01 SES 12 C, Professional Learning Cultures and Practices: Supporting teacher leadership
There is general consensus about the importance of teacher expertise for improving learner outcomes (OCED, 2005), perhaps reflected in many governments and schools funding teacher professional learning. However there is also an acknowledgment of the importance of collaborative practice for school improvement where teachers have individual and collective responsibility for all students’ learning (King & Stevenson, 2017). These ideas together arguably lead to a concept of teacher leadership where teachers use their agency to collaborate with others (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001) and influence others to improve teaching and learning (York-Barr & Duke, 2004; King, 2017). Some argue it is a professional commitment for all teachers, however further clarity around the teachers’ role in teacher leadership (Poekert, 2012) and existing practices around professional learning for teacher leadership are warranted to see if they support teaching and learning in and beyond the classroom (Crowther et al. 2002). The research question that underpins this symposium is therefore: What professional learning cultures and practices support / hinder teachers exercising leadership in their own contexts? This will be explored through the theoretical lens of models of professional learning and their subsequent impact to see if professional learning was largely transformative, malleable or transmissive (Kennedy, 2014).
This arises from the Leadership Development group discussions at the Network 1 thematic collaboration session in Copenhagen. It presents four distinct international research projects that explore professional learning cultures and practices that have been developed to support the implementation of teacher leadership. The symposium embraces the theme of inclusion and exclusion by addressing how opportunities for educational research and teacher leadership are supported or inhibited and will draw on cultures and practices from four national contexts: The Netherlands, Scotland, Sweden, and the USA. Each paper presents significant research that addresses how teacher leadership is defined, what professional learning support teachers need to enable effective and sustainable teacher leadership, and the challenges teachers face (sometimes referred to as the ‘dark’ side of teacher leadership (Harris & DeFlaminis, 2016, p. 143) in different contexts. This symposium aims to stimulate an international conversation by drawing on recent research discussing and critiquing cultural factors which enable or impede professional leadership undertaken at teacher level rather than leadership enacted by those in senior positions. The papers will focus on the professional learning cultures underpinning leadership by teachers rather than focusing on leadership per se: specifically, they address how teacher leadership may be recognised as professional learning (Scotland), the professional development and school cultures for effective teacher leadership (Sweden), traineeship for teacher leadership (The Netherlands) and the links between teacher leadership and school reform through professional learning (USA). The discussant(s) will draw on critical issues emerging from the research papers to highlight the role that professional learning cultures can play in supporting (or inhibiting) effective teacher leadership and the processes of inclusion and exclusion that are visible within these cultures.
The papers to be presented are:
1. A professional learning programme aimed at developing teacher leadership in Palestine.
Dr Hanan Ramahi, University Cambridge, UK
2. Enhancing teacher leadership through online professional learning: A Scottish perspective.
Stephen Day, University of the West of Scotland; Kate Wall,, University of Strathclyde; and Valerie Drew, University of Stirling.
3. Professional Learning Cultures and Practices Supporting the Development of Teacher Leaders.
Eva Leffler, Umea University, Sweden
4. The Rise and Fall of the Florida Teacher Leader Fellowship Program: The Phantom Menace of Professional Learning
Dr Philip Poekert, University of Florida Lastinger Center, USA and Dr Alex Alexandrou, Freelance Academic, UK
Alexandrou, A. and Swaffield, S. (2012) Teacher leadership and professional development: perspectives, connections and prospects Professional Development in Education 38(2), 159-167 Crowther, F., Kaagen, S. S., Ferguson, M., & Hann, L. (2002). Developing teacher leaders: How teacher leadership enhances school success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Harris, A. & DeFlaminis, J., (2016). Distributed leadership in practice:evidence, misconceptions and possibilities. Management in Education, 30 (4), 141-146. Katzenmeyer, M., & Moller, G. (2001). Awakening the sleeping giant: helping teachers develop as leaders. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press. Kennedy, A., (2014). Understanding continuing professional development: The need for theory to impact on policy and practice. Professional development in education, 40(5), 688-697. King, F., & Stevenson, H (2017) 'Generating change from below: what role for leadership from above?'. Journal of Educational Administration, 55(6), 657-670 King, F. (2017) 'Evolving perspective(s) of Teacher Leadership: An exploration of Teacher Leadership for inclusion at preservice level in the Republic of Ireland' International Studies in Educational Administration, 45(3), 5-21. OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) (2005) Teachers Matter. Paris: OECD. Poekert, P. (2012) Teacher leadership and professional development: examining links between two concepts central to school improvement Professional Development in Education Volume 38(2), 169-188 York-Barr, J., & Duke, K. (2004). What do we know about teacher leadership? Finding from two decades of scholarship. Review of Educational Research, 74(3), 255-316.
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