Details of Thesis

Title Why Bother to be a Student Leader? An Exploration of the school experiences and self-perceptions of Year 12 students in three Catholic schools
Author Lavery, Shane
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2003
Abstract The focus of this research was Year 12 student leadership in three Catholic schools. Pivotal to the thesis were the leadership experiences and self-perceptions of the schools’ Year 12 students. Two theoretical propositions underscored the study: all Year 12 students are called to some form of leadership within their school; and schools should strive to build a leadership culture inclusive of all Year 12 students. The review of the literature drew attention to three themes which formed the conceptual framework underpinning the research, namely organisational leadership, Christian leadership and its meaning for the Catholic School, and student leadership. In the light of the review it seemed appropriate that the conduct of the study should be predominantly qualitative, interpretive, and planned around collective case study. For each of the three case study schools, data collection took the form of a document search, an interview with a key informant staff member, a Year 12 student survey questionnaire utilising both qualitative and quantitative questions, and two Year 12 student focus group interviews. The “general analytic strategy” (Yin, 1994, p. 30) employed in this research was to follow the theoretical propositions underlying this study which, in turn, reflected a set of seven research questions. Findings from the study indicated that there was a strong belief among senior students from the three schools that every Year 12 student should have the opportunity to participate in leadership. Furthermore, students saw leadership as entailing duty, a sense of service, as well as involvement with younger students. Students also highlighted a range of benefits associated with leadership participation, as well as certain pressures, notably the need to balance study commitments with leadership responsibilities, and the demands of having to be a role model “all the time”.
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