Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Who's leading now: A case study of teacher leadership
by Bonduris, Jessica, Ed.D., Mills College, 2011, 102; 3509123
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to closely examine the teacher leadership phenomenon of one particular school site. Because the level of teacher leadership evident at the site was so high, four teachers and the principal were interviewed in an effort to find out how the site managed to acquire such high levels of teacher leadership and what structures existed in the school to support and maintain such leadership. Participants were asked questions regarding collaboration, administrative leadership, and roles of teachers in formal and informal leadership positions. Interview responses were transcribed and organized into four distinct categories: Collaboration, Administrative Support, Teacher Leaders, and Community.

Research about teacher leadership began developing in public education in the late 1980s, focusing on distributed leadership. It is apparent that the traditional, top-down method of school structuring with principals making all decisions has not led to school improvement. Schools and districts are being watched closely by the state and federal governments in an effort to fix the problems in education. Teacher leadership has proved to be effective in assisting school in achieving academic and positive climate goals.

This study found that teachers collaborated in both structured and unstructured ways; furthermore, it underscored the importance of administrative support from the principal and other organizational structures. The results from this study provide implications for principals who want to improve schools through promoting teacher leadership. The information found will be useful for other schools in creating structures that support and promote teacher leadership, thus creating a more positive climate and efficiently run school site. Additionally, guiding questions for principals to reflect upon are offered along with personal suggestions of implementation from my first year as a school principal.

Based on the findings of this study, I believe teacher leadership is a concept that can be implemented into any school, changing its climate, systems, and community in order to assist with the growth of a school community and its students. When teacher leadership is valued in a school, teachers feel more empowered and take the growing responsibilities of the school on as his or her personal responsibilities. Thus, all stakeholders feel more valued and work harder, resulting in more efficient and effective schools.

Collaboration among teachers, in both structured and unstructured forms warrants further study because collaboration among teachers is the focal point in achieving high levels of teacher leadership at a school site. As principal, one needs to take careful consideration in providing collaboration time and facilitating unstructured collaboration among teachers whenever possible. By exploring how collaboration has been carried out at Mark Twain Middle School, I describe how a principal of any school can promote greater collaboration.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Christopher, Susan
Commitee: Donahue, Dave, Krueger, Brandon, Schultz, Kathy
School: Mills College
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership
Keywords: Collaboration, Shared decision-making, Teacher leadership
Publication Number: 3509123
ISBN: 9781267353177
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