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ERIC Number: EJ1014118
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Preservice Teachers' Perceptions of Teacher Leadership: Is It about Compliance or Understanding?
Rogers, Carrie; Scales, Roya Q.
Issues in Teacher Education, v22 n2 p17-37 Fall 2013
Although preparing teachers to be leaders is a common goal of teacher education programs, often "teaching" and "leading" are located in separate departments" (Mangin & Stoelinga, 2009, p. 56). Recently, however, the assessment of teacher leadership has become important in preservice teacher education. This importance is partially related to the use of the outcomes model of teacher education, in particular, "outcomes as professional performance" (Cochran-Smith, 2001, p. 529). In the conversations about the standardization of teacher education programs, there remains tension about what should be the outcomes of teacher education and whether these types of performances can truly capture the complex character of teaching (Cochran-Smith, 2001; Feuerstein, 2011). Despite these lingering tensions, the "outcomes" issue in teacher education is currently the driving force in college and university compliance with state and national accreditation (Cochran-Smith, 2001). In 2008, the authors' state board of education declared that a new process that "focuses on outcomes, rather than inputs, eliminates barriers and obstacles that do not ensure quality, and allows greater institutional flexibility based on increased rigor and accountability" would be the model for granting teacher licensure (North Carolina State Board of Education, 2008, para. 1). The Teacher Leader Essays that they examine in this study are a mandated professional performance task required for licensure in their state. As part of their program's licensure requirements, preservice teachers are required to complete an online portfolio to demonstrate content and pedagogical knowledge as well as teacher leadership. The Teacher Leader Essay component requires preservice teachers to engage in a minimum of 10 hours of leadership activities during their student teaching semester. The directions for this component suggest that preservice teachers develop and engage in activities that focus on community and family relations, collaboration, and professional development. The preservice teachers in this study were required to document and reflect on their leadership activities through the use of essays. Other key elements of this requirement included the documentation of their growth and learning during the activities and how their courses and extracurricular activities assisted them with these undertakings of teacher leadership. Hence, this component of their licensure portfolio was a way for preservice teachers to synthesize their undergraduate experience with leadership. This inquiry into the content of the authors' institution's first year of Teacher Leader Essays was undertaken to understand what their preservice teachers in elementary and middle grades education perceived as teacher leadership as well as whether a mandated task constrained preservice teachers' experiences and perceptions of teacher leadership. Based on results of this analysis, they offer the notion that engaging in teacher leadership, while a valuable goal for teacher candidates, needs to be reframed in a developmentally appropriate and meaningful way for preservice teachers. (Contains 2 tables.)
Descriptors: Preservice Teachers, Preservice Teacher Education, Outcomes of Education, Teacher Leadership, Compliance (Psychology), State Boards of Education, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Internet, Portfolios (Background Materials), Knowledge Base for Teaching, Faculty Development, Essays, Teacher Certification, After School Programs, Extracurricular Activities, Student Teacher Attitudes, Leadership Qualities
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Elementary Education; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A