About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4239-4250
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain

AN INVESTIGATION OF STUDENT LEADERSHIP IN AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL IN THE EASTERN CAPE: “DO ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF LEADERSHIP (SUCH AS SERVANT LEADERSHIP) EMERGE THROUGH COMMUNITY BUILDING?”

I. Knott-Craig1, H. Van Der Mescht2, M. Maritz3

1Kingswood College (SOUTH AFRICA)
2Rhodes University, Department of Education (SOUTH AFRICA)
3Rhodes University, Department of Management (SOUTH AFRICA)
Significant changes have taken place in recent years in leadership theory and practice world wide. Theorizations of effective leadership have evolved from being authoritarian and task-centred to a model in which leaders are encouraged to look beyond their self-interest and prioritize the interests of the group.

This study investigates the development of an alternative form of leadership, namely Servant Leadership, through community building in two male school boarding houses. It attempts to ascertain whether students are able to work collaboratively towards developing an environment conducive to servant leadership.

The servant-leader is servant first.
It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.
Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. (Greenleaf, 1970, cited in Greenleaf, 1977, 7).

Structured according to the transformative research paradigm, this action research study was conducted in a South African, traditional, independent, co-educational school that prides itself on producing leaders. The school is in the process of reviewing its leadership system, it became an appropriate site to investigate the development of community and to explore possibilities for the emergence of an alternative form of leadership that would reflect the attributes of servant leadership.

The study attempts to critically analyse the influence of existing traditional structures in the exercise of leadership necessary to run the boarding establishment. The approach is interactive in so far as it is based on a relationship between the knower and the would-be knower (i.e. the researcher and the participants) (Mertens, 2005:25). Harding (1993) (cited in Mertens, 2005:25) usefully recommends a methodology that involves consulting those who are marginalized, as this helps to reveal more about the unexamined assumptions that influence the way of life of a given community.
The participants in the study were volunteers from two boarding houses, who agreed to reflect on their perceptions and experiences of the way in which their houses functioned through the medium of questionnaires, forums and individual interviews.

The research findings show that through their willingness to engage in moral dialogue, students can transform their boarding houses into closely-knit communities bound together by shared values and beliefs. Closer relationships make for better understanding. As the leaders take on the responsibility of caring for their juniors, a moral obligation begins to manifest itself. Leaders will display the attributes of servant leadership if they are prepared to acknowledge in practice this moral obligation to serve others.

References:
Greenleaf, R.K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.
Mertens, D.H. (2005). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
@InProceedings{KNOTTCRAIG2010ANI,
author = {Knott-Craig, I. and Van Der Mescht, H. and Maritz, M.},
title = {AN INVESTIGATION OF STUDENT LEADERSHIP IN AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL IN THE EASTERN CAPE: “DO ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF LEADERSHIP (SUCH AS SERVANT LEADERSHIP) EMERGE THROUGH COMMUNITY BUILDING?”},
series = {3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-2439-9},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {15-17 November, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {4239-4250}}
TY - CONF
AU - I. Knott-Craig AU - H. Van Der Mescht AU - M. Maritz
TI - AN INVESTIGATION OF STUDENT LEADERSHIP IN AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL IN THE EASTERN CAPE: “DO ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF LEADERSHIP (SUCH AS SERVANT LEADERSHIP) EMERGE THROUGH COMMUNITY BUILDING?”
SN - 978-84-614-2439-9/2340-1095
PY - 2010
Y1 - 15-17 November, 2010
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2010 Proceedings
SP - 4239
EP - 4250
ER -
I. Knott-Craig, H. Van Der Mescht, M. Maritz (2010) AN INVESTIGATION OF STUDENT LEADERSHIP IN AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL IN THE EASTERN CAPE: “DO ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF LEADERSHIP (SUCH AS SERVANT LEADERSHIP) EMERGE THROUGH COMMUNITY BUILDING?”, ICERI2010 Proceedings, pp. 4239-4250.
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