Four areas of teacher leadership

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The purpose of this chapter is to review the literature focused on four areas of teacher leadership. The first section will attempt to define and explain what teacher leadership is and this will lead onto the second section which will explore the different types of teacher leadership. The third section of this literature review will then focus on the benefits, constraints and tensions to this leadership practice. Whilst the fourth section will examine the favourable conditions that foster teacher leadership within schools.

These four areas were driven by my research questions that underpin this study. These research questions are;

Are teachers' and the head teacher familiar with teacher leadership within my school?

What are the teachers' and the head teacher's' perception of the benefits and constraints of teacher leadership within their school?

What is viewed as the significance of teacher leadership in the context of my school?

What situational factors, if any, need to be implemented to support and develop the teacher leadership practice within my school?

My research questions do not form the basis of my four sections of my literature review, for that reason conclusions can't be drawn prior to the completion of my site base study. What the literature review will try to do is to build a sufficient knowledge base that prepares me for my study.

What is teacher leadership?

The teacher leadership concept forms one strand of distributive leadership which centres on the leadership development of teachers. Reading around the literature on this topic it is evident that a precise meaning of teacher leadership cannot be found. Patterson and Paterson (2004) describe teacher leadership as an individual working with fellow teachers for the sole purpose of improving teaching practice. The individual in this instance can either be working from an assigned formalised role or work within an informal capacity. Danielson (2006) defines teacher leadership as an individual who incorporates a set of skills in order to improve the teaching practice not only within the parameters of their own classroom but support other teachers within their school. Andrew's and Crowther's (2002, p.154) definition centres on the outcome of teacher leadership and summarises this leadership approach as the "power of teaching to shape the meaning for children, youth and adults". For me, Childs- Bowen's, Moller's and Scrivner's (2000) views suitably describe the process of leadership as it covers the tenets of teacher leadership. They mention that teacher leadership is a process where teachers take on leadership responsibilities, be involved within decision making processes and empower other teachers for the intention of supporting school improvement. A common theme arises between all of the definitions which is; teacher leadership encourages teachers to become leaders and engage in leadership activities outside the classroom environment for the purpose of developing teaching and learning. Barth (2007) describes this process of leadership as teachers taking on initiatives that will in turn have a positive impact within the classroom.

Teacher leadership in my view should not just be fulfilling initiatives created by others; teachers should also be in a position to work on their own initiatives which will benefit the students' and the school. Wasley (in Muijs and Harris, 2005) shares my view and explains that teachers should be able to develop teaching and learning and pedagogical work on their own initiative rather than be led by initiatives derived from a formal leader. This is why teachers should work together to construct meaning and knowledge collectively (Lambert 1998) and it is argued that if everyone has the capacity to do this, only then will school improvement take place (Katzenmeyer and Moller, 2001).

Research has also addressed that understanding leadership alone will not be enough to encourage all staff to play a part in the schools improvement process alone, a form of capacity building will also be required. (Harris and Muijs, 2005). Teacher leadership can play a part towards capacity building of the school. The argument here is that teachers are a unique position to make change happen given that they are directly involved in the teaching process (Lieberman & Miller, 2004) and Stroll (2004 p3) argues that "nothing or no one is more important to school improvement than a teacher". Therefore, for schools to become life long learning environments and for school improvement to take place teacher leadership practices should be embedded within the school culture.


Teacher leadership is a relatively new practice within the leadership field. The key features include the development of teachers into leaders beyond the classroom thus leading to improved educational practice (Katzenmeyer and Moller, 2001). It is suggested by Blasé and Blasé (1997) that teachers need to be included within the decision making process as they are responsible for implementing the decisions that are made and by involving teachers such process will lead to better decisions being made. Teachers will also feel a great deal of ownership if they are involved within curriculum decisions and are more likely to support and embed these decisions within their teaching practice (Blasé and Blasé, 1997). Smylie (1992b) pointed out that teacher leadership encouraged teachers to learn together for the purpose of improving teaching and learning. This view is shared by several other researchers and writers all commenting on teacher leadership process where teachers work collaboratively for the purpose of improving their teaching practice. (Blasé and Blasé, 1997; Barth, 2007; Harris and Muijs, 2005; Katzenmeyer and Moller, 2001 & Patterson and Paterson, 2004).

