Critical leadership in service learning classrooms

Material Information

Critical leadership in service learning classrooms
Dorman, Adelle Kristine
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
xi, 214 leaves : illustrations, forms ; 29 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Doctorate ( Doctor of Philosophy)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Education and Human Development, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Educational Leadership and Innovation
Committee Chair:
Ford, Sharon
Committee Co-Chair:
Muth, Rod
Committee Members:
Napier, L.A
Kraft, Richard
Lyons, Cherie


Subjects / Keywords:
Leadership ( lcsh )
Service learning ( lcsh )
Teachers ( lcsh )
Leadership ( fast )
Service learning ( fast )
Teachers ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 205-214).
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, Educational Leadership and Innovation
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Adelle Kristine Dorman.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
37822110 ( OCLC )
LD1190.E3 1997d .D67 ( lcc )


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Full Text
Adelle Kristine Dorman
B.A., University of Arizona, 1991
M.A., University of Colorado, 1994
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation

The thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Adelle Kristine Dorman
has been approved

Sharon Ford
Rod Muth
>7^y f. /99f
' U 7 Date

1997 by Adelle Kristine Dorman
All rights reserved

Dorman, Adelle Kristine (Ph.D. Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Critical Leadership in Service Learning Classrooms
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Sharon Ford
This study investigated the relationship between the occurrence of critical
leadership in students and service learning in the classroom. The primary research
question for the study was: How do students and teachers from a service learning
environment perceive leadership? Five supporting questions were analyzed in order to
discuss the primary research question:
1. Do students and teachers define leadership within a critical context?
2. Do students and teachers believe that critical leadership arises out of taking civic
3. Do students and teachers think that leadership is learnable?
4. What is the relationship between service learning in the classroom and teachers
perceptions of leadership?
5. What is the relationship between service learning in the classroom and students
perceptions of leadership?

Data were collected using a three-tiered approach. Quantitative data were
collected through student questionnaires. Qualitative data were gathered through
extensive classroom observation and interviews.
To the extent that it was possible within the school setting, the four classroom
teachers within the service learning research environment actively promoted all of the
ideas of critical leadership discussed in the literature review. All four teachers believed
that leadership was important to learn. Frequent opportunities were provided for
students to take a primary role in decision making processes and to exercise leadership
in student-owned gatherings. Teachers promoted the idea of each individuals
participation within the classroom community.
Students generally subscribed to the elements of critical leadership as
evidenced through the research. None of the students involved in the study indicated
that they perceived leadership as a strictly hierachical role. All interviewed students
stated their belief that everyone has the ability to learn how to be a leader. All students
discussed the importance of morality in leading. Student perceptions of themselves as
leaders rose from less than 5% to 70% during seven and one half months of
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Sharon frord

This thesis is lovingly dedicated to my sweet husband, whom I adore with all my heart.
It is also dedicated to my parents, who have selflessly helped in countless ways.

My sincere gratitude is given to the many faculty members who have provided
so much help and support, and especially to my advisor and thesis chair, Sharon Ford.
My appreciation also goes to Mr. C and Ms. H for opening their classrooms to me, as
well as for being supportive friends. Through their passion for teaching, both Mr. C
and Ms. H provide an extraordinary environment for children by having the courage to
inspire students and allow them to grow through exploration and service. They are
true critical leaders.

Overview 1
Background for the Study 2
Educational Reform 2
Educating for Citizenship 3
Ideas Contributing to the Problem Statement 6
Leadership 6
Leadership Among Youth 6
Critical Leadership in the Educational Setting 9
Service Learning and Critical Leadership 10
Service Learning 11
Research Framework 15
Research Problem 20
Problem Statement 20
Research Questions 21
Supporting Questions 21
Rationale for Focus/Significance of Problem 23
Design of the Study 24
Limitations of the Study 25
Critical Leadership 26
Overview 26
Bums Transformational Leadership 27
Critical Theory 29
Leadership and Management 31
Leadership and Mutuality 32
Leadership and Teaching Others 34
Leadership and Participation 36
Leadership and Social Justice, Emancipation, and Equality 37
Leadership and Democracy 38
Leadership and Culture 40
Leadership and Empowerment 41
Leadership and Morality 46
Service Learning 50
The History of Service Learning 50

Why Service Learn? 54
Critical Leadership and Cooperative Learning 59
Figure 2.1: Comparison of Old and New Paradigms
ofTeaching 62
Chapter Summary 63
Overview 65
Tier One: Student Questionnaire 67
Pilot Questionnaire 68
Tier Two: Classroom Observation and Document Collection 70
Tier Three: Teacher and Student Interviews 71
Data Collection Specific to Research Questions 72
Analyzing Data 73
Design of the Study 75
Subjects 75
Subject Rights 76
Recruitment 77
Time Involvement 77
Place of Study 77
Benefits and Risks 77
Confidentiality 78
Purpose of the Study 79
Description of Classrooms Used in This Study 81
Supporting Question 1: Do Students and Teachers Define Leadership
Within a Critical Context? 90
Classroom Observations: Desk Change Activity 91
Bums Transformational Leadership 98
Leaders Interact With Their Community 98
Leaders Understand the Needs of The Community 98
Leaders Act as Teachers Within the Community 99
Leaders Emancipate and Empower Followers 99
Critical Theory 100
Leadership and Management 101
Leadership and Mutuality 102
Leadership and Teaching Others 103
Leadership and Participation 103
Leadership and Social Justice, Emancipation, and Equality 104
Leadership and Democracy 105
Leadership and Culture 106

Leadership and Empowerment 106
Leadership and Morality 109
Supporting Question 2: Do Students and Teachers Believe that Critical
Leadership Arises Out of Taking Civic Responsibility? 109
Do You Feel a Responsibility for Your Community? 110
What Does it Take to Be a Good Citizen? 115
What Kinds of Leaders Make Good Citizens? 118
Supporting Question 3: Do Students and Teachers Believe that
Leadership is Learnable? 122
What Teachers Think 122
What Students Think 126
Supporting Question 4: What is the Relationship Between Service
Learning in the Classroom and Teachers Perceptions of Leadership? 133
Service Learning Lends Itself to Leadership in that It Makes
Students Aware of Others Needs 134
Service Learning Lends Itself to Leadership in that It Empowers
Students 13S
Service Learning Lends Itself to Leadership in that It Allows
Students to Feel a Sense of Community With Others While Also
Being Beneficial to the Server 13 8
Service Learning Lends Itself to Leadership in that It Stretches
StudentsUnderstanding of Responsibility 138
Service Learning Lends Itself to Leadership in that It Helps to
Build Morality 139
Supporting Question S: What is the Relationship Between Service
Learning in the Classroom and Students Perceptions of Leadership? 139
The Example of Ms. N 143
Figure 4.1: Service Learning Project Outline 143
Figure 4.2: Reasons to Voiunteer/Reasons to Get Paid 146
The Research Questionnaire 150
The Five Lifelong Goals Questionnaire 154
Figure 4.4: Lifelong Goals Questionnaire Response Means 156
Figure 4.5: Five Lifelong Goals Questionnaire Repeated Measures
Analysis of Variance 157
Chapter Summary 158
Overview 160
Question 1 Conclusions 161
Question 2 Conclusions 161

Question 3 Conclusions 162
Question 4 Conclusions 163
Question 5 Conclusions 163
Primary Research Question: How Do Students and Teachers From
a Service Learning Environment Perceive Leadership? 164
Authenticity of Responses 165
Critical Leadership in the Classroom 166
Recommendations for Further Research 169
Implications of the Findings 170
Policy Implications 170
Implications for Teacher Education 175
Project Summary 176
A. Research Questionnaire: Multivariate ANOVA Results 178
B. Student Questionnaire and Average Scores 180
C. Observation Guidelines 183
D. Student Interview Questions 184
E. Teacher Interview Questions 185
F. Five Lifelong Goals Questionnaire 188
G. Summary of Supporting Questions Applying the Components
of Critical Leadership 189
H. Matching Research Questions to Methods 195
I. Phases of Data Collection 197
J. Teacher Consent Form 198
K. Principal Consent Form 200
L. Parent Consent Form 202
M. Student Assent Form 204

Today, the call for educational reform rings loudly across our nation.
Politicians seek to please despairing citizens in the hope of finding a solution to the
nation's perceived educational turmoil. We lack strength in the connective tissue
between mandated classroom curricula and the real needs of our students (Apple &
Jungck, 1991). Ginsburg and Asmussen (1988) state:
In our view, education is more than acquiring information or cognitive
skills or getting good grades on tests. For many students, education is
not only the cognitive activity we thought it was, it is something more
personal, more deep. Most crucially, it involves finding personal
meaning in what is taught at school. One critical aspect of education
involves the integration of the formal into the personal, (p. 109)
We learn through connections. Developing the ability to transfer knowledge
from one experience to another expands our knowledge base and strengthens these
connections (Dewey, 1938). Integrating curricular alternatives into the classroom
which provide students with access to these connections needs to be perceived as an
essential element in the learning process (Murrow, 1986)
This chapter exposes the importance of connections in relation to educating
students to be competent and active citizens within our democracy. The first section

provides a brief background of the role of citizenship education in classrooms,
including a brief discussion of reform, the role of civic education through American
history, as well as a definition of citizenship education. The next section provides
definitions and ideas important to building the problem statement, including leadership
among youth, critical leadership, and service learning. In the third section, the problem
statement is explored through the research framework. The fourth section provides
the problem statement for the study, a rationale, and a brief description of the design
of the study.
Background for the Study
Educational Reform
Reform movements are often clouded with personal agendas (Apple, 1988).
Lines of communication about the intent of reform policies are fragmented, at best, as
legislation filters down and is interpreted by key actors, level by level, much like a
game of telephone. As a result of this broken communication, teachers are often left
with muffled voices, and students with no voice at all (Fullan, 1991). Silverman,
Dorman, and Pintus (1996) found that new reform efforts can disguise parts of old
curriculum with a new name and still be called reform. Reform evaluators search for
pieces of the curriculum that make sense to the policy, and underplay the rest
(Silverman, Dorman, and Pintus, 1996.
Neito (1994) claims:

Ironically, those who spend the most time in schools and classrooms
are often given the least opportunity to talk. Yet... students have
important lessons to teach educators and we need to begin to listen to
them more carefully. ( p. 420)
Neitos statement supports the supposition that true reform can only come
about in the form of constant and genuine communication from the bottom to the top
and back down again. The pendulum must continue to swing in order for change to be
effective. Yet, how can our nation improve its current state when many of our children
go without practical preparation, action, and thought in the matters of a what it takes
to form a reflective democratic citizenry?
Educating for Citizenship
Tierney (1989) defines civics education within a democracy through the lens of
critical theory. According to this definition, democracy is a means for decision making
in which the whole group is accountable, and power is consensual. Democracy is a
system through which the empowerment of citizens and social justice for all people is
emphasized, and where social conditions influence what roles individuals play at any
given time. This is not a society framed by one common good, nor is it a society
which requires shared moral values. In a democracy, Tierney (1989) defines conflict
as a necessary and healthy component for society. Conflict keeps the democracy
viable as alternate interpretations of reality are introduced, and those previously
silenced are given a voice. Here, the relationship between society and its individuals is

thoughtful and constantly open to reform and reinterpretation by the citizenry. Given
these elements, Tierney carries Bums (1978) supposition of conflict as inherent within
the intellectual, or transformative, leader one step further, to incorporate it as a natural
piece of democracy as a whole.
Although more than 30 years old, Almond and Verbas (1965) text, The Civic
Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. An Analytic Study.
uncovers many elements of a successful democracy and the perspectives of citizens.
They state that democracy is:
[Characterized by the fact that power over significant authoritative
decisions in a society is distributed among the population. The
ordinary man is expected to take an active part in governmental affairs,
to be aware of how decisions are made, and to make his views known.
(p. 119)
Almond and Verbas study directly ties education to the citizens degree of
devotion to the democracy. They concede that schools have the ability to teach
students the cognitive skills associated with democratic participation, but question the
ability of schools to teach social attitudes which contribute to a democratic culture.
Almond and Verba note that self-confident citizens, who believe that they can exert
influence within the political system, are more likely to be active citizens who buy into
the political system. These citizens not only think they can participate, but feel
obligated to participate. Democratic competence is directly tied to having information,
having the ability to use this information analytically, and being empowered to act

within the political system. In Almond and Verbas study, these abilities lead to the
active, self-confident citizen being a satisfied citizen.
Civics education within schools has severely declined in importance from the
beginning of public education in America. Once seen as the central purpose to
schooling, civics education now takes a secondary role compared to standards
emphasizing basic skills. One of the key problems that civics education faces today is
that it is not seen as serving a legitimate purpose in educating students for the future,
and therefore is allocated very little time in direct instruction in schools (Newman,
Bertocci, & Landsness, 1977). The Education Commission of States outlined the
history of civics education in the United States:
Originally, in the public school concept, citizenship education was the
primary focus of all education; by the mid-19th century, it had become
identified with the social studies particularly the civics class and thus
was treated more and more as a special area of study, or a "course,
rather than a total school purpose. Then after Sputnik came a high
emphasis on scientific methods, with resultant reduction of interest in
the socialization processes. Even some social scientists felt that
"citizenship was not an intellectually worthy goal of education. During
the same period, the trend toward electives as well as a general
broadening introduced many competing subjects and courses. Thus,
from being an overall priority concern, citizenship education was
gradually relegated to a single discipline- a few courses; and then those
courses were submerged in the proliferation of interests and concerns
taken on by the school. (Meyer, 1979, p. 6)
A lack of devoted civic education in our schools means fewer students familiar
with the interworkings of democracy, if:

