write report to express your comprehension and discuss themes the given article presented

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could you please read the article in the attachment and then write a 300-word report to express your comprehension and discuss further the topics or themes which the authors presented.

*** you have to read the article first

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J Educ Change (2014) 15:203–230 DOI 10.1007/s10833-013-9226-5 Who am I and where do I belong? The perception and evaluation of teacher leaders concerning teacher leadership practices and micropolitics in schools Charlotte Struyve • Chloé Meredith • Sarah Gielen Published online: 27 February 2014  Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014 Abstract The phenomenon of teachers taking on leadership tasks beyond their classroom duties has become widespread internationally. While presented as a catalyst for educational improvement, it blurs the traditional division between teaching and leading and therefore challenges the conventional professional relationships in schools as well as the professional self-understanding of teacher leaders. This article reports on an exploratory study of the perceptions of teacher leaders in Flemish primary and secondary schools. By conducting semi-structured interviews of 26 teacher leaders, we collected data concerning their tasks and the consequences for both their social–professional relations with teacher colleagues and school leaders and their professional self-understanding. From a micro-political perspective, the results demonstrate how teacher leadership introduces new structures of interactions in schools that makes teacher leaders find themselves continuously juggling between two different agendas of professional interests: obtaining recognition as a teacher leader by their colleagues as well as maintaining their social– professional relationships with their colleagues. Keywords Teacher leadership  Social–professional relationships  Professional self-understanding  Qualitative case-studies  Micropolitics C. Struyve (&)  C. Meredith  S. Gielen Centre for Educational Effectiveness and Evaluation, KU Leuven, Dekenstraat 2, Post Box 3773, 3000 Leuven, Belgium e-mail: charlotte.struyve@ppw.kuleuven.be C. Meredith e-mail: chloe.meredith@ppw.kuleuven.be S. Gielen e-mail: sarah.gielen@ppw.kuleuven.be 123 204 J Educ Change (2014) 15:203–230 Teacher leadership in Flanders and beyond The idea of a teacher who is responsible for teaching only one group of students or for instructing a single subject in schools is no longer self-evident. The complexity of schools has strongly increased due to the processes of school enlargement and a higher level of local autonomy, among other reasons (see Fullan and Hargreaves 1996). Decentralization trends in several countries have brought decision-making governance in closer proximity to schools, placing schools in charge of the development of their own local policy with respect to various issues, such as professionalization, special needs care, the induction and support of new and beginning teachers, etc. (see Devos et al. 2010; Verhoeven and Devos 2002). Schools are expected to take on more and new responsibilities; therefore, schools must undertake coherent actions to realize the essential and desirable objectives that contribute to overall school quality. In doing so, different school actors are assuming more and new responsibilities. In Flanders, the government supports the task extension of schools by providing additional funding through various programs. The empirical reality shows that the additional financial means are mostly deployed for partial teacher relief from the classroom duties. In addition to their pedagogical-didactical responsibilities in the classroom, several teachers also undertake tasks beyond their classroom duties, such as coordination tasks (within a grade as well as at the school level), special needs care responsibilities, organizing and leading induction programs for pre-service and in-service teachers, and guiding the compulsory implementation of cross-curricular attainment targets in the school. In doing so, they have a wide range of impacts on the overall teaching and learning within the school. Consequently, the worldwide label of ‘teacher leadership’ (see e.g., Crowther et al. 2002; Lieberman and Miller 2004; Muijs and Harris 2007; Murphy 2007; Smylie 1995, 1997; Smylie and Mayrowetz 2009; York-Barr and Duke 2004), which implies an increased empowerment and agency of teachers in schools, seems to be just as much in place in Flanders. Next to dealing with decentralization trends, teacher leadership is also introduced worldwide as a solution for the rising concerns regarding the status and health of teaching as a career option (Sykes 1990).1 According to many authors (see Conley et al. 1989; Elmore 1990; Katzenmeyer and Moller 2001; Lieberman and Miller 2004; Smylie et al. 2011; Wasley 1991), teaching is perceived as a flat career in which ‘novices’ and ‘experts’ are asked to fulfill the same task and, generally, no promotion within either the school or the educational system is in sight, except for obtaining a principal position. All teachers hold equal status within a school, and ‘going ahead’ instead of stagnating in current roles without new learning opportunities can only be reached by leaving the profession (Ingersoll and Kralik 2004). Smylie and Denny (1990) argue that new opportunities for professional learning and development and for recognition and reward of excellence in teaching are needed. Teacher leadership also emerges from dissatisfaction with the current 1 In Flanders, this makes part of the current ‘teacher career debate’ where initiatives are developed to make the teaching career more attractive and to make the professionalization of teachers more effective. 