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Development of Adolescent Student Leaders By: Dr. Mary Grace S.


BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Adolescence presents an opportunity for educators to impact society in the future. During adolescence, one of the critical phases of development, experiences have a bearing on what happens later in life equal to the effect of experiences during infancy which later affects personality development (Coleman & Hendry, 1990) It is therefore of importance to maximize the opportunity to mold the adolescent while he spends a great amount of time in educational institutions. Aside from physical development, adolescents develop intellectually and morally in the environment of the schools. Along side the development of mind and body during a persons school days is the development of his character and leadership abilities. Research using survey and interview was conducted on college graduates recognized as community leaders. Family, mentors, global experience, and the co-curricular activities engaged in during high school and college were developmental influences explored in the study. It was determined that for this group: mentors were important, their high school teachers were strong, but their college co-curricular activities had only a weak influence. (White, 1999) Another qualitative research case study was conducted on an eight-month immersion in a th 5 grade gifted enrichment program. The researcher addressed the questions: (a) what leadership opportunities do students have in a gifted enrichment program at the 5th grade level? (b) What could enrichment programs do to foster leadership development in their gifted students? The study revealed that knowing self, planning, building relationships, and evaluating helped instill affective traits that are at the core of leadership development. (Begnaud, 1999) This research aims to determine what factors help develop leadership among students in the secondary school level. In particular, it aims to answer the following questions: 1. What are the views on leadership of secondary school students? 2. What motivates a secondary school student to seek leadership position in a student organization? 3. What influences help develop the leadership abilities of a student leader? METHODOLOGY This study was qualitative in nature. Its objective is to gain better understanding of development of adolescent student leaders in the selected schools in Meycauayan, Bulacan. The purposive sampling method was used in the selection of the school and the student leaders. Schools in the municipality that offered secondary education were categorized as public, private sectarian and private non-sectarian. Based on the information from the Municipal Planning Office, the school with the highest enrollment rate for each category was included. However, due to delayed response from the school administrator, the private sectarian school was excluded.

The author is a Faculty of Grace Christian College, Quezon City, Philippines. She is earned the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines in 2005. - page 1 -

The school head was requested to recommend the top five senior student leaders in his school. A survey questionnaire regarding their background was fielded. The intention was to use the questionnaire in the final selection of two student leaders per school. However, due to the exclusion of the private sectarian school, four students from the remaining schools were selected. An interview guide was used to gather background information (leadership experiences, family, academic standing) from the selected student leaders. Their corresponding mentors were also interviewed for the purpose of triangulation. After the interview, the transcriptions of the interviews were submitted to the respondents for member checking. Analysis was mainly qualitative in nature, simple computations such as percentages were used whenever deemed appropriate to establish patterns. Interview transcripts were reviewed; similar responses were observed and recorded in separate index cards. Patterns were observed and inferences were made.

