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Teacher Leadership and Educational Reforms Essay

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Updated: Apr 9th, 2021

Most Important Ideas and Theories

The key ideas that have been studied this week include teacher leadership (TL) and leadership standards (LS) among some other considerations concerning leadership. The two terms have been discussed in detail, though, so this reflection will also focus primarily on them.

The two terms are quite transparent (granted that leadership as such has already been defined): the former can be described as the leader in the teaching environment and the second deals with the requirements that an effective leader is expected to meet. However, it is their content that attracts one’s attention.

TL is apparently a complex phenomenon, and it is interesting to trace the development of the understanding of LS in TL as presented by York-Barr and Duke (2004). It is evident from the research that a TL leader needs to correspond to two sets of standards: professional and leadership. In general, it seems to me that TL is about finding balance and helping others to reach it. Indeed, TL needs to find a way to help various stakeholders (teachers, parents, principals, and so on) to work together to improve and maintain the teaching process (Ackerman & Mackenzie, 2006). TL is transformational, engaging, and enlightening (Teacher leadership, n.d.). The crucial thing about TL, in my opinion, consists in the fact that this kind of leadership is hardly concerned with the idea of power as it is typically understood. Instead, TL requires control solely for the improvement of the teaching process (Ackerman & Mackenzie, 2006).

As stated and demonstrated by Lynch (2012), TL has been gaining prominence in the past decades, which spurred the development of corresponding research. This research brought results in the forms of related LS, which, when implemented, were shown to improve the bottom-top communication. The benefits of TL are, therefore, obvious: it is much more inclusive thanthan the traditional leadership and takes into account the voices of all the stakeholders (Lynch, 2012). Other advantages include improved ideas and practice sharing, decision-making, collaboration, providing the students with a leadership model to follow, and others (Teacher leadership, n.d). Specific TL strategies include, for example, action research teamwork, conferences, workshops, and some others: this knowledge helps one relate TL to practice (Models for teacher leaders, n.d.).

Also, this week, we traced the development of leadership theories from trait-centered ones to process-focused, from personal to distributed, transactional to transformative (Leadership theories, 2016). I think that all the mentioned concepts have contributed something to the development of the idea of a leader in the research. Apart from that, the comparison of the different approaches helps me see their strong and weak points more distinctly.

Applying New Knowledge: Myself as a Leader

My personal understanding of leadership or myself as a leader is being developed and completed with new information. For example, I have always thought of a leader (especially in teaching) as a servant rather than the master, and the materials of this week helped me study this idea more closely and form a deeper understanding, especially by providing relevant LSs as presented by Sarayrah (2004) and Crippen (2005). This week has provided me with a theoretical basis and terms that I expect to apply in the future.

Others as Leaders

The new knowledge will also help me to observe other leaders’ behavior. I believe that observation is a great educational opportunity, and these studies make this technique informed. Also, these readings provided me with several f examples of leader’s behavior, for instance, those from the work of Ackerman and Mackenzie (2006). Therefore, I also had the chance to practice observation, and I was especially drawn to the stories concerned with breaking the accepted patterns. They showed me how much courage a leader in teaching needs.

Still, the idea of authenticity also speaks to me (Leadership theories, 2016). In other words, I do not feel obliged to shift my personal beliefs dramatically, and I will respect the right of other leaders to maintain their ideals.

UAE Educational Leadership Issues

Some of the readings helped me relate the concepts of TL and LS to the context of the UAE. For example, Sarayrah (2004) dwells on the way servant leadership fits (and is even rooted) in Arab culture. Even though the author focuses primarily on administrative leadership, TL can also be built according to servant leadership ideas as shown by Crippen (2005). Abbas (2012), on the other hand, demonstrated that even though the culture of the Arab world is benevolent to education, it also prevents educators from exerting leadership. Here, the implicit, persuasive servant-leadership may be considered a compromise, and it has a number of pluses especially due to its humanitarian nature (Crippen, 2005). Still, refusing other kinds of leadership appears to be counterproductive.

The Interconnections of Ideas

The week’s readings covered both theoretical and practical aspects of TL, and the presentations were especially good at helping me to bridge the two. Also, the development of TL theory could not have been detached from that of leadership in general, and we have discussed how some of its approaches can be applied to TL (Models for teacher leaders, n.d.). For example, TL can absorb the ideas, ideals, and practices of transformational and informal leadership. In fact, the idea that transformative leadership is the most significant or at least the most popular type appears to have been proven during this week. Indeed, it seems to have influenced TL, servant, and strategic leadership, and its superiority over the transactional one was demonstrated (Strategic leadership, n.d.; Crippen, 2005; Lynch, 2012). The interconnection of leadership ideas appears logical to me since it illustrates the process of development of the theory as it searches for the most effective practices with the smallest numbers of drawbacks.

References

Abbas, S. (2012). Teacher Leadership and Educational Reforms in UAE. Global Journal of Management and Business Research, 12(22), 1-4.

Ackerman, R., & Mackenzie, S. (2006). Uncovering teacher leadership. Educational Leadership, 63(8), 66-70.

Crippen, C. (2005). Servant-leadership as an effective model for educational leadership and management: First to serve, then to lead. Management in Education, 18(5), 11-16. Web.

Leadership theories, concepts, and perspectives [Powerpoint slides]. (2016).

Lynch, M. (2012). A guide to effective school leadership theories. New York, NY: Routledge. Models for teacher leaders [Powerpoint slides]. (n.d.).

Sarayrah, Y. (2004). Servant leadership in the Bedouin-Arab culture. Global Virtue Ethics Review, 5(3), 58-90.

Strategic leadership [Powerpoint slides]. (n.d.).

Teacher leadership [Powerpoint slides]. (n.d.).

York-Barr, J., & Duke, K. (2004). What do we know about teacher leadership? Findings from two decades of scholarship. Review Of Educational Research, 74(3), 255-316. Web.

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