Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13

Leadership for “The All of It”: Formalizing Teacher-Leader Networks

by BetsAnn Smith - 2019

Background/Context: Research underscores that school improvement relies on leadership that stretches beyond a principal, but significant developments to the design of school level leadership lags. This paper shares data and interpretations of school leadership organized as a network of formalized teacher-leader roles that are ranked, titled, and differently paid.

Purpose/Research Question: The study examined the functions, tasks, and boundaries of different teacher-leader roles as well as teachers’ perceptions of their legitimacy and value. It also explored whether formal roles generated negative side effects on school climate or teacher relations.

Focus of Study: Ongoing skepticism of role formalization and ranking within teaching directed the study’s attention to an extensive empirical case of formalization.

Setting: Data were collected from eight secondary schools in England, where formalized teacher-leader roles are long established and associated with school performance.

Research Design: The study was designed as a descriptive investigation of a leader system. It was conceptually framed by perspectives on schools as organizations and literatures on role formalization, leadership, and school improvements.

Data Collection and Analysis: Observation, artifact, and interview data were collected. Description and analysis focused on the design of leader roles, the activities and conditions they generated, and school member perceptions of their legitimacy and value.

Findings/Results: Formal roles that blend teaching with instructional and managerial leadership gain legitimacy and pass tests of goodness and value for teachers when they directly contribute to teachers’ day-to-day work and success, as when they elevate working conditions, bring disciplinary knowledge and local understandings to learning and problem solving, and contribute to individual and collective efficacy.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Networks of formal teacher-leader roles can bring more substantial and reliable resources to the conditions of teaching and school organizations than informal leadership or targeted coaching roles. Fears of negative social and professional consequences do not emerge when roles remain rooted in teaching, when leaders’ tasks flow across logistical, instructional, and social dimensions of teachers’ work, and when norms emphasize help and reciprocity.

To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
Purchase this Article
Purchase Leadership for “The All of It”: Formalizing Teacher-Leader Networks
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 3, 2019, p. 1-44
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22569, Date Accessed: 8/2/2021 1:32:04 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • BetsAnn Smith
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    BETSANN SMITH is Associate Professor of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. Her research interests focus on leadership and school improvement, including leader system designs, leadership learning, and how teachers and students can collaborate as improvement partners. Her most recent article, with S. M. Printy, is Developing Leadership Knowledge Through Collaborative Group Dissertations (2018), published in Impacting Education: Journal on Transforming Professional Practice.
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue