Article Title

Student leaders: so many reasons to bother

Abstract

WHY bother with student leadership when the school day is so busy? Why bother when teachers already develop students academically, socially, vocationally, morally and physically? Why bother when staff interact with students on the sports field, in drama, liturgy, debating, the orchestra or the choral ensemble? Why bother when students can 'learn' leadership by simply watching and then sampling the extensive range of experiences offered in our technological, post-modern twenty-first century?

One reason (perhaps warning) derives from research in the United States which suggests that many high school students do not consider themselves as having leadership potential. Such studies indicate that few adolescents think about leadership and, if they do, they usually do not think of it in relation to themselves. For instance, Van Linden and Fertman (1998) found that teenagers 'do not come naturally to a belief in their own leadership abilities', even though they constantly exhibit leadership skills in everyday life. Student leadership is seen as something formal and distant, something only for the popular. Moreover, many students understand leadership in terms of 'the great person' theory: leaders are born, not made.

Keywords

Peer-reviewed, Leadership training, School culture, Services, Student leadership

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