What are the different types of teacher leadership?

Teacher leadership is a broad area that constitutes a variety of formal teacher leadership positions and informal teacher leadership actions within a school setting.

Leithwood (2003) explains the two types of teacher leadership; formal teacher leaders serve formalised leadership roles, and the informal teacher leaders volunteer to new projects, share their expertise and bring in new ideas. Examples of formalised teacher leadership roles include Lead Teacher, Advanced Skills Teacher, Head of Department and Excellent Teacher. These roles were created for expert teachers to support and develop their fellow colleagues. Smylie (1995) described this as a bureaucratic process where teachers were chosen by school leaders to carry out specialist teacher leadership roles, have reduced teaching time in order to carry out their responsibilities and are remunerated for their work. It has been recognised that many formal leadership roles also tie in with management responsibilities where negative aspect of this according to Cranston (2006) is that the majority work focused on management aspects as oppose to the leadership aspect of their roles.

Following on from these formalised roles was the idea that all teachers were leaders within their classrooms and beyond. This led to the development of informal teacher leadership. These informal leaders did not attain specialist titles, but worked collaboratively with their colleagues to improve teaching and learning within their school. Conversely, it is noted that the literature centred on this type of leadership is lacking and is yet to be clearly defined and examined, as a result it is described as emerging teacher leadership. (Darling Hammond, et al., 1995; Lieberman, 1992; Miller, 1992; Odell, 1997; Smylie, 1995; Teitel, 1997).

Compared to formal teacher leadership, informal teacher leaders remain within their classrooms for the majority of their professional work. Here, teachers do not need formalised titles to support others, but are in the position to work together to improve instructional practice. Katzenmeyer and Moller (2001), believe that this element of informal leadership materialises naturally and is shared by all teachers which then brings out a community of leaders within the school. Teachers within this area of leadership are more willing to take risks, are keen to share their good practices with others, compared to formalised leaders who may not share all their good practices; as they feel that they need to retain their excellence (the winning edge) over fellow teaching staff.

Corallo (1995) highlighted the qualities of informal leaders after the research into the development of this practice. These qualities included strong collaborative skills, first-rate teaching skills and the continuous development of their own professional practice. Therefore, with these qualities informal leaders had a greater chance of influencing fellow teachers.

Leithwood (2003) suggests that the concept of informal teacher leadership creates opportunities for teachers to assume leadership functions at different times. Gronn (2000) comments that this element of teacher leadership has the greatest strength for supporting school improvement as it occupies a high degree of teacher collaboration. This form of collective leadership consists of the school leader encouraging teachers to lead beyond the parameters of their own classroom as a result this builds a community of teacher leaders, encouraging others to improve their educational practice along the way. Katzenmeyer and Moller (2001)

It is also suggested by Durrant and Holden (2006) that the head teacher should not merely put into practice teacher collaboration just to fix a short term problem. This practice of empowerment, teamwork and engaging everyone in learning should be embedded within the schools culture in order to sustain school improvement. Several researchers have brought to our attention that any successful organisation bears the hallmarks of a culture that embeds continual learning and builds upon learners' capacity (Bruffee, 1999; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Senge 1990).

A continual learning environment will not be effective without the involvement of teachers and this view is commonly accepted by researchers and practitioners in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. (Smylie, 1995; Gronn, 2000; and Courte, 2002). In review of this information one must assume that everyone has an understanding of teacher leadership however, this assumption cannot be generalisable to all schools as the topic of teacher leadership is relatively a new phenomenon that encompasses a limited literature base and calls for further school based studies into this field. (Bennett, Harvey; Wise & Woods, 2003; Harris, 2004; Timperley, 2005).

With the UK there has been a commissioned study by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) in 2004 focused on teacher leadership in action and was conducted by a team of professionals at The University of Warwick. The focus of this action research was to determine how teacher leadership practices operated in schools and what factors were established to foster the development of teacher leadership within these schools. The schools in this case study were chosen on the basis of recommendation from key informers who recognised that elements of teacher leadership were present in these schools. The research recognised that not all schools embed teacher leadership the same way; it was found that some schools restricted teacher leadership, whilst other schools established elements of teacher leadership and only a few schools were recognised as fully utilising the work of teacher leaders within their school.

