Vision for Your Teaching and Learning
The concept of teacher leadership is based on the effectiveness of developing and following the definite vision statement worked out by the teacher to accentuate the path according to which the teacher leader can act in his or her classroom.
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There are many vision statements which can reflect the teacher’s priorities in relation to his or her understanding of teaching and learning. The vision also reflects the definite dilemma which can be resolved with the help of following the principles presented in the vision statement.
In her article, Phelps provides the vision according to which a teacher should create the thoughtful community in his or her classroom in order to motivate students and develop their thinking.
From this point, the question of students’ involvement in the learning process can be resolved positively with references to choosing the effective methods of teaching.
In spite of the fact many vision statements depend on the idea of promoting the students’ active attitude to learning and on motivating students, the variety of vision statements depends on the individual teacher’s vision of the main dilemma to resolve during the teaching and learning process.
It is necessary to compare the vision statement provided by Phelps with two other visions presented in some researchers’ works.
Muijs and Harris accentuate the fact that the teacher leader should cooperate with his or her colleagues to create the positive atmosphere and conditions for the students’ personal and intellectual development (Muijs & Harris, 2003). Swanson’s ideas are close to Muijs and Harris’s vision.
The researcher states that students’ successes are based on the effective collaboration of the teacher leaders and on accentuating the students’ empowerment and flexibility (Swanson, 2000).
From this point, it is possible to note that teacher leaders are inclined not only to develop their own personality but also create the necessary conditions for the students’ personal development.
If Phelps emphasizes the creation of the thoughtful community to develop the students’ thinking abilities, the other authors pay attention to motivating students with references to empowering them and providing them with more flexibility (Phelps, 2008). The approaches can be discussed as different, but the expected results are similar.
The mentioned visions are developed to stimulate students to work and think more independently.
I agree with such a position, and my vision statement can be formulated the following way: the teacher leader’s task is to motivate and encourage students to think independently in order to develop their personality and make accents on their individual opinion as a result of rethinking the learning materials to use the received knowledge in the everyday life.
In this case, I am inclined to address the problem of motivating students with references to the adaptation of the received knowledge to life as many students are difficult to be motivated because of their inability to see the perspectives of their learning.
The presentation of the vision is the first step for the teacher leader to perform in the classroom effectively. The next important stages are the development of the specific strategy to realize the vision statement.
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The determined problem can be solved with the help of interactive methods of learning when students are actively involved in the process. Moreover, it is necessary to correlate the studied material with the everyday reality to accentuate the importance of studying this or that problematic question.
If the students’ presentations can help them to demonstrate their opinion, the discussions are effective to look at the question from the other point. Thus, the vision is important for determining the classroom practices.
Role as a Teacher-Leader or Teacher-Researcher
Today, the effectiveness of the teacher leader is accentuated more vividly in the literature in comparison with the role of the teacher researcher in the teaching process. Nevertheless, both roles are important to develop the students’ personalities and their skills and abilities.
According to Danielson, the teacher leadership can be discussed from the perspective of analyzing three main areas within which teachers can perform successfully (Danielson, 2006). To understand the level of the personal development of leadership capacities, it is necessary to refer to these three areas.
The leadership as the quality is based on the concept of impact. Thus, leaders influence the other persons to act according to the leaders’ opinions because they are able to prove their authority.
Danielson states that the areas of teacher leaders’ impact are the ‘schoolwide policies and programs’, ‘teaching and learning’, and ‘communications and community relations’ (Danielson, 2006).
From this point, the idea of the teacher leadership includes all the aspects of the teacher’s impact on students and the activities within the school as an organization or institution (Gabriel, 2005).
It is possible to have the definite impact on the school’s policies and programs when teachers demonstrate their vision of some problem which is common for the school and when they are inclined to provide some recommendations.
Although the development of the leadership capacity within this area is advantageous for creating the appropriate environment at school, I can state that my abilities to participate in and resolve such administrative issues require their further development.
Nevertheless, my capacities in the area of teaching and learning can be discussed as rather strong. It is possible for me to provide the recommendations about teaching this or that material basing on the research conducted.
Moreover, the issues of teaching and learning are interesting for me that is why I try to search for and discuss many approaches to the development of the students’ skills and to motivating them to find their own solutions for the problematic questions.
That is why, my leadership priorities are within the second area determined by Danielson. The problem is in the fact that to develop the leadership qualities completely, it is necessary to pay attention to the development of all the areas simultaneously.
The third area is associated with different types of communication provided by the teacher. If the first area is discussed as rather problematic for me and I am successful in relation to the second area, my abilities regarding the third area should be considered as rather good.
The teacher leadership is based on the effective cooperation with the other teachers and parents as it is stated in the work by Muijs and Harris (Muijs & Harris, 2003).
As a result, to teach the students effectively and to contribute to their progress in the study, it is important for me to develop the positive relationships with the other teacher to deepen my experience and with parents to understand the students’ needs.
Therefore, developing the abilities in the mentioned three spheres, the teacher receives the opportunity to contribute to his own leadership as the important quality.
Danielson, C. (2006). Teacher leadership that strengthens professional practice. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Gabriel, J. G. (2005). How to thrive as a teacher leader. USA: ASCD.
Muijs, D., & Harris, A. (2003). Teacher leadership – improvement through empowerment. Educational Management Administration, 31(4), 437-448.
Phelps, P. H. (2008). Helping teachers become leaders, Clearing House, 81(3), 119-122.
Swanson, J. (2000). What differentiates an excellent teacher from a teacher leader. USA: AERA.