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Becoming Teacher Leaders in Israel: A Meaning-making Model


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Consensus is growing that teacher leadership benefits teaching quality and student performance. Despite the recognition that teacher leadership contributes to teachers’ professional development, little is known about how it is developed and how teachers experience the transition to the teacher-leader role. This study explores the internal mechanisms underlying the transition to and formation of teachers’ professional identity as teacher leaders. It is based on 60 interviews: 41 teachers who were selected to participate in a leadership training program, 10 principals and 19 teacher leaders' colleagues. The findings led to a model with four central components: (1) Overall professional identity; (2) The experience of “being chosen;” (3) An internal meaning-making process; and (4) External forces.
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Cambridge Journal of Education
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Becoming teacher leaders in Israel: a meaning-
making model
Pninit Russo-Netzer & Anat Shoshani
To cite this article: Pninit Russo-Netzer & Anat Shoshani (2018): Becoming teacher
leaders in Israel: a meaning-making model, Cambridge Journal of Education, DOI:
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Becoming teacher leaders in Israel: a meaning-making model
Pninit Russo-Netzer and Anat Shoshani
Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Herzliya, Israel
Consensus is growing that teacher leadership benets teaching
quality and student performance. Despite the recognition that
teacher leadership contributes to teachersprofessional develop-
ment, little is known about how it is developed and how teachers
experience the transition to the teacher-leader role. This study
explores the internal mechanisms underlying the transition to
and formation of teachersprofessional identity as teacher leaders.
It is based on 60 interviews: 41 teachers who were selected to
participate in a leadership training programme, 10 principals and
19 teacher-leaderscolleagues. The ndings led to a model with
four central components: (1) Overall professional identity; (2) The
experience of being chosen;(3) An internal meaning-making
process; and (4) External forces.
Received 6 November 2017
Accepted 4 October 2018
Teacher leaders; professional
identity; meaning-making
Teaching is generally perceived as a at profession, meaning one lacking substantial
trajectories or opportunities for growth and leadership for those who are successful in it
(Taylor, Yates, Meyer, & Kinsella, 2011). Although most teachers acquire knowledge,
experience and skills throughout their career, their major responsibilities often remain
limited to the classroom alone. Furthermore, the traditional markers of career devel-
opment in other professions, such as decision-making authority, a change of status or a
pay rise, are rare (Fiarman, Johnson, Munger, Papay, & Qazilbash, 2009). The perceived
lack of alternative development options and professional growth for teachers has been
found to be associated with boredom and decreased professional satisfaction
(Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Margolis & Deuel, 2009). In the hierarchical structure
of schools today, the principal is often the leader of the school and perceived as the
main decision-maker (e.g. Pugalee, Frykholm, & Shaka, 2001). Yet, it has been increas-
ingly recognised that teachers can also serve as educational leaders in their schools
(York-Barr & Duke, 2004) as they are in a key position to inuence the creation and
implementation of successful educational practices (Michaeli & Sommer, 2014). In
accordance with these assertions, teacher leadership has become an important compo-
nent in school improvement and advancement (Criswell & Rushton, 2013), reecting a
growing recognition of its key role in motivating bottom-up collaborative learning
(Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) through the facilitation of knowledge sharing and profes-
sional development in teacherslearning communities (Flores, 2007). This study
CONTACT Pninit Russo-Netzer Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary
Center (IDC) Herzliya, 46150; Department of Counseling and Human Development, University of Haifa, Israel
© 2018 University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education
examined teachersperceptions of and experiences during their transition to the
professional identity of teacher leaders. By focusing on the participants as they began
to formulate their identities as teacher leaders, the study was able to identify the central
processes that characterise the transformation of their identity as a teacher to the new
identity as a teacher leader.
Teacher leadership
The notion of teacher leadership has been studied and developed mainly in the United
States, Canada and Australia and emphasises the need to redistribute power and
authority in schools (Muijs & Harris, 2006). In Israel, where this study was conducted,
this represents a rather new phenomenon in the educational system, and a result of a
recent initiative by the Ministry of Education, which sought to introduce a shift in
teachersprofessional development towards collegial engagement in school learning
communities one that would be spearheaded by leading teachers. This move, in turn,
provided a unique opportunity for closely exploring the transitional experience of
becoming a leading teacher. Furthermore, and in terms of power distribution, Israel
is considered as exhibiting a small cultural power distance, scoring 13 on the Power
Distance Index (PDI; Hofstede, 2013) survey that encompassed 56 countries and
regions. In this respect, it also provides an interesting arena for exploring changes in
the construction of professional identity such as to challenge the existing power
distribution and traditional hierarchical structure characterised by such authoritarian
gures as school principals. Evidence conrms that teacher leadership is a signicant
internal catalyst for school improvement and progress (Hipkins, 2001), contributing to
enduring and positive processes of change (Leithwood, Harris, & Hopkins, 2008).
