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Teacher Leadership

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


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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14. What Does Leadership Capacity Mean?


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What Does Leadership Capacity Really Mean?

Linda Lambert

Throughout this hemisphere, conferences, seminars, and academies are hosting events on leadership capacity. The Internet lists dozens of online courses about leadership capacity. Google reports more than 3 million hits under the title “leadership capacity.”

What is really meant by leadership capacity? The term has been around for some time. What is my leadership capacity? What is the leadership capacity of individual teachers, our principal, our political figures? This personal usage, while central to school improvement, does not offer a framework or schema to sustain school improvement. Since the publication of Building Leadership Capacity in Schools (ASCD, 1998), educators use the term “leadership capacity” as an organizational concept meaning broad-based, skillful participation in the work of leadership that leads to lasting school improvement.

First, let’s look closely at these terms.

Leadership—and therefore the work of leadership as used within the definition of leadership capacity—means reciprocal, purposeful learning together in community.

Reciprocity is essential to solving problems and working collaboratively. Purpose suggests values, focus, and momentum. Learning is mutually creating meaning and knowledge. Community is the essential environment for experiencing reciprocal, purposeful learning. These four ideas frame a definition of leadership in which all can see themselves reflected. It is the mirroring pool of a professional culture.

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