The subject matter of the academic curriculum is not sufficient to
stimulate a critical understanding of democracy, nor is it enough to
foster a valuing and a working knowledge of the complexities of
democracy.... [W]e argue that the formal curriculum is necessary, but
not sufficient, for the development of civic (political) competence in
American youth. We believe direct experience with the democratic
process and its values to be a powerful complement to the traditional
curricula. (Mosher, Kenny, and Garrod, 1994, p. 165-166)
If connections are the thread which binds our understanding to our
experiences, then this means that fewer connections will be made between classroom
learning and its relevance within the democracy.
Ideas Contributing to the Problem Statement
Leadership as a topic has a definitional handicap. Rost (1993) contends that
this is due to the fact that society has never demanded an outright definition of
leadership. As well, he argues, many scholars feel justified in leaderships non-
definition, as it is a subject rooted in many disciplines. Although the topic of this
paper revolves more around critical leadership than leadership in general; however, for
the purpose of clarity, leadership in general will be defined as a relationship emerging
from participants in a community who work towards a common goal.
Leadership Among Youth
When a child shows leadership characteristics in the classroom, it is not
necessarily true that the student will assume what might be considered a typical

leadership role. We would do our children a disservice by bringing a traditional
political definition of leadership into the classroom, where there is a clear distinction
between leaders and followers. The relationship between the two calls for a more
complex understanding; that the best leaders know when to let others lead. This
relationship agrees with Burns (1978) supposition that Many persons are leaders and
followers at the same time (p. 134). This uncommon leadership (p.137)
emphasizes inclusion of the entire community. One of the strongest focuses on
leadership among youth has been taken by the 4-H youth organization. This
organizations focus on leadership emphasizes leadership characteristics that are
addressed in Bums (1978) discussion of leadership and, also, describes leadership as
it applies to youth.
Norman and Munson (1987), working in conjunction with the 4-H youth
group, have outlined the following assumptions about youth leadership:
1. Leadership can be learned.
2. Leadership can be broken down into component skills that can be practiced.
3. Leadership is learned through experience.
4. Leadership is helping others.
5. Leadership is shared among members of the group.
6. Leadership is a relationship between people.
7. Leadership styles are determined by die situation.
Munson, Zwilling, and Zwilling (1986) have also formulated a list of life skills
that are essential in developing good youth leadership. These skills are developed by
4-H through various projects which emphasize each skill. The skills include

understanding self, communicating, getting along with others, learning to learn,
making decisions, managing, and working with groups.
Structured for early adolescents, Xuans (1994) Guide to Resources on Youth
as Leaders and Partners outlines leadership using several of the same components
outlined for 4-H above. Xuan defines leadership as:
The involvement of youth in responsible, challenging action that meets
genuine needs, with opportunities for planning and/or decision making
affecting others in an activity whose impact or consequence is extended
to others i.e outside or beyond the youth participants themselves, (p.
Xuan lists the following important characteristics of successful leadership:
1. Young people take the lead in community action that meets a real need;
2. Young people work in collaborative relationships with others;
3. Young people take a share in planning/decision making which affects
themselves and others;
4. Young people take the time to reflect on the consequences of their own
actions and decisions with guidance from adults.
A distinction should be made between characteristics that are typical of
leadership, versus those typical of management. Louis and Miles (1990) differentiate
between the two by relating leadership to action, mission, direction, inspiration, and
motivation. This contrasts with management, where the main activities involve
planning and implementing. For Louis and Miles (1990), leaders articulate a vision.
They share ownership and show an evolutionary ability to plan by being willing and
open to make changes.

Critical Leadership in the Educational Setting
The transformational leader, as defined by Bums (1978) is a leader who (a)
teaches followers and is taught by followers, (b) rejects oppression, (c) recognizes the
needs of the populace, (d) interacts with the populace, and (e) empowers and
emancipates followers so that they are able assume the role of leadership. Tierneys
(1989) definition of critical leadership stems from Burns ideas about transformational
leadership. In addition to the above characteristics, critical leadership shares a base
with transformational leadership in moral reflection and action. Bums (1978) states:
The leaders fundamental act is to induce people to be aware or conscious of what
they feel to feel their true needs so strongly, to define their values so meaningfully,
that they can be moved to purposeful action (p. 44). Thus, when the leader is a
director, a resource, followers can be led to an advanced level of understanding, giving
them the tools needed to enable them to assume leadership.
Critical leadership, as defined by Tierney (1989), pushes Bums (1978)
definition to envelop leadership as a state of mutuality between citizens; in essence,
creating a centrarchy in which leadership changes, recedes, and expands as deemed
necessary given the state of the community. Here, empowerment and emancipation of
all citizens are intimately tied to the cultural web of the society, and leadership is the
active means by which social justice and liberation are made possible. A reciprocal
relationship among all citizens is stressed, and existing leaders necessarily empower

followers to assume leadership. Leadership becomes the act of taking responsibility for
understanding the realities and oppression of individuals and working towards a
beneficial polity for all within a democratic culture The critical leader helps to bond
the community by allowing and expecting others to lead, to take action, and to change
conditions as the culture judges necessary. Although the actions of the critical leader
are framed by the culture, it is expected that the critical leader brings unique and
needed perspectives to the culture. Thus, critical leadership is not deterministic in
terms of dictating how a leader will look or act. This may be thought of as an
aristocracy of everyone (Barber, 1994), but Tierney (1989) chooses to call it critical
Service Learning and Critical Leadership
Leadership, especially critical leadership, is only one possible outcome when
students learn through service. It may not occur in all students, and it may or may not
show continuity in future endeavors. However, service learning would seem to
provide a natural environment for students to explore and develop their critical
leadership abilities. By taking a strong role in service learning, students learn to
exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens. As John Dewey (1964) writes:
A society is a number of people held together because they are working
along common lines, in a common spirit, and with reference to common
aims. The common needs and aims demand a growing interchange of
thought and growing unity of sympathetic feeling, (p. 300)

By providing safe opportunities to realize their civic calling, students may be
more apt to assume positions of leadership within their community and within their
classroom. This leadership may spring from a development of empathy and caring,
civic duty, or experience with the needs of the community. Ghandi claimed that
leadership arises out of service. In his opinion, only by providing service based in
truth and nonviolence will others be inclined to truly follow. This is a leadership
founded on ideas of giving versus gain. It is a leadership earned and not demanded. It
is a leadership based on compassion which rejects harboring fear in others (Nair, 1994).
Service Learning
Service learning, like most other curriculum alternatives, does not come with
one neat, agreed-upon definition. This is because there are many interpretations of
what makes a project service learning. As service learning begins to emerge more and
more prevalently in the classroom (Simons, 1994), diverse definitions can be both
helpful and confusing. While a wide range of definitions may make service learning
attractive to more educators, different definitions may also lend to different emphases
or even misconceptions. For example, one teachers definition of service learning
might emphasize the importance of student ownership in the learning experience,
whereas another teacher may feel that a teacher-centered approach is more
appropriate. Many schools, especially at the secondary level, currently require service
from their students. These service projects are often labeled service learning.

However, it must be understood that service learning is not synonymous with
volunteerism. To be service learning, the service must be accompanied by a learning
aspect (Conrad & Hedin, 1991).
Conrad and Hedin (1991) outline service learning environments as containing
the following elements:
1. Significant, necessary, and measurable service is accomplished.
2. Youths are directly involved in planning and implementation.
3. Clear institutional commitment to the service program is reflected in goals or
mission statements.
4. Community support for and involvement in the learning program are strong
5. Learner outcomes for the program are well-articulated.
6. A well designed and articulated curriculum for service exists that includes
preparation, supervision, and active reflection on the experience.
7. Regular and significant recognition of the youths and adults who participate takes
A more detailed definition of service learning is provided by the Wingspread
Special Report (Honnet & Poulsen, 1989). The Wingspread Special Report breaks
down service learning into principles of good practice which are believed to be
necessary for true service learning. These components are listed below:
Service Learning
1. Involves responsible and challenging actions for the common good
2. Provides structured opportunities for reflection
3. Articulates clear service and learning goals
4. Allows for those with needs to define those needs
5. Clarifies the responsibilities of each person and organization involved
6. Matches service providers and recipients through a process that recognizes
changing circumstances
7. Expects genuine, active, and sustained organizational commitment
8. Includes training, supervision, monitoring, support, recognition, and
evaluation to meet service and learning goals

9. Ensures that the time commitment for service and learning is flexible,
appropriate, and in the best interest of all involved
10. Is committed to program participation by and with diverse populations
(Kendall, 1990, p. 40)
Service learning offers a powerful means for reclaiming citizenship education.
Citizenship is the medium through which service and learning take place. Through
service learning, the importance of the role of the citizen is reaffirmed (Barber, 1992).
Perhaps the most important benefit to service learning is that it provides
students with an opportunity to make real-life connections. Integration of the formal
into the personal (Ginsburg & Asmussen, 1988, p.109) becomes realized as students
relate school learning with their own experiences as they are serving others. Service
learning pulls students closer to recognizing what it means to be a citizen by
illustrating how they can be useful, knowledgeable, active members of their
As teachers begin to incorporate a service component into their teaching
methodologies, it will seem natural for them to assume ownership of the service
experience. However, it is key that students gain ownership of the service as soon as
possible. This is essential in assuring that a close relationship forms between student
and environment. An emphasis on student ownership and the development of empathy
necessitates constant communication in order for the service to be successful. When

service learning is lacking in student ownership, students show little desire to assume
leadership roles (Dorman & Duits, 1995).
Dewey's (1938) idea of environment is important to consider when discussing
service learning. His interpretation of environment calls attention to the essential
relationship between an individual and the individuals surroundings.
An experience is always what it is because of a transaction taking place
between an individual and what, at the time, constitutes his
environment.... The environment, in other words, is whatever
conditions interact with personal needs, desires, purposes, and
capacities to create the experience which is had. (p. 43-44)
Service learning is a curriculum alternative which allows students to apply
classroom knowledge through hands-on experiences. By reaching out of the
classroom and applying academic knowledge in real-life situations which help to better
the community, students are able to see first-hand the application of their knowledge.
Reinforcing school-taught subjects by connecting the formal with the personal also
provides opportunities to process knowledge differently than is often promoted within
school walls. This allows students with many different types of intelligence to benefit
more from academic subjects.
In addition to helping students strengthen academic connections, service
learning provides students with the ability to serve their community. Emphasizing
civic responsibility from a young age illustrates the importance of each individual in
the community.

Allowing students to serve provides them with increased opportunities to learn.
Giving students the chance to reach out to the community not only asks them to apply
academic knowledge, but challenges them to take leadership responsibility. By
providing learning opportunities in which students may develop a sense of intrinsic
worth of knowledge and service, we provide a stepping stone for effective citizenship
of tomorrow (Barber, 1992). Students are challenged with ideas of learning for a
Service learning is a viable curricular alternative in the wake of current
systemic reform efforts. The environment already exists; it is action that is needed to
bring the experience to life. Providing an experience which incorporates academic
growth with community service through a hands-on medium validates the need for
meaningful learning opportunities and the authentic assessment of knowledge.
Research Framework
Critical theory emerges out of those sociological theories which explore power
relations and structure. Based on the idea that without practice there is no knowledge,
critical theory strives to understand actions within the system as contextualized by
culture and society. There is an emphasis on changing the bigger structure of society,
based on a moral imperative to think and to act, especially through empowerment and
emancipation. Legitimizing the cries of marginalized groups within society is of
primary concern.