FINDINGS: The respondents in the study was comprised of seven female and one male student leader, two of whom were 3rd year students while the rest were 4th year students. Five out of eight were included in the honor roll, but all of them were from the top section. Regarding their parents: The highest educational attainment for a pair of parents was college graduate, while the lowest for a pair was both being elementary graduate. One respondent had a father who failed to graduate from elementary. A pair of respondents had parents who were government employees, another pair was employees in the private sector, one respondent had a father in the service sector, and another was a seaman, while the rest had parents who engaged in jewelry either making or selling. However, most of the mothers were housewives. It may also be noted that three respondents came from single parent families: one due to separation, the others due to the demise of a parent. Regarding siblings: Five out of eight were eldest in the family where the average number of siblings was three. (1) VIEWS ON LEADERSHIP The first research question sought to determine the adolescent student leaders views on leadership. The responses were summarized as follows: A leader is determined by WHAT HE DOES. He makes plans and implements them in order to strengthen the organization and meet the needs of its members. He guides and helps his subordinates who follows and listens to him. However, he also knows how to follow instructions, seek the advice, and accept the suggestions of his superior who trusts him. A leader is differentiated from others by WHAT HE THINKS. He sees himself as the foundation of the organization, serving to make it strong and progressive. He thinks of determining and meeting the needs of the members of his organization because this is his responsibility. A leader stands out from the rest because of WHAT HE IS. - He is well received by his subordinates. They respond well because they recognize that he is after their welfare - demonstrated by how he helps members needing assistance and coordinates with members who can help the organization. He is also able to develop close relationships with fellow students.
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He is well respected by both subordinates and superiors who recognize his abilities in leading as evidenced by his previous experiences / accomplishments and his academic competence. Another reason to respect him is his tenacity under pressure and outspokenness are also recognized. Character qualities such as determination, initiative, and sense of responsibility are marked. He is further respected for being a role model: a good follower. - He is also well adjusted. He knows himself well, thus he has confidence that enables him to accept criticisms and suggestions. He is flexible in his dealing with others. The views held by the respondents run parallel to what authors said. Manning & Curtis defined leadership as initiating and guiding such that change is produced in terms of a new character or direction. Leaders show the way and influence the behavior of others. In addition to this Behling & Rauch (as quoted by Harris) provide a dynamic approach to leadership, that of a functional analysis. The leaders function has been categorized in two ways: (1) Task getting a job done well; and (2) Maintenance supporting and influencing behavior. (2) MOTIVATION FOR LEADERSHIP Through the respondents interview transcripts, it was determined that there were general classification of the motives for being a leader motivated for self and motivated for others. Each was further subdivided into two: Personal gain and sense of fulfillment comprised motivated for self, while sense of mission and responding to needs comprised motivated for others. Elected Leaders - As a whole, the group was equally motivated by personal gain, sense of fulfillment and responding to the need of others. However, there was the tendency to see more on personal benefits for leadership. Elected, then Appointed Leaders This group tended to be motivated by personal gain and a sense of mission. They have come to recognize that an individual stood to gain even as he took on responsibilities; at the same time they have developed a sense of mission as they looked at leadership. Appointed Leaders - The appointed leaders had a balanced sense of motivation for self and for others, failing to mention personal gain as a motivator even once. A sense of fulfillment was the main motivator in the category of personal benefit. Volunteer - The sole volunteer in the group was motivated for others alone, having a sense of mission. This respondent was most altruistic among the eight student leaders. In general, this group of student leaders had a slight tendency to see more personal motivators than others centered motivators. The rank in which these motivators operated was as follows: sense of fulfillment, responding to a need, and then personal gain together with a sense of mission. Again it was found that there is a parallelism between the findings and the writing of Manning & Curtis. They enumerated three basic motives for leadership: (1) power; (2) achievement; and (3) altruism. Power is explained as the desire to have influence, to give orders, and to have them carried out Achievement is described as the need to create and build something of value. On the other hand, altruism is a heartfelt interest in helping others. (3) INFLUENCES ON LEADERSHIP Individuals as well as institutions influenced leadership in both direct and indirect manners: Direct influences of individuals include:
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Encouragement through expressed trust in the ability of the adolescent and support for the adolescents leadership; - Instruction which included giving direction and advice; they provide to the adolescent. - Preparation which is done solely be parents as they provided character development and opportunities of leadership in the home. Indirect influences of individuals include: - Role Model is provided by adults and other leaders from whom the adolescent learns about human relation skills through observation. They also serve as inspiration and challenge to the adolescents - Vicarious Learning occurs as the adolescent observes his peers and how they interacted with others - Inspiration is given as people around the adolescents showed how they could be of help to others - Challenge is experience as the adolescent faces the negative influences in the adolescents life - Atmosphere in the Home the spiritual atmosphere and expressed pride in the childs accomplishments influences the adolescent leader. Direct influence of institutions - Leadership Training was provided by both political and apolitical institutions in providing training on concepts and skills related to leadership with schools merely provided venue for the seminars. School-based organizations were more active in providing instructions, while the community, through various government units was more intentional in providing leadership seminars. Indirect influence of institutions - Opportunity was provided for adolescents to learn leadership in a practical manner as they exercised what they had learned through various means. - Religious Instruction provided influence on the direction of the adolescents life that of being other-centered, it provided the moral justification for leadership. - Guidance was provided by the church as its general instructions are applied in the context of leadership. Greatest influence on leadership: The rank of factors that were most influential in the leadership development of adolescents were: the church, the school, then followed at the same extent by parents, teachers, and classmates. Perhaps because the discussion heard from the church although applied to life in general was used in the context of leadership, the church has indirect influence in the leadership development of an adolescent. This runs parallel to the statement of Santrock that adolescents need to be guided but not directly taught moral values in an authoritarian way. (Santrock, 1993) (4) OTHER FINDINGS: In the course of reviewing the interview transcripts, the researcher gathered additional information: Volunteerism is another means of becoming a leader aside from being elected or appointed. Leadership is learned by listening to instruction, by looking at models and by living out (meaning having hands-on experience) leadership. Schools can increase their influence in leadership development by providing
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- opportunities for non-leaders and non-honor students to attend leadership seminars - opportunities to practice leadership skills through more activities Together with opportunities, monitoring and evaluation of student leaders will provide feedback that will help them learn through their experiences. Another means for schools to increase influence in leadership development of adolescents in by emphasizing values through integration of values in classroom teaching, encouraging participation in religious organizations, and providing good role models through its teachers. In general, the respondents perceived an extension of their leadership experiences into college in student organizations and the community in politics. The desire to help and to make a difference was prevalent motivators among the respondents.

CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS Based on the summary of findings presented in the previous pages, the following conclusions were made concerning the experience of the eight respondents regarding their leadership development as adolescents: (1) Concerning Views of Leadership The adolescent student leaders in the study have outgrown the attitude that leaders are rulers. Character and interpersonal relationships are also valued, while abilities are not neglected. Because of this, the school can showcase exemplary student leaders as models to their fellow students. They can be tapped as guest speakers in other youth organizations to share their views on leadership. As a result, the mindset of adolescents may be positively molded. (2) Concerning Motivation for Leadership The sense of fulfillment, a sense of mission, or the need to respond to a need motivated most of the respondents. It was commendable that there were motivators greater than themselves that can move them to accept greater responsibilities. Therefore in making appeals for adolescent involvement in worthwhile projects, presentations may be geared toward highlighting how involvement in the activity can bring a sense of fulfillment. The sense of mission and the need/s of the people/institution that will be helped should also be clearly presented. (3) Concerning Development of Leadership Learning leadership was a largely informal task: looking and living as foremost. Even in the consideration of institutions, influence come more from the informal setting whether by relationships with individuals or involvement in institutions. Because of this, the opportunity may be maximized by exposing adolescents to role models by direct observation on duty or by examining media resources on the role models. Another means of sharpening leadership skills is by providing more opportunities to exercise leadership. After providing these opportunities, monitoring and evaluation of the adolescents performance as a leader must be conducted in order to ensure that these learning experiences were maximized. (4) Concerning Influences on Leadership It was determined that the church as an institution was most influential in the development of leadership of adolescents as it provides moral motivation, justification, and guide for leadership. Sadly, the schools impact on leadership develop was not immediately evident. However, schools can maximize the opportunity to influence adolescents toward leadership by coordinating with the church in providing meaningful instruction through school-based religious
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organizations. The missing component of the community may also be brought into the picture by inviting community leaders to expose the adolescents to the needs of the community. (5) Concerning the Impact of Leadership Development of Adolescents With mostly indirect means of leadership development, the respondents projected continued usefulness of their leadership training in the future. Thus, direct efforts in leadership development hold promising prospects. The school should develop a program for this purpose. Direct and concrete efforts exerted in this activity will prove to be beneficial to the society in the long run. Based on the recommendations provided by the respondents, the following may be included in the said program: - systematically inviting role models among parents, from the school, community and the church to provide inspirational talks - recruitment of student leaders with less emphasis on academic performance - inculcation of values through religious organizations as a basis for decision making - systematic monitoring and evaluation of the student leaders performance REFERENCES:
Begnaud, Lucy Gremillion (1999). Looking for leadership: Searching in a middle school for reactions to stimuli in social environments. [Abstract from DAO] ISBN: 0-599-47430-0 Coleman, John C. & Hendry, Leo (1990). The nature of adolescence. 2nd edition. Routlegdge, London Harris, Philip R. High Performance Leadership: Strategies for Maximum Productivity. Scott, Foresman and Company Manning, George & Curtis, Kent. (1988). Leadership: Nine Keys to Success. South-Western Publishing Co. Santrock, John W. (1993). Adolescence: an introduction. 5th edition. Brown & Benchmark Publishers Steinberg, Laurence. (1993). Adolescence. 3rd Edition. Mc-Graw Hill, Inc. White, Deborah Harley (1999). The impact of cocurricular experience on leadership development. [Abstract from DAO] ISBN: 0-599-19118-X

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