26 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
Teacher leadership is an education policy priority around the world. Increased school teacher’s leadership and the need for professional dignity have made it essential to reconsider the leadership role of school teachers (Pont et al., 2008).
Teacher is a profession, which lays the foundation for preparing the individuals for all other professions. It is the teacher who plays pivotal role in the educational system and is a catalytic agent of change in the society. Various factors influence teacher’s qualities the most. A teacher should not only be competent in the subject, teaching methods and understanding the learner but also have favorable interest towards their teacher’s profession, professional dignity and teacher leadership (Sasikala, 2012).
The “professional dignity” of school teacher refers to the established and strengthened sense of self-respect. School teacher would have a sense of belonging and a sense of control when s/he is self-respected, self-dignified and constantly strives to be stronger. As the multi-cultural era makes the way knowledge is imparted and information is received unprecedentedly convenient, teachers are no longer the only source for students to obtain knowledge from. It is true that the loss and deterioration of professional dignity among school teachers is a fact facing us. In response to these problems, it is urgent to reshape and safeguard the dignity of school teachers. However, teachers and schools must work together before the dignity is reshaped and safeguarded as it is a systematic project (He, 2016).
Professional dignity plays an important role in teacher leadership at school. In order to make teacher leadership effective, school community must create an environment in which members treat each other with dignity, courtesy and respect, while also promoting open and critical exchange of ideas (Mossman, 2017).
Professional dignity validates who teachers are and who they strive to be. Teachers want the school community to acknowledge them as educated professionals and especially as individuals. Teachers’ professional dignity implies that the school community dutifully “knows” the teachers both professionally and personally. This fosters a sense of caring, a behavior that builds a relationship of mutual respect (Miller et al., 2010).
The traditions and beliefes about teacher leadership in schools are no different from those regarding leadership in other insgtitutions. Leadership is considered to be vital to the successful funcioning of many aspecys of a school. Only few aspects of the teacher leadership shows the exceptionality of teacher leadership in school in relation to school mission and goals, climate of the school and individual classrooms, attitudes of teachers, classroom practices of teachers, organisation of curriculum and teacher’s instruction, and students; opportunity to learn (Marzano et al., 2005; Donaldson, 2007).
In spite of the relative paucity of empirical studies on teacher leadershio, qualitative studies on teacher leadership practices through maintaining the profesisonal dignity abound. The research that has been done on a teacher leadership is quite equivocal, or at least is perceived as such. The existing research on teacher leadership in Europe as well as in other parts of the world does not support the notion that teacher leadership through maintaining professional dignity has an identifiable effect on student learning achievements.
This research aimed to investigate the views of school teachers about the impact of maintaining the professional dignity among teachers on their practicing (implementing) the leadership. Research questions were the following: What does it mean to practice or implement the leadership for teachers? What is the meaning of maintaining the professional dignity among teachers? What connects the teachers’ leadership and professional dignity in a school?
This qualitative study explored the teacher leadership through maintaining the professional dignity of 21 primary school teachers. The research participants were selected with a purposive sampling procedure. Participants taught for at least five years at a primary school, defined as any school that includes students 7-10 years of age. All participants were acquired the BA in primary pedagogics and the MA in educational management or educational leadership. For data collection were used the focus group interviews. 3 focus group-based interviews were organized with 7 participants in every group. Duration of focus groups: I) 2 h 43 min; ii) 2 h 14 min; iii) - 3 h 6 min. For data analysis were selected the inductive latent qualitative content analysis, which is looking for projective content through looking for meaning in the patterns. Inductive content analysis moves from the specific to the general, so that particular instances are observed and then combined into a larger whole or general statement (Hashemnezhad, 2015). Qualitative inductive content analysis uses inductive reasoning, by which themes and categories emerge from the data through the researcher’s careful examination and constant comparison. The approach of the directed qualitative content analysis was applied in which the coding categories were derived directly and inductively from the raw data. Then, during data analysis, the researchers immersed themselves in the data and allowed subcategories and categories to emerge from the data. The qualitative data were organized through the following steps: open coding, creating categories and abstraction. Open coding means that notes and headings were written in the text while reading it. The written material was read through again, and as many headings as necessary were written down in the margins to describe all aspects of the content. After open coding, the lists of subcategories were grouped under higher order categories. The aim of grouping data was to reduce the number of categories by collapsing those that are similar or dissimilar into broader higher order categories. The purpose of creating categories and grouping them into categories was to provide a means of describing the phenomenon, to increase understanding and to generate knowledge. Abstraction means formulating a general description of the research topic through generating categories. Each category is named using content-characteristic words. Subcategories with similar events and incidents were grouped together into categories and categories awere grouped into higher order categories (Elo & Kyngäs, 2007).
Findings For teachers the meaning to practice or implement the leadership in school is related to affirmation, changes, rewards, communication, culture, discipline, flexibility, focus, ideals or beliefs, input, intellectual stimulation, involvement in curriculum and assessment, knowledge of curriculum and instruction, monitoring or evaluating, order, outreach, relationships, resources, situational awareness and visibility. Maintaining the professional dignity for teachers means being a part of crafting the school community and developing a strong school leadership culture; practicing and improving the principles of significance, quality, responsibility, integrity, ethics, and openess in professional community of teachers at school. Teachers exhibit the professional dignity as a part of their professional identity as classroom practitioners and speak about its impact on developing their practical knowledge. Teachers highlight that their leadership and professional dignity in a school is connected through differentiated, deliberate and developmental practices; elaboration, observation, practice, feedback, coaching, collaboration, and reflection; helping students to achiece full self-actualization to become a fully functional members of society; providing the students and the school community with the admirable role model as a professional teacher; becoming accountable to the community and students’ parents. Concluding considerations To implement the teacher leadership through maintaining the professional dignity means the necessity for school teachers to show their legitimate existence with their own values given that they want to remain dignified, professionally prestigious, universally acknowledged and contented. Teacher leadership through maintaining the professional dignity is the source that drives school teachers to embrace self-dignity, self-efficacy and sense of belonging. Teacher leadership through maintaining the professional dignity includes teacher’s ethics construction, upgrade of knowledge structure and improvement of teacher’s professional ability. Individually, teachers can be initiatively spirited, innovative, self-disciplined and conscious to improve, making themselves knowledgeably admirable, morally adorable and attractive as leaders and as professionals.
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