Developing teachers leadership in a minority community a case study
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DEVELOPING TEACHERS’ LEADERSHIP IN A MINORITY COMMUNITY A Case Study. Ben-Hur Yehuda, The Davidson Institute of Science Education Oren Miri, The National Teachers’ Center for Science & Technology Cohen Rachel, The Ministry of Education Shaham Rachel, The Ministry of Education

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Ben-Hur Yehuda, The Davidson Institute of Science Education

Oren Miri, The National Teachers’ Center for Science & Technology

Cohen Rachel, The Ministry of Education

Shaham Rachel, The Ministry of Education

Wagner Tilly, The National Teachers’ Center for Science & Technology

  • Professional Development is a long and complex process

  • It demands many resources of time and money

  • Developing teachers’ leadership is even more demanding

What happens when there is a need for development

of teachers’ leadership under unusual conditions?

  • Scarcity of means

  • Lack of time

  • Special population

Development of teachers’ leadership in the Druze sector


  • Druze are a religious and cultural minority

  • Druze society is a traditional and conservative society

  • The Druze minority in the Middle East is concentrated in three contiguous countries: Syria, Lebanon and Israel.

The Druze ethnic group in Israel comprises approximately 115,000 people.They lived mostly on Mount Carmel, in Galilee and the Golan heights.

  • The Science and Technology curriculum taught in schools in Druze villages is the formal program of the Israeli Ministry of Education.

  • Learning materials and textbooks are actually being written and taught in Arabic.

  • Science teachers in the Druze sector are insufficiently exposed to training opportunities, continuing education and professional development programs.

  • The Druze female teachers’ participation level in conferences, workshops and meetings is low. They come from a relatively conservative society where

    women's absence from home for long periods of time or distant traveling is not acceptable.

Limiting factors

  • Distance

  • Language difficulties

  • Cultural and traditional obstacles

The population

16 junior high school teachers were chosen by the Science Teaching Supervisory Board of the North County and were recommended by their schools’ principals.

Most of them possess vast teaching experience and seniority.

Several teachers dropped out during the course and 9 teachers graduated.


The continuing education program and the meetings took place in the northern part of the country, at a reasonable driving distance from the participating teachers’ residence.

Course planning and operation

  • The Planning and operation of the course was based on the Standards for Professional Development for Teachers of Science (NSES).

  • The course was jointly planned by scientific knowledge specialists, science teaching professionals, supervisors, teachers’ instructors and the participants themselves.

  • The program of the course was designed throughout its implementation by joint discussion between all involved parties and the teachers.

Training and Instructions Process

The model was based on the three stages of Teachers’ Leadership Development (Rosenfeld, Schertz, Orion, Eylon, 1997):

1. The Teacher as Learner

2. The Teacher as Instructor in the classroom

3. The Teacher as Innovator

Course program

Three intertwined tracks:

  • Content knowledge

  • Pedagogical knowledge

  • Learning skills

Stage 1 – The Teacher as Learner

Content knowledge


  • Teachers were exposed to main ideas in Ecology.

  • For each idea, a demonstrative and illustrative experiment or activity was presented (Benchmark Experiments).

  • All the experiments and activities were carried out by the teachers.

Ecology – main ideas

  • There are interactions between organisms and their environment and between themselves. These interactions determine the abundance and the distribution of the organisms in an environment. Organisms influence their environment while also being influenced by it.

  • There is a correlation between the structure, the way of life and the behavior of Organisms and their environment

Stage 1 – The Teacher as Learner


Teachers attended a scientific lecture about Biodiversity and Sustainable Development.

Stage 1 – The Teacher as Learner

Learning environments

During the activities the teachers experienced and were exposed to various learning environments:

  • Laboratory

  • Computer

  • Outdoor

Stage 1 – The Teacher as Learner


During the activities the teachers experienced and were exposed to various skills:

  • Data gathering and presentation

  • Working with microscopes

  • Measuring various variables in outdoor environments

  • Reading and analyzing graphs

  • Conducting experiments and drawing conclusions

Stage 1 - Teacher as Learner

Pedagogical knowledge

  • The teachers were introduced to misconceptions and experienced these through examples from ecology content.

  • The teachers experienced the process of concept map construction and realized its contribution as a tool for teaching and learning improvement.

  • The teachers experienced the process of scientific explanation construction and analyzed the components of such an explanation through examples from the content. (Claim-Evidence-Reasoning).

Stage 2 – The Teacher as Instructor in the classroom

  • The teachers taught the subject “Ecological systems” in their classes

  • The teachers used the benchmark experiments with their students.

  • Teaching in the classroom was assisted by course instructors.

  • At the end of this episode, a teachers’ meeting was assigned for reflection, feedback and planning of the next stage.

Stage 3 - Teacher as InnovatorEpisode A

The teachers taking part in the course were given the task to organize a one day seminar for science and technology teachers from Druze schools in the northern county.

The seminar took place in the center for science education in one town of the northern region. Around 40 teachers from all Druze schools in the area took part in the seminar, organized in the format of a scientific conference.

The one-day seminar included plenary lectures and workshops.

All the administrative and professional organization was carried out by the teachers participating in the course, guided and supported by their mentors.

At the end of the day, a concluding session was run for feedback and reflection.

Teacher’s conference

Stage 3 – The Teacher as Innovator

  • Teachers who took part in the seminar were requested to implement the experiments and activities they experienced during the workshops in their classrooms.

  • Every “leader Teacher” guided, mentored and escorted the implementation efforts of colleagues from their schools and from others in the vicinity.

Stage 3 – The Teacher as InnovatorEpisode B

Teachers taking part in the course are initiating another conference in which students present the products of their activities.

Stage 3 – The Teacher as InnovatorEpisode B

  • Teachers and students conference took place on the indicated date.

  • Around 200 students from 16 schools participated in the conference

  • The conference included students’ presentations of activities, a poster session and a professional lecture.

  • The conference was organized and operated entirely and solely by the “leader teachers” who participated in the original course.

Students’ Conference

Teachers’ feedback

  • During the course we conducted interviews with the participants and received feedback after each stage.

  • During the first stage, teachers expressed their concern and doubts.

  • Following the success of the one-day teachers’ seminar, teachers’ confidence and sense of self - capability increased significantly.

  • During the preparations for the students’ conference, the teachers experienced greater self-confidence.

  • They reported a high level of satisfaction and status improvement among their colleagues and headmasters.


  • Collaboration between several parties: supervisors, principals and an academic institution

  • Teachers’ willingness and motivation

  • Close support from teachers’ instructors

    Contributed to a success beyond anticipation


  • Course participants were given opportunities to try new approaches.

  • Continuing programs were implemented allowing time for significant changes.

  • Personal and challenging support was offered throughout the change process.


This model can be implemented in other special populations (teachers from Bedouin or ultra-orthodox sectors, etc.)

Continued observation and monitoring of these teachers is recommended in order to ascertain their continuing leadership and implementation of innovations and change in all the Druze minority schools.

Thank you!

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