Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Teacher leader as boundary crosser: Negotiating hybrid roles between and within school communities of practice
by Snyder, Rebecca, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2016, 236; 10241894
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative case study explored how eight secondary public school teachers experience formal leadership positions in addition to classroom responsibilities. The study’s questions examined how these hybrid teacher leader (HTL) roles influenced participants’ descriptions of themselves as leaders and of their leadership, as well as how they negotiated these dual roles. The study also investigated participants’ reported influences on their decisions to serve and potentially remain in hybrid leadership. Participants were recruited from two large unionized public schools in the northeastern United States: one urban, one suburban. Data included individual and group interviews with HTLs and their administrator and teacher role partners in these settings. Additional data included work-shadowing observations of participants, documents related to each school context and to HTL participants’ leadership responsibilities, such as: job descriptions, meeting agendas, and faculty and administrator communications. Study data revealed HTLs in these settings came to their positions influenced by agency development and activist motivations consistent with Wenger’s (1998) boundary identity trajectory. HTL participants’ formal positions located them both within and between teacher and school leadership communities of practice influenced by local, as well as institutional union and school reform contexts. This “middle” positioning both enabled and constrained participants as initiators of instructional improvements, implementers of district or state reforms, and advocates for within school constituencies. As boundary crossers, HTLs described fulfilling these roles by navigating continuities and discontinuities between teacher boundaries and administrative peripheries in ways that preserve their legitimacy to influence both groups. As a result, study data suggested that advocacy is a critical element of their leadership practice. HTLs cited feelings of agency and self-efficacy in leadership, in addition to continued self-efficacy in fulfilling teaching responsibilities, as influences on their potential tenure in hybrid roles. Study findings have implications for how school systems might support and expand formal teacher leadership roles to effect improved student outcomes. Study findings also have implications for the preparation, support, and development of teacher leaders.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rust, Frances O'C
Commitee: Desimone, Laura M., Grossman, Frank D.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration, Teacher education
Keywords: Boundary crossing, Communities of practice, Hybrid teacher leader roles, Teacher development, Teacher identity, Teacher leadership
Publication Number: 10241894
ISBN: 9781369468892
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