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Exploring Ninth-Grade Science Teachers' Path Of Leadership For Implementing Educational Reform Efforts: A Case Study

Abstract

"To enact new educational reform efforts, it is recognized that teacher leaders are essential to bring about the needed expertise to implement and sustain such efforts. Yet, little is known about how to support teacher leaders and why teachers implement certain leadership tasks. In order to support teacher leaders, it is essential to understand how teachers define teacher leadership within their professional context, what functions do teachers play as leaders, and what resources facilitate or inhibit their leadership functions. We report on a case study analysis of three 9th grade science teachers operating within a district implementing a new reform effort - Physics First. Data from multiple sources - demographics questionnaire, individual interviews, individualized leadership action plans, mid-year and year-end action plan progress reports, and teachers' written definitions of teacher leadership - were used to inform this study. Results suggest that eight material/social/cultural resources facilitate teacher leaders implement leadership actions: colleague, administrative, parent and student support; time for professional development; technology; professional development support; collaborative/collegial environment; and confidence/introspective. Teachers' self-image as a leader may influence the choice of leadership functions fulfilled and how they might utilize available resources."

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