Despite the large number of approaches and denitions of teacher leadership cur-
rently (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 1996), York-Barr and Dukes(2004) integrative con-
ceptual framework reects their common elements: the process by which teachers,
individually or collectively, inuence their colleagues, principals, and other members of
school communities to improve teaching and learning practices with the aim of
increased student learning and achievement(pp. 287288). In terms of the distributed
leadership theory, which has been suggested as a framework for thinking about teacher
leadership as one which involves all members of the school community, not just the
principal (Spillane, 2005), attention is drawn to collective responsibility and collabora-
tive working(Frost & Harris, 2003, p. 480).
The leadership practice is thus viewed as the product of routine and daily interac-
tions between teachers, principals, school sta, students and the broader community
(Spillane, 2013), highlighting the importance of social networks for teachers. The
signicance of relationships to the function of teacher leaders (Fairman & Mackenzie,
2015) is further reected in recent descriptions as engagement in the daily work by
modeling new instructional practices, collaborating with colleagues to improve student
learning, and fostering a generally more productive school culture(Bond, 2011, p. 287).
These conceptions convey an important challenge implicit in this professional oppor-
tunity for teacher leaders to inuence their communities. Given that they are both
teachers and leaders, they are required to lead their colleagues and to be valued by them
(Bottery, 2004; York-Barr & Duke, 2004). The informal component of the role of
inuencing their colleagues is not based on their formal position or authority, but
rather on personal, interpersonal elements and may even occur unintentionally (Cortez-
Ford, 2008). This may introduce further pressure and expectations to the duties and
responsibilities already carried by the teachers (Bottery, 2004). Nevertheless, a formal
shift in their job denitions inuences their social-professional relations within the
school and may even have negative repercussions, as other school members may
perceive them dierently as the leading teachers step out of the teachers zone
(Struyve, Meredith, & Gielen, 2014). This highlights the importance of addressing the
component of such identity shift as an important component in programmes of
teacherseducation (e.g. Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009) and in particular how teachers
themselves experience and make sense of it within changing contexts, while taking into
account the eects of such a context on the shaping of and changes in a teachers
identity (e.g. Smagorinsky, Moore, Cook, Jackson & Fry, 2004).
Regardless of the skills learned in the teacher leadership development programmes
(Crowther, Kaagan, Ferguson, & Hann, 2002; Harris, 2003; Lambert, 2002; Gul, 2016),
teacher leaders may nd it dicult to implement these skills when they return to their
school, depending on its environment and culture (Snoek & Volman, 2014). Successful
application requires conditions such as professional trust (Smylie, Mayrowetz, Murphy,
& Louis, 2008), minimal role ambiguity (Cortez-Ford, 2008), support from adminis-
trators (Birky, Shelton, & Headley, 2006; Harris, 2013) and perceived autonomy
(Scribner, Sawyer, Watson, & Myers, 2007). These imply the importance of gaining a
deeper understanding of how teachers experience the transition to the new role of
teacher leader and the challenges accompanying it. Carroll and Levy (2010), for
instance, show that leadership development can be seen as identity construction that
enhances a sense of agency. Yet, although teachersprofessional identity is recognised as
an essential component of teacher leadership, it has received relatively scant attention
(e.g. Cortez-Ford, 2008). More specically, the psychological aspect of how teacher
identity develops has received limited scholarly attention, as Rodgers and Scott (2008)
indicated: left largely unexplored by this literature, however, is the black box of how
teachers should go about making the psychological shift from being authored by these
forces to authoring their own stories, and how teacher educators might facilitate this
process(p. 733). The present study aims at lling this gap by exploring the experience
of change in teachersidentity in the critical liminal phase in the process of becoming
teacher leaders, reecting a transitional state from a previous status into a space of
betwixt and between(Turner, 1981) through their own perspective. In addition, this
study approaches the processes of leading teachersidentity formation from the rela-
tively novel point of view of the teachersprincipals and colleagues.
Professional identity development
Professional identity has a signicant eect on relationships, performance, work engage-
ment, satisfaction and career choices (Gul, 2016). It is commonly viewed as a develop-
mental process, which unfolds over the years and integrates internal (Slay & Smith, 2011;
Weinrach, Thomas, & Chan, 2001) and external-contextual factors (Clarke, Hyde, &
Drennan, 2013). Specically, teachersprofessional identity is based on their experiences
in school, role construct and school culture (Day, Kington, Stobart, & Sammons, 2006).
