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What Is Teacher Leadership?
posted by: Melissa | December 04, 2015, 11:18 PM   


Award-Winning Educator Larry Ferlazzo recently delved into the meaty topic of teacher leadership in a great piece for Education Week.  Teacher leadership is one of those topics that can mean different things to different people and often reveals a lot about someone’s take on teachers in education.  For this reason, it is one of those topics that is critically important to come to a common understanding about.  In his blog, Ferlazzo asked six different educators how they defined teacher leadership.  As can be expected, their answers were revealing.


Some stressed that teachers should be sharing planning and decision making abilities with administrators.  They emphasized leadership teams where administrators and teachers worked together on school improvement issues.   Shane Safir made this point by drawing an analogy between the education and corporate world saying, “corporate innovators have softened their hierarchies and elevated informal and team leaders who use relational networks to drive change.”  That’s a complex sentence, but it basically says that if corporations are involving employees in decision making, schools should be as well.”


On the other end of the scale were statements that put leadership as a trait to be displayed at the classroom level.  These educators often talked about relationship building and parent-communication, or on the role that teachers play in challenging their students to think.


The most common answer, though, were the educators who pointed to teacher leaders as those who could drive change in their colleagues.  Regie Routman, one of the educators in the blog spent a lot of time talking about how teacher leaders should be driving the professional learning in his building.  Another educator, Aubrie Rojee, said, “The best ‘teacher leaders‘ foster leadership among their colleagues as well.”


While differences of opinion still exist, the fact that more teachers are stepping into these leadership roles is a good sign for the profession.  If you want to learn more or read the answers in their entirety, you can do so on Larry Ferlazzo’s Education Week blog.  Also, please let us know how you would define teacher leadership below!



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