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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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9. Excellent Teachers Leading the Way: How to Cultivate Teacher Leadership

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CHAPTER 9



Excellent Teachers Leading the Way

How to Cultivate Teacher Leadership

Holly J. Thornton

Policy changes and mandates that may be at odds with middle school philosophy continue to come from state legislatures and departments of education. Increased emphasis on content coverage and test scores can be an obstacle to many middle level practices, such as curriculum integration and differentiated instruction. As this situation continues, it becomes increasingly difficult for middle grades educators to meet students’ needs as individual learners, to develop their voices and ownership in learning, and to explore students’ questions and concerns about the world around them (Kohn, 2000).

While an increasing number of well-prepared, exemplary middle grades educators know and understand this situation, these educators are often not the ones leading school change. Teachers are at the center of all reform movements, and without their full participation and leadership, any effort to reform education is doomed to failure. Real change cannot be mandated, even by well intentioned policymakers (Lieberman & Miller, 1999). Given this, why is it that teachers are not taking the lead in current reform, and how can they best be supported as leaders of school improvement? A grassroots movement by teachers reinforcing the notion that “every teacher is a leader” may be vital to the continued success of middle level schools in this challenging time.

Benefits of teacher leadership

Middle schools benefit in...

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