01 SES 06 B, Bias, Democracy and Equity in Professional Learning
Interest in teacher leadership as an effective strategy to recognize teacher expertise, distribute administrative responsibilities, and increase professionalism in the teaching profession grew during the 1990s and 2000 with the seminal work in the United States published by York-Barr and Duke (2004) and well-known publications for teachers by Alma Harris and Daniel Mujis (2004) in the United Kingdom. The field continued to expand with major reviews of the literature on teacher leadership published by Wenner and Campbell in 2017 and Cherkowski and Bradley-Levine in 2018. These ideas have been addressed in Europe in efforts such as the Teachers Leader Project which include work in Poland, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece intended to offer strategies and polices for teacher leaders and research such as Bektaş, F., Ali C. & Gümüş S. (2020). These recent reviews and studies discuss the expanding knowledge in the field, address the issues of defining teacher leadership, and deliberate the distinctions between teacher and administrator leadership (Uribe-Flórez, Al-Rawashdeh, & Morales, 2014). Wenner and Campbell identified Accountability and Equity as prominent topics in recent educational policy and practice but received limited attention in teacher leadership studies. This study contributes to the examination of these previously under researched areas.
Accountability and equity received limited examination in teacher leadership research, in spite of their primary roles in the development of educational policy. Few studies examined either teacher leadership perception of equity or the role of accountability in their work as teacher leaders. The current study examines U.S. and German teacher leaders from the understanding and perceptions of these two issues. The study then goes beyond the awareness stage to examine actions taken by the teacher leaders to determine if these topics influenced their goals or were integrated into their efforts. Begun in fall of 2019, the study continues through the fall of 2020 covering a year time span including the impact of COVID 19.
Teachers in the sample currently participate in a graduate degree program focuesed on advanced mathematics content, pedagogy for diverse learners, teacher leadership and action research. The sample includes twelve experienced certified teachers from Germany and the United States enrolled in this online Masters of Arts program. Data was collected over the year period from the teachers located in a six different secondary schools who taught courses ranging from Pre-Algebra to Calculus to students between the ages of 14 and 18. There were three sets of data collected collected in 2019-2020. The first two data sets were from online discussion forums on the topics of equity and accountability. The first data collection formed the basis for studying the teacher leaders’ perception of the school’s accountability for student learning and the role the teacher leader in assuring equity of opportunity for students. The second collection examined teachers’ commentary on the roles student diversity plays in planning and instruction. The third data collection surveyed plans and actions teacher leaders undertook in the three months after the initial data collections. These independent activities were two fold. One was a curriculum and instructional change to promote learning for their students.There were over 10 independent data points of each teacher leader, including plans, student assessments, reflections, and colleagues’ reviews of their work. Data formed the assessment of the role of accountability and equity played in their leadership roles.
An additional data set was collected during the fall 2020 semester including student performance and teachers action during the the COVID-19 epidemic. This data address the changes made based on the constraints place on instructional practices, student academic and emotional needs and teachers’ perceptions of the overall success of their interventions and professional development activities.
Given the complexity and diversity of settings and duration of the study the use of a mixed methods assessment strategy including a variety of quantitative and qualitative measures was determined to be most appropriate. The assessment of professional development workshops intended to assist other teachers, student outcome data based on unit performance on tests, and student and teacher opinion data on the value of specific learning strategies were among the data collected. With the unanticipated impact of COVID 19 on students and teacher, their perceptions of the successes and impediments to learning were the added to the quantitative analysis. A constant comparative model of research was used to permit the analysis across a moderate number of diverse subjects on a series of complex topics. The model also permits comparison across time and topics. Qualitative data gathered on the teachers include teacher planning documents, their perceptions of the success of their interventions, teacher commentary on professional development for teachers and interview of teachers at the end of their degree program to reflect on their growth. A first round of analysis was undertaken on the first three data sets with themes related to equity, accountability, content, pedagogy, engagement of teachers and support of students emerging over this first review and formed the codes for a second review. During a second reading of transcripts, individuals' responses were compared for similarities and areas of distinctions as well as any overlooked themes. Categories were clarified and examined for areas of overlap. Theories were developed of how teacher leaders came to their decisions and how they assessed their actions that followed from the data and the teachers' reflections on their efforts to move their school forward. Additional data collected through teacher interviews in the fall of 2020 reflecting their experience during the pandemic and the fall semester of 2020, as well as analysis of final student grades at the end of marking periods are now being analyze and will be included in the presentation.
Teacher leaders had a high level of awareness and vigorous response to both accountability and equity issues in their schools while translating these issues through their subject matter focus of mathematics or alternately through supportive environments. In other words, the grade, subject or country of instruction had less to do with the fundamental strategies used by the teacher leaders in working with other teachers or students. Teachers selected either a content-driven orientation toward improving instruction and focused on pedagogy to learn content or they selected a model that addressed opportunities to learn and academic support for students grappling with new or challenging materials. In all cases, teacher leaders either directly discussed equity and accountability or demonstrated it through their actions. These responses were not impacted by the social economic makeup of the schools where they taught or their instructional responsibilities, but were impacted by decision based on student performance data and school improvement plans in place to raise the quality of student performance particularly among minority or second language learners. Changes in instruction were apparent in all classrooms taught by teacher leaders as reported in interviews and radiated out to some other teachers. The degree of adaptation of instructional changes by other teachers was dependent on the degree that new instruction varied from previous models of instruction, teacher perceptions of needed effort to develop new instructional models, ease of use, and relationship of the changes to their own students’ needs. Data on the impact of COVID 19 on teacher leadership activities are currently being analyzed. Reports from the teachers and initial reviews of the projects they had planned indicate major revisions or abandonment of original plans for efforts focused on improving online instruction, support for teachers use of internet curriculums and modifications for student learning in home settings.
Cherkowski, Sabre; Bradley-Levine, Jill. Surveying the Field of Teacher Leadership: Looking Back. International Journal of Teacher Leadership, Spring 2018, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p1-8, California State Polytechnic University, College of Education & Integrative Studies. Bektaş, F., Ali C. & Gümüş S. (2020): The effects of distributed leadership on teacher professional learning: mediating roles of teacher trust in principal and teacher motivation, Educational Studies, DOI: 10.1080/03055698.2020.1793301 Uribe-Flórez, Lida J.; Al-Rawashdeh, Amneh; Morales, Sara. Perceptions About Teacher Leadership: Do Teacher Leaders and Administrators Share a Common Ground? (2014) Journal of International Education & Leadership. Vol. 4 Issue 1, p1-15, Wenner, J.; Campbell, T. (2017) The Theoretical and Empirical Basis of Teacher Leadership. Review of Educational Research , Vol. 87 Issue 1, p134-171.Sage Publications Inc. York-Barr, A. J., & Duke, K. (2004). What do we know about teacher leadership? Findings from two decades of scholarship. Review of Educational Research, 74, 255–316. doi:10.3102/00346543074003255 Harris, A. and Mujis, D. (2004) Improving Schools Through Teacher Leadership. McGraw-Hill, New York.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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