Yet, it is also inuenced by their knowledge of their selves (Kelchtermans &
Vandenberghe, 1994), that is, their personal life events and experiences (Acker, 1999).
Both of these aect teacherssatisfaction, commitment and motivation, as well as self-
identication as teachers (e.g. Woods, Jerey, Troman, & Boyle, 1997).
In the process of formulating a professional identity, a lack of consistency between
the identity attributed to an individual teacher by others and the identity that the
teacher claims on his or her own may trigger a professional identity crisis. This relates
to the manner in which individuals make meaning of their experiences. According to
the meaning-making model, perceived discrepancies between appraised meaning of a
particular situation and global meaning (i.e. general orienting systems of beliefs and
goals) create distress, which generates meaning-making eorts to reduce it (Park, 2013).
Thus, the experience of a discrepancy in professional identity may, in turn, lead to a
process of reconstruction, a change in the work environment or a modication of
organisational structures. It may even aect perceptions with regard to education and
teaching (Bolívar & Domingo, 2006).
As the construction of professional identity is responsive to contextual inuences
such as school culture, teacher-principal and teacher-colleagues relationships may
either impede or facilitate teacher leadership (e.g. York-Barr & Duke, 2004).
Moreover, teacher leadership may cause role ambiguity since not all parties perceive
the leadership role and its responsibilities in a similar manner (Lashway, 1998). Such
potential challenges may be intensied when a teacher is promoted to a leadership role.
For example, when leadership was granted to teachers rather than gradually earned,
these roles were viewed as less legitimate, which may hinder receiving respect from
their colleagues and impede teacher collaboration and distributed leadership (Riordan,
2003). This illuminates the need for a better understanding of how teachers come to see
themselves as teacher leaders.
In sum, teacher leadership has been recognised as a fruitful area of educational research
over the past three decades (Crowther et al., 2002;Harris,2003; Lambert, 2002). However,
most of the research to date has been mainly devoted to exploring the qualications,
development and impacts of teacher leadership (Smylie & Mayrowetz, 2009). This study
aimed to expand the scope of the research by shedding more light on the internal
mechanisms underlying the transition to and formation of the professional identity of
teacher leaders. Thus this study addresses the unique liminal phase or the period of
transition, in which teachersidentity as leading teachers has been shaped, and the teachers
move to the threshold of new experiences and possibilities, and also possible challenges.
Focusing on the experience of such liminal phase where the cognitive schemata that
give sense and order to everyday life no longer apply but are, as it were, suspended
(Turner, 1981; p. 161) enables a more complex and nuanced understanding of teacher
leadersidentity formation. More specically, this study asks: How do teachers perceive
this potential professional identity shift as they evolve from teachers into teacher leaders?
The present study aimed to explore how teachers who had just been chosen to take part
in a new programme for teacher leaders in Israel experience this initial stage of
transition in their professional identity from a traditional teacher to a teacher leader.
Thus, the study utilised a bottom-up, open-ended qualitative approach. The primary
interest of a qualitative design is grasping how individuals ascribe meaning to or
interpret a given experience or phenomenon (e.g. Hodge, 2001; Merriam, 1998). In so
doing, this study follows calls advocating the application of naturalistic inquiry in the
evaluation of a teacher education programme (Aksamit, Hall, & Ryan, 1990).
As the idea of teacher leadership is rather new in the Israeli education system, the
participants chosen for the present study were all of the teachers who took part in the
rst round of a teacher leadership programme in order to explore how the transition in
their professional identity from a traditional teacher to a teacher leader role is experi-
enced by them. As the focus of the present study was the exploration of the experience
of such an initial transition phase, where the participants strive to make sense of the
new situation, negotiate shifting conceptions of teaching and leadership, and construct
their new identity as teacher leaders, the interviews were conducted with teachers
several weeks following their selection to the programme. Also, interviewing the
teachersprincipals and colleagues allowed a broader perspective to be gained on how
such an initial stage of transition is manifested, played out and perceived.
The sample included a total of 41 teachers (seven men and 34 women) from 10
dierent public schools in Israel: six elementary schools and four high schools. The
schools represent dierent geographical regions in Israel (from north to south) and
include six Jewish schools (n= 28), three schools from the Arab sector (n= 9) and one
from the Bedouin sector (n= 4). Each teacher agreed to participate in this research
voluntarily. The teachers were recruited to participate in a nationwide teacher leader-
ship development programme by their principals: each principal selected two to six
teachers based on a few general characteristics (commitment and involvement in the
school, openness to learning, and desire and ability to inuence the school environ-
ment). Participants ranged in age from 26 to 60 (M= 42.03, SD = 7.8). Most
participants were experienced teachers with 16.98 years of experience in the profession
on average (SD = 7.41). Most of the teachers (70.7%) hold a bachelors degree (BA) and
29.3% hold a masters degree (MA).
