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Teacher Leadership

The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition

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Edited By Eleanor Blair

Teacher leadership as a dimension of teachers’ work has never been more important. This topic has emerged as a major component of both state and national standards, and as such, it is included in most contemporary teacher education programs. Three decades of research have focused on teacher leadership as an essential element of school improvement, but its relationship to the potential transformation of the teaching profession remains unexplored. This revised edition of Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education provides an overview of the scholarship being done in the field and a framework for questions and discussions regarding the sustainability of teacher leadership efforts. In this edition, each of the five sections is accompanied by an introduction and reflection questions on the various issues related to teachers acting as leaders in classrooms, schools and communities. The book opens with a completely new section that presents scholarship related to teacher leadership and social justice, where the role of ideology in the work of teacher leaders is considered. This book includes the work of over thirty authors and is an essential tool for guiding dialogue regarding the various facets of teacher leadership and its impact on school culture, student learning and professional learning communities within the context of twenty-first century school reform. Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader is intended for undergraduate and graduate education students.
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8. Reworking Industrial Models, Exploring Contemporary Ideas, and Fostering Teacher Leadership

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CHAPTER 8



Reworking Industrial Models, Exploring Contemporary Ideas, and Fostering Teacher Leadership

Christopher Steel and Elizabeth Craig

Ask any American to describe the basic operational structure of a typical public school in the United States, and he or she can probably do it with great accuracy. The systems and processes of schooling in this country are remarkably standardized and make education perhaps the most familiar of public institutions. One could also reasonably claim that, until recently, public education has been the nation’s most unchanging entity.

For over a century, public schools have conformed to an industrial production model.1 No sooner had Henry Ford discovered the efficiency of the assembly line than educators began to apply similar logic to the “production” of educated citizens. As a society, we came to believe that students could be placed on a metaphorical conveyor belt at the start of their school years and, provided the machine was properly constructed, would step off at the end with all the necessary skills and knowledge to enter adulthood. The role of the teacher was quickly equated with that of the assembly-line worker, who would add some small subset of the requisite educational “parts” to the student/product.

For better or worse, this industrial model of education became the basis for how all those involved in the educational enterprise viewed the role of teachers. The marvel of the assembly line is that each worker needs...

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