The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition
Edited By Eleanor Blair
9. Excellent Teachers Leading the Way: How to Cultivate Teacher Leadership
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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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