In order to broaden the perspective regarding the phenomenon explored, a multi-
source approach was employed. The use of multi-source or triangulation enables the
generation of a more complete, holistic and contextual portrait of the phenomenon
under study (Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2002), and also the ability to ensure validation
(Schwandt, 2007). Gathering data from dierent data sources facilitates deeper under-
standing of a phenomenon by clarifying its meaning through an exploration from the
dierent ways it is seen (Denzin, 1989; Flick, 1992). In the present study, this approach
was employed through semi-structured interviews, which were also carried out with the
principals and selected colleagues of the teachers at each of the schools. Overall, 10
principals and 19 colleagues were interviewed from the various schools. Each of the
principals chose approximately two colleagues to be interviewed based on a few criteria:
seniority of at least four years at the school; involvement in school life; not part of the
schools management team; and not chosen to participate in the teacher leaders
programme. These colleagues were chosen due to their familiarity with the schools
culture and community, so exploring their perceptions regarding the new function of
teacher leadership in their schools enriched and deepened the understandings gained
from the study.
The teacher leaders programme
The Israeli Ministry of Education designed this initiative to develop teacher leadership
in a formal, nationwide move. This initiative aimed to cultivate a middle layer of
leadership in schools, by teachers and for teachers, in order to change learning cultures
in Israel. This middle layer of leadership is expected to facilitate ongoing professional
development of their colleagues in schools to enable improvement in teaching and
learning practices based on their wisdom of practice (Lieberman & Friedrich, 2010;
York-Barr & Duke, 2004). As part of this initiative to promote teacher leadership, a
two-year training programme was developed for teachers of rst to twelfth grade from
all parts of the country.
The programme included regional group meetings, personal guidance meetings and
several large-scale national seminars. In terms of content, the programme focused on
three main areas: (a) cultivation of educational-pedagogical conceptualisations to enable
teachers to lead collaborative pedagogical discourse; (b) cultivation of the teachers
leadership, self-ecacy and condence to motivate colleagues and change processes in
their schools; and (c) creation of organisational structures, routines and rituals at
schools in order to establish and support changes in learning and teaching cultures.
Data collection and analysis
Semi-structured, face-to-face, in-depth interviews were conducted at a place and time of
the participantschoosing; each interview lasted approximately 6090 minutes. The
interviews were conducted at an initial stage, when teachers had just been selected for
or were just beginning the training programme, and thus constituted an initial exposure
to reective exploration of their new role as teacher leaders. Prior to the beginning of
each interview, the participants were given a detailed explanation of the research and
their rights. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim.
The analysis of the interview transcripts followed a four-step process. First, in order
to get an overall sense of the teachersattitudes and perceptions, each transcript was
read independently and separately from beginning to end. Second, meaning units (i.e. a
signicant statement that characterised each interview) were identied by line-by-line
coding (Charmaz, 2006) to identify the manner in which each participant experiences
the phenomenon under study by asking: Which processes and meanings are expressed
in each line, sentence and paragraph? How, when and why are they expressed?and so
on. This process of open coding(Strauss & Corbin, 1990) enabled identication of
patterns and determination of the meaning units as they appear in the text. Third,
major themes were gathered into categories, within and between interviews. These
categories enabled comparison between the interviews (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) and a
broader understanding of teachersinternal and external processes. The nal step
included a holistic examination of themes and their interrelations, to gain a broad
understanding of the participantsexperiences.
During the data collection and analysis, researchers constantly addressed the issues
of credibility and conrmability (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Following Shenton (2004), site
triangulation was achieved by interviewing teachers from a number of schools, of varied
characteristics, as well as through the perspectives of other related gures such as
principals and colleagues. The research team conducted numerous debrieng sessions
during the period of collection and analysis, before and after each of the aforemen-
tioned steps. Coding, thematic and categorical analysis were conducted in parallel
segments and the information was circulated and discussed among the researchers,
ensuring scrutiny. This procedure enabled a close reading of the phenomenology of the
participantsexperience, thus certifying conrmability.
