Author

Theresa Higgs

Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Leadership Studies

Abstract

The Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond initiated a program entitled the Art of Teaching Leadership in the summer of 1998. This project was a continuation of several years of work attempting to integrate leadership into elementary, middle and high school curriculum. This project adds new insight into the realm of K-12 (kindergarten through twelfth grade) leadership curriculum. About thirty K-12 teachers came together from various schools throughout the Richmond community as well as from Cape Town, South Africa and Namibia to attend the one-week pilot program. The teachers learned about leadership studies and were given assignments to integrate leadership concepts and competencies into their curriculum.

The thought process behind setting up this project was to combine two fields of expertise. The Jepson School faculty and others in the leadership education field instructed teachers about leadership studies. Then, the teachers used their grade-specific curriculum knowledge to integrate these concepts into the classroom. The pilot program received positive ratings from the participants. The Art of Teaching Leadership program is being offered twice during the summer of 1999, once in Richmond and once in Cape Town, South Africa. Now the challenge is to look at the results and effects from this program and the integration of leadership studies into K-12 curriculum.

The initiations of the Art of Teaching Leadership need a means to assess and evaluate the impact of this program from the perspectives of the teachers and students. Therefore, the focus of this research was to design a creative and effective method of assessing the Art of Teaching Leadership program, from a child development perspective as well as from the experiences of the pilot program's alumni. Thus, the driving questions of this project were:

  • How can we assess whether the K-12 curriculum based on the Art of Teaching Leadership program is making a difference in the classroom learning experience, for both teachers and students?
  • Is the Art of Teaching Leadership program and curriculum appropriate for the developmental levels of K-12 students?

When putting this project into the larger perspective of leadership education, it also provides insight into the question, why should we teach leadership? Why should we focus on leadership education at the K-12 level? There have been many answers to this question of why we should teach leadership. All of them are diverse and insightful. This project has hopefully added a new dimension to this question as well furthered our understanding of leadership education in grades K-12 and made a case for why it is necessary.

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