The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition
Edited By Eleanor Blair
Introduction to Section Three
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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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