Academic journal article Education

The Leadership Behaviours of Teachers in Primary Schools in Turkey

Academic journal article Education

The Leadership Behaviours of Teachers in Primary Schools in Turkey

Article excerpt

Leadership is the ability to gather individuals around some specific objectives by motivating them to fulfill these objectives co-operatively. Leaders should have some qualities such as having vision, giving confidence, being adoptable, taking risk, being honest, courageous, cool-blooded and willing. According to Bennis (1994), leadership qualities are a total of having vision, interest, honesty and courage (Hale, 1998). "Teacher leader" is a general term that applies to individuals in a variety of roles (Moiler and Katzenmeyer 1996, Lieberman, Saxl and Miles 1988). It refers oftenly to teachers who both study and lecture inside the classroom and takes over some roles in promoting changes in classroom practices and do his/her best to fulfill his/her obligations and responsibilities regarding his/her profession outside the classroom. Sometimes 'leader teacher' refers to teachers whose load of teaching has been diminished. Generally, it refers to teachers who spend most of his/her time outside the classroom with other teachers and who present some leadership roles so as to develop inner-class applications. (Lord and Miller, 2000). These people are trained for one or more than one school and are responsible for that district.

Leadership is clearly becoming a more and more significant part of a teacher's professional life. However, this situation can only be constituted as a result of the interaction between teacher and his/her students. Teacher leadership is an inseparable part of a teacher's daily life. There has long been the concept of teacher leadership in schools. Despite this situation, the researches carried out on the effectiveness of the programs about developing leadership abilities as a broad field of teacher education are clearly at a restricted level. (Katyal and Evers, 2004; Gehrke, 1991). Depending on the district or the school context, they may be referred to as mentor teachers, specialists, resource teachers, demonstration teachers, model teachers, coaches, peer teachers or teachers on special assignment (Lord and Miller, 2000). Currently, there is no common language for teacher leaders; there is only the local dialect. Thus, to develop an understanding of what lead teachers do--regardless of their titles--we need to look more closely at their work in their context (Lord and Miller, 2000). Historically, educators have defined teacher leadership as the support of faculty such as social workers, department heads, master teachers, lead teachers, learning specialists and supervisors. Specialization of more traditional teacher leadership roles may not necessarily lead to dynamic school reform and perhaps requires a more complex definition (Sledge and Morehead, 2006).

Leadership Roles

Development of the teacher leadership at schools has different dimensions one of which is the efforts and supports of the school administrators. Principals should see teachers as valuable talents, encourage them to be a leader and should know how to affect teachers' behaviours by motivating them. The success of lead teachers is determined mainly by principals' support (Buckner and McDowella, 2000). According to Newmann and Wehlage (1995), principals play a key role in creating conditions that enable a school to improve (Sledge and Morehead, 2006). They further claim that effective principals involved in school improvement are expected to show the following distinguishing characteristics:

* Lead through shared vision and values,

* Involve faculty members in decision-making process,

* Provide relevant staff development and training,

* Model behaviours consistent with the vision and values.

Being the formal leader of the school requires that the principal's attitudes and efforts be taken into consideration. Principal's support and understanding will motivate and encourage the teachers working at the school. This style of behaviour will also develop a new insight in both teachers and principals and this will make them stronger and also help them to be aware of themselves. …

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