The findings from the UK study address inconsistencies of the teacher leadership practice within the eight schools. Another problem towards the research of teacher leadership is that the majority studies derive from outside the UK where the bulk of the research are small case studies within schools that focus on a broad range of areas of teacher leadership, so therefore, it is very difficult to compare the research findings. Furthermore a huge amount of past research is focused on the work conducted within formalised roles, with little attention paid to the exploration of informal teacher leadership roles.


The literature brings to our attention that teacher leadership comprises of informal and formal roles. Formal leaders are paid for their work, whilst the emerging concept of informal leadership does not target any remuneration but yield the rewards of the satisfaction received through the individual professional development and the development of others.

What are the benefits and constraints of teacher leadership?

The idea of a leader as a teacher or a teacher as a leader (Birky, Headley and Shelton, 2006) has increased in importance within the educational field. As a result this has led to many writers and researchers exploring the benefits and constraints of this unique style of leadership.

Emergent property of interaction

In respective of teacher leadership, Griffin (1995) highlights the need for teachers to prosper as leaders so they can support the development of other teachers. The knock-on effect of teachers not interacting with each other can be seen as an intellectual resource being wasted and detract from the capacity building model. A similar view is shared by Harris and Muijs (2005) who have reported that teachers' knowledge and expertise increase after being involved in discussion sessions with other leaders.

York-Barr and Duke (2004), highlight that teacher leadership develops interactions between teachers and leaders, leading to interested teachers who have the willingness to meet the school aims. Katzenmeyer and Moller, (2001) also point out, if teacher leaders are established within the school and have a positive influence on fellow teachers, will encourage other teachers to aspire to become leaders. Webb, Nuemann and Jones (2004 p254) share a similar view and state that "teachers need to see themselves as leaders or having the potential responsibility for leadership". Teacher that rise to leadership challenges will have the thirst and desire to do well. This process is described as an intrinsic type of motivation according to Harris and Muijs, (2005).

However, a study exploring teachers interactions between teachers by Smylie (1992b), noted that formalised teacher leadership roles created a different status amongst teachers and affected previous positive teacher to teacher relationships. The consequences of this led to a rise in conflict between the two groups (teacher-teacher leader) and resulted to teachers avoiding future interactions with their teacher leaders. Wasely (1991) found that teachers had misconceptions of the roles of teacher leaders and had issues of trust as they felt that teacher leaders reported their observations of fellow teachers practice to the school leaders. Wasely (1991) also noted that teachers would work with teacher leaders on the basis that these leaders were working for the benefit of the teachers and supported their professional development.

'Top-down' Vs 'Bottom-up'

The term 'top down' leadership in schools is a process whereby strategies and solutions are identified by senior leaders and are then passed down the organisation (Hodgkinson 1991). Whereas the 'bottom up' approach promotes employee participation at all levels of the decision making process. Ryan (2003) suggests that distributive leadership is a non-hierarchical collaborative approach. The benefits of the collaborative approach would increase work performance compared to the traditional hierarchical approach. (Leithwood and Riehl 2003).

On the other hand, many research studies also identify 'top-down' management structures as a hindrance to teacher leadership as they do not encourage teachers to work on their initiative. Wheatley (2000) identified fear and uncertainty and an over emphasis of control as the existence of bureaucratic and hierarchical structures on organisations. This is another reason why teacher leadership roles cannot be successfully imposed in schools.

As a recognition of expertise

Expertise can also be drawn from school teachers. By creating a climate that identifies teachers' know-how will bring upon the leadership of those teachers. For the head teacher to seek expertise outside the formalised setting will create empower teachers to fulfil leadership responsibilities (Hargreaves, 1999). However, there proves to be unanswered questions with Hargreaves (1999) thoughts as he makes no mention of a situation when the expert i.e. teacher is not skilled or enthusiastic to lead, therefore this will lead to the process of identifying expertise outside the formal setting to become counterproductive. However, Duignan (2006) does shed some light on this and explains that recognising expertise will promote an 'allowed-to-be-a-leader' culture; which can be a powerful tool in raising the motivation of teachers. Conversely, it is argued by Katzenmeyer & Moller (2001) that teachers can be supported to develop their leadership potential, but teacher leadership can only blossom within a culture where the opinions of these leaders are respected.

