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October 2013 | Volume 71 | Number 2
Leveraging Teacher Leadership
Teachers lead learning in their classrooms every day, but teacher leadership often extends beyond the classroom. Teachers lead their colleagues in professional learning and growth. They lead their communities in bringing change to schools. They might focus on leading within their schools and localities, or they might use social media to share their ideas with fellow educators around the world. But such leadership can be a challenge. Administrators and policymakers need to listen to teacher voices and give teachers room to lead. This issue of Educational Leadership looks at how teachers are leading today and considers how schools can best leverage the leadership skills of teachers.
In "The Time Is Ripe (Again)", Roland S. Barth asks, "Is this a promising time for teacher leadership?" He notes that it's always been a promising time for teacher leadership, but certain obstacles have stood in the way. However, some promising trends suggest that this may be a good time for teacher leadership.
In "The Problem-Solving Power of Teachers", Ariel Sacks makes a powerful case for teacher leadership by sharing how teachers were able to see the flaws in a schoolwide homework policy that seemed doable on paper but that didn't work in practice. The teachers were then able to come up with a way to adjust the policy in a way that benefited both students and teachers.
There's no one right way for teachers to be leaders. Some teachers lead by evaluating their peers, as Linda Darling-Hammond describes in "When Teachers Support and Evaluate Their Peers". Some assist in making hiring decisions, as Mary C. Clement explains in "Teachers Hiring Teachers". Others collaborate in inquiry projects to better understand their students or join with colleagues as activists for their schools, as Anthony Cody discusses in "Two Ways to Lead". And Michelle Collay observes that all teachers are leaders in their classrooms in "Teaching Is Leading".
Multiple authors in this issue emphasize the point that the support of principals is necessary if teacher leadership is to thrive in schools. Terry Wilhelm discusses the balance of giving teachers responsibility without abdicating authority in "How Principals Cultivate Shared Leadership".
Copyright © 2013 by ASCD
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