123 J Educ Change (2014) 15:203–230 205 conditions in education and is regarded as a key element of recent initiatives to expand and diversify the nature of teachers’ work to attract and retain motivated and talented teachers and, consequently, to ensure the quality of the teaching practice (Harris and Muijs 2002; Muijs and Harris 2007; Smylie and Denny 1990). In a study by Harris and Muijs (2001), teachers who engaged in leadership activities could be associated with higher levels of teacher retention as well as with stronger feelings of empowerment and job satisfaction. Bogler (2001) as well as Kushman (1992) illustrated how teachers who participate in school decision-making feel more committed to the school and report on a higher job satisfaction. Lieberman et al. (2000) showed how taking on leadership tasks improved teachers’ confidence in their own abilities. O’Connor and Boles (1992) demonstrate how the self-confidence and knowledge of teachers increased after fulfilling leadership responsibilities and how this has led to a more positive attitude towards teaching. Smylie (1992) assumes this positive attitude will improve the quality and effectiveness of teaching and eventually the student learning outcomes. Ross et al. (2011) concur that making the development of teacher leaders a priority in education systems concerned with reform will result in those systems achieving in school improvement, better student learning outcomes, enhanced teacher learning and increased staff retention. However, the paradox of Lieberman and Miller (2004) shows how taking on leadership responsibilities not only stimulates but also leads to burnout, disaffection, professional conflict and disappointment at the same time. What is a teacher leader anyway? Although teacher leadership has been extensively studied, an unambiguous definition of the concept is still lacking (Scribner and Bradley-Levine 2010). This deficiency has resulted in a significant amount of (partially) overlapping and even somewhat contradictory definitions in the international literature, and to a broad empirical reality associated with the umbrella concept of teacher leadership (YorkBarr and Duke 2004). In some cases, the definition of being a teacher leader includes a formal role (i.e., one with formal leadership duties and authority); examples of this role include a school coordinator, head teacher, mentor, and special needs coordinator. However, in other cases, teacher leadership is concerned with informal practices that contain the potential to influence other teachers’ behavior by engaging in dialogue with other teachers, helping to broaden the understandings of others, and/or modeling practices without any delegated authority. Considering formal teacher leadership, some teachers are partly relieved from their teaching responsibilities, whereas others exert fulltime leadership duties or fulltime teaching by taking on extra leadership responsibilities in addition to their teaching obligations. Additionally, the levels at which teacher leaders undertake responsibilities can differ. The task of a teacher leader can be entirely located within the school (school-level or grade-level) or can exceed the borders of the organization. Finally, the focus of teacher leadership varies, ranging from organizational-level work (membership in decision-making councils), to professional development work or instructional-level work (mentoring or special needs care). Despite the various 123 206 J Educ Change (2014) 15:203–230 forms, there seems to be agreement on the idea of teacher leadership as a way to enhance the quality of the core tasks of a school, namely teaching and learning. Katzenmeyer and Moller (2001) define teacher leadership as follows: ‘‘teachers who are leaders lead within and beyond the classroom, identify with and contribute to a community of teacher learners and leaders, and influence others toward improved educational practice’’ (p. 5). Wasley (1991) describes teacher leaders as those with ‘‘the ability to encourage colleagues to change, to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily consider without the influence of the leader’’ (p. 23). Day and Harris (2003) see an important task for teacher leaders in ‘‘helping to translate the principles of school improvement into the practices of individual classrooms’’ (p. 973). The definitions given by most authors remain rather open with respect to the specific forms teacher leadership can take (formal vs. non-formal, full-time vs. parttime, in the school vs. exceeding the school borders), as well as to the actual responsibilities that a teacher leader embraces (from the development of a school vision or pedagogical project to the support of teachers’ daily practice). The empirical reality in Flemish primary and secondary schools, however, demonstrates a trend of teachers receiving an explicit and formal mandate within their schools to take on responsibilities beyond their classroom duties, being partly relieved from their teaching tasks. Although these responsibilities are in the first place introduced in Flemish schools to distribute tasks and to relieve school leaders from certain leadership duties, we still consider it as a form of teacher leadership because their responsibilities entail guiding other teachers toward improved educational practice and focus on teaching and learning processes in the school.2 Given that this article exclusively focuses on the practice and experiences of teacher leaders with a formal mandate, we therefore have used the following definition of teacher leaders: teachers who, in addition to their classroom duties receive, sometimes only temporarily, a formal mandate to carry out leadership responsibilities by guiding other teachers toward improved educational practice. In doing so, they are partly relieved from their teaching responsibilities. Current study In this study, our research interest is to grasp the notion of what it means to be a teacher leader in Flemish schools and, more specifically, how taking on a formal mandate as a teacher leader influences their social-professional relations and their professional self-understanding. Although teacher leadership is presented as a catalyst for dealing with the increased complexity of schools as well as a way to create career opportunities for teachers, which lead to higher levels of job 2 In Flemish schools, some teachers are partly relieved from their teaching duties in order to assume merely administrative tasks and thus to support the school leader. Those administrative tasks do not focus on processes of teaching and learning and do not imply interactions with other teachers in the school. In line with the definitions of teacher leadership in international literature (see e.g., Frost and Durrant 2003; Wasley 1991; York-Barr and Duke 2004) we do not consider those teachers as teacher leaders since their responsibilities do not go beyond the delegation of responsibilities, and thus are merely a matter of distribution rather than teachers’ agency. 