Latinx fifth-grade student perceptions of their experiences in a leadership skills and social-emotional learning program : a phenomenological study.


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Current scholarship demonstrates that there is an opportunity and achievement gap that exists between Latinx fifth graders and other ethnic demographics (NAEP, 2020). This performance gap of Hispanic students continues to be a growing national concern. The performance gap is of particular interest in the state of Texas, where the Hispanic population will account for 71% of all growth by the year 2050. (Murdock et al., 2015). The scholarship demonstrates that training students in leadership improves their academics, suggesting that providing Latinx students with leadership training could help address the persistent opportunity and achievement gap impacting their success (Covey, 2014). This study examined the implications of leadership training for Latinx student success in a localized context that employed the Leader in Me (LiM) program in school to provide leadership development opportunities. The focus on student experiences within the LiM program showed how leadership development had the potential to address opportunity gaps. It was crucial to evaluate how the LiM program prepared Latinx students for leadership roles. Understanding how a Social Emotional Health (SEH) program equipped Latinx students with the confidence to take on leadership roles provided insight for others also serving this population. This phenomenological study examined how the LiM program combined leadership and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to provide healthy SEH and assisted in developing leadership skills. Specifically, this study examined fifth-grade student experiences and their perceived impact of the LiM program in the Northwest Region of Dallas ISD. Data revealed that the program prepared Latinx students to have the courage to take on leadership roles both in and out of school. Additionally, the students’ experiences in the LiM program were positive. Students believed they were all leaders and would reach their future goals. The study offers recommendations to assist ELL students by including ESL strategies to help with comprehension of the LiM program.



Social-emotional health (SEH). Social-emotional learning (SEL). Academic achievement. Leadership. Latinx. Culture. Motivation.