Critical theory is concerned with rejecting hegemony and reaching for equality
in social understanding, social action, and social position. A basic assumption behind
critical theory is that democracy, and therefore freedom for all citizens, is tangible.
Critical theory provides an important lens for studying the values and belief systems as
they are expressed from those within a culture. Sirotnik and Oakes (1986) claim:
Critical theory.... is a social theory with a practical intention; it
embodies an ethical stance that directs change efforts toward fostering
nonexploitative interpersonal relationships and placing human beings as
conscious moral agents in the central role of determining the direction
of social evolution.... Both the process and aim of critical theory are
consistent with what we most often claim to be the fundamental aim of
education itself- that of cultivating the best in all human beings so they
may create a just society, (p. 37)
Freire (1970) postulates that critical thinking is a necessary part of education.
By entering into a dialogue, he contends that one exercises critical thinking skills.
Freire states that three things are necessary for a critical dialogue to occur. These are
love, faith, and humility. When combined in dialogue, these lend themselves to trust.
Freire shows the interconnectedness of learning with love, faith, and humility (and
therefore, ultimately, trust) when he states: Only dialogue, which requires critical
thinking, is also capable of generating critical thinking. Without dialogue there is no
communication, and without communication there can be no true education (p. 75).
Critical inquiry is a research framework emerging from critical theory which
defines oppression as an inherent component in society (Tierney, 1989). Critical

inquiry will be used in this study when analyzing the data obtained from the selected
classrooms as it is complementary to the nature of service learning and to the
acquisition of understanding needed to develop citizenship within a democracy.
Critical inquiry emerges from the question of how people emancipate themselves in
order to make their own history and practice their beliefs. It asks for a consensus
around values within a culture, while also accepting conflict as inevitable and
necessary. Tierney (1989) holds that society is necessarily framed by conflict and
division; thus, a critical interpretation of democracy is one in which social justice and
empowerment of the citizenry dominate the system, and the voices of the oppressed
are heard. Within such an environment, the distinction between "haves" and "have
nots" is examined as a starting point for changing the status quo. The question of
emphasis moves away from one of "who's in charge?" to "how can we help to make
our community better?"
Critical inquiry has been conceived from those ideas embraced by critical
theory. However, the emphasis throughout critical inquiry is transformative action,
which moves away from dominance within society and critiques the political and social
processes involved in the society (Sirotnik & Oakes, 1986). This ideology is
specifically derived from Habermass (1971) interpretation of critical theory, as well as
from Freires (1970) idea of change and action accompanying, if not preceding,
interpretation in importance. Critical inquiry does not embrace a means-ends

relationship, but rather calls for a constant striving toward a social ideal embedded in
action. Sirotnik and Oakes (1986) hold that this plays itself out in the classroom when
teachers move away from having total authority and in the direction of their
integration into the classroom as learners and participants.
The development of critical leadership in elementary students is an area that
has not been given much attention in the leadership literature. Although research
exists, most of it targets secondary school or adult subjects. However, assuming that
young students acquire and demonstrate leadership skills in the same manner or for the
same purposes as adolescents or adults would be presumptuous. For this reason,
including a framework which considers where students development lies, with focus
on ages 10 to 12, is of importance in this study.
Piagets theory of cognitive development finds 11 year-olds on an important
cusp between concrete operations and formal operations. The differences between
these two stages include generalized versus rationalized, abstract thought. This is an
ideal time for students to learn through service. The needs of those served may be
perceived differently, by different students adding richness to the service derived from
the different developmental levels of the students.
Kohlberg (1976) purports that civics education has a direct relationship to an
individuals stage of moral development: Our studies show that reasoning and
decision making about political decisions are directly derivative of broader patterns of

moral reasoning and decision making (p. 211). According to Kohlberg (1976), the
typical fifth grade male has recently entered the level of conventional morality (the
inclination of students to conform to certain rules of society). Within the level of
conventional morality, Kohlberg defines two stages, Stages 3 and 4. Stage 3 is the
Good Boy to Nice Girl Orientation, in which behavior is dictated by what the child
believes will impress others. In stage 4, the Law and Order Orientation, the child will
establish and obey fixed rules in order to maintain social order. In this stage, it is
extremely important that authority be respected. In their discussion around these
theoretical stages of moral development, Biehler and Snowman (1986) suggest
creating a classroom culture which encourages dialogue between all members of the
community. In addition, they propose heightening moral awareness through frequent
discussion around moral issues and dilemmas. Thus, Biehler and Snowman contend
that the teachers should push students abilities of moral reasoning, instead of allowing
them to stagnate at their current level of development.
Munson, Zwilling, and Zwilling (1986) hold that understanding characteristics
of children at certain ages is important in understanding how they learn to lead. One
of the most important characteristics discussed for students 9 to 11 years old is an
interest which begins to expand from home to neighborhood to community. This
shows 9 to 11 year olds with a newly emerged sense of community, again illustrating
how this time may be an important one for introducing service.

Because different ages are at different stages of development, it cannot be
claimed that leadership arises out of the same conditions for children as it does for
adolescents or adults. This is an important issue to consider when focusing on critical
leadership in young students.
Research Problem
Problem Statement
This study explores perceptions of leadership among selected teachers and
students and examine relationship between the occurrence of critical leadership in
students and service learning in the classroom, as perceived by students and teachers.
Teacher perceptions were an important part of the data gathering, since the teachers
were responsible for structuring the classrooms, reinforcing certain ideas, and
discouraging others. Student perceptions were important to this study in that they
provided a view into how students believed that they had been affected by their
classroom environment.
Service learning and critical leadership share some connections in their
definitions, due to their emphasis on the community. However, no current research
claims them to be either dependent or independent of one another. The problem of
exploring critical leadership will include exploring the process involved as four
teachers endeavor to create a community of leaders within their classrooms.

Research Question
Out of the problem statement arises the research question for this study: How
do students and teachers from a service learning environment perceive leadership?
Since definitions can vary from setting to setting, it is important to understand this
how those within the selected culture conceptualize leadership. If leadership is
understood critically, this could illustrate how service learning can be used as a
cultural tool for extending possibilities for leadership into the classroom community.
In order to gather data to endeavor to answer the above question, supporting
questions are necessary.
Supporting Questions
Supporting questions illustrate important ideas that are necessary components
in exploring the main research question. For example, issues such as whether a critical
interpretation is an included part of an individuals definition of leadership, how civic
responsibility is thought to influence leadership, the leamability of leadership, and
the relationship between leadership and service learning are all important contributors
while examining the relationship between the occurrence of critical leadership in
students and service learning in the classroom, as perceived by students and teachers.
Questions that support this studys main research question are listed below.
Supporting Question l: Do students and teachers define leadership
within a critical context?
Rationale for Asking Question: Leadership can be defined without
being framed in a critical context. It is important to understand

whether or not leadership is thought of from a critical point of view in
order to know better the values and priorities of this culture.
Possible Significance of Findings: Using critical theory, leadership
seen as critical would challenge the status quo, encouraging the
conceptualization of leadership as attainable by and desirable for all
Supporting Question 2: Do students and teachers believe that critical
leadership arises out of taking civic responsibility?
Rationale for Asking Question: Students are given the opportunity to
take civic responsibility within these service learning classrooms. This
question asks for a correlation between student civic responsibility and
the development of leadership in students.
Possible Significance of Findings: According to critical theory,
emancipation from oppression means necessary civic involvement. If
students assume roles of critical leadership through service learning,
evidence supporting the importance of service learning for education
and democracy will be illustrated.
Supporting Question 3: Do students and teachers think that leadership
is learnable?
Rationale for Asking Question: According to Tierney, critical
leadership requires the involvement of the community in a give and take
relationship of power. The ability to learn critical leadership skills
demands that power relations be examined in relation to the populace.
Possible Significance of Findings: If students and teachers do not
think that leadership is learnable, leadership can not be defined within a
critical context, as this demands leaders and followers holding
interchangeable roles within their community depending on need and
Supporting Question 4: What is the relationship between service
learning in the classroom and students perceptions of leadership?
Rationale for Asking Question: This study strives to understand the
perceived connection between critical leadership and service learning.
It is important to establish whether this connection exists for students,
as this will greatly influence the results of the study.
Possible Significance of Findings: It is important to know whether or
not students create a conceptual link between service learning and

leadership in order to determine whether a critical component in
leadership is evident in these service learning classrooms.
Supporting Question 5: What is the relationship between service
learning in the classroom and teachers perceptions of leadership?
Rationale for Asking Question: This study strives to understand the
perceived connection between critical leadership and service learning.
It is important to establish whether this connection exists for teachers,
as this will greatly influence the results of the study.
Possible Significance of Findings: It is important to know whether
or not teachers create a conceptual link between service learning and
leadership in order to determine whether a critical component in
leadership is evident in these service learning classrooms.
Rationale for Focus/Sienificance of Problem
Why is it important to study critical leadership side-by-side with service
learning? When students begin to assume the role of critical leaders in relation to civic
responsibility, they have gone far beyond academic learning (Tierney, 1989).
Classroom learning has been transcended to incorporate issues which bear importance
with the community. Students begin to give to a system where they have been
typically viewed as recipients. By assuming roles of leadership within their classrooms
and their communities, students are one step closer to becoming productive citizens
for the future.
These findings could prove significant in that critically conceptualized
leadership could show how service learning could be used within a classroom as a tool
for extending possibilities for leadership into the classroom community.

Design of the Study
Schools need to be viewed as democratic public spheres, as places
where students leam the skills and knowledge to live in and fight for a
democratic society. As such, they will have to be characterized by a
pedagogy that demonstrates its commitment to engaging the views and
problems that deeply concern students in their everyday lives. Equally
important is the need for schools to cultivate a spirit of critique and a
respect for human dignity that is capable of linking personal and social
issues around the pedagogical project of helping students to become
critical and active citizens. (Giroux, 1988, p. 208)
The significance of the problem for this study is very closely tied to Girouxs
point. That is, critical leadership is dependent upon the idea that promoting citizenship
within a democratic society is necessary for the continuation of the democracy
(Tierney, 1989). This study will investigate the relationship between the occurrence of
critical leadership in students and service learning in the classroom, as perceived by
students and teachers. Since both leadership and service learning are difficult terms to
define, as interpretations change from setting to setting, the perceptions of students
and teachers within the parameters defined in the instruments used in this study will be
Sirotnik and Oakes (1986) provide a comprehensive overview of the essential
elements that they affirm are necessary to form a complete critical analysis. Their
description calls for the use of three types of methods brought together in
methodological alignment (p. 19), in order to grasp more fully the culture of the
environment being studied. The three-tiered approach, which includes an

empirical/analytical level of analysis, a naturalistic/interpretive level of analysis, and a
critical/dialectical level of inquiry, will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 3. The
rationale for using this methodological approach is defended by Sirotnik and Oakes
(1986) contention that this three-tiered methodology offers researchers a more
comprehensive set of data than could be gathered using only one method of inquiry.
Sirotnik and Oakes (1986) argue that gaining a comprehensive understanding is
necessary in order to form a well-based critical analysis.
Limitations of Study
One of the greatest limitations of this study is also its strength. Although the
sample pool is small in terms of the number of classrooms studied, the researcher will
have access to fifty-two students, two experienced teachers who regularly implement
service learning as a part of their curriculum, two student teachers, and one full time
paraprofessional. Sirotnik and Oakes (1986) note that comparability between schools
can be limited, due to differing cultures. The similar culture between the two research
classrooms can be seen as an asset, allowing the study to materialize without overdue
emphasis on differing environments. However, because only two classrooms will be
used for gathering data, generalizability to other classrooms will be limited. In
addition, no longitudinal claims regarding the continuation of critical leadership after
the study period will be possible.

Critical Leadership
When analyzing Tierneys (1989) article, Advancing Democracy: A Critical
Interpretation of Leadership, critical leadership is explored as the active mechanism
for achieving a participatory democracy. For Tierney, it involves an active and
reciprocal relationship among individuals, achieving a cultural web for the
community. Critical leadership provides the medium for people to participate, to
change, and to influence conditions. Tierney agrees with Burns that a participants
level of consciousness will be raised through leading critically. This type of leadership,
which expects all members of the community to be active and participate, helps to
focus the dialog for community needs. Tierneys discussion of critical leadership is an
appropriate one to use when studying the classroom as it explores the dynamics of
critical leadership in an educational setting. Analyzing Tierneys article, critical
leadership can be outlined as:
1. Evolving from Bums transformational leadership.
2. Evolving from critical theory.
3. Deviating from the idea that management is leadership.
4. Concerned with mutuality in the leadership relationship.
5. Committed to empowering followers.
6. Embodying a commitment to teach others.

7. Participatory.
8. Explicitly tied to ideas of social justice, emancipation, and equality.
9. Embodying ideals promoted in a true democracy.
10. Representative of the culture of the organization.
11. Moralistic.
The first part of this literature review is dedicated to analyzing the above
components that Tierney distinguishes as characteristic of critical leadership. After
these components have been discussed, a brief review of cooperative learning and
service learning.
Bums* Transformational Leadership
Although historically leaders are in charge and followers are submissive to
them, many writers have explored the idea of leadership as an ability held by all
participants. In this school of thought, the task of leaders is to teach others to lead.
Burns (1978) did not pioneer the idea of leaders being responsible for teaching others
how to lead, but he does categorize it within his discussion of transformational
leadership. Transformational leaders strive toward the common goals of the
community and toward promoting emancipation necessary for followers to assume
Burns purports that transformational leadership is dedicated to the pursuit of
the common goals of the community. In his discussion of Bums, Bass (1985)

interprets transformational leadership as leadership of the community by the
community. Regarding this type of leadership, Bennis (1984) states:
[I]t is the ability of the leader to reach the souls of others in a fashion
which raises human consciousness, builds meanings, and inspires human
intent that is the source of power. Within transformational leadership,
therefore, it is vision, purposes, beliefs, and other aspects of
organizational culture that are of prime importance, (p. 70)
Tierneys (1989) interpretation of Bums conceptualization of a leader
distinguishes the transformative leader in four main ways. First, the transformative
leader is obligated to interact with others within the community. Second, the
transformative leader should understand the needs of the community. Third, it is
imperative that the transformative leader acts as a teacher within the community,
teaching others how to assume the position of leader. Finally, the transformative
leader emancipates and empowers followers.
Both transformational leadership and critical leadership share a principle of
civic responsibility taken by members of the community. As well, both state that the
leader-follower relationship is interchangeable and should be flexible according to
community needs. An important difference between Burns transformational
leadership and Tierneys critical leadership is that critical leadership places a high
emphasis on reflection and action, where we see no discussion of reflection in Bums

Critical theory
Critical theory is an ideology of social knowledge embedded in intent for
transformative action. According to Sirotnik and Oakes (1986), critical theory:
[I]s a social theory with practical intention; it embodies an ethical
stance that directs change efforts toward fostering nonexploitive
interpersonal relationships and placing human beings as conscious
moral agents in the central role of determining the direction of social
The relevance of such a potentially emancipatory and
purposeful kind of inquiry to the process of school improvement should
be self-evident. Both the process and aim of critical theory are
consistent with what we most often claim to be the fundamental aim of
education itself that of cultivating the best in ail human beings so they
may create a just society, (p. 37)
Critical theory leads to the design of studies to expose the sources of a groups
oppression and points in the direction of change to reduce that oppression. Critical
theory can be thought of as an oppositional movement, as it first seeks to define and
find sources of social wrongs and then works to transform those societal ills into the
emancipation and empowerment of the oppressed (Bernstein, 1995). In the following
quote, Bernstein outlines the purpose of critical theory: The idea of joining a
historically informed philosophy with a reflectively self-aware and self-implicating
social science was meant to engender a body of knowledge that was both critical and
practical, both about society and immanently action-guiding (p. 11). Thus, critical
theory is seen to have two important tasks: understanding and acting. Habermas sees
this reflective process as leading to democratic legitimacy, in which the majority make

the laws with deliberation and knowledge (Habermas, 1984). White (1995) claims
that the possibility of functioning in this manner comes about only through democratic
empowerment of the people.
Although not what scholars would classify a theorist, Alinsky (1946)
approaches a critical framework in Reveille [meaning a wake up call] for Radicals.
Instead of approaching the task of acting against oppression through theory, Alinsky
approaches it through action. Using strategies and tactics which have proven
successful in reducing domination by the elite, Alinsky describes radical peoples
organizations which have led to change by using tried methods of active resistance.
Alinsky is not alone in calling for action over theory. Dewey (1938), although
not a critical theorist per se, advocated the idea of active participation in education.
As well, Freire (1970) claimed that no true learning can occur without active student
involvement and informed reflection. Freire also wrote that committed involvement
must penetrate the teacher-student relationship. Together, teachers and students strive
to recreate knowledge through critical reflection and action. Thus, people, develop
their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in
which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality but as a
reality in the process of transformation (Freire, 1970, p. 71).
Freire (1971) also wrote that the goal of education should be to reflect on
whether what is taught is supportive of people becoming critical, reflective citizens.