123 J Educ Change (2014) 15:203–230 207 satisfaction and teacher retention (Harris and Muijs 2002; Muijs and Harris 2007; Smylie and Denny 1990; Sykes 1990), empirical studies of teacher leadership are rather rare (Muijs and Harris 2006, 2007; Smylie 1997). Moreover, Smylie (1995) sees a contradiction between the increasing amount written about teacher leadership and the small proportion of systematic empirical investigations and studies using formal theory to focus research questions and to develop new theoretical insights. Muijs and Harris (2006) indicate that the literature still leans towards advocacy rather than empirical research and offers a rosy view of the implementation of teacher leadership and its consequences while it can be assumed that diverse barriers operating in schools inhibit the implementation of teacher leadership in schools (see also Hart 1990; Murphy 2007; Smylie 1992, 1995, 1997; Smylie and Denny 1990; Smylie and Mayrowetz 2009). Smylie (1997) argues that teacher leadership in schools leads to reshaping the existing structures and expectations of teacher roles in order to legitimize roles beyond the classroom. Hart (1990) indicates how the creation of teacher leadership roles challenges established authority patterns and intervenes with many professional norms. Macbeath (2005) assumes that the renegotiation of institutional roles can make many people uncomfortable and can introduce role conflict and confusion concerning who has the authority to make certain decisions. According to Hanson (1991), schools exist of two separated zones that need to be considered as ‘decisional zones’. Each zone has their own purposes and define and operationalize their own aims. Hanson (1991) distinguishes the teachers’ zone, which encompasses issues concerning the key processes of teaching and learning and where teachers feel in charge of the decisionmaking process; and the administrators’ zone, which covers all issues of administration, finances, staff policy and contacts with external partners. In this zone, school leaders are the ones who feel authority over decision-making. Due to the existing structures and expectations, established authority patterns, professional norms and the ingrained division of zones in schools, we can assume that the practices of teacher leaders in formal roles are rather complex. Teacher leadership blurs the traditional division between teaching and leading and forces teacher leaders to revise the conceptions they hold of themselves as a professional by asking questions such as: who am I?; how well am I doing?; and what is my task? Taking on formal leadership responsibilities as a teacher involves not just obtaining and using new knowledge and skills but also continuously switching between teaching and leading, as well as commuting between individual classroom and broader school practices. These dimensions force a teacher leader to exist in changed relationships with teacher colleagues and the school leader(s). Thus, the implementation of teacher leadership mandates has important consequences for the social-professional relations in schools, and, according to many studies (see e.g., Nias 2005; Penuel et al. 2009; Silins and Mulford 2004), social-professional relations should be considered as one of the most important working conditions in a school. As a result, the complexity of teacher leadership should be acknowledged and further unraveled, using empirical studies that help us to obtain a deepened understanding of the phenomenon of teacher leadership from an insider’s perspective. The field needs a greater understanding of teacher leadership by examining how those practices really take place and how these practices are perceived by the teacher leaders involved. 123 208 J Educ Change (2014) 15:203–230 Conceptual framework In addition to the international literature on social-professional relations and the micropolitical relevance of these relations, we make use of research on teachers’ work lives and careers, with focus on the notion of ‘professional self-understanding’ (Kelchtermans 2009) to build our conceptual framework. This combined theoretical perspective allows us to explore the social-relational dynamics in schools and to obtain insight into how teacher leaders experience the actual practices of teacher leadership in Flemish schools. Social-professional relations Research on the work lives of teachers notes the importance and relevance of socialprofessional relations in the school for teachers. Social-professional relations form an important source for job motivation, social recognition of expertise and a feeling of identity for teachers (see Nias 2005; Penuel et al. 2009). Several studies have indicated that collaboration and strong collegial relations have a positive effect on educational innovation and school development because strong ties between colleagues improve the exchange of expertise and professional learning in the workplace (see Daly 2010; Day and Harris 2003; Johnson 2003; Nias 2005; Rosenholtz 1989; Wasley 1991). At the same time, diverse authors have argued for a more balanced view on collaboration and collegiality: Hargreaves (1992) argues that not every form of collaboration is useful, nor should every form of individualism be avoided. He refers to a so-called ‘‘contrived-collegiality’’ (p. 195) in which interactions are merely administratively arranged and controlled, as well as to ‘‘elective individualism’’ (p. 195), where working autonomously is regarded as a positive and conscious choice and thus is floated by intrinsic reasons. Kelchtermans (2006) emphasizes that collaboration only leads to positive outcomes when the collaboration is sufficiently profound and thus more than merely solving the problems that keep schools from functioning efficiently: ‘‘It has to include also exchange, discussion and confrontation of underlying beliefs’’ (p. 228). However, according to Wasley (1991), schools are ruled by ‘‘an unspoken code discouraging teachers from talking about work’’ (p. 3). Additionally, Murphy (2007) shows how schools are still characterized by deeply rooted norms that inhibit the exchange of underlying beliefs concerning education. He distinguishes, among other norms, the norms of privacy and autonomy, which define the teaching job and allow teachers to fulfill their teaching duties in their own way within the relative autonomy of the four class walls: ‘‘they [teachers] learn not to meddle in the affairs of other teachers, especially in matters dealing with how their colleagues work with youngsters in their classrooms’’ (p. 688). Murphy (2007) also emphasizes the norm of egalitarianism among teachers and thus the idea of all teachers as peers based on their equal position in the school: ‘‘egalitarianism is deeply rooted and with long standing traditions’’ (p. 689). According to Smylie (1997), those norms strongly influence how social-professional relations in schools are shaped. Following Whitaker (1995), the norms function as ‘‘yardsticks that most teachers use to measure acceptability’’ (p. 80). 123 J Educ Change (2014) 15:203–230 209 The implementation of teacher leadership in schools can foster collaboration between teachers and the school leader as well as chal ...
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Final Answer



