Fiction and leadership potential: an investigation into developing leadership concepts in adolescents using fictional characters from a novel

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middle level student leadership , mixed methods , use of fiction
Peate, John G.
The purpose of this mixed methods study was to discover whether 7th grade students could learn about leadership traits and show greater confidence in their ability to be leaders through the integration of fictional characters from a novel. Quantitative data were gathered from pre and posttests on leadership given to 38 7th graders. All the students received the same instruction, but the experimental group were exposed to additional discussions of the novel Fahrenheit 451 in terms of the leadership traits of the characters from the novel. Qualitative data were gathered from interviews with 32 of the 38 students. The interview transcripts were analyzed after thematic coding and the results of this process were integrated with the quantitative data to confirm that both groups can describe the traits of a leader. Though there was not a statistically significant difference between the pre- and post- test scores for either the experimental or the control group, the interviews revealed that though the students within the control group could describe the traits of leaders in an academic way, the experimental group demonstrated a more holistic understanding by providing contextual examples from the novel as well as from societal, current and personal experiences.