Thus, for Freire, educations chief concern should be in liberating people, not
domesticating them.
Leadership and Management
Deming (1989), in an effort to reconstruct American management, explored
the methods and process involved in effective leadership. One of his recommendations
calls for a lessening in performance differences between employees, including the
leader of the group. He states: A leader, instead of being a judge, will be a
colleague, counseling and leading his (sic) people on a day to day basis, learning from
them and with them (p. 117). This differs from the conventional definition of
leadership as an exhalted position of power.
Sergiovanni (1992) acknowledges that leadership and followership could not
be joined within a school without a massive reorganization of the organization.
Instead of a hierarchy dictating leaders and those led, a blending of roles would allow
these positions to be replaced by ideas, values, and commitments of the community
(Sergiovanni, 1992). Perhaps it is through a commitment to blending these roles that
Sergiovanni (1992) promotes the idea of purposing. According to this idea,
purposes develop cooperative systems and transforms groups into communities.
Purposes, such as values, norms, visions, and directions also give a reason for setting
up strategies, such as goals, policies and objectives.

Leadership and Mutuality
Kriesburg (1993) wrote that the typical student, has spent his or her life in
classrooms where teachers make most, if not all, of the important decisions and are the
sources of all academically important information. He or she comes to accept this as
the way schools are. Most adapt and learn to play the game. Thus, there is no reason
to expect all, or even most, students to respond favorably or immediately to teaching
that offers them a share of decision-making power (p. 227).
If Kriesburgs claims are true, students do not enter the typical classroom
ready to assume leadership responsibility. Instead, they must be slowly introduced to
the concept of directing the self instead of letting a teacher or other authority figure
direct them.
By actively participating, Rost (1993) asserts, the individual enters into a
transformative relationship with the other members of the group (p. 123). Rost states:
[FJollowers can become leaders and leaders can become followers in
any one leadership relationship. People are not stuck in one or the
other for the whole time the relationship exists....[F]ollowers do not do
followership. Both leaders and followers form one relationship that is
leadership. There is no such thing as followership in the new school of
leadership.... Followers and leaders develop a relationship wherein they
influence one another as well as the organization and society, and that
is leadership, (p. 109)
For Rost (1993), this relationship between leader and follower is viable only
when people are engaged and participate. Ideally, Sergiovanni (1990) writes,

participating leaders and followers will become interchangeable, holding a common set
of ideas, values, and commitments. Leadership will no longer be hierarchically
arranged; rather, effective followership will become a paradox of leadership itself.
This idea is also supported by Kelley (1988) who discusses the traditional
differentiations between leaders and followers as ungenerous and wrong (p. 146).
Kelley discusses the compatibility between the roles, as one person steps into a
leadership position during one part of the day, and into a follower role during another
part of the day. Neither of these roles, according to Kelley, could be done away with,
but Kelley writes that, Instead of seeing the leadership role as superior to and more
active than the role of the follower, we can think of them as equal but different
activities (p. 146).
Johnson and Johnson (1994) support what they call the distributed action
theory of leadership. This theory holds that any member of the group may play the
part of the leader by helping to lead the group toward successful completion of a task
while maximizing collaborative relationships. In addition, Johnson and Johnson
believe that many different leadership functions may be carried out by different
members of the group.
Foster (1989) also supports the idea of interchangeability between leaders and
followers. Although he acknowledges that history will often acknowledge one

individual as a leader, he perceives leadership as a communal relationship between
participants. For Foster, the community houses leadership, not the individual.
Leadership and Teaching Others
DePree (1989) and Greenleaf (1977 hold that leaders have a primary
responsibility as servants to their community. For DePree, the duty of leaders is to
enable followers to reach their fullest potential within the community. Nadeau and
Burns (1989) do not support our current means of teaching leadership and citizenship
within the schools. In their view, typical civics education classes are not political
experiences, therefore, they do not encourage a participatory citizenry. Mosher,
Kenny, and Garrod (1994) emphasize that these skills come from emphasis in broader
areas: Cognitive competence is essential for effective citizenship, and thus promoting
critical thinking in schools is essential.... Careful thinking about being a citizen must
go hand in hand with practice at being a citizen (p. 168). Morse (1989b) writes that
as a leader moves into the role of teacher and facilitator, he/she may prove most
successful if assisting the group in working together towards acceptable solutions and
helping them to recognize how issues are interrelated.
Kouzes and Posner (199S) continually state their belief that leadership is
learnable by all, and that ordinary people can become extraordinary leaders (p.323).
Kouzes and Posner assert that leadership can be learned through a set of observable
practices that begins with an understanding of the self and an ability to love. They

state that we become the most powerful when we give power away (p. 185) . Five
practices are outlined which leaders follow, as defined by Kouzes and Posner 1)
Leaders challenge the process, 2) Leaders inspire a shared vision, 3) Leaders enable
others to act, 4) Leaders model the way, and 5) Leaders encourage the heart. The
idea of leadership encouraging the heart is also held by Johnson and Johnson (1994),
who state:
Long term, committed efforts to continually improve ones
competencies come from the heart, not the head. It takes courage and
hope to continue to strive for increased knowledge and expertise, ft is
the social support and concrete assistance from teammates that
provides the strength to persist and to excel, (p. 252)
Besides encouraging the heart, Johnson and Johnson also include four other
characteristics of the leadership process. First, they write that leaders should challenge
the status quo. Also, leaders inspire a mutual vision and empower others within
cooperative teams. As well, Johnson and Johnson state the importance of leading by
example. This point is stressed in literature evolving from Bums idea of the
transformational leader as a model. Bryan (1993) provides an example of a teacher as
role model:
Teachers are role models of adult citizens whose ideas and information
describe and interpret the world. Teachers embody what it means to be
a member of the community, the state, the nation, the planet. Teachers
are citizens in action, and they educate students on this level every day.
(P- 236)

Leadership and Participation
Rost (1993) outlines both leadership and followership as necessarily
participatory. Involvement is crucial. Those who choose to play a passive role are not
a part of the leader/follower relationship; they can be neither leaders nor followers, as
they have no influence. Kelley (1988) also attributes effective leadership and
followership to participation.
Barber (1992) recognizes the essential nature of community participation and
accountability by drawing from the more conventional definition of leadership:
The idea of service to country or an obligation to the institutions by
which rights and liberty are maintained has nearly vanished. We the
People have severed our connections with It the state or They the
bureaucrats and politicians who run It. Problems of governance
are always framed in the language of leadership as if the preservation
of democracy were merely a matter of assuring adequate leadership,
electing surrogates to perform our civic duties. Our solution to
problems in our democracy is to blame our representatives.... Our own
complicity in the health of our system becomes invisible. This is often a
first step in the decline of a democratic state, (pp. 232-233)
This is yet another example of a respected educator calling for widespread
participation in order to maximize the usefulness of the democracy. Almond and
Verba (1965) discuss that a democratic society expects participation and
understanding by citizens. They state: [W]here norms of participation, perceived
ability to participate, and actual participation is (sic) high, effective democracy is more
likely to flourish (p. 135). Almond and Verba see a contradiction between the

participatory norms expected in schools versus those expected in society outside of
school. Although they discuss this conflict, they also write about the importance of
understanding the importance of participation, and understanding that if an individual
believes that he has influence, he is more likely to attempt to use it. A subjectively
competent citizen, therefore, is more likely to be an active citizen (p. 139). Thus, it
may be interpreted as the schools duty to enable students to participate and
understand the workings of a democracy. Bennis (19S4) also writes about the
importance of participation by all citizens:
Like good leaders, good followers understand the importance of
speaking out. More important, they do it.... Perhaps the ultimate
irony is that the follower who is willing to speak out shows precisely
the kind of initiative that leadership is made of. (pp. 158, 160)
Leadership and Social Justice. Emancipation, and Equality
Regarding ethical leadership by teachers, Thompson (1994) writes:
Leadership carries significant ethical dimensions as well as
responsibility for purpose. This accountability includes being a moral
exemplar for students, especially in the expression of democratic values
and commitment to equal opportunity.... Most centrally, however,
school leaders are ethically responsible for closing the knowledge gap
between the poor and the comfortable in society, (p. 231)
Mosher, Kenny, and Garrod (1994) purport that the school is obligated to
educate its students to rationally and knowledgeably participate and contribute to
society. They defend the concept of democratic education with the following

1. Democracy is vitally dependent on a responsible, educated citizenry
2. Children educated in democratic groups benefit personally as well
as in terms of social development.
3. Democratic participation contributes to the growth of minds.
4. Democracy has to be recreated in the understanding and behavior
of each new generation of citizens or it is Jeopardized, (p. 24)
Leadership and Democracy
According to research done by Lewin (1948) and White and Lippett (1962),
students attending schools that embrace democratic principles show differences when
compared to students educated in authoritarian environments. These students
demonstrate a greater inclination to cooperate and are more concerned with the
groups well-being. As well, they show a greater propensity to reject authoritarianism
and the status quo. In addition, students educated in democratic schools tend not to
discriminate against others as much as other students. Mosher (1980) and Howard
(1984) claim an additional benefit students within democratic schools tend to show
greater cognitive development, especially related to political and moral reasoning.
Mosher, Kenny, and Garrod claim that results such as these are dependent on
the degree that democracy is emphasized and implemented within the schools.
Grambs and Carr (1973) assert that in order to master the principles of democracy,
students must be allowed to frequently participate in opportunities for active

In adopting what he considers to be the best methods for fighting
powerlessness, Alinsky pedestals the radical. Differing from the liberal in many
respects, Alinsky paints quite a favorable picture of the radical, fighting for justice and
democracy. Power is derived from resisting oppressors. The radical walks his talk,
and is not afraid to fight for liberty. The radical is always ready for conflict:
Americas radical are to be found wherever and whenever America
moves close to the fulfillment of its democratic dream. Whenever
Americas hearts are breaking, there American radicals were and are.
America was begun by its radicals. America was built by its radicals.
The hope and future of America lies with its radicals, (p. 15)
For Alinsky, the radical builds the democracy, and he/she does it from the bottom up,
for the betterment of the community. In many respects, Alinskys radical approaches
Although he recognizes that unity is often a purported goal of democracy,
Bums (1978) claims that conflict is inevitable and necessary in any healthy society (p.
37). The goal of leaders during times of conflict, Bums states, is to confront it,
exploit it, ultimately embody it (p. 39). By volleying conflict, leaders awaken the
community and strengthen the goals and motives of the people, thereby making the
community stronger:
Conflictdisagreement over goals within an array of followers, fear of
outsiders, competition for scarce resourcesimmensely invigorates the
mobilization of consensus and dissensus. But the fundamental process
is a more elusive one; it is, in large part, to make conscious what lies
unconscious among followers, (p. 40)

What do you do when the community does not agree on a course of action?
By encouraging students to assume responsibility for service, students will ultimately
come into contact with conflict. Bums (1978) speculates that conflict is necessary for
the development of what he terms "intellectual leadership. Intellectual leadership is
naturally critical. According to Bums, true leaders embrace conflict as a means for
The key to making conflict beneficial is found when dialog between two
factions is open. In order to maintain this communication, leaders must shift their
focus away from loss and consider what can be gained by working together (Kouzes &
Posner, 1995, p. 160). Kouzes and Posner (1995) state: With integrative solutions,
people change their thinking from an either/or (or zero-sum) mentality to a positive
perspective on working together (p. 160). Skilled leaders learn how to show gains
for both sides. Focusing on profits allows people more flexibility to compromise
(Bazerman & Neale, 1993).
Morse (1989a) writes that civic leadership involves community, public will,
and collective action. This type of leadership is intimately tied to ideas of compromise
and community.
Leadership and Culture
Leadership as expressed through narrative and storytelling can be interpreted
as an expression of the self and of your place and involvement in the community.