A further benefit is the support and expertise that teachers offer can fulfil the responsibilities of the site leaders (Keedy & Finch, 1994). Lambert (1998) believes this process allows experts to shine from outside the formalised structure and create opportunities for additional staff to become leaders. Harris and Lambert (2003) add to this idea and state that teachers harbour leadership capabilities and if unlocked can be engaged for the benefit of the school.

It has been noted from the literature on teacher experts within formal roles such as lead teachers were established to recognise the efforts of teachers, however; these programmes were found to be ineffective as Smylie and Denny (1990) found out. These teacher leaders could not fully support their fellow teachers as most of their time was taken up attending meetings rather than spending time improving the practice of other teachers. Whitakers (1997) case study on formalised teacher leaders, further supports this view and states that in reality teacher leadership functions did not align to the perceptions that teacher leaders held for their roles. Whitakers (1997) school based study focused around four teachers fulfilling the leadership functions of an assistant head, discovered that teacher leaders' concentrated on completing administrative tasks such as grant writing, community outreach and discipline rather than improving instructional practice. Wasley's (1991) multiple-case study provides a further insight into this issue. The study compared two formalised leadership roles created centrally and an informal self-created leadership role and discovered that the intentions of all three roles did not match the realities. The teacher leaders felt they worked harder fulfilling tasks that did not directly support their colleagues. Additionally, these roles were not evaluated by school leaders to find out whether they were successful; as a result the three teachers felt that they were not effective in their work. Whitaker (1997) also addressed another concern which was that 'role overload' and role 'confusion' of teacher leadership led to teacher leaders becoming stressed within their posts.

Supporting school improvement

Hallinger and Heck (1998) also bring to our attention that the quality of teaching and learning play a pivotal role in supporting student achievement. If the students are doing better compared to the previous year then the school is seen to be improving. School leaders need to recognise that teachers have contributed extensively to this improvement. Literature has also highlighted that teacher leadership can lead to improved student outcomes as knowledge and skills are shared for the purpose of improving instructional practice (Smylie, 1994) This view is shared by Lieberman and Miller (2004) who suggest, when teachers have opportunities to lead and share good practice the chances of securing the quality of teaching learning is increased. Barth (2007) adds to this view by stating that schools badly need the leadership of teachers if they are to improve and Sergiovanni (2000) suggests that developing teachers as leaders is the single most important way to improve a school.

Sergiovanni (2000) also explains that school improvement will only work best if teachers participate in decision making, work collaboratively with other teachers and accept a joint responsibility for the outcomes. However, Sergiovanni's ideas do not take into account the motivations and the desires of teachers fulfilling such leadership responsibilities. Yukl (2006) on the other hand, provides an answer to this and explains that the head teacher must create a culture where the followers feel trusted, feel valued, are supported with their professional development, feel loyal towards the leader and are seen as people of achievement. Yukl adds, that if these factors are in place then the there is a greater likelihood of teachers' feeling motivated to fulfil leadership responsibilities.

Davies (2005) brings an alternative view to the promotion of teacher leadership in supporting school improvement. His idea is that school improvement can only blossom if school leaders establish a culture where teachers are able to participate in the development of the schools visions and goals. Durrant and Holden (2006) share a similar outlook and mention; teachers contributing towards the school vision will unlock the school culture and in the process build the capacity for school improvement. Both Davies (2005) and Durrant and Holden (2006) views have been supported by several studies of successful schools, where it was recognised that a strong culture was one of ten components that led to these schools becoming successful establishments. (Daggett, 2005).

Developing teachers' professionalism

The literature has brought to our attention that professionalism of teachers would increase through the introduction of teacher leadership (Moller and Pankake, 2006) which will lead to teachers motivated to improve their practices and do well within the school that they work in (Muijs and Harris, 2006). Barkers (1998) study into teacher leaders outlined professionalism positives derived from teacher leadership; examples include increased confidence of their leadership abilities and increased commitment to bring upon change. In addition to these positives, it is suggested that teacher leaders during this process can then empower other teachers to improve their instructional practice. (Sirotnik & Ericson 2000).

