GYMNASIUM STUDENTS’ LEADERSHIP EXPRESSION: ANALYSIS OF PECULIARITIES
Authors: Aušrinė Gumuliauskienė, Laura Martusevičienė
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Recently students’ leadership education has become one of the aims of Lithuanian education policy. Development of leadership at all levels in school is related not only to stu-dents’, teachers’, and school leaders’ activities efficiency, their expression of initiative, crea-tivity, innovation, responsibility and other important traits and abilities, quality of education, better education results, school improvement, but also to more intensive changes in educa-tion system and society.
An empirical research (N=111), conducted in 2013, revealed affirmative gymnasium students’ personal and learning-oriented attitudes towards leadership as well as positive evaluation of leadership expression opportunities at school. Gymnasium students tend to think that school provides possibilities for their leadership expression; students see them-selves as self-sufficient, self-confident, taking responsibility for their actions, being not afraid of unfounded critics, finding out solutions to tricky situations; however, they admit that they lack initiative and clearer vision of their life. Though, according to students, democratic relationships, positive administration and teachers’ attitude towards students’ initiatives, ambition to implement innovations prevail at school, the demand for motivation system on leadership teaching and learning at school has emerged.
Statistically significant correlations exist between separate gymnasium students’ fea-tures of leadership expression and socio-demographical variables (gender, class, academic progressiveness). Boys more eagerly participate in school events than girls do, they also are less afraid of making mistakes while answering in the lessons. Teachers are more fond of working with very well-learning students than with average ones. The latter receives less encouragement than very good learners. Students who are active and participate everywhere think that teachers expect from them more than they can, they like more to work in teams and strive to develop traits typical of a leader. Form 1 students tend to think that teachers treat all students fairly and tend to trust their class teacher more than students in Form 4.
The scores of research data on personal leadership variables reveal that only part of gymnasium students like to be leaders, while majority tends to work individually rather than in a team; the need in leadership self-directed learning is not clearly expressed. The students, who identify themselves as leaders, have more capacity in initiative, enterprise, and creativi-ty than those who do not want to be leaders or think that it is relevant for them to foster qualities typical of a leader.
The scores on gymnasium students‘ initiative, enterprise, and creativity are lower than the scores on self-confidence, responsibility for their actions, and self-sufficiency. However, a more exhaustive investigation is needed for disclosing the more thorough characteristics of these abilities and the identification of their relationships with leadership. For the analysis of students’ (as well as other groups of education actors) change in leadership expression, it is still urgent to investigate and analyse the factors that influence leadership expression and agree among education community on the defining of the leadership concept. The conceptualization of such notions as leadership “development”, “education”, “advancement” is still an open issue.
Prevailing affirmative gymnasium students’ personal and learning-oriented attitudes towards leadership and positive evaluation of opportunities for learning leadership are signif-icant preconditions for students’ leadership expression. Identified evaluation of gymnasium students’ leadership expression along different dimensions actualize the demand for leader-ship teaching / learning at school, which is firstly related to democratic relationships, positive administration and teachers’ attitude towards students’ initiatives, development of their am-bition to implement innovations, promotion of students’ self-sufficiency and responsibility.