Education for leadership development: preparing a new generation of leaders
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The scope of my research falls into the areas of education, youth leadership development, and community change. The youth community development literature argues that it is not enough to educate our children or to teach them prevention skills alone. We must help youth develop their skills in a more holistic fashion that will help them meet the challenges they face as youth and adults. The traditional educational culture is presently not set up to provide this critical education. My research is place-based and grounded in Freirian principles of critical pedagogy. The research questions of this research are the following: • What are the necessary and sufficient conditions to educate leaders? • What are the community-based actions that contribute to youth leadership development? This dissertation is a case study of a new pedagogical strategy for teaching, learning, and developing young leaders. As a research strategy I employ participatory action research for collecting data and building skills. Additionally, I have consulted an archival collection of videotapes that has documented work conducted during the last four years. Through content analysis and subsequent conversations, I have identified critical moments and strategies that have contributed to the teaching, learning, and leadership development of youth. During times of major societal transitions our society has struggled with the role of youth in our communities. We, in this South Texas community, view our youth as local assets and future leaders. The significance of this study is multifaceted. First, the political implications are inherently radical, for this document will chronicle a new political practice that puts young people in the middle of educational policy and practice as active, instead of the traditional passive, participants and creators of power; including youth in policymaking will begin to frame the process of change in a very different ontological reality. Secondly, it also promises to shatter traditional stereotypes often attached to Latino youth. And thirdly, this study promotes the crossing of multiple borders as a natural and organic process; and finally, I put forth an emerging community development paradigm that privileges youth as leaders. This study engages educators and learners in a discourse centered on teaching, learning, leadership and community youth development.