Saturday, January 14, 2012

Teachers as Leaders - part 2

Yesterday I wrote about the Teacher Leader Model Standards that have been developed by the Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium.  As I've been looking to move more into a coaching role with our teachers in the second half of the year I've been interested to read through these standards and reflect on how they can help me to be more supportive of individual teachers' development.  Below is a brief description of some of these standards that I feel are most relevant for me to consider as I move forward in the second half of this school year:

  1. Fostering a collaborative culture to support educator development and student learning:  in order to develop the teachers' skills so that they can effectively lead the ICT in their lessons to support their units of inquiry, it's important to understand the principles of adult learning.  Another very important factor will be continuing to develop a collaborative culture and a collegial environment based on trust and respect.  
  2. Accessing and using research to improve practice and student learning:  one of the most exciting conversations I've had in a long time was with Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches) yesterday evening.  It was about the lack of research into the impact blogging can have on student writing - and therefore how we should engage in some action research to investigate this.  Research creates new knowledge and should inform policies and practices.  As a teacher leader in an inquiry based programme it's important to model inquiry as being important for teachers' ongoing learning and development.
  3. Promoting continuous learning for continuous improvement:  a teacher leader knows that education is changing at a rapid pace as a result of new technologies and that it's therefore important to design and facilitate job-embedded professional learning.
  4. Facilitating improvements in instruction and student learning:  a teacher leader shows a deep understanding of the processes of teaching and learning and is therefore able to advance the professional skills of colleagues.  It's important for a teacher leader to be a continuous learner and to model reflective practices.
In a school that is characterized by micro-management, teacher leadership is probably not going to be valued and so it will be difficult to bring about such a transformation.  In upcoming blog posts I'll be considering what needs to change in order to transform schools into organizations that support teacher leadership.  How can we create a climate that values change, so that good teachers become even better?

Photo Credit:  Summer Sidewalk Chalk Rainbow by D. Sharon Pruitt Attribution 

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