This qualitative phenomenological study was designed to obtain the perceptions from current teachers about formal and informal teacher leaders in several ways. Thirty K-12 classroom teachers from three school districts representing suburban, urban, and rural settings participated in the study. The classroom teachers took part in one-on-one semistructured interviews that explored how teacher leaders directly influence teacher pedagogy, attitudes, and beliefs. Classroom teachers also answered questions that looked specifically at the elements of school culture and school improvement most commonly impacted by teacher leaders, as well as the traits displayed by teacher leaders that are instrumental in teachers seeking their expertise or advice. Through coding of the information, themes were developed for each of the five research questions. The researcher found that teachers sought advice from teacher leaders that were knowledgeable, had a willingness to help, were student-driven/student-focused, and experienced. The researcher also found that teacher leaders improved teachers’ pedagogy because of their connection to the topic, connection to others, and similar role to classroom teachers. Results of the study showed teacher leaders impacted school culture in the areas of school services, support of teachers, changes/initiatives to the school/district, and communication. The researcher found that teacher leaders shaped teacher attitudes and beliefs about their individual school cultures. Things identified, by the teachers interviewed, that teacher leaders assisted in developing were: teacher acclimation, teacher outlook, teacher involvement and relationship building. Lastly, the researcher found that the elements of school improvement mostly impacted by teacher leaders were teacher buy-in and teacher skills. Future research and evaluation are necessary to determine the impact of teacher leadership as the field of education grows and changes.
|Advisor:||Hardt, Darrel, Wicker, Janet|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational sociology, Educational leadership|
|Keywords:||Formal teacher leaders, Informal teacher leaders, School culture, Teacher leader influence, Teacher leaders and school culture, Teacher leadership|
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