01 SES 04 B, Leadership development
Because of many global economic and political forces, transition in educational is expected and schools feel pressure to improve teaching and learning. The drive for reform and development has resulted in setting tightly framed school goals and objectives in different countries in Europe and the world. In the changing era, some school principals in Bangladesh are taking challenges to find ways to develop and to improve the teaching and students’ learning in their school. These principals are not always trained enough to occupy their position. However, in many cases they have personally discovered ways of engaging teachers and students in learning that aligned with internationally respected theory and practices. This study reports research on evolving teacher leadership practices in a specific urban secondary school that enhances students’ learning. It seeks to develop a framework for building teacher leadership in the Bangladeshi context and so fill a gap in reported research.
Though many western studies indicate that principal leadership is a key factor in school improvement (Elmore, 2005; Fullan, 2010; Harris, 2008), it has been assumed that the principal’s leadership is not enough to achieve school goals. Then teacher leadership comes to the fore. This research reports a part of a doctoral study that investigates transition of teaching and learning through leadership practices that are taking place in an urban secondary school in Bangladesh. Accordingly, it examines how a principal enables structures and resources, and how teachers’ skills are nurtured to enhance learning. Since there is a scarcity of research in developing countries and most of the studies conducted are done by Western researchers, there is often a gap between researcher and study context. As researchers from different contexts (developing and developed) we aim to develop a framework for building teacher leadership, which can be useful in Bangladesh and similar European contexts. The following research questions lead this study:
- How can teachers be an active part of school leadership and change when they were used to follow traditional way of teaching?
- What are the ways to engage teachers more in leading without any professional training?
- How can evolving teacher leadership enhance student learning?
- What are the leadership characteristics that nurture teacher leadership skills?
In Bangladesh, most principals come into the position with a requirement of teaching practice and limited theoretical knowledge (Abdullah, Huq & Ismail, 2008) and wish to practice common ways and strategies without considering their contexts. But some principals do set specific achievement goals for their schools and so find a need to distribute their workload and leadership to teachers to make the school system more diverse and innovative (NAEM & Brac, 2004). This study reports how teacher leadership is fostered and leads students to greater achievement, and so develops success in one Bangladeshi school in the age of globalization. This focus aligns with the conference theme in that it critically examines the leadership practices and transition of school culture towards teachers’ engagement and leadership.
The broad theoretical frame for this study draws on concepts of building teacher leadership (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2009; Reeves, 2008; Ackerman & Mackenzie, 2007) and change in school culture (Fullan, 2010, 2007). Where as these researchers define teacher leadership as a collective and collaborative endeavour for professional learning and blaming bureaucracy as fundamental barriers in developing teacher leadership in western contexts, this study provides grounded examples of that in a non western context. Supporting the concept of working collaboratively, Fullan (2010, 2007) advocates that changing the existing school culture is more crucial rather than structural change, formal requirements and event-based activities, which is evidenced in this study.
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