Kimball (1974) asserts that the meaning of things, of activities, and of relationships, is
a variable and arises out of participation and is affirmed in successive and repetitive
events (p. 137). Storytelling is such an event. Sergiovanni (1990) writes that the
schools purpose is bom out of a covenant and a vision. The covenant represents the
schools common beliefs and themes. The vision is shared by all of the schools
community. In order to provide direction to this vision, the school community
becomes responsible for repeating this visions history in essence, telling the story of
the school. This is the way that cultures have most frequently transmitted the history
of the tribe, through oral traditions relating meaningful stories.
Howard Gardner (1995) forges an intimate connection between the
development of stories and leadership: "The ultimate impact of the leader depends
most significantly on the particular story that he or she relates or embodies, and the
receptions to that story on the part of audiences (p. 14). This is an important
association when regarding the interaction between academics, service learning, and
the development of leaders. Broadening the accessible range of connections provides
humans with the ability to tell richer stories, and, therefore, a greater capacity to lead.
Leadership and Empowerment
Power, like leadership, is a concept that holds many definitions. Bennis and
Nanus (1985) state that power is The basic energy to initiate and sustain action
translating intention into reality, the quality without which leaders cannot lead (p.

15). Marxcy (1991) sticks with a more broad definition: The meaning of power
shifts in several ways: Power may be seen descriptively as a relational concept in that
it serves to characterize activities between agents and events (p. 10). Muth (1984)
writes: [P]ower can be defined simply as the ability of an actor to affect the behavior
of another actor (p. 27). Muth recognizes that this definition has the potential to
make power relational, potential, and probably asymmetrical (p. 27). The idea of
power embraced here is one summarized by Schmitt (1995): Power that legitimates
that makes societies flourish and organizations effectivehas no clear individual
owners (p. 154).
Giroux (1986) is just one of the many scholars who have written on the issue
of power being asymmetrically distributed in society. A discussion of power,
encompassing ideas purported by Marx, focuses on uneven power distribution in
society. This view focuses on societys elite striving to maintain the status quo in
order to ensure procreation of the elite culture. This is a power structure in which
education which might enlighten followers as to their oppression would be
unthinkable. Autonomy is granted only to the elite, to perpetuate the cycle of the
ruling class. This poses a dilemma of direct contradiction for democracy, which
strives toward an educated participation by the populace and freedom for all. In a true
democracy, all citizens are given a voice and are emancipated from the direction of the
elite (Barber, 1992).

Critical leadership calls into question typical power relations within the
classroom. In a typical classroom, the teacher is the one traditionally conceived of as
the holder of power. However, in classrooms where critical leadership is practiced
and expected, teachers would be expected to embrace a culture which permits power
to be dispersed among students over time. Giroux (1981) cautions that this does not
mean an educational free-for-all. It is his contention that:
The democratization and humanization of power in the classroom
should not suggest that radical educators retreat from positions of
authority. What is suggested is that we should abandon authority roles
that deny the subjectivity and power students have to create and
generate their own meanings and visions. Power and knowledge are
intimately related in the classroom. And students must be given the
opportunity to understand the political truth of the relationship, (p. 84)
In his discussion about Cutting Edge College, Tierney (1989) considers the
issue of ownership in an individuals education. Although there are traditional forms
ofleadership at Cutting Edge College, these leaders are expected to maintain a
dialectical relationship with the university body. As Tierney quotes from a new
department chair at Cutting Edge College, Mary [the academic vice president] leads
by making us, and even the students, leaders (p. 170). By assuming ownership, the
individual assumes power, and therefore leadership within the community.
In Reveille for Radicals. Alinskys (1946) states his belief that natural leaders
represent the power of the people, and most often are common people within everyday
settings who become leaders when the need arises. Alinsky discusses this idea within a

framework that he calls Peoples Organizations. Here, the group works toward a
common cause. For Alinsky, a powerful community is one in which the individuals
efforts are validated, and the collective efforts to dream of and shape a future free of
oppression results in a Peoples Organization. Such organizations rely as strongly on
hope as they do on actual achievement. Experience provides the backbone.
Aspirations to better the social order of Americas democracy provide the inspiration.
Issues of the community are most often global concerns worth fighting for: A
Peoples Organization is dedicated to an eternal war. It is a war against poverty,
misery, delinquency, disease, injustice, hopelessness, despair, and unhappiness (p.
Peoples Organizations provide education for the populace. This education is
direct and intimate, because it involves learning for a purpose. Through rational,
pointed education, Peoples Organizations break down barriers existing within the
community, such as social status.
A democracy arising out of a Peoples Organization is one which has at its
foundation an active minded citizenry. Popular pressure encourages participation.
Power is trusted in the hands of the people. By uniting Peoples Organizations, the
necessary strength can be obtained to gain a true democracy.

Alinskys ideas about Peoples Organizations can be translated into the
differences between power over and power to. Sergiovanni (1992) articulates the
distinction between the two as:
Power over emphasizes controlling what people do, when they do it,
and how they do it. Power to views power as a source of energy for
achieving shared goals and purposes.... Power over is rule-bound, but
power to is goal-bound. Only those with hierarchically authorized
authority can practice power over; anyone who is committed to shared
goals and purposes can share power to. (p. 133)
When individuals within a school are given the power to, the distribution of
power within the population becomes wider. This ability to transfer power to
individuals illustrates commitment to a certain conceptualization of power. Giroux and
Aronowitz (1985) purport that when schools are dedicated to the ideas of democracy,
they can be used as a means to develop ideas of social justice, diversity, and equal
opportunity by fostering open communication by all participants. McLaren (1989)
complements these ideas by writing that power is taught effectively when students are
shown how to be independent, critical thinkers with the ability to recognize injustice
and implement change when needed. Schmitt (1995) writes about the potential that
enabling gives to the bond of the classroom as a community:
Children can be active in finding what they need or helping others, and
those others can accept help because the project is a joint one.
Children are no longer being taught by a separate teacher. No longer
does each child separately have its own relationship to the teacher,
because learning is a shared project of everyone in the room. The
classroom ceases to [be] the teachers classroom and becomes the
classroom of all of the persons regularly in it. (p. 77)

Empowering students boosts morale by giving them the right and the means to
voice their opinions and concerns (Sawyer, 1993). According to Wartenberg (1990)
the power of empowerment cannot be ignored. Wartenberg claims that the goal of the
effective teacher should be to empower the learner so as to make him/her
independently able to learn. Wartenberg (1990) defines empowerment as a joint
effort of groups (p. 169) that aim to reject the definition imposed on one by others
and, instead, name oneself (p.170). Wartenberg recognizes the traditional mode of
teaching as disempowering students within a power-over relationship. Stating that
empowerment cannot be realized within a community where power cannot be
exercised, Wartenburg calls on teachers to practice a power with (p. 171) approach.
Power with in the classroom translates into group empowerment due to the
recognition of the attainability of shared goals. For Wartenberg (1990), the teacher
who encourages critical thinking, cooperation, and respect enables students to develop
their intellectual selves and their feeling of community, thus empowering students.
Leadership and Morality
In his discussion on Aristotle, Barker (19S9) summarizes that societies are
formed by people in order to attain goals that can not be reached by the individual.
Barker then presents Aristotles speculation of human conduct being shaped by the
need for personal fulfillment. Models of leaders who demonstrate exemplary human

conduct make for persuasive arguments in favor of moral leadership, as illustrated by
Gardner (1995):
Gandhis greatest contributions extended well beyond the Indian
subcontinent. Through his inspiring writings and his own embodiment
of personal courage, he conveyed to people all around the world that it
is possible to resist injustice in a way that is honorable, does not involve
counterattack, and may even bring about resolutions that empower all
concerned, (p. 275)
Having a defined and consistent value structure helps make organizations
stronger (Hitt, 1990). Gardner (1987) promotes the idea of leaders who support a
core set of values including freedom and justice, dignity and worth of the individual,
and equal opportunities. He contends that a leaders primary duty is a moral
leadership based in leading others to be responsible, initiating others to lead, believing
in those in your community, and sharing leadership. Gardner (1987) writes that
leaders should be judged according to their values and their advocation of those
values. This concept is embraced by Sergiovanni (1992), who writes:
The leadership that counts, in the end, is the kind that touches people
differently. It taps their emotions, appeals to their values, and responds
to their connections with other people. It is a morally based leadership
a form of stewardship, (p. 120)
Sergiovanni (1992) continues his discussion of stewardship by noting that it is a
trusting relationship which should include all members of the community. This is an
idea supported by Covey (1990), who writes that good leaders are trusted by their
followers and trust those who follow them. Without trust, Covey writes, the leader

must rely on control, and when a leader is controlling, communication processes suffer
and the people cannot be empowered. Covey also writes that empowerment is the key
to students learning. Thus, a connection can be made between the importance of trust,
empowerment, and learning.
In Pines (1984), the results of Hubert Montagners work on nonverbal
communication of young children concluded that children who are natural leaders are
not aggressive. Rather, these children use attractive actions such as light touches,
smiles, and offering toys. Instead of hostility, these children use their non-verbal
communication to convey warmth, which attracted others to them. These children do
not demonstrate controlling behavior. Rather, they are learning to communicate in a
way that fosters trust.
According to Wadsworth (1989), moral development in children is stifled by
authoritarian environments. Wadsworth goes on to say that active mutual respect
allows the type of interactions that stimulate moral knowledge, combined with
opportunities for active experience. Rost breaks the concept of ethics down into two
types: process and content. Process refers to ethical relationships with others. Rost
explains the ethical relationship as being ideally mutually influential, without using
authoritative or coercive means. Content is described as ethical changes, which Rost
purports are ideally mutually justifiable by both leaders and followers.

Burns discusses at length the issue of morality within leadership.
Unfortunately, the main body of morality research available to Burns in 1978 came
from Laurence Kohlberg (1976), who is generally accepted to have an outdated
version of the structure of morality. Since Kohlbergs famous study involved only
males, generalizations made from his findings are based on incomplete data. When
Carol Gilligan (1982) wrote In a Different Voice, she attempted to convey morality
issues by presenting the thoughts of women. Her conclusions about the differences
between the sexes state that men tend to gravitate more toward rights and rules,
whereas women consider morality more in terms of care and responsibility. An ethic
of care is advocated by Nel Noddings (1992), who states that [Sjchools should be
committed to a great moral purpose: to care for children so that they, too, will be
prepared to care (p. 64).
Burns acknowledges transformational leadership as an interdependent
relationship between the leader and follower, and notes the moral growth that goes
along with this sort of relationship: Transforming leadership ultimately becomes
moral in that it raises the level of human conduct and ethical aspirations of both leader
and led, and thus has a transforming effect on both (p. 20).
The problem with using Burns in this discussion of morality is that the text
Leadership defines leaders as having necessarily reached a higher level of moral
understanding than followers (pp. 42, 43,429). However, if Gilligans (1982) feminine

characteristics of care and responsibility are integrated into Burns argument, then the
ability to transfer roles between leaders and followers may be simplified. Students in a
classroom where an ethic of care is promoted might be more aware of the importance
of care and responsibility to the community, though they may still be in a
preconventional or conventional stage in terms of their understanding of rights and
On this note, Sawyers (1993) work may be addressed:
While most advocates of democratic practices in schools emphasize
their value in teaching children about justice, rights, and cooperation, it
is apparent that democratic practices also teach children about the
importance of caring for others and responding to their needs, (p. 103)
Service Learning
The History of Service Learning
The history of service learning is unique in that it has pervaded the curriculum
with relative consistency, to one degree or another, throughout the last century of
reform. Although it is almost constantly present, it is also an issue that is under
constant scrutiny and attack.
The early 20th century was a time when there was still believed to be a simple,
right way of educating. Educators and philosophers held utopian views of the perfect
schools. Dewey began writing during this time. Although his writings do not link
education directly to service, he wrote in depth about how students learn (Dewey

1907, 1938). Dewey promoted an education based on progressive ideals which were
rooted in social reform and included a student centered curriculum of experience.
During this time, William Kilpatrick also advocated an early form of service learning.
Kilpatrick supported the idea that students learn best when involved in activities
outside of school, especially activities which met community needs. During World
War n, progressive education came under fire by traditionalists. The Eight Year
Study proved that progressively educated students demonstrated superior knowledge
over most content areas. However, the results of this study were largely ignored.
Even as the nation swung toward a traditional education emphasizing teacher
centered learning, support of service learning still existed on a small-scale. For
example, during the 1950s, Columbia Universitys Teachers College formed the
Citizenship Education Project. This project supported active citizen participation and
community involvement, and was endorsed by President Eisenhower.
Although the 1960s and 1970s are currently under fire for weakening
Americas schools, these years were important due to an increase in reflection of the
populace at large. This was the era of the free school movement, an attempt to reform
the curriculum which many public school students and teachers found stifling
(Silberman, 1970). Although the nation was divided as to what was needed in public
education, marginalized populations began for the first time to have an important
voice, such as in Brown vs. the Board of Education (1954). Education began to shift

away from the teacher-centered classrooms found in the 1950s toward a more student-
centered approach. The early 1970s were a time in which schools, which had earned a
reputation for student passivity, began to emphasize career education. The importance
of meaningful experience and community service in education re-emerged.
The period from the late 1970s to the mid 1980s found public education
focused on teaching students the basics of education. The emphasis once again
shifted away from the students and toward a teacher-centered approach. This was
especially apparent after the 1983 commission report A Nation at Risk. The 1990s
have become an era emphasizing excellence and the achievement of certain outcomes
and standards of education. Still, service continues to be woven through this reform
movement. The importance of service can be seen in America 2000: The National
Goals. Goal 3, Objective 3, states: All students will be involved in activities that
promote and demonstrate good citizenship, community service, and personal
responsibility (Office of Education, 1992, p. 14).
Although service learning has existed throughout most of the educational
reforms of the century, it should be emphasized that service learning exists as piece of
many political agendas. The importance given to service learning varies depending
upon what society needs from school. Jerome Bruner (1960) speculates that
curriculum ought to be built around the great issues, principles, and values that a
society deems worthy of the continual concern of its members (p. 52).

