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Differentiated Teacher Leadership. DR. JEFFREY S. BROOKS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI PAPER PRESENTED AT THE 2009 FALL MEETING OF THE MISSOURI ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES FOR TEACHER EDUCATION COLUMBIA, MO. What is Teacher Leadership?. Teacher Leadership.

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differentiated teacher leadership

Differentiated Teacher Leadership

DR. JEFFREY S. BROOKS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

PAPER PRESENTED AT THE 2009 FALL MEETING OF THE

MISSOURI ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES FOR TEACHER EDUCATION

COLUMBIA, MO

teacher leadership
Teacher Leadership
  • …is not new!
    • Initial inquiry as far back as the 1930’s
    • Internationally, the English and Australian “headteacher” approach is close to what we call teacher leadership
  • Until recently, teachers interested in becoming leaders in a formal public K-12 educational institution had three routes:
    • (1) becoming an administrator;
    • (2) organizing or joining activist-type teacher movements (mainly in urban settings), and;
    • (3) becoming involved in local union affairs, thereby helping to improve conditions of work in the profession (Institute for Educational Leadership, 2001a).
teacher leadership1
Teacher Leadership
  • Ovando (1996) argued that over the past two decades “teacher participation in school leadership has expanded, and teachers are now asked to perform a variety of non-teaching duties”
  • Among “new” teacher-leader roles are
    • team leader,
    • decision maker,
    • action researcher,
    • staff developer,
    • and mentor (p. 32).
  • These roles represent a formal, more prominent function for teachers in issues of governance and school decision-making with regard to “matters of instruction and school organization” (Miller & O’Shea, 1992, p. 197).
what is a teacher leader
What is a teacher leader?
  • It is hard to strictly define what makes a teacher a teacher leader.
  • A widely-used report published by the Institute for Educational Leadership (2001a), identified “at least ten areas…where teacher involvement is actually essential to the health of a school” (p. 3). The authors cited critical issues that transcend traditional roles such as instructor, evaluator, curriculum developer, and behavior manager to include promotion and retention committee member, decider of school budgets, selector of new administrators and teachers, and designer of professional development plans.
what is a teacher leader1
What is a Teacher Leader?
  • …interpersonal, administrative, and organizational skills are important if teachers are to capably function as leaders (p. 350).
  • Fullan (1994a) argued that teachers must exhibit proficiency in several “interrelated domains” to function as leaders:
    • (1) knowledge of teaching and learning;
    • (2) knowledge of collegiality;
    • (3) knowledge of educational contexts;
    • (4) knowledge through continuous learning;
    • (5) knowledge of the change process, and;
    • (6) moral purpose (pp. 246-250).
teacher leadership some basic issues
Teacher Leadership: Some Basic Issues
  • We have lots of lists: skills, responsibilities, and roles, but nothing coherent that defines teacher leadership
  • Teachers and Administrators tend to define teacher leadership differently
  • In too many schools, becoming a leader means leaving the classroom or assuming responsibilities that distract from instruction rather than enhance it
differentiated teacher leadership1
Differentiated Teacher Leadership
  • In trying to make sense of all this, I discovered that there are four basic types of teacher leadership:
    • Classroom Teacher Leadership
    • Departmental/Team/Grade Level Teacher Leadership
    • Whole School Teacher Leadership
    • Boundary-Spanning Teacher Leadership
differentiated teacher leadership design of the study
Differentiated Teacher Leadership: Design of the Study
  • Mixed-Method Research
    • Qualitative and Quantitative Data
  • Unit of Analysis
    • Urban High School
  • Site and Sample Selection Criteria
    • Exploratory
  • Data Collection and Data Analysis Procedures
  • Internal Validity
    • Member Check
classroom teacher leadership
Classroom Teacher Leadership
  • Some teachers were leaders in their classrooms and others were not
    • This isn’t necessarily bad!
  • Varied greatly in terms of style and focus
  • Viewing teachers this way suggested some ways teachers might improve their organizational skills and procedures
departmental teacher leadership
Departmental Teacher Leadership
  • More curriculum leadership, less instructional leadership
  • Often separated by experience level
  • High functioning teams and leaders at this level seemed to have the greatest impact on student learning
whole school teacher leadership
Whole School Teacher Leadership
  • These teachers tended to have a broad perspective and to be advocates for their units
  • Tremendous influence of informal leaders at this level
  • Often whole school decisions were made by too few teachers
putting it all together exploring teacher leadership
Putting it all together: Exploring Teacher Leadership
  • Teachers participated in a combination of activities which suggested that the “forms” suggested by literature were not entirely salient
  • Teachers did not necessarily interact with peers who exhibited similar leadership activities, but interacted with people more based on their proximity, subject-area interest, or other demographic characteristics
  • Many teachers who didn’t call themselves leaders were indeed leaders in some respect
putting it all together supportive and non supportive organizational structures
Putting it all together: Supportive and Non-Supportive Organizational Structures
  • “Shared” governance and decision making models were too rigid to accommodate differentiated forms of teacher leadership
    • Schools tend to emphasize one form of teacher leadership to the exclusion of others
  • When teachers’ pedagogical orientation is matched to their actual leadership activities they are more effective, committed, and enthusiastic.
    • But administrators don’t often ask or care what teachers think about their leadership roles
administrative support for differentiated teacher leadership
Administrative Support for Differentiated Teacher Leadership
  • Administrative support for teacher leadership is key, yet support must be differentiated.
  • While certain teacher leader-types thrive in an organization, administrative support for differentiated forms of teacher leadership are important in helping all teachers realize their individual and collective leadership potential.
implications for research and practice
Implications for Research and Practice
  • Due to a lack of differentiation in organizational structures, practice, and administrative support, schools are commonly not taking advantage of a great resource: teacher leadership
  • Due to a lack of sensitivity to the differentiated nature of teacher leadership, well-intentioned administrators are not supporting all teachers as leaders. Can we move from equality toward equity?
what does teacher leadership look like in your school
What does teacher leadership look like in your school?
  • How do teachers and administrators view the work differently?
  • How is teacher leadership supported?
  • What kind of leaders make a difference in the education of students?
thank you
Thank You!

Please let me know if you’d like to learn more about this research or discuss teacher leadership in your school or district. Contact at brooksjs@missouri.edu.