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Teacher Leadership

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

Series:

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 Three

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Introduction

The roles of teachers have traditionally been confined by narrow definitions of what good teachers do. While “teacher leadership” has been a term tossed around for several decades, the term is most often used to define roles and responsibilities for teachers that serve the needs of others, for example, administrators and politicians. “Others” define what needs to be done and teacher leaders make it happen. Teacher leaders are often named as key actors in school improvement efforts, but the voices of teachers seldom determine the process and product of those efforts.

Meaningful teacher leadership in the twenty-first century depends on an in-depth understanding of how teachers acting as leaders must, by necessity, integrate a variety of roles within a context of reform, school improvement, and transformation—teacher leaders are learners and leaders. The conception of teachers as lifelong learners is not new. However, a consideration of how this role intersects with teachers as leaders is prerequisite to an understanding of how the notions of teacher leadership discussed in this book differ from previously held ideas of teacher leadership as simply one piece of the school improvement equation. Teachers functioning as autonomous decision-makers and educational leaders who define their own unique agendas are important dimensions of a “new and improved” twenty-first-century version of the teaching profession. Yet, moving beyond this vision to an understanding of how teacher leaders overcome the myriad obstacles to this potential transformation of the profession is the...

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