Learning to Lead: What Constitutes Effective Training for Student Leaders in New Zealand Secondary Schools?
Student leaders in New Zealand secondary schools may include tutors, head students, sports and cultural captains, mentors and prefects. This study is based on the premise that student leaders can provide inspiration to other students and work skilfully to shape the culture of a school. The possibilities that stem from the role of student leader can be endless, yet there seems to be little evidence of consensus regarding what kind of training should be provided for student leaders.
This is an investigation of student leadership training programmes. The main purpose is to discover what constitutes effective training for student leaders. This study is designed to provide educators with examples of what effective training could involve. It is a multiple-case study of three different New Zealand secondary schools. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, an observation and a survey. The study uses a distributed leadership framework and thematic analysis of data.
This study reveals some aspects of effective student leadership training and, based on findings, includes recommendations for components of future training programmes. The analysis highlights the importance of creating a school environment that supports student leadership. The findings also reveal the value of designing leadership training programmes that adhere to principles of experiential learning.