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The Use of Blogging as a Practice to Support Ninth-Grade Science Teachers' Identity Development as Leaders

Abstract

Increasingly, teacher leadership is being recognized as an essential ingredient in education reforms (York-Barr & Duke, 2004); however, few teachers consider themselves leaders. For many teachers, becoming a leader is not just acquiring knowledge and skills for leadership, but developing a new professional identity. Recent literature notes a number of key challenges that teachers face in becoming leaders, and how their identity as a leader might put them at risk with dominant school culture where norms of egalitarianism, isolation, and seniority persist (Barth, 2006). Luehmann (2008) emphasizes the value in offering opportunities for safe spaces in which teachers can take risks as they try on new identities, such as teacher leaders We utilized a private online environment to support teachers in participating in a community that could nurture the development of common perspectives, commitments, and visions for teacher leadership (Luehmann & Tinelli, 2008). In this space, teachers blogged about their experience participating in professional development focused on leadership. Our findings illustrate the potential benefits of blogging for supporting teachers identity development as leaders. Specifically, by participating in pedagogical transactions, social interactions, and intellectual deliberations via blogs, teachers were able to rethink their roles as teachers and leaders, and receive support and encouragement in their efforts to be leaders in their classrooms, schools, and districts.

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