Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Effect of Organizational Trust on the Culture of Teacher Leadership in Primary Schools

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Effect of Organizational Trust on the Culture of Teacher Leadership in Primary Schools

Article excerpt

Today, schools struggle with the growing problems of school safety and absenteeism while striving to raise the level of academic achievement. In order to cope with these problems, school administrators and teachers are required to work in collaboration with each other and they need to develop new strategies for several topics including teaching practices such as effective classroom management (Makiewicz & Mitchell, 2014). On the other hand, the current reforms towards social and economic change are observed to be insufficient for the transformation of schools. There is an increasing awareness that such a transformation can only be enabled by teachers with the support of the school administrators (Darling-Hammond, 1996). Therefore, there is an increase in the number of studies on concepts related to the continuity of professional development and changes in the way school administrators, especially teachers, do their jobs (Berger & Forgette-Giroux, 2012). Of these, the concept of teacher leadership is seen as a key element among initiatives with the purpose of reformatting schools and specializing teachers (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 1998; Smylie, 1995; Wasley, 1991). In its simplest form, teacher leadership is a model for providing teachers with leadership opportunities in their profession. Harris and Muijs (2004) proposed that teacher leadership is an opportunity for teachers to develop themselves and affect change in their school without leaving it. In this way the school will be able to more effectively benefit from the extremely valuable and rich source of their teachers' expertise and experience.

The definition of teacher leadership in the literature also reveals these expectations. According to Danielson (2006), the concept of teacher leadership generally refers to the set of teacher skills that affects the entire school. Wasley (1991) defines teacher leadership as "the proficiency in encouraging colleagues towards change," (p. 32). Troen and Boles (1994) define teacher leadership as a "collective leadership type where teachers develop professional competencies by working in collaboration," (p. 11). According to Harris and Muijs (2004), teachers who are leaders contribute to the development of their colleagues in school and direct them to perform activities developed together. Katzenmeyer and Moller (2001) depicted teacher leadership with the more comprehensive definition of "teachers who are leaders lead within and beyond the classroom, identifying with and contributing to a community of teacher learners and leaders, and they influence others toward improved educational practice," ( p. 17).

As stated by Stoll and Louis (2007), teachers traditionally work in the classroom isolated from their colleagues behind closed doors. Teachers are rarely observed in collaborative work with their colleagues in schools. According to Harris and Muijs (2004), on the contrary, in the model of teacher leadership the parties develop horizontal leadership as a result of learning culture. This leadership process is cooperative rather than directed and is spontaneous rather than structured.

Teacher leadership practices target the development of a democratic and collaborative school by providing teachers with active involvement in the decision making process (Gehrke, 1991; Sergiovanni, 1994), taking advantage of the expertise and experience of teachers (Heller & Firestone, 1995), providing career development opportunities for teachers (Smylie, 1995), and improving education by giving them the responsibility to implement innovations, ultimately forming a "professional development community" (Gehrke, 1991; Smylie, 1995; Smylie & Denny, 1990). In summary, as stressed by Glickman (2002), teacher leadership empowers the teacher to be able to affect the school system and affect change.

According to existing literature, there has been a lot of research on teacher leadership abroad (Angella, Nixon, Norton, & Niles, 2011; Beach & Dentith, 2004; Birky, Shelton, & Headley, 2006; Brown, 2009; Du, 2007; Harris & Muijs, 2003; Ward & Parr, 2006). …

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