able to check for understanding, but you also show the resident that you are listening to what they say. The RA should also actively be looking for signs that prompt referral to a professional counselor. During the identification of the problem and analysis stage, restating the problem helps ensure that the RA has understood what the resident was saying and how they feel about. During this stage, the RA and the resident work together to develop options for managing or resolving the problem. Once things are coming to a resolution if the RA has recognized the signs for referral, they help the resident understand that seeking professional counseling is something is not a bad thing. Going over the plan at this stage also helps the resident make a checklist of this to do to help with their problem. The last stage is the follow-up with the resident to see if they followed through with the resolution and to see how they are doing (Blimling 223-237). Following up is another way to show your residents that you care about them and their wellbeing. Overall, the educational philosophies, Chickering’s vectors, and the pre-counseling model are intertwined. The approaches Reslife uses helps in the actions paraprofessionals take to help in the adaptation and growth of their residents while in college. When residents encounter a bump in the roads that may be contributed to certain aspects of a vector, the RA is able to use the pre-counseling model to handle the situation.Question 5:There are various definitions of what a leader is and what makes a leader great. Because of this, it becomes difficult to articulate a definition that everyone agrees upon. The dictionary meaning of a leader is someone who leads a group of people. My definition of a leader does not focus on the power that may come with the title. To me, a leader is someone who is able to lead the way towards a shared vision and goal. Along the way to achieving the vision, the leader is able to bring out the best in his teammates and is able to aid in each of their growth. An individual is an effective leader when they are able to maintain a positive attitude, commit to their team, and build the future leaders of generations to come. Most of the world’s best leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Barack Obama are also considered to be role models. Role models are individuals we look up to and aspire to be like. A role model possesses qualities that make us better people. Being a role and a leader are very similar, however, a role model leads by example whereas a leader is actively engaging as a teacher to help an individual grow.As a leader, an individual commits to getting to know everyone in their team to learn about each of the individual’s personal goals and how to motivate them. This is important because recognizing each person’s strengths and weakness helps the leader place individuals in a position where they can succeed. A leader recognizes their ability to influence others whereas role models may not be aware that they are considered a role model. Being a role model deals more with the characteristics that one possesses. Role models are not always leaders and just because an individual is a leader it does not necessarily mean that they are role models.Some of the qualities that of a great leader and a role model correlate. For example, the environment and attitudes individuals are surrounded by play a huge role in the attitudes adopted by others toward a task. The leader has influence over maintaining a positive environment that promotes the achievement of the set goal by establishing expectations and emulating the confidence needed of the team. The leader’s focus is more on creating the positive environment where individuals feel valued and like they can make a difference is essential when working toward the common vision. Even when things get tough, the leader is able to show optimism and confidence in his team to help them jump over the hurdle they have encountered. In the case of the role model, they get the same outcome by setting the example of the positive, calm, and confident attitude toward completing the task. The most important thing leaders and role models can do are help build and empower the individuals to become the leaders of tomorrow. Role models pave the path for others to follow while leaders help in guiding through that path (Swilling 2017).Paraprofessionals serve as both leaders and role models. The RA position is a leadership role by title. Based on my definition of what a leader is, for RAs to be considered leaders, they have to help in the development and growth of residents. According to The Resident Assistant textbook, the most important role a resident assistant can serve as is that of being a role model. Because the university chooses individuals to be RAs through a lengthy process that involves essays and interviews, some may see those who attain the positions as possessing certain characteristics that the university sees as valuable. Resident assistants acting as role models is most influential over college freshman since they are new to the college life and will view the RAs a model to try to emulate. Because residents will look to follow the example set by RAs, it is important to display the habits and traits that are seen as positive and helpful to succeed in college. The textbook makes the comparison of displaying good study habits versus displaying constant alcohol consumption. Residents will assume that the behaviors seen in the RA are appropriate and might be inclined to follow them. By showcasing behaviors like good study habits, this might help residents develop the habit for themselves which will help them be academically successful. Resident Assistants are expected to enforce the rules and policies set by the university, however, you cannot expect residents to abide by the policies and regulations if the RA does not follow them. Just like role models are always being observed, an RA is a Ra wherever they go and are expected to behave responsibly. The responsibility of a role model never stops just like being an RA is a 24/hour job (Blimling 35-36).My personal leadership style is impacted by my personality and style of communication. Based on the Meyers- Briggs personality test, I have an INFJ personality. The trait that most influences the way I lead is being an introvert. As an introvert, I tend to observe in groups and enjoy 1-1 interactions more (Individual Differences: Personality and Style, 2017). Some may associate being the leader with taking over, however, I feel that leadership is a collaborative effort between the followers and the leader. When working in teams, I like to stand back and hear what others have to say. Once I feel that I have an understanding of the ideas others have and how they can fit together, I jump in. This is associated mostly with the fact that I like to think before I act and think before I talk. Because I enjoy having 1-1 interactions, this allows me to get to know and understand each of the members of my group better which helps in efficiently completing the task. When working in teams, I am usually the one who takes the initiatives. Good communication skills (both verbal and nonverbal) are essential to being an effective leader. Communication is not just about voicing what you have to say but also listening to what others have to say (Communication, Listening, and Feedback, 2017). Because leaders share their vision, goals, and messages by communicating through their words and actions, it is important to be clear with both so their team understands the message the way s/he intended it to be. Tone is especially important for leaders when trying to inspire and encourage others. In having those 1-1 interactions with teammates, the SOLAR model is an important nonverbal communication skill to practice showing that you care and are actively listening.