Keeffe, Mary and Andrews, Dorothy (2011) Students' perspectives on leadership: Interpretations of symbolic, social and cultural capital. Leading and Managing, 17 (2). pp. 21-35. ISSN 1329-4539
The nature of student leadership in schools may be changing to reflect an increase in the importance of social networking over educational gain. To understand these trends it is important to speak with students and investigate leadership from their perspective. A range of adolescent responsive methodologies were used in this study to facilitate student interpretations of leadership contexts. The methods included drama vignettes, photovoice and mind mapping. The student perspectives were analysed using Bourdieu's (1977) notions of habitus, field and capital to understand how students saw leadership, self and education converge or partition. The study found that students were able to understand and accept symbolic and social forms of capital but they were unable to make an explicit link between student leadership and educational gain. This raises the proposition that student understandings of leadership are grounded in social, rather than pedagogical experiences.
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