Developing Advocacy in Teacher Leadership
The term teacher leadership is one that can refer to a differing set of skills and understandings, depending on the context in which it is employed. Providing leadership in a classroom, for example, can be quite different from providing leadership to the profession. Many states, including North Carolina, have developed leadership standards for practicing teachers. These standards emphasize classroom leadership, but also address leadership of the profession, with an emphasis on advocacy. This study evolved from the consistent observations of graduate faculty that the latter form of leadership appeared poorly understood and enacted by teachers. Although teachers seemed clear that leading classrooms and leading schools were essential aspects of their practice, they did not often seem to consider leadership of the profession or advocacy as an element within the purview of their responsibilities. These limiting perceptions on the part of contemporary educators are likely to propagate a narrow and incomplete view of teacher leadership. This study addressed the question of whether or not particular course instructional strategies could impact teachers’ views of themselves as advocates and leaders of the profession, and found highly significant results.
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