Carol Jaspere Lautenbach
of: Doctor of Education
Department: Teaching, Learning and Leadership
Title: What Kinds of Adolescent Leaders Are Hiding in Newbery Books
Date: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Though adolescent leadership is a skill worth developing, it is not addressed in the general middle school curriculum. This study addresses adolescent leadership by describing and discussing 8 major leadership categories and 38 sub-categories found in 17 representative Newbery award-winning books. The sample was chosen using a four-step process and contained fictional stories with adolescent protagonists in realistic situations. Content analysis was used to quantify and analyze the leadership themes; a code book was used to generate data. Occurrence of each sub-category was ranked for prevalence within each book. These rankings form the basis for the analysis of findings which includes dominant and recessive trends within the categories and sub-categories as well as historical and gender trends within sub-categories. Some findings include: (A) an emphasis on the moral, personality, ambiguity, and subjective perspectives; (B) sub-categories that were represented by all but one protagonist; (C) an emphasis early in the sample on other personality traits than those listed in the code book; (D) frequent displays of expertise only late in the sample. Also, some significant differences between genders exist in some sub-categories; for example, females are less likely to be portrayed as leaders because of their physical characteristics while males are less likely than females to value follower's personal growth. In addition, other findings, including apprentices and orphans as sub-groups and the role of peers and
role models, are described and discussed. Finally, a description of adolescent leadership emerges: The adolescent leader is emotionally connected and relies on peers and role models as he willingly shares responsibility in a selfless way, as he discovers solutions to confusing leadership situations and as he feels both interested and uncertain about the leadership situation.
Dr. Jianping Shen, Chair
Dr. Gunilla Holm
Dr. Joseph Kretovics
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