A Teacher’s Non-Teaching Practices
Student Name:




A Teacher’s Non-teaching Practices
Nowadays, it is contrary to what it was thought in the early time that a teacher's role in
school is confined to teaching only. Teachers take different additional practices or roles
in school such as micropolitics as well as leaders in non-academic practices. This report
gives an insight of perceptions of tutor leaders secondary and Flemish primary schools.
Semi-structured interviewing was undertaken on 26 teacher frontrunners to obtain data
regarding their activities and outcomes for their occupational self-understanding and
social-occupational relationships with school front-runners and teacher coworkers. From
a micro- politics point of view, it was found that teacher leadership presents new
interaction structures in schools that enable teachers to handle two various agendas:
gaining teacher leadership recognition and keeping colleague social-occupational
Decentralization in many states has given schools an opportunity to make their policies
geared towards their development through activities they undertake (Struyve, Meredith, &
Gielen, 2014). In line to that, tutor leadership has become the chosen approach to providing
solutions to school concerns. A teacher leader is an instructor who takes the role and authority to
serve a school in various activities.
This study intended to grip the concept of teacher leader (Struyve, Meredith, & Gielen,
2014). It exposés how a teacher leader effects social-occupational relationships and professional
self-understanding. The study enhances an understanding of the different roles and practices a


teacher can undertake other than the regular teaching practice. Thus, this report answers the
following questions: how does teacher leadership come about in Flemish schools? What are
outcomes exist when a teacher takes the mandate of leadership?
Nonprobability sampling was adopted. This took place in Flemish schools (Struyve,
Meredith, & Gielen, 2014). Teachers who met the description of teacher leaders were the
respondents. Accessible and interconnected schools were the selected sites. Interviewing was
used to collect data in interpretative and descriptive ways.
Teacher leadership comprises of various aspects including particular tasks, nature of
obligation as well as hours dismissed from schooling responsibilities. Teacher leadership
mandate places an official tutor leader's social-occupational relationships at risk through newly
established interaction structures. Task differentiation is a strategy employed in dealing with
teacher leadership outcomes (Struyve, Meredith, & Gielen, 2014).
Leadership is the central theme in the study. It is shown by the mandate teacher leaders
take controlling various school tasks (Struyve, Meredith, & Gielen, 2014). Based on this theme,
a topic, "Effects of teacher leadership on social-occupational and occupational selfunderstanding" is evolved. This topic is built from one of the research questions outlined above
and is set to answer the question as one of the specific objectives of the study. The theme of
commitment prevails in the study. It requires a teacher leader to dedicate time to balance
between schooling tasks and leadership role.



ZarkB (38)
Boston College

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The tutor was great. I’m satisfied with the service.

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