Leadership and science achievement of afterschool students

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


Adolescents are driven by interactions with their peers. Social pressures can have heavy impacts on a student's academic motivation and achievement, and social development. In order to provide a space to work on having productive peer interactions, I designed a classroom research project that incorporated leadership initiatives into the enrichment activities at Teton Afterschool. Leadership initiatives used were teambuilding activities and group discussions and debriefs. Students participated in one science unit without leadership initiatives, followed by a unit where each lesson began with a teambuilder. The focus question for this project was: What are the effects of introduction leadership initiatives into enrichment time of Teton Afterschool? Data collected showed statistically significant improvements in science content quizzes and self-reported leadership confidence surveys between units. There was also a decrease in the number of disciplinary actions that had to be taken by staff during the leadership unit. Student interviews described a range of attitudes about leadership, and mainly positive attitudes about science lessons and Teton Afterschool in general. These results show that the inclusion of teambuilding in programs for upper elementary and middle school students has potentially very positive effects.




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