chapter  12
15 Pages

How do teachers learn to lead?


Although teacher leadership has been a serious area of study for several decades few have had the opportunity to study, observe or work closely with teachers as they learn the variety of organizational skills, abilities and dispositions that are necessary to take on leadership responsibilities in their schools and beyond (Smylie, 1997; Wasley, 1991; Miles et al., 1988; Lieberman and Miller, 2004; Lambert, 2003; Little, 1995). In this era with its press for ‘high quality teachers for all students’ in the United States and elsewhere, it seems almost impossible that we could work for that ideal without the assistance of teachers who play leadership roles with both experienced and novice colleagues. Interestingly enough, these roles are proliferating alongside prescriptions for change, pacing guides and other strong mandates for change in the US and elsewhere. Contrary to conventional wisdom, perhaps this is an especially good time to understand how teachers really learn to lead in different contexts despite the inevitable tensions that come with leading their peers in an essentially egalitarian culture (Lortie, 1975) while negotiating an increasingly prescriptive curriculum.