A conceptual model for leadership and character development interventions through sport : development and empirical testing using mixed methods

  • Kenneth Tan

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis addresses the question of whether leadership and character can be taught through sport. This question has been studied in a range of fields, including leadership development research, sport education research and even United States military research (Gould & Voelker, 2010; Pim & Doty, 2010; Vidic & Burton, 2011). Through investigating various research topics, including civics and morals, character and citizenship, leadership and character development, and sport education, this study uncovered a significant theoretical gap at the convergence of these bodies of knowledge. Lee, Whitehead, and Balchin (2000) found that very few researchers have addressed the idea of measuring values through sports. Singaporean research into physical education conducted by Kwon, Pyun, and Kim (2010) found that leadership behaviours through sports and physical education required further research. Gould and Voelker (2010) also suggested the need for more theoretical developments and measures for leadership through sports. Civics and moral education research (Chew, 1998) indicates that values are taught in schools by addressing issues on morality and socially acceptable behaviours, yet there has been no impact analysis or effectiveness testing of such programs on learning outcomes (Koh, 2012). Curriculum developers also need to consider the provision of authentic experiences, social modelling and guidance to ensure outcomes of leadership and character development are achieved (Vishalache, 2007). Research into Leadership in Sport development has found that leveraging the sports captaincy experience is important (Gould & Voelker, 2010) in enhancing leadership through sport and physical education, and can provide authentic experiences. This study employed a mixed-methods research design to investigate the central thesis topic by addressing the theoretical and methodological gap in the literature and developing a conceptual model that integrates the research. The model was developed using key theories from the role learning and sport education models (Siedentop, 1982, 1994) using situational modified activities (Hellison, 2003) and teachable moments in sports (Vidoni & Ward, 2009) to inculcate character and leadership values and behaviours. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to test and refine the conceptual model, respectively, for the purpose of implementing character and leadership development interventions through sport. Overall, the results provide positive evidence that the conceptual model developed is effective in helping educators apply and facilitate values-inculcation principles and practices into their lessons. In turn, this increases the behavioural frequency of students demonstrating values such as respect, responsibility, resilience, integrity, care and harmony during lessons.
    Date of Award2018
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMonica Kennedy (Supervisor), Tracey Dickson (Supervisor), Doug Davies (Supervisor) & Angela Benson (Supervisor)

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