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Expertise, Credibility, and Influence: How Teachers Can Influence Policy, Advance Research, and Improve Performance


by Thomas Hatch, Melissa Eiler White & Deborah Faigenbaum — 2005

While many efforts to foster teacher leadership focus on the power, authority, and control that can come with teachers' formal positions in organizational hierarchies, case studies of 4 teachers document how expertise, credibility, and influence can come together in teachers' activities regardless of the formal positions they hold. These teachers' expertise emerged from investigations of issues that were of concern to them in their own classrooms and schools. Through these investigations, they developed representations that both helped them to articulate their own ideas and facilitated the sharing of their work in a variety of different contexts. The connections these teachers made provided them with new perspectives, helped them to build their credibility, and enabled them to gain access to individuals who served as translators, advocates, and amplifiers for their work. Despite conditions that provided little support forand often significant discouragement fromsharing their work and ideas, their experiences suggest some of the ways that schools, school systems, and reform networks can build on the ideas, energy, and influence of teachers both in the classroom and out.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 107 Number 5, 2005, p. 1004-1035
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11848, Date Accessed: 11/27/2014 2:25:52 PM

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About the Author
  • Thomas Hatch
    Teachers College
    THOMAS HATCH is codirector of the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools and Teaching (NCREST) at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research focuses on teacher learning as well as issues of large-scale school reform. He is also involved in a variety of efforts to use multimedia and the Internet to document teaching and share teachers’ expertise. He previously served as a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where he codirected the K–12 Program of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) and the Knowledge Media Laboratory.
  • Melissa White
    Stanford University
    MELISSA EILER WHITE is a fiscal and policy analyst for K–12 Education in the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) in Sacramento, California. Prior to joining the LAO, she completed her doctoral studies in administration and policy analysis at the Stanford University School of Education. Her research focused on the representation, translation, and use of practice-based knowledge. While completing her doctoral studies, she worked as a research assistant in the K–12 Program of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL).
  • Deborah Faigenbaum
    Stanford University
    DEBORAH FAIGENBAUM is the director of the Center for Professional Development Research and Policy at the Noyce Foundation. She is overseeing the center’s work studying professional development programs that have influenced student achievement. Her work has also focused on teacher communities, literacy, and teacher learning.
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