Enabling Teacher Leadership
Enabling Teacher Leadership: the what, the why and the how – cross country perspectives
This Clip introduces the assumptions underpinning our theme
Dr. Dorothy Andrews at the University of Southern Queensland
Dr. Cheryl Bauman
Perspective from New Zealand – Why teacher leadership and how to empower
Dr. Susan Lovett
Perspective from Colombia – Why teacher leadership and what qualities
Dr. Clelia Pineda Baez
Perspective from Australia – Why, how and qualities of teacher leadership
Dr. Dorothy Andrews
Seminar 2 on Enabling Teacher Leadership stressed that our understanding of leadership practices is paramount in promoting the participation of all members of a school community in the improvement of its education experiences and in the school performance. Conceptions and definitions of leadership frame participation, and particularly the opportunities for teachers to assume leadership roles.
An interesting topic for reflection that emerged from the videos and the postings is the distinction between ‘enabling’ and ‘empowering’ teacher leadership. Empowerment emphasizes the notion of teachers’ agency and autonomy and is understood as providing opportunities for teachers to have a voice in their communities.
A common theme that emerged from the seminar is the need to recognize and nurture the talent and experience of practicing teacher leaders and the potential of prospective ones. In this sense, principals play a key role as they must create supportive environments for teachers to undertake leadership roles. However, such recognition and support should not be limited to the principal, but should embrace all members of a school. This requires emphasizing the notion of “leadership work” that implies teamwork, collaboration, and co-responsibility.
Regarding the qualities of teacher leaders, the postings and videos show that positive personal traits, solid communication and decision-making skills along with a collaborative spirit and appreciation for teamwork are indispensable conditions to re-create knowledge and to build capacity and sustain school improvement. All in all, teacher leaders’ responsiveness to obstacles and their desire to promote communities of learning will be reflected in the quality of their pedagogical practices and will impact the school positively.