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ERIC Number: ED548984
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 276
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-3897-6
Exploring the Phenomenon of Leading through the Experiences of Peer Leaders
Dreyfuss, A. E.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
The concept of leadership has been explored in many contexts, yet it is not a role that is expected as part of a college education. "Peer Leaders" are in a unique position because they are responsible for leading a group of students to learn. This phenomenological case study explored the experience of "leading" by Peer Leaders, college students who are selected and trained in adult learning theory to lead a group of students to learn the course material in an introductory science course, in a program at an urban commuter public college. Seventeen of the 22 study participants served more than one semester, averaging four, over the past ten years. In-depth interviews were conducted and three emergent metaphors were identified. These are the "Older Sibling," a role based in prior learning of family with informal authority; the "Faces of the Mountain," a more traditional view of leadership combining positional authority and entity attributes; and the "Catalyst" who manages several small groups of learners, giving power back to the group members. The essence of leading by Peer Leaders is proposed as the following: Leading a workshop group is drawn from prior experience, perhaps a familial role of a sibling, or tacit assumptions and expectations of the role of a leader. It has a cognitive foundation in the task of helping students learn course material yet it is in the dynamics of interacting with the students that a relational process occurs. Emergent relational leadership roles are based in communication, discourse, emotions, diversity of learners' needs and abilities. It is through this experiential process that leading becomes a catalytic activity whereby the leader manages smaller groups to enable each group member to help others learn. Relational leadership is inclusive, challenging, and carries with it the burden of responsibilities to fellow students, fellow Peer Leaders, faculty, and the department. It can also be fun, and may flow with energy, and most importantly, it can be transformational in the ways the Peer Leader views being a follower, learning and leadership. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A