Few will argue the benefits of service to both the givers and receivers. How
service is used within the schools, however, varies depending on the current reform
movement, the mood of the nation, and the current political majority. Keeping the
political process in mind, McPherson (1989) contends:
Service is not just another agenda item. Rather, it is an elegant way to
integrate many current educational and social reform recommendations.
It is a powerful way to engage students in learning which centers
around critical community concerns and recontextualizes the learning
environment so the teacher becomes a facilitator of learning, (p. 11)
Unfortunately, the present political majoritys outlook on service learning is
that it is important, although it takes a firm back seat to distinct subject areas. The
result is that many schools offer a service learning course, which in fact is not
service learning at all, but rather an adulterated form lacking in any academic learning
at all. For example, many high school students are required to take a service learning
course in which they might find themselves working as hall monitors or office
assistants. Although there are benefits to service alone, combining service with an
academic element or elements and weaving the experience through the classroom
provides students with an opportunity to maximize connections.
As long as some politicians and academic professionals have a view of service
learning as being wishy washy education, service learning will always be in danger.
One way to convince others of the value of service within an academic setting is to
show test results. At this point, we know that students who service learn perform at

least as well in standard tests of knowledge as their peers who have not been exposed
to service learning (Conrad & Hedin, 1991). However, when looking beyond tests of
knowledge, one must question what else students who are engaged in service learning
activities have gained. Conrad and Hedin (1991) have outlined reported gains which
in turn lead to a new way of knowing, a new process of thinking (p. 748). These
gains exist in: personal responsibility, social responsibility, increased efficacy and self
esteem, increased sense of belonging, fewer disciplinary problems, moral development,
ego development, and increased social competence. The National Youth Leadership
Council and Search Institute (1992) overlaps many of the above possible student
outcomes, as well as noting values development, academic development, and career
development. Although it is not necessarily true that students engaged in service
learning learn more than others, the significance of their learning experiences may be
elevated (Conrad & Hedin, 1991).
Why Service Learn?
The immediate purpose of service learning is to enrich material that students
have learned in the classroom. Service learning has been shown to increase the depth
of understanding in academic subjects (Simons, 1994). Although this reason alone
would seem adequate for choosing to implement service learning within the classroom,
many other potential benefits for students also exist.

One such benefit is a possible increase in care and empathy in students.
Noddings (1992) purports that the development of an ability to care should take
precedence over intellectual development. Although this is an extreme point of view
that many would challenge, Noddings calls into question present priority levels in the
school system. She claims: [I]f the school has one main goal, a goal that guides the
establishment and priority of all others, it should be to promote the growth of students
as healthy, competent, moral people (p. 10). Noddings places a first priority on
teaching students to be caring, loving, and lovable. She cites Silberman (1970), who
writes: What tomorrow needs is not masses of intellectuals, but masses of educated
menmen educated to feel and act as well as to think (p. 7). By practicing an ethic of
care regularly, Ram Dass and Paul Gorman (1985) write that:
Compassion is increasingly an automatic response. We find a deep
quality of love infusing on actions with others. The expression of love,
in turn, becomes increasingly our goal, whatever the circumstances.
The more unconditionally we share it, the more helpful it is to all. (p.
Those who speak out in favor of service learning most often do not use test
results or other quantitative data to support their claims of service as valuable. Rather,
the preferred method of communicating what happens during service learning is to
provide vignettes from those who have participated. There are hundreds of such
accounts. They illustrate growth in students in areas such as empathy, responsibility,

finding a voice, applying academics, and many other areas. The following is one such
account, from MAGIC ME, a program targeted for urban middle school students in
which they provide service to the elderly:
Bobby is a fighter. His days are defined by the number of fights in
which he has engaged. He says that he must fight because his brothers
and cousins fight. He must fight to keep up and he must fight to secure
his turf. Before visiting the nursing home Bobby asks if he will have
the opportunity to meet anyone who is blind. On his first day he is
introduced to Mary, an extremely frail, wheelchair-bound woman in
her 90s who is blind. Marys eyes are covered by a piece of fabric
wrapped around her head. Bobby, who has fought with every child in
his group on the way to the nursing home, reaches out his hands to
shake with Mary. She reaches back and they touch. From that
moment on the two are inseparable.
Bobby insists on returning Mary to her room at the end of the
visit. He carefully places one hand on Marys shoulder to let her know
he is there. She holds his hand and calls out to anyone listening in the
halls that Bobby is her new friend and that he has come to visit her. On
his fifth visit Bobby learns that Mary once played the piano. Not seeing
any barriers he asks Mary to play for him. Staff at the nursing home
where Mary has lived for many years are amazed to learn that Mary
plays the piano. They had no idea. Mary gives a beautiful concert for
Bobby and his friends in MAGIC ME. (Smilow, 1993, p.24).
This story illustrates one way in which service learning has aroused responsibility and
caring in a student that had not found expression in classroom academic studies.
In many ways, service learning may be interpreted as a compromise between a
curriculum of care and a curriculum based in academic tradition. Academic learning is
used as a tool for providing for community needs. By using academics, students
reinforce their knowledge. However, by reaching out to their community, students

also may develop a sense of care for their surroundings intertwined with a sense of
civic duty.
Dewey was the first prominent spokesperson for the benefits of service
learning. Dewey (1938) espoused that practical experience was an intimate and
necessary part of the learning process. According to Dewey, providing quality
experiences in a childs education is of optimum importance. This may be especially
pertinent in educating the younger student. Wadsworth (1989) writes:
Prior to the development of formal operations, fully accurate
knowledge can be constructed only from experience with relevant
objects; it cannot be acquired from representations (for example,
written or spoken words) of objects and events, (p. 23)
Thus, service learning in the elementary years can help to satisfy the need for students
to learn by experience that is relevant to them and that they can incorporate into their
understanding of the world.
By allowing students the opportunities for community work and group
responsibility, social control within the classroom is made easier. For example, it has
been shown that at-risk students often become very involved in service learning
projects that they consider to be of intrinsic worth (Burkhardt, 1989; Calbrese and
Schumer, 1986). Other research shows service learning to be key in increasing self-
esteem, self-respect, self-concept, and motivation (Eccles, 1993).

Yet another reason to incorporate service learning into the curriculum is based
in educational psychology. Building bridges between developmental levels, otherwise
known as the teachable moment or the zone of proximal development (Vygotsky,
1978) involves a transitioning of an actual developmental level into a potential
developmental level. Generally found on a cusp, both psychosocially and cognitively,
upper elementary students are ripe for crossing over to the next stage of development.
Vygotskys theory places the learning process before developmental progress.
According to Vygostky, only through exposure during the zone of proximal
development can students progress developmentally.
Dewey (1938), Tyler (1949), and Barber (1992) all claim that liberty is not
innate; it must be carefully cultivated within a knowledge of what it means to be a
citizen within a democratic society. According to Barber, this knowledge can only
come about through active participation. Barber places the acquisition of civic
knowledge in a cause and effect relationship. This carefully links democracy to civics
education, civics education to service, service to learning, and learning to school. For
Barber, learning to be a responsible citizen should be a required part of a democracy,
and an appropriate medium for learning how to be a responsible citizen is service

Critical Leadership and Cooperative Learning
Cooperative learning is discussed in this section due to its common usage as a
teaching method within the research classrooms. Although students in the research
classrooms also do individual work, cooperative learning is quite common within both
Teaching methods supposedly conform to the curriculum, but what
curriculum? Glatthom (1987) outlines four different types of any one curriculum.
First, there is formal curriculum-the curriculum that is approved by local or state
factions to teach. Then there is perceived curriculum, which is defined as how players
interpret the formal curriculum given to them. Operational curriculum is what actually
ends up transpiring in the classroom. This is the level of curriculum that is mixed with
teaching method and dispersed to the students. The last level, experiential curriculum,
is what the learners actually experience.
No one teaching style or strategy has proven to be the most effective for
teaching (Omstein, 1990). Instead, it has been found that different students learn best
with different teachers (Omstein, 1990). This is an important consideration when
overviewing any teaching method, including cooperative learning.
Cooperative learning has the potential to penetrate all levels of the curriculum
described by Glatthom (1987). In addition, cooperative learning also offers teachers
and students a teaching methodology which supports the development of critical

leadership. Johnson and Johnson (1991), writing in favor of cooperative teaching and
learning, note that positive interdependence comes when a member benefits the group
and the group benefits from its members.
The seif is a very poor site for finding meaning. Hope does not spring
from competition. Meaning does not surface in individualistic efforts
aimed at benefiting no one but yourself. Empowerment does not come
from isolation. Purpose does not grow on egocentric efforts and the
resulting concern for others, it is not possible to realize oneself except
in the most superficial sense. Contributing to the well-being of others
within an interdependent effort provides meaning and purpose to life.
(Johnson & Johnson, 1991, p. 129)
This positive interdependence can be achieved, Johnson and Johnson (1991)
write, when five factors are in place. First, everyone within the group must be aiming
for a mutual benefit. Second, group members must share a common fate. Also, each
member is responsible to the others in the group and obligated to their support. As
well, the group must share an identity as a team. Last, self-efficacy should be
increased through empowerment of the group.
Johnson and Johnson (1994) note that teaching students collaborative skills is
not a one step process. Teachers should be able to give students feedback on their
development of these skills on a continuous basis. The teacher must set up practice
situations after allowing students to participate in defining what collaborative skills
should look like. Class norms should support the use of these skills. Most important
in establishing a classroom where students can use cooperative skills, however, is the

establishment of trust. Trust, Johnson and Johnson (1994) purport, is an essential
element in any cooperative relationship. Though a teacher can support the ideas
encompassing trust and model that behavior, Johnson and Johnson note that the
student community must buy into the idea in order to have a truly cooperative
Cooperative learning has been shown to be advantageous in the classroom for
several reasons. Johnson and Johnson (1995) discuss some of these reasons: l)
people learn better when they have to teach others, 2) higher level thinking is
stimulated when participants teach each other, 3) peer teaching can be more effective
than teacher teaching, 4) when you teach, you become more committed to a cause
that youve persuaded others to adopt. In addition to these benefits, Johnson and
Johnson (1991), Ferguson (1995), Flynn (1989), and Sharan (1990) also claim that
cooperative learning is useful in promoting critical thinking among early adolescents.
This should be considered side-by-side with claims that critical thinking is one of the
most underachieved goals of American educators (Adler, 1986; Goodlad, 1984;
Parker, 1991). As well, it has been shown in Aronson, et al, (1978) that cooperative
learning helps bring together diverse populations. In addition, Sharan (1990)
documents cooperative learning as providing positive help for at-risk students.
Johnson and Johnson (1995) also write that cooperative learning helps to boost self-
esteem, social skills, and constructive attitudes in students. Cohen, Kepner, and

Swanson (199S) also support cooperative learning in the classroom. They write that
higher interaction in the classroom ends up translating to more learning for the
In order for a teacher to constructively implement cooperative learning, she or
he must buy into the new paradigm of teaching, as discussed and outlined by Johnson
and Johnson (1994). (See Figure 2.1.)
Figure 2.1: Comparison of Old and New Paradigms of Teaching, Johnson and
Johnson (1994, p. 261)
Knowledge Transferred from Faculty to Student Jointly Constructed by Students and Faculty
Students Passive Vessel to Be Filled by Facultys Knowledge Active Constructor, Discoverer, Transformer of Own Knowledge
Faculty Purpose Classify and Sort Students Develop Students Competencies and Talents
Relationships Impersonal Relationships Among Students and Between Faculty and Students Personal Transaction Among Students and Between Faculty and Students
Context Compedtive/Individualistic Cooperative Learning in Classroom and Cooperative Teams Among Faculty
Assumption Any Expert Can Teach Teaching is Complex and Requires Considerable Training

What cooperative learning boils down to, however, is group learning in which
both the teacher and students share knowledge and explore ideas. This is a teaching
style which promotes active participation by the students. Johnson and Johnson
(1994) state: Through contributing to the overall quality of life in the school, every
student is given the power of purpose and a sense of making a personal contribution
(p. 134). In addition to this benefit, Johnson and Johnson (1994) also write that:
Contributing to the success and well being of others gives learning and participation
in the school a meaning and purpose that is lacking in competitive and individualistic
settings (p. 134).Cooperative learning is an appropriate teaching method to use in
classrooms trying to teach critical leadership skills. Decision making power is
dispersed among the group, and not held only by the teacher. Cooperative learning
classrooms allow students power to and power with and steer away from the
power over environment. Cooperative learning offers students a chance to engage
in learning with the purpose of shared goals and group empowerment. The teacher
acts as a facilitator. All of these concepts would seem to support the use of
cooperative learning in classrooms committed to teaching critical leadership.
Chapter Summary
This chapter presented literature to help define critical leadership around a
framework modeled on ideas presented by Tierney (1989). In addition, service

learning was discussed as a supplement to classroom learning that has been supported
to varying degrees during the 20th century. Cooperative learning was also presented
due to the frequency of its use in the research classrooms. The following chapter will
outline the methodology used in studying critical leadership in the research classrooms.

