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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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Introduction to Section One


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Teacher leaders working to make social justice an essential part of twenty-first-century schools inevitably confront political and social agendas that are in direct conflict with efforts to create educational contexts that are responsive to the needs of diverse students and their families. These efforts are often lost in the myriad roadblocks created by politicians and bureaucrats who focus on self-interests rather than the broader needs of society. This conflict is obvious in the daily, and all too familiar, struggles surrounding power, authority, and advocacy in the increasingly bureaucratic school–industrial complex. In Weiler’s (1988) study of women teachers and administrators, she found:

They inherit positions in already existing, highly complex institutions … . Feminist and antiracist teachers and administrators who seek to redefine curriculum and social relationships inside and outside the classroom find themselves in conflict with existing patriarchal ideology and hierarchical relationships. (p. 101)

Since 1988, little has changed. The same conservative patriarchal ideologies and hierarchical relationships are alive and well in schools today and impact every level of pedagogical decision-making. However, today’s teachers are better educated than ever before and uniquely qualified to assume leadership roles that have an ideological component that would shape the direction of discussions regarding how, what, and where we teach as well as notions about teachers’ roles and responsibilities as leaders in the reform of twenty-first-century schools.

Cochran-Smith (1991) conceptualized the notion of “teaching against the grain” in the following way:...

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