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Finding Common Ground: Teacher Leaders and Principals Speak Out About Teacher Leadership
 
Author:  J.M. Weiner
Title/Position: Doctoral Student, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Format:  article
The Exemplar will be most useful for: Supporting Teacher Leaders at Your School
 
Description: 
In a journal article titled “Finding Common Ground: Teacher Leaders and Principals Speak Out About Teacher Leadership,” Jennie Weiner, a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, investigates how a small group of teacher leaders and their principals understand teacher leadership and its impact on practice.

During her interview with four pairs of teacher leaders and their principals, Weiner asked the following questions: 1) How do teacher leaders and their principals describe the role and responsibilities of teacher leaders? 2) How do teacher leaders and their principals describe the principal’s leadership? 3) In what ways do these descriptions overlap? In what ways do they diverge?

Weiner’s findings suggest that traditional school norms and hierarchies significantly influence how teacher leadership functions in schools. Based on interviews and her review of relevant research, Weiner sets forth the following recommendations.

To foster a culture that supports collaboration and embraces teacher leadership:

•Schools need to create a clear vision of reform where teacher leaders play pivotal roles.
•Teacher leadership roles should be defined so that requisite skills and knowledge can be highlighted in an open hiring process.
•Principals need to balance and allocate resources to support teacher leadership, such as through scheduling, release time, and funding.
•Both principals and teacher leaders need to be aware of how traditional school roles affect teachers’ response to teacher leadership.
•Teacher leaders may require additional training and support to facilitate trusting, collegial relationships among colleagues.

Weiner, J.M. (2011). Finding common ground: Teacher leaders and principals speak out about teacher leadership. Journal of School Leadership. (21) 7-41.
 
Domains: domain 1