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Celebrating Inquiry: Fall 2015 v.2 no.1

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Student Government and Leadership...Cassandra Nabozniak

Does being involved in student government have an effect on a student’s leadership skills and community involvement?

Description:

Participating in student council allowed me to break out of my shell in high school and become someone that was seen as a leader. I was interested to see if this type of thing also occurred amongst junior high students. I was also curious to see how the council would operate as a whole to plan events.

I believe that it is important to create future leaders in school. Student council is one way to give a group of students some responsibility and see what they can do with it. If they choose to take on this responsibility with open arms, they are more likely to find success in their work. I think that this success is necessary to inspire a student to be a leader because you have shown them what they are capable of on their own.

Method:

I spent most of my time simply observing and assisting with events and activities. I wanted to see how the students would take on their individual roles as well as see how they worked as a group. I consulted with another teacher from a different junior high school in my division. We discussed the similarities and differences between our councils. The major part of my project came from analyzing what I saw throughout the semester. The only major setback I had was finding time to talk to each member of the council one on one to complete the project. Once I completed all of the interviews, it was just a matter of going over everything that I have learned from them and drawing conclusions related to my question.

Results:

I based this project mainly around my own learning. My main goal was to expand my knowledge of how a junior high school student council should and could be run, and to see how this kind of extra curricular activity affected students. I learned a lot about the difference between a student who is extremely internally motivated to be successful, and one who is not. I found that my council was extremely motivated to get things done and hold plenty of events to build the school community. When I consulted with a teacher from another school, I found out that her council was the complete opposite. This observation has led me to a few follow up questions: how do we get students to vote for the person who is going to do the most work for the school and make the year enjoyable, instead of the student who is the most popular? And how do we motivate students to want to fulfill their roles, even if they happen to be elected based on popularity?

Cassandra is a math major who taught grade 8 math and computers for her internship. She participated in student council when in high school, and believes this experience allowed her to become more confident in day to day life.