The purpose of this study is to explore perceptions of leadership among
selected teachers and students and examine the relationship between the occurrence of
critical leadership in students and service learning in the classroom, as perceived by
students and teachers. As noted in Chapter 1, the three-tiered methods design
proposed by Sirotnik and Oakes (1986) will be used. This methodology, Sirotnik and
Oakes (1986) contend, offers a methodological alignment (p. 19) of data to be
analyzed from a critical perspective.
The first mode of inquiry utilizes empirical/analytic methods. This phase of the
research, Sirotnik and Oakes contend, provides knowledge which can be used
predictively in establishing the direction of study by providing definitive material of the
culture. This level of analysis, which relies on quantitative analysis, would be realized
appropriately in this study through the use of a questionnaire that searches for
explanatory relationships between the constructs of critical leadership and service
learning (Appendix A).

The second level of inquiry proposed by Sirotnik and Oakes is naturalistic/
interpretive. This level emphasizes validity of the study over reliability due to the
belief that each school holds its own distinct culture. Here, cultural analysis through
classroom observation is appropriate in order to determine social and behavioral
constructs. This level of inquiry is pointed toward interpretation and understanding of
social events, environment, and participants. The researcher is always included as a
part of this culture. The payoff of using interpretive methodology at this phase of
research is that it provides a depth of understanding not found in quantitative methods.
In essence, interpretive methods add texture to the study as they reflect on meanings
and behavior. Utilizing ethnographic methods is one way to explore a culture and,
specifically, interactions within that culture, as will be discussed below.
The third level of inquiry is based on an analysis of the critical process and
strives to understand the values, morals, and belief systems of those within the culture.
This phase of the research can be accomplished through the use of interviews which
explore how students and teachers think about critical leadership (Appendices B and
According to LeCompte and Preissle (1993), triangulation of data is a practical
way to expose and obtain reliable results. Triangulation of data, they argue, helps to
limit researcher bias as well as providing a more complete picture of the culture

studied. The researcher will triangulate the data obtained in this study while using the
three levels of inquiry described above.
The occurrence of critical leadership will be measured through observations by
the researcher and through the use of student questionnaires and student and teacher
interviews. Perceptions of teachers and students will be measured through the
questionnaire and by conducting interviews, with supporting evidence being drawn
from the observations where applicable. Relevant documents, such as leadership
reflections, will also be gathered. The occurrence of service learning will be obtained
from communication with teachers as well as through observations by the researcher
which are documented according to criteria noted in Appendix D.
Tier One: Student Questionnaire
The student questionnaire (Appendix A) was intended to reflect perceived
student leadership, especially as it related to service learning and civic responsibility.
This questionnaire was developed around a similar questionnaire given by the youth
group 4-H (Norman & Munson, 1987). Questions were adapted from seven
subgroups established by 4-H. The subgroups configured by 4-H are: making
decisions, understanding self, working with groups, communicating, getting along with
others, learning to learn, and management. These subgroups, taken together, provide
a look at what 4-H calls leadership life skills (Norman, Munson, & Zwilling 1987).
The original questionnaire given by 4-H was modified as the researcher deemed

necessary. Three subgroups, community responsibility, civic awareness, and
leadership/service were then added to the questionnaire to better fit the researchers
interests. No reliability/validity results were available from 4-H regarding the results
of this questionnaire. Therefore, a pilot test was run on the modified version in order
to assure the reliability of items to subgroups.
Pilot Questionnaire
The student questionnaire was piloted on eighteen fifth graders. The students
who took the pilot questionnaire came from a school in the same district as the school
to be used in the study. As well, student demographics were similar. Student
responses from the pilot questionnaire indicated that the questions were well
understood. After running a SPSS part-to-whole bivariate analysis of individual
responses with the questionnaires subgroups, some questions were eliminated. All
questions which received a bivariate score of .50 or under were eliminated. As well,
the entire subgroup entitled management, was discarded due to poor bivariate
scores. The loss of management as a subgroup should not influence the nature of the
results obtained for this study, as critical leadership does not focus on management
issues. Once the pilot questionnaire was edited, questions were re-ordered to mix up
the subscales. No validity measures were available for the questionnaire, since no
results from comparable studies were available. Therefore, the questionnaire holds
face validity only.

The first administration of this questionnaire provided a baseline understanding
of student conceptualizations of leadership. The results from this questionnaire were
intended to help the researcher understand what students think about their abilities as
leaders, what they think that leaders should be responsible for within their community,
and what role leadership should play in service. The second administration, given
three months later, assessed changes in attitude over time in the area of leadership.
Questionnaires were identical from administration to administration.
This questionnaire was intended to be reflective of the study classrooms only.
It was not meant to portray critical leadership in a survey-type, all-encompassing
manner. This was due to the relatively small size of the sample group. As well,
considering the results of the survey for the studys classrooms gave respect to the
notion of the individual school and classroom as unique cultures (Sirotnik & Oakes,
If the classrooms of study teach students leadership skills in a similar fashion, it
would be expected that the questionnaire would reflect a main, independent effect of
changes over time, using a two-by-two analysis of variance within and between
student assessments. Assuming similar styles between classrooms, no interaction
between classroom and time would be expected.

Tier Two: Classroom Observation and Document Collection
The purpose of observing the study classrooms during classtime was to gain an
understanding of the culture of the classrooms. Observations were conducted during
regular classtime and service activities, and occurred when the classes were separate as
well as when they combined.
LeCompte and Preissle (1993) define ethnography by comparing it to a book:
Ethnography is both a productthe book which tells a story about a
group of peopleand a processthe method of inquiry which leads to
the production of the book. The former consists of the body of
literature results, conclusions, interpretations, and theoriesamassed
from field studies of schooling and other educational processes, (p. 1)
LeCompte and Preissle (1993) acknowledge that no agreement has been met
regarding the scope or exact method to use while conducting an ethnographic
investigation. They caution away from blitzkrieg (p. 9) ethnographies, in which data
are collected too quickly or without regard to culture. This concern has been
addressed in this research study by scheduling more than 40 school days for classroom
observation, totaling over 200 hours of observation over a four and a half month
period. Observation guidelines were developed to assist the researcher in recording
data (Appendix C). Since the purpose of these observations was to extract
information about the two study classrooms cultures, the researcher also felt that the
concern in regard to culture would be met. Although ethnography could conceptually
encompass all levels of inquiry proposed for this study, the researcher felt that it was

most appropriately used at this stage of Sirotnik and Oakes (1986) inquiry, due to the
interpretive nature of most ethnographies.
Within the ethnography, participant observation was the most appropriate for
gathering data, due to the nature of the study classrooms. Both classrooms had adult
volunteers available on a regular basis, along with student teachers and a full time
paraprofessional. As Hunt (198S) defines it, participant observation is research
conducted by a known observerthe gathering of data by a researcher who takes part
in the daily life of the people being studied and whose identity and goals the observed
are aware of (p. 8). One of the key issues that LeCompte and Preissle (1993)
discuss in relation to participant observation is that the researcher must become a
learner in order to be socialized into the group studied.
In addition to ethnographic observation, the interpretive level of inquiry also
included document collection. Student and teacher journals entries pertaining to
leadership and service were collected. In addition, student goal and leadership
statements, were gathered. Demographic information and other pertinent documents
were collected as they came into being.
Tier Three: Teacher and Student Interviews
An analysis of process involved in implementing service learning, including the
values and leadership development as students and teachers perceive them to be
related to this process, was expected to be revealed through student and teacher

interviews. Interviews will target opinions about leadership, especially perceptions
centering on critical leadership (Appendices D and E).
Data Collection Specific to Research Questions
The following were data collection methods for each of the research questions
in the study. All of the supporting questions were analyzed according to collected
evidence through questionnaires, observations, and interviews.
Supporting Question l: Do students and teachers define leadership
within a critical context?
Data Collection Methods: Level 1: two student questionnaire
administrations (SPSS analysis); Level 2: classroom observations
(coding); Level 3: tape recorded student and teacher interviews
Data to be Collected: Level l: responses will indicate student
definition of leadership and possible change over time; Level 2: will
check for consistency in reported definitions which include a critical
context: will note instances of serving and supporting those the culture
defines as marginalized; Level 3 : will ask for an extended definition of
leadership, including examples, to see if critical aspects are contained in
those definitions given.
Supporting Question 2: Do students and teachers believe that critical
leadership arises out of taking civic responsibility?
Data Collection Methods: Level 1: two questionnaire administrations
(SPSS analysis); Level 2: classroom observations, document
collection (coding); Level 3: tape recorded student and teacher
interviews (coding)
Data to be Collected: Level l: responses will indicate if students
believe there to be a relationship between service, civic responsibility,
and leadership; Level 2: checks for how service and civic
responsibility are taught in this environment, who assumes primary and
tertiary roles in instigating service learning projects.; Level 3: checks
to see if the students and teachers believe that the environment
contributes to critical leadership.

Supporting Question 3: Do students and teachers think that leadership
is leamable?
Data Collection Methods: Level 1: two questionnaire administrations
(SPSS analysis); Level 2: classroom observations, document collection
(coding); Level 3: tape recorded student and teacher interviews
Data to he Collected: Level 1: asks if service helps students grow as
leaders/ checks for change over time in response; Level 2: may
illustrate some instances of learning leadership noted below; Level 3:
will specifically ask subjects if leadership can be learned and how.
Supporting Question 4: What is the relationship between service
learning in the classroom and students perceptions of leadership?
Data Collection Methods: Level 1: two student questionnaire
administrations (SPSS analysis); Level 2: Classroom observation,
document collection (coding); Level 3: Tape recorded student
Data to be Collected: Level 1: responses will indicate how closely
tied together students perceive leadership and service; Level 2: will
provide illustrative examples of expressed student perceptions found
below.; Level 3: Will specify what students attribute classroom
leadership to. will attempt to uncover the relationship between
leadership and service learning.
Supporting Question 5: What is the relationship between service
learning in the classroom and teachers perceptions of leadership?
Data Collection Methods: Level 2: classroom observation, document
collection (coding); Level 3: tape recorded teacher interviews.
Data to be Collected: Level 2: will provide illustrative examples of
expressed student perceptions found below.; Level 3: will specify what
students attribute classroom leadership to. Will attempt to uncover the
relationship between leadership and service learning.
Analyzing Data
The main research question How do students and teachers from a service
learning environment perceive leadership? was analyzed according to Wolcotts

(1994) categories of description, analysis, and interpretation (described above), using
critical theory as a lens. Triangulating the data at the three levels of inquiry described
above will provide more material with which to describe, analyze, and interpret the
data obtained. Henry Wolcott (1994) maintains that description, analysis, and
interpretation, while not mutually exclusive, are essential components in obtaining the
results of a study. He describes these requirements as necessary in order to obtain
strong results. He writes that:
Description addresses the question, What is going on here? Data
consists of observations made by the researcher and/or reported to the
researcher by others.
Analysis addresses the identification of essential features and the
systematic description of interrelationships among them in short, how
things work. In terms of stated objectives, analysis may also be
employed evaluatively to address the questions of why a system is not
working or how it might be made to work better.
Interpretation addresses processual questions of meanings and
contexts: How does it all mean? What is to be made of it all? (p.
Wolcotts three categories of analysis will be described through the lens of critical
inquiry, as described in Chapter 1. Triangulation of data found using Sirotnik and
Oakes (1986) proposed research methods, consideration of data using Wolcotts
(1994) categories, and the incorporation of a critical theoretical framework all
contributed to a greater understanding of critical leadership within the two service
learning classrooms, as it is perceived by the classroom participants.

Design of the Study
All research was approved by the University of Colorado at Denvers Human
Research Committee. Two fifth grade classes were studied. Sirotnik and Oakes
(1986) contend that each school has a particular culture distinct in important ways
from that of other schools. [IJt is the unique culture of a particular school that
must be both thoroughly understood and made the focus of change efforts if school
improvement at any given school is to occur (p. 12). Thus, it is most appropriate to
limit this analysis of perceptions of the occurrence of critical leadership in students and
service learning in the classroom to one community with one distinct culture.
Although generalizations are limited due to the small sample size of the study
community, the researcher felt that obtaining an in-depth look at one communitys
perceptions would be helpful in beginning to understand the role of critical leadership
in the classroom.
It was appropriate to study fifth grade classrooms for the occurrence of critical
leadership due to a fifth grade emphasis given to American history and government. In
conjunction with this requirement, the Center for Civic Education (1994) stresses civic
responsibilities in 5th through 8th grades. These include understanding and
participating in social action and volunteerism.

The classrooms studied are located in a suburban school district. The
classrooms were selected based on a team teaching approach between the two fifth
grade teachers, a commitment to service as a main component of the classrooms, and
diverse student demographics, such as social-economic-status and cultural
backgrounds. Both classrooms practiced service learning, and integrated service and
an emphasis on civic responsibility regularly. Texts were generally used as a
springboard into service activities. These texts were common between classrooms.
The two primary classroom teachers within the research classrooms are
experienced; one has 20 years experience, another has 24. Both regularly emphasize
the importance of service within their classrooms. The two student teachers assigned
to the primary classroom teachers come from nearby universities.
Within the classrooms, the ratio of female to male students was almost even.
Students from each classroom were chosen to participate in the interviews according
to availability, as deemed appropriate by their teachers. No student was interviewed
more than once. The two classroom teachers and their student teachers were also
Subject rights
Subjects were informed in writing of their right not to participate, to omit
answers to questions, and to end their participation at any time. Subjects were assured
that their privacy would be protected.

