Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/10228
Title: Wearing the Blue Tie: A study on the lived experience of Year 12 prefects in an Australian independent school
Contributor(s): De Lany, Heath Warwick (author); Soliman, Izabel (supervisor); McCrea, Nadine (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2012
Copyright Date: 2011
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/10228
Abstract: This thesis is a phenomenological study of the lived experience of 13 Year 12 students appointed as prefects (a formal leadership position) at an independent (non-government) school in urban Australia. Five staff members also provided details of their experience of prefects' student leadership. Whilst leadership has been studied extensively, student leadership has received relatively little attention. Two research questions were addressed: (1) How do student leaders experience being prefects? and, (2) How do teachers and school administrators experience student leadership? The first research question had three subsidiary questions: (i) How do prefects understand leadership? (ii) How do students experience the selection process, training and support they receive in their role as prefects? (iii) What impact does being a prefect have on the students themselves, and their relationships with their peers and teachers? Two subsidiary questions supported the second research question: (i) How do teachers experience the selection process, training and support of the prefects? (ii) How do teachers view the activities of the prefects? Synergetic focus groups, where groups self-facilitated a discussion rather than had a moderator, were used to gather data of the participants' experience of student leadership. Student participants also provided written anecdotes and artistic representations of their experiences of student leadership. A five-step process was used to analyse the data obtained from the participants. After listening to sound recordings of the sessions and reading the transcripts, units of meaning were identified from the data and grouped into clusters. Themes and meta-themes were then identified and linked to the research questions. The four meta-themes which emerged from the student data were:(i) traits of leaders, (ii) understandings of leadership, (iii) selection, training and functioning of prefects, and iv) the experience of being a prefect. Two meta-themes,(i) selection and training of prefects and (ii) understanding student leadership, emerged from the staff data. Recommendations to the school included that the training and supervision of prefects should be ongoing and that a more formalised mentoring program should be provided. Future research could consider how young people who are not leaders experience the leadership of their peers.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership
Rights Statement: Copyright 2011 - Heath Warwick De Lany
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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