Date of Award

1-8-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Kadir Demir

Second Advisor

Jodi Kaufmann

Third Advisor

Brett Criswell

Fourth Advisor

Brett Criswell

Fifth Advisor

Gregory Rushton

Abstract

The importance of teacher leadership has received intense interest as an area of educational research over the past three decades (Crowther, Kaagan, Ferguson & Hann, 2002; Harris, 2003; Lambert, 2002; Marks & Printy, 2003). Most of this research has focused on the qualifications, impacts, and development of teacher leadership (Smylie & Mayrowetz, 2009). This study aimed to broaden the scope of research to include science teachers’ interaction with leadership practices in the course of a leadership development program that includes both their own professional development (PD) and leadership of teacher-driven professional development (TDPD). The study considered professional vision and identity rather than focusing only on formal or informal leadership roles. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine experienced physics and chemistry high school teachers’ perceptions of their leadership roles and characteristics and their professional vision and identity as they participated in a leadership development training program and a math and science partnership program as facilitators of the science activities for K-12 teachers. The study was situated within the leadership training program (I-LEAD) five-year project, which was designed to recruit experienced secondary physics and chemistry teachers, called Master Teaching Fellows (MTFs), to understand the dynamics that support or limit the development of teacher leaders. The participants in this study consisted of up to three of these MTFs, who organized and implemented TDPD activities for K-12 teachers to improve these teachers’ science knowledge and teaching practices. The data was analyzed using multiple coding methods that generated themes from interviews with the MTFs and archival data from the I-LEAD leadership program. The results of the study claim that professional vision, professional identity, and teacher leadership roles and skills are inextricably interrelated. These dynamic components are refined, reshaped, and reformed by self-reflection, discussion, and feedback as provided through PD activities. This study further suggests that teacher leadership mechanism evolves over time through practicing different teacher leadership roles in the professional journey. Implications and practical suggestions for school administrators, PD developers, and policy makers as well as teacher leaders are discussed.

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