Dawson, Mark (2011) Becoming a teacher leader: teachers re-thinking their role. Leading and Managing, 17 (1). pp. 16-27. ISSN 1329-4539
Much has been written about the need for, characteristics of and the work of teacher leaders, however, there is little about the experience of becoming a teacher leader. This article reports on this experience from the perspective of those who have become teacher leaders. The article elaborates on the experiences of teachers who initially had little understanding of teacher leadership, and were confused about the manner in which leadership related to their role as teachers. The schools in which this study was undertaken were in the process of change and were using the Innovative Designs for Enhancing Achievements in Schools (IDEAS) Program (Crowther, Andrews et al., 2001) as a mechanism for improvement. The findings reported in this article revealed that when experienced teachers, in this case those with 8-35years in the profession, were provided with leadership opportunities and with an explicit teacher leadership framework (Crowther, Hann & McMaster, 2001) they were able to learn, adapt and begin to incorporate leadership roles into their perceptions of their work as teachers. Furthermore when the principal legitimated the teacher leadership framework throughout the school, the enhanced clarity around the role of teacher leaders proved beneficial to the acceptance of emerging teacher leaders and their work. The implications of this role reconceptualisation in terms of adaptive learning and career development are discussed.
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