Ease the workload of the head teacher

Research has shown that the roles and the expectations of the head teacher have grown over the years; consequently, it has become more difficult for one leader to solely meet all the expectations. (Elmore 2000; Copland 2001; Fullan, Hill and Crevola 2006). Brookes (2008) stated the increase workload and expectations has led to more than a thousand head teachers and deputies leaving their roles every year. To alleviate this problem, Moller & Pankake (2006) have suggested the promotion of teacher leaders could be a solution to support the head teacher's complex workload. Copland (2001), also addresses this issue and wrote that the head teacher must pass on certain leadership duties to teacher leaders in order for the head teacher to cope through their intense workloads. Examples of leadership tasks for teachers could be to take on projects individually or as a group for the intention to improving instructional practice (Muijs & Harris, 2006) or supporting the development of the schools curriculum.

It is also noted that distributing these leadership tasks out to the teachers should be planned and coordinated by the head teacher (Smylie, Conley & Marks, 2002) as he/she ultimately has better knowledge of the school plans than the teachers themselves (Frost and Durrant, 2003). I disagree with these statements as I feel that teaching and learning decisions could be best administered through the consultation process with teachers, rather than solely decided by the head teacher/senior leaders. My reasoning is that teachers educate learners on a day to day basis, therefore can provide informed ideas to support instructional improvement which the head teacher may fail to recognise. This shared decision making process between teachers as leaders and the head teacher as a leader can be classed as parallel leadership (Andrew and Crowther 2002). It is recommended that if a school embeds the approach, where ideas are stimulated between the two groups it will support school wide learning, develop the schools culture and ultimately lead to improved school capacity. The model below explains this process in detail.

Alleviate power struggles

Building teacher leadership could alleviate power struggles within the school as both the teachers and the head teacher will be working towards the same goals. Moller and Pankake (2006) confirm my view and state that power struggles can arise if the teacher and the head teacher do not have the same vision for the school. They then go onto make three suggestions how teacher leadership can decrease power struggles. The first suggestion is collaboration, teachers are constantly be kept informed of school plans and know why decisions are made, therefore there is a greater chance teachers will support the school plans. Secondly, through collaboration teacher leaders will accept joint responsibility of the school decision making, so are less likely to blame the head teacher for any unpopular decisions he/she makes. Finally, if teacher leaders support the school plans there is a greater chance they will influence their fellow teachers to collectively support the school aims.

-Tensions, barriers and concerns of teacher leadership

The general consensus within the literature states that teacher leadership forms one unique strand of the distributive leadership process. The distributive process encourages teachers to take on leadership roles, in my opinion there is a significant problem with this as there is an assumption is that teachers are capable of taking on leadership roles. Smylie's (1994) study of teacher leaders and their head teachers brought to our attention teachers concerns about the lack of training that was provided for building new working relationships. In my experience leaders require some form of prior training to taking on leadership responsibilities. The expertise of potential teacher leaders may not be effective if the teachers are not capable of leading. This is why in my school the majority of leaders assigned to middle leadership and senior leadership positions attend training courses delivered by the NCSL.

The main tension of teacher leadership is due to the lack of research conducted within this field. It is noted that the majority of studies that explore this type of leadership are centred on teacher leaders, examining the work that they do, the obstacles they face and the development of their role. Studies, gaining the views of other stakeholders within the school i.e. senior leaders, head teachers and the governors' on this topic are very limited. As a result there are many unanswered questions that need to be explored further to support the knowledge-field of teacher leadership. My research will attempt to partially fill this void as I propose to research the head teacher's views on teacher leadership whilst considering areas such as the benefits, constraints and the development of this leadership type.

As bureaucratic organisations, the head teacher's of schools are held accountable for the overall management and performance of the school; as a result this could be a potential barrier to the successful development of teacher leaders. The organisation of the schools culture has customarily expected the head teacher to lead the school and the teacher to educate the students. This leads to the head teacher being isolated from the teachers as many leadership tasks are delegated to senior leaders within the school, resulting to the head teacher not having direct interaction with the teaching staff. With such a rigid hierarchical structure many teachers may also be reluctant to shine as informal leaders as they may feel out of place as the roles are not formalised. In this case, some teachers may feel they are disobeying the head teacher of the school if they act as informal leaders (Smylie 1992a). In addition, the inflexible school hierarchy may well lead to different interests and visions between teachers and the head teachers (Smylie & Brownlee-Conyers, 1992; Zinn, 1997). The challenge here is for the head teacher to modify the organisation of the school so that roles can be distributed outside the hierarchical structure. (Lingard et al. 2003, Starratt 2003, Thomson and Gunter 2006).

