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Teacher Leadership

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


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 Four


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Images of teacher leaders in twenty-first-century schools are often contradictory and confusing. Teachers are important, tireless leaders and mentors to our children, and yet, simultaneously, they are held accountable for the demise of public education as measured by high-stakes tests and various accountability measures. Teachers are both heroes and villains in the theatre of public education. There are no winners in this scenario, and concessions to the lowest expectations for public schools seem to dictate that more control and regulation will somehow make schools better. And thus it is really no surprise that twenty-first-century teachers are often “locked” into arbitrary and strictly defined roles, where thinking and creativity are seldom rewarded and unquestioning obedience is considered an asset. Twenty-first-century teachers are considerably better educated than their twentieth-century counterparts; however, the circumstances of their work have not changed significantly. On a daily basis, teachers routinely enter a profession where they are given a curriculum that is measured by high-stakes tests that define teaching and learning efficacy as student scores on high-stakes tests and opportunities for teacher leadership are limited and strictly prescribed to ensure compliance to externally imposed mandates.

School reform that embraces notions about teacher leadership frequently focuses on superficial changes that redefine teachers’ work as compliance, not advocacy. In lieu of creating spaces that accommodate the need for reflection, inquiry, and dialogue by teachers, schools are still designed around business models that focus on outcomes, not process or progress....

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