Subjects were from the two selected fifth grade classrooms only. Classrooms
were chosen according to whether or not teachers implement service learning as a part
of their regular instruction. As well, demographic diversity, access to the researcher,
and commitment to the study were considered. The majority of contact with students
required for the study involved non-intrusive classroom observation.
Time involvement
Questionnaires took students between 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and were
administered by the researcher in October and in January. Interviews took
approximately 15 minutes, and were administered by the researcher during non-
academic, teacher-approved time. No instructional time was sacrificed for any portion
of this study.
Place of study
Observations occurred within classrooms, except when a service learning or
other classroom project took students outside of school. Participants were
interviewed at the school, during non-instructional school hours.
Benefits and Risks
Benefits included building an understanding of the occurrence of critical
leadership as determined within service learning environments. There were no

perceivable risks for participants. Regular instructional time was in no way be altered
due to this study.
Subjects were assured of the confidentiality of this study. Pseudonyms were
used for the district, schools, and subjects during all data analysis and the formal write-
up. Data were stored at the researchers residence, and only the researcher had access
to the raw data. All products containing identifying factors were destroyed.

Purpose of the Study
This study explored the primary research question: How do students and
teachers from a service learning environment perceive leadership? This question will
be addressed in Chapter 5 according to the collected data and analysis of the
supporting questions. Collected data are analyzed in this chapter according to the
following supporting research questions:
1. Do students and teachers define leadership critically?
2. Do students and teachers believe that critical leadership arises out of taking
civic responsibility?
3. Do students and teachers think that leadership is leamable?
4. What is the relationship between the occurrence of service learning in the
classroom and students perceptions of leadership?
5. What is the relationship between the occurrence of service learning in the
classroom and teachers perceptions of leadership?
From a review of the literature, a service learning environment was outlined in
Chapter 1 as one which contains the following elements:
1. Significant, necessary, and measurable service is accomplished.
2. Youths are directly involved in planning and implementation.
3. Clear institutional commitment to the service program is reflected in goals
or mission statements.
4. Community support for and involvement in the learning program are
5. Learner outcomes for the program are well-articulated.

6. A well designed and articulated curriculum for service exists that includes
preparation, supervision, and active reflection on the experience.
7. Regular and significant recognition of the youths and adults who
participate takes place. (Conrad and Hedin, 1991)
The two research classrooms met the above criteria and were therefore used as
service learning classrooms for the study. In order to address the purpose of the study
and related research questions, this study examined these classrooms to explore
student and teacher perceptions of leadership within classroom environments that
promoted service learning. A classroom which did not embrace all of the above
elements of service learning could not have been considered as a service learning
The researcher observed two classrooms, one led by Mr. C and one by Ms. H.
Both were master teachers with 24 and 20 years of teaching experience, respectively.
Mr. C and Ms. H practiced team teaching and worked together to develop the
framework for their classrooms. Mr. J and Ms. H were student teachers who came
from nearby universities. Mr. J worked almost exclusively under Mr. Cs tutelage, and
Ms. W worked with Ms. H. However, both student teachers were incorporated into
the team teaching approach and were expected to teach small groups, classroom
groups, and, on occasion, the entire fifth grade.
Mr. Cs and Ms. Hs classrooms met the above criteria for service learning
classrooms. Once the classrooms for research were established, a study of leadership

could begin. Using Tierneys definition of critical leadership, the following factors
were delineated as elements of critical leadership:
1. Evolving from Bums transformational leadership.
2. Evolving from critical theory.
3. Deviating from the idea that management is leadership.
4. Concerned with mutuality in the leadership relationship.
5. Committed to empowering followers.
6. Embodying a commitment to teach others.
7. Participatory.
8. Explicitly tied to ideas of social justice, emancipation, and equality.
9. Embodying ideals promoted in a true democracy.
10. Representative of the culture of the organization.
The supporting questions will be explored while considering these elements of
critical leadership. However, before presenting data that help to answer the supporting
questions, it is important to gain an understanding of the research classrooms. What
are the main characteristics of these classrooms? What role does service learning play
in the research classrooms? What do the teachers do to provide an environment which
is supportive of student leadership? These questions will be addressed in the first
section of this chapter.
Following discussion of the supporting question are two sections devoted to
discussing the research questionnaires and their results.
Description of Classrooms Used in This Study
Pentecote Elementary is located in the American Mid-West, at the base of the
Rocky Mountains. It is nestled in a growing town which houses a state university and

a variety of large and small businesses. Schools within this district are funded at
$4,479 dollars per student. The residents span from the very rich to the very poor;
economic status of students families varies greatly. The school district covers 57S
square miles and educates 24,494 students. The district maintains 49 schools;
Pentecote Elementary is one of 32 elementary schools in the district.
More than a quarter of the student population at Pentecote Elementary
receives free or reduced price lunch; this is in comparison to 14% of students who
receive free or reduced price lunch district-wide. Although the majority of students at
Pentecote Elementary are Caucasian, the school is one of the most diverse within the
district. District ethnic heritage is recorded at 1% Native American Indian, 4% Asian,
2% African American, 9% Hispanic, and 84% White. Pentecote Elementarys ethnic
breakdown is 1% Native American, 14% Asian, 5% African American, 12% Hispanic,
and 68% White. This difference between district and school percentages is partly due
to the presence of the university and other institutes of higher learning, as many
students at Pentecote Elementary are the sons and daughters of parents who have
come to the area to study.
Pentecote Elementary is located in the downtown area, only two blocks from a
popular walking mall. Due to an open enrollment policy in the district, students come
to school on foot, school bus, public bus, or private transportation. Students come
primarily from the school boundary area as well as from the universitys family housing

and two trailer parks outside boundary limits. The student population of Pentecote
Elementary is relatively small, having less than three hundred students. Of these
students, 62 attend under the districts open enrollment policy. Programs such as
English as a Second Language, Special Education, Gifted and Talented, and Tide 1 are
available to students, but all students are mainstreamed into the regular classroom.
Students with learning disabilities who cannot be mainstreamed attend other schools in
the district. The school itself is an historical landmark in the town, being over one
hundred years old. Therefore, Pentecote Elementary is not equipped to handle
students with serious physical disabilities; no elevator is available to the second floor,
and ramps are not provided.
Pentecote Elementary has 34 certified staff members. There are 49 total staff
members. In addition, many classes have parent and community volunteers who come
in to help. Two classrooms are dedicated to each grade level. The sizes of these
classes varies yearly according to enrollment.
The two fifth grade classrooms used for research in this study share the upper
floor of Pentecote Elementary with the two fourth grade classrooms, the Computer
Lab, the Resource Room, Title 1, and the school counselor. Four long tables are
placed in the upper hallway, which the fifth grade uses frequently for small group

Both classes are equipped with their own computers; students also frequently
use the Computer Lab when other classes are not scheduled there. Both classes also
have a sofa area that can accommodate one class of students. Individual desks are
arranged in groups; these groups are rearranged once a month. When the two fifth
grades meet together, the teachers generally try to physically intersperse the two
groups around the room.
The two fifth grade teachers are both experienced, master instructors. Mr. C,
who has been at Pentecote Elementary for 19 years, has twenty four years of
classroom teaching experience. Ms. H, who transferred to Pentecote Elementary two
years ago, has twenty years of classroom teaching experience. Mr. C and Ms. H
maintain an effective professional relationship which is carried out through team
During the research period, both Mr. C and Ms. H had student teachers. Mr.
J, who student taught in Mr. Cs class, came from a college in a nearby town, and had
volunteered at Pentecote prior to his student teaching. Ms. W came from the
university in town, and taught with Ms. H. Mr. J and Ms. W were introduced to
students at Back to School Night, where it was made known to students that the
student teachers held an important role in the classroom as teachers.
Mr. C and Ms. H teach their own classes during certain subjects, such as
Readers/Writers Workshop. For other subjects, such as Math and Science, they mix

students up into two or four groups. All four teachers often taught lessons to both
small and large groups during the time of the research. Groups are established in
several different fashions. This was evidenced throughout the research period, with
groups being organized according to gender, interest, ability, and random placement.
Within the classrooms, the ratio of male to female students is almost even.
Both classes have students that are classified as special education students, both also
have students that attend Title 1, as well as students who have tested as gifted. Ms. H
has all of the fifth grade students in the English as a Second Language Program (ESL);
it is school policy at Pentecote Elementary to try to place all ESL students in one
classroom. A paraprofessional works full-time in Ms. Hs room in order to help one
student who has special needs. However, this student does so well on her own that
the paraprofessional is often used in other capacities, such as assisting the ESL
students or providing individual attention to students who need help.
Mr. C and Ms. H can be classified as new school teachers, according to
Johnson and Johnsons (1994) definition reviewed in Chapter 2 (see page 64). They
both emphasize cooperative learning in their classrooms, although individualized
instruction is also used. They both hold high expectations for every student.
Manipulatives are often used in science and math instruction; language arts is taught
primarily through Readers/Writers Workshop. Peer feedback is consistently
important in almost every area. Social studies is taught primarily through preparation

for and participation in a Class Congress which meets at least every other week. In
Class Congress, students hear from at least one student presenter, who plays a
president, first lady, or other historical figure and who gives some factual information
in addition to addressing a pertinent issue from the time period being studied. Then,
Mr. Cs and Ms. Hs classes debate an issue proposed by the presenter while playing
the part of state representatives. During the time leading up to a Class Congress,
students work to prepare themselves with a knowledge of major issues of the time
period that will be highlighted in the Class Congress meeting.
As well, both Mr. C and Ms. H offer a session called Class Economics. In
Class Economics, students apply for, work at, and get paid for doing certain jobs
associated with the classroom. Examples of such jobs include Class Biologist, who
takes care of the classroom plants; Local News Reporter, who reports on community
issues; and Supervisors, who monitor others as they do their jobs, substitute for absent
students, and are in charge of paying their employees. At the end of each
Economics session, which is scheduled about twice a week, students meet and run a
group where they are responsible for reporting to their fellow students any new
information. This group is completely student run, with the exception of occasional
management problems handled by the teachers. Both Mr. C and Ms. H hold their own
Economics sessions, though students hold similar jobs in both classrooms. At the end
of an Economics period, students are given the opportunity to spend the money that

theyve earned during class auctions or a combined class Mini Society where
students sell services or products that theyve made to one another.
Mr. C and Ms. H both insist on student participation. Both teachers are very
interactive with their students, and both commonly use hands-on learning in their
classrooms. Communication between home and school is kept up diligently in both
Mr. C and Ms. H differ slightly in their interaction with students. Both are
consistently timed in to what is happening in their classrooms; however, Ms. H is
inclined to interrupt students more frequently to share a piece of information or to
redirect than is Mr. C. In Mr. Cs class, students are more likely to continue a
student-run group uninterrupted; when Mr. C does participate, it is usually on the level
of the students versus that of a traditional classroom leader. Ms. H more often
assumes the role of classroom leader during student led groups, however, she is
careful not to interfere with student leadership at the same time.
During Back to School Night, Mr. C and Ms. H introduced the Five Lifelong
Goals, adopted from the National Junior Honor Society, as an important piece of their
direction for students during the year. These goals appear on the walls in both rooms,
and Mr. C and Ms. H often refer to them in their discussions with the students. The
Five Lifelong Goals, as they appear in Mr. C and Ms. Hs classrooms, are:

The challenge and love of learning brings us here. Scholarship is at the
heart of our education. This is the foundation of why we come to
school. Becoming the best we can be is essential, fundamental.
But if we dont use our knowledge in outward service, we will grow
selfish & fester like an ingrown toenail. A major purpose of learning is
to make use of what we know, to give back to others what we have
It takes vision to choose where we are going. Let us learn from the
geese, taking turns in leading the flock out at the tip of the V... cutting
into the wind.
Remember the common good of the wolf pack, the group that supports
us, to which we belong. We are not alone. We live together with
others. We are part of a team.
The family nurtures us. The community helps us. Still, we alone must
build a life within ourselves. Listening to the voice of conscience, we
stand up for what we believe and say to the world, Here I am.
During this introduction, students light five candles representing these goals.
The Five Lifelong Goals are thus brought into the community from the very beginning,
and students are made to feel a part of this through the ritual of candle lighting. Both
Mr. C and Ms. H spoke to the importance of drawing students in through ritual during
their interviews.
[A]s far as the candle lighting is concerned I thought that was a really
lovely way to start off this sense of community and these are some
principles that we 11 be revisiting on and off throughout the year in this

kind of mystical magical way, which I think especially kids, but all
people, have a need for ritual in their lives. (Ms. H)
Well, in our society there used to be more ritual, and there really isnt
as much now. And so, to help people, in their mind, mark a passage of
their life and to understand that period and to have an image in their
mind about what happened, a symbol is powerful. And the idea of
lighting something in a controlled way, like a candle, is a way of
speaking symbolically to all of us, that we can bring light to our world.
And to do it at the beginning and ending gives us a sense of opening
and closure, so that they know that theyve been here, and theyve done
this, and now this is over, and they will be moving on. But they can
take with them what they experienced to their next round. But it
defines around on the circle. (Mr. C)
The candle lighting ceremony alerts students to the importance of the Five
Lifelong Goals within both fifth grade classes. Each of the Goals is emphasized
throughout the school year as the teachers deem appropriate. Thus, the importance of
student leadership within the classroom is stressed by:
Well, number l, defining it as a clear goal for the year. That we will
look at what it means to be a leader, to be part of serving the
community, and building your own character. All of those things are
important in this classroom besides academics and scholarship. Which
is also stated clearly as a goal. So, we start the year really saying This
is important. So they hear being a leader and being involved like that is
a goal. (Mr. C)
Service learning is strongly emphasized in both classes. Students are
frequently reminded of how what they are doing is related to the community and can
be used to help others. For example, after reading a text which featured homelessness,
Ms. H invited in a woman from a local shelter to talk to students, then followed up

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