Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Hayward Richardson

Second Advisor

Sheryl Gowen

Third Advisor

Jami Berry

Fourth Advisor

Bob Michael

Fifth Advisor

Toni Bellon

Abstract

ABSTRACT

TEACHERS’ AND TEACHER LEADERS’ PERCEPTIONS

OF THE FORMAL ROLE OF

TEACHER LEADERSHIP

by

Jerry Kelley

The accountability and responsibilities of schools have intensified greatly over the past two decades and school improvement has become a strong focus of many schools, thus requiring a greater understanding and use of formal teacher leadership if schools are to meet high standards. This research studied teachers’ and teacher leaders’ beliefs concerning the formal role of teacher leadership in three elementary schools. A qualitative study was conducted, utilizing surveys and interviews to collect data concerning teachers’ and teacher leaders’ perceptions of the formal role of teacher leadership. All teachers at three elementary schools were invited to complete an electronic survey and nominate teachers they believed were formal teacher leaders. Nominated teachers meeting the study’s criteria as a formal teacher leader were invited to complete a self-administered teacher leader self-assessment survey. Based on the results from the surveys, nine teachers, three from each school, were invited to participate in an interview process with the researcher.

Analysis of all data collected throughout the study suggests that even though formal teacher leadership is valued by most teachers, there exists a disconnect between teachers’ and teacher leaders’ beliefs of what formal teacher leadership should look like ideally in their schools versus their perceived reality of formal teacher leadership. Areas such as collaboration, recognition, and understanding of the formal role of teacher leadership, as well as policies that affects these areas were all found to hold discrepancies in these schools.

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