Hierarchical systems that remunerate staff in accordance to their roles and responsibilities can prove to be a further barrier to teacher leadership. Teachers may feel that additional responsibilities may not be worthwhile if financial rewards are not provided. In my experience of taking on additional teaching and learning leadership responsibilities when I was teaching a full timetable, I had problems fulfilling my role fully due to the lack of time made available for me to implement my additional leadership responsibilities. My view is supported by several other studies which recommended that time has to be made available for teachers to plan and discuss whole school plans, dealing with curriculum matters or liaising with external bodies (Ovando; Seasore-Louis et al., cited in Harris and Muijs 2003). In today's, climate of financial cuts, I also think some head teachers may encourage teacher leaders to fulfil a greater number of informal organisational leadership responsibilities and avoid offering formal teacher leadership roles as these positions incur a teaching and learning responsibility payment. This is a highly debatable area that has not been explored through recent literature on leadership. The question here is, how much of the misuse of teacher leadership is occurring within schools especially in today's cash poor climate.

A concern of teacher leadership practice is the lack of research examining the environments that the teacher leaders work within. Previously the New Labour Government extended the recruitment field of school head teachers by allowing non teachers to apply for headship posts within schools. The concern, here lies with expectations of non-specialist leaders not aligning with the school staff. For example, if a head teacher's previous experience was managing a successful profitable business then he/she may manage the school as a business entity primarily focused on meeting key performance indicators. As a result teacher leaders within this culture may focus on carrying out management responsibilities to meet the performance targets of the school and move away from teacher leadership responsibilities focused around developing teaching and learning. Lambert (2000) supports this view and explains that many teacher leadership roles pay more attention on meeting school requirements and reform execution as opposed to fulfilling teaching and learning responsibilities. This may continue to be a concern, as the Coalition Government is encouraging schools to become academies that will operate outside the control of the local government. Sugden (2010) describes academies as independently run schools that receive additional help from external sponsors such as entrepreneurs and large businesses. As there is limited literature on this area, this leaves the following question unanswered; what is the impact of teacher leadership with the emergence of academies and non-specialist leaders?


The general theme of the literature surrounding teacher leadership is one that recognises that teachers play a pivotal role in shaping the teaching and learning within the school resulting to school improvement. In addition to this the teacher leadership literature encapsulates several other benefits, such as the potential to build the capacity of the school, greater collaborations between teachers and school leaders, easing the workload of the head teacher in the form of shared leadership, whilst also creating opportunities for professional development of teachers. (Barker, 1998; Barth, 2007; Duignan 2006; Durrant and Holden, 2006; Hargreaves, 1999; Harris and Lambert 2003; Mujis and Harris, 2005; Katzenmeyer and Moller, 2001; Sergiovanni, 2001; York-Barr and Duke, 2004).

However, the literature does highlight several barriers, concerns and tensions surrounding the topic of teacher leadership. Examples include, the misuse of informal teacher leadership roles, little prior training for potential teacher leaders, lack of time to carry out such responsibilities, misconceptions of leadership roles and a rigid hierarchical structure proving a barrier for the development of teacher leadership. (Frost and Durrant, 2003; Lambert, 2000; Smylie, 1992b; Smylie and Denny, 1990; Whitakers 1997; Wasely 1991; Zinn, 1997). In addition to this, many supporters of teacher leadership also acknowledge the potential problems of this type of leadership as they start or conclude their work with organisational issues facing teacher leadership.

The literature also fails to explore many other avenues of teacher leadership, such as the impact of teacher leadership with the emergence of academies and non-specialist leaders or ideas of how teacher leadership can blossom in a policy climate, or even gaining an insight into teacher perceptions on teacher leadership. My research project will attempt to fill the void of the latter gap, where I will attempt to gather teachers' thoughts on the topic of teacher leadership.

What are the favourable conditions that would foster teacher leadership within schools?

It is evident that the majority of the literature on the concept of teacher leadership has put forward ideas on the development of teacher leadership within schools. Examples of these ideas will be discussed within this section.

