Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Am I a Leader? Understanding Leadership From High School Students in Leadership Positions
by Aminitehrani, Babak, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 177; 10268325
Abstract (Summary)

Educators wax eloquently about the importance of developing leaders, and establish a variety of high school student clubs that on the surface appear to develop leadership skills, but they do not seem to really provide students with a curriculum or meaningful opportunities to develop the skills and dispositions that are required to become leaders. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate and describe how high school students feel about leadership, that is, to see how high school students define leadership, to determine their motivation behind seeking out leadership opportunities, and to see what types of experiences high school students have with leadership on and off campus. This study was conducted using both document analysis and in-depth semi-structured interviews, while utilizing the theoretical framework of relational leadership. The 25 participants of this study were high school student leaders during the 2015-2016 school year who collectively represented 29 clubs at the same school site. Findings of this study reveal that participants’ understanding of leadership includes setting the example for others, guiding and leading other people, reaching a common goal, and serving others. The school environment and female family members seem to be the most powerful influences on participants’ understanding of leadership. Participants’ motivation for seeking out leadership opportunities comprise of having a desire to help or guide others, desiring self-improvement, desiring to help change the school environment, or desiring to look good. Only a handful of participants actually participated in club-sponsored leadership development programs, though some of these programs appear to be inadequate for high school students. Participants did seem to develop some amount of leadership abilities as student leaders, though it appears this was primarily due to their observations or experiences, rather than to a formal leadership development program. Findings suggest that there is a connection between the level of relationship built between a student leader and club advisor, and the student leader’s level of leadership development. This study provides recommendations for practice and policy that can support the development of leadership skills for high school students with support from club advisors, school administrators, and district level personnel.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Symcox, Linda
Commitee: Jacobs, Brian, Slater, Charles
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Secondary education
Keywords: Clubs, Development, High school, Leadership, Students
Publication Number: 10268325
ISBN: 978-1-369-77401-6
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