The overarching and primarily the most important area that needs to be considered is for the head teacher to value teacher leadership. If the head teacher holds positive thoughts about this leadership type then there is greater chance that teacher leadership can be developed within their school. A positive head teacher will be more willing to change the culture of the school in order to accommodate this emergent leadership style. Childs-Bowen, Moller, and Scrivner (2000 p30) declared "before principals become leaders of leaders, they must invest time in reflecting on their personal beliefs about leadership and the empowerment of others". By changing their personal beliefs the head teacher will have the intention to modify the schools culture to create opportunities for all teachers to take on leadership responsibilities within the school. Furthermore, for teacher leadership to be successful the literature adds that there must be a culture that promotes and sustains leaders within the school. (Harris 2004, Danielson 2006, Lieberman, 2004; Frost and Durrant, 2003)

Every educational establishment embeds in itself a type of culture and it is this culture that will either work in favour of or against improvement and reform of the school (Barth, 2001). Therefore, it is essential for the head teacher to recognise the great importance a schools culture have on the success of the school (Danielson, 2006). In respective of fostering teacher leadership, the head teacher must "create an infrastructure that supports leadership opportunities for everyone" (Ash and Persall, 2000 p15) and this will only be achieved if the head teacher is willing to adopt a different style of leadership then previously was necessary. Research highlights that the previous idea of the head teacher acting as a foreman to the teachers as assembly line workers have disappeared (Yukl, 2006). In today's environment, the head teacher needs to invest his/her energies in developing the leadership capacity of the teachers in order to meet the educational demands put upon them such as improving students attainment. (Childs-Bowen, Moller, and Scrivner, 2000).

Danielson (2006) identifies three favourable conditions for a school culture that will promote teacher leadership which are; treating teachers as professionals and a culture that allows the establishment of democratic norms where risk taking in prominent without ridicule when there is a fault with the plans. The first condition should allow teachers to be treated as professionals and considered as valuable assets to the school. Secondly, there should be an environment where teachers are confident to share ideas on school plans and be judged on the merits of their ideas. This will allow teachers to feel valued and feel part of the school community. Finally, the head teacher must make the staff feel safe to take risks to improve their professional development. Mistakes in this instance can be evaluated and modified in order to improve further the teacher instruction (Durrant and Holden, 2006).

In addition to the above, the head teacher should develop and encourage a collaborative practice within the school. Examples of these collaborative practices include shared leadership, shared decision making and teacher to teacher collaboration. Through the introduction of shared leadership teachers can take on leadership roles and responsibilities that support the head teacher in fulfilling the school plans. An instructional teacher leader is one example of a shared leadership role. Rhodes and Brundrett (2010 p157) describe this role as one where" instructional leaders talk to teachers about their instruction, encourage collaboration between teachers and empower teachers to foster decision-making, professional growth, teacher leadership, status, autonomy, impact and self efficiency"

Through the emergent of shared decision making, teacher leaders work beside school leaders to jointly agree areas of the school development. (Harris and Muijs, 2005) and pursue common goals (Oduro 2004). Blasé and Blasé (1997) also add that teachers need to be included within the decision making process as they are responsible for implementing the decisions made and by involving teachers such processes will lead to better decisions being made.

The teacher to teacher collaboration process allows teachers to work together for the purpose of improving and developing teaching and learning practices within the school. This form of collaboration increases teacher learning as teachers can learn from one another, reduce teacher isolation (Drago-Severson and Pinto 2006) and develop the self-confidence of individuals to become leaders within their schools. (Mujis and Harris, 2007).

The literature on collaborative work brings to our attention that time has to be set aside for teachers to discuss curriculum matters and to conduct action research. (Katzenmeyer and Moller, 2001; Muijs and Harris, 2007). Ovambo (1994) and Louis et al (1996) share this view and state that successful schools in their research allowed time for teacher leaders to collaborate with each other and to fulfil their leadership responsibilities.

Furthermore, for teacher leadership to be effective the head teacher needs to have full faith in the teachers to fulfil their given leadership responsibilities. As a result the distribution of leadership tasks to the teachers will only be premised on trust and without mutual trust and respect relationships between one another can be compromised. (MacBeath, 2005). If a trusting environment is established, teachers are more likely to take the lead in teaching and learning to improve school outcomes. (Rhodes and Brundrett, 2010 and Fitzgerald and Gunter 2006). Harris and Muijs (2003 pg5) support this view explain that "heads will therefore need to become 'leaders of leaders' striving to develop a relationship of trust with staff, and encouraging leadership and autonomy throughout the school"


As there is a consistent trend that teacher leadership can support school improvement and improve student learning (Barth, 2007; Danielson, 2006; Childs- Bowen's, Moller's and Scrivner's 2000; Hopkins, 2001; Lieberman and Miller (2004); Muijs and Harris, 2006; Sergiovanni, 2000; Smylie, 1994), York and Duke (2004) have designed a framework on teacher leadership to support student attainment. This framework (see below) is tailored to student learning, but it does bring to our attention several factors discussed within this section. These factors include; the willingness to share and pursue common goals, teachers who are respected, where there is mutual trust and a supportive school environment that is willing to develop the leadership capacity of the teachers. Adequate time and resources will also need to be made available to successfully support teacher leadership. In addition, Oduro's (2004) empirical study highlights additional factors which include the culture that encourages professional risk taking, creation of confident individuals, where all staff' follow the same direction.

Both Oduro's (2004) empirical study and York and Duke (2004) fittingly discuss the favourable implementation factors of teacher leadership within schools.

Teacher leadership for student learning: A conceptual framework


Exploring the literature surrounding teacher leadership has enabled me to understand the benefits, tensions and favourable factors of teacher leadership.

Teacher leadership is premised on allowing teachers to lead beyond the classroom, for the purpose of improving educational practice (Katzenmeyer and Moller 2001). The primary function of this leadership type is to improve teaching and learning within the school through collegiality and collaboration between teachers and teacher leaders to senior leaders. The literature has also recognised several positives of teacher leadership, these include; motivated teachers who take risks and have the desire to develop their own learning and the learning of others, easing the workload of the head teacher, identifying experts in learning, pursuing shared vision and goals and supporting school improvement.

However, the literature has also highlighted numerous barriers and tensions into the research field of teacher leadership. Organisational research has addressed, the misuse of informal teacher leadership roles, little prior training for potential teacher leaders, lack of time to carry out such responsibilities, misconceptions of leadership roles and top down organisational control where head teachers are not willing to relinquish power are the major barriers to teacher leadership within schools. (Frost and Durrant, 2003; Lambert, 2000; Smylie, 1992b; Smylie and Denny, 1990; Whitakers 1997; Wasely 1991; Zinn, 1997). Furthermore, the research surrounding teacher leadership is descriptive and also limited, where the main body of research is carried outside the UK and is focused around the work of formal leaders. Nevertheless, in recent research of teacher leadership, informal roles are now being investigated by researchers.

With teacher leadership recognised as an emergent field of leadership, it is right to assume that this practice requires further investigation. As a result there are many unanswered questions that need to be explored further to support the knowledge-field of teacher leadership. The literature fails to explore several areas identified within my review which are;

Are all teachers and head teachers aware of teachers' leadership?

What are the head teachers' opinions on the topic of teacher leadership?

What is the impact of teacher leadership with the emergence of academies and non-specialist leaders?

How teacher leadership can blossom in a policy climate?

How much misuse of the teacher leadership process is happening within schools, especially in today's cash poor climate

My research study will attempt to partially fill the first two gaps within the literature. I propose to gather the views of the head teacher on teacher leadership which have not been previously considered as the majority of research is centred on the views and outcomes of teachers, where little attention is paid to considering the views of the head teachers on teacher leadership. Also the literature assumes that all teachers and head teachers are aware of the teacher leadership concept and studies are conducted in settings where teacher leadership is understood.

Check principle noting or headeteahcer- keep it constant. Not school leader and head teacher or principle or senior leader

Boost up literature with your thoughts and pre conceptions.

Ensure the literature flows

Check bracket referenceing, should be alapahabetical not year,

Reference all of the work

See whether gaps can be at the end of the literature in conclusion and moving away form the summary

Check work is not repetitive

but a common message that runs through all the

expositions is that leadership is not the monopoly of one person ( Richardson 2010) Brookes M 2008 Sugden 2010

Jennifer York-Barr and Karen Duke 2004 REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH 2004 74: 255

 Harris, A., & Muijs, D. (2005). Improving Schools Through Teacher Leadership. Maidenhead, Open University Press.

put yor own view in that agrees with the extension of the views.

I.e smlylies thoughts did not distingusig the consequenses of…and shaere my view or sheds some light on my view