Interviewing the participants in the initial stage of being chosen to become teacher
leaders enabled us to gain understanding regarding their subjective experience and its
meaning as part of such a potential change in their professional identity. The analysis
yielded four central themes, which comprise the participantsexperience of being
chosen:(1) Overall professional identity, which refers to the participantsglobal or
overall comprehension of what it means to be a teacher. This includes both self-
perception of the teaching profession and socially constructed perceptions regarding
the teaching profession that were derived from their socialisation and exposure to
cultural habitus. (2) Being chosen, which refers to the experience of being externally
singled out or markedas a potential teacher leader, a new and ambiguous role. This
appeared to challenge and destabilise the participantsexisting overall professional
teaching identity and led to the following two components, which are both dynamic
processes. (3) Meaning-making, which refers to the participantsinternal process of
evaluation of the new reality they are facing. This process involved three interrelated
ingredients: (a) motivation, (b) perceived availability of personal resources, and (c) the
exposure of core personal orientation, which we have termed rst nature(i.e. teacher
vs. leader). (4) External forces, which refers to interactions with principalsand
colleaguesexpectations and responses to the new situation.
Overall, the rst component provides the context of the teachersprofessional
identity, which the status of being chosen(second component) pervades, while the
last two components focus on the participantsattempts to cope with the new and
ambiguous circumstances, both internally and externally, in an ongoing manner.
Together, these components form a dynamic model of how a transition to the role of
teacher leader unfolds and is experienced (see Figure 1). It is important to note, though,
that while the process is presented here in a linear form, as each component is built
upon its predecessor, in practice they appear to occur simultaneously.
Overall professional identity
The interface between the socially and the self-constructed understanding of the teach-
ing profession comprises participantsoverall professional identity. This image merges
the teachersself-perceptions regarding their role of a teacher with how it has been
perceived by others. The latter includes but is not limited to their family and friends,
communities, the education system as a whole, the media, social and cultural norms,
values and expectations. According to the participants, the profession suers from low
social prestige and appreciation in the general surrounding society. They frequently
expressed their wish that the teaching profession would be valued by people for the
hard work that is being done(Doreen; all names are pseudonyms to protect the privacy
and anonymity of the participants). The professions low prestige and status adds to the
teacherssense of being overwhelmed with chores involving paperwork or bureaucracy,
which are not always relevant to their role: you get blown away by all sorts of reports
you need to ll out . . . a ood of paperwork that consumes time and energy(Keren).
Similarly, Judith reported: I feel I am spending hours and hours on paperwork, time
that otherwise could have been used to improve my teaching skills.
Another prominent feature of the teaching profession refers to its perceived
boundaries, which are seen as conning and as primarily oriented towards measur-
able achievements. Dana, for example, expressed her concern that [the system]
wants to see the grades at the end of the year . . . eventually everything is measured
by grades.Thus,asstudentsevaluation and measurement are constantly at play, the
teachers must serve as knowledge-providers, which is often not in alignment with the
teachersaspirations and beliefs. Keren, for example, explained, what the system
actually wants from the pupils is to learn the theoretical knowledge. . .. I believe that
what needs to be promoted is more of a meaningful, values education.The parti-
cipants also related to the setting in which the teaching takes place, the conventional
classroom, which appears to be in tension with what was repeatedly described by the
participants as breaking down the walls. Shiran explained it as her desire to take
them [the students] out of this classroom, this xed position of [being conned by]
four walls day after day. ... I want to take them outside, to really show them all that
is out there.Taken together, the overall perceived professional identity of what it
means to be a teacher that emerges from the participantsaccounts highlights a few
Figure 1. Becoming leading teachers: a meaning-making model.
central ingredients: the rather low prestige the teachers believe society assigns to
their role, alongside demanding bureaucratic chores and perceived image of knowl-
edge-provider within the rather xed setting of the traditional classroom. These
appear to produce tension with the participantsdesire to inuence in a broader
manner through education on values and reect the background in which the
participants construct their professional identity development.
Being chosen
The participantsselection for a teacher leadersprogramme by their principals was
accompanied by ambiguity, given the novelty of this function in the educational system
and the uncertainty regarding what this new and unfamiliar role would entail. During
the interviews, the participants were asked to describe what they believe a teacher leader
is. Adi attempted to do so:
. . . [breathing] . . . ummm. . .. I dont know . . . to be like someone that is . . . that is willing to
give of himself, but also know, I mean, someone that also ummm . . . is knowledgeable. ...
Someone who is also willing to share, someone that has knowledge and is willing to share. ...
The pauses and diculty in nding the words to dene teacher leadership may testify to
the challenge in addressing the full meaning of the new anticipated role. Despite the
sparse information, the word leaderappeared to arouse implicit assumptions. Whereas
typical school hierarchy is top-town (principalteacherpupil), the title evoked images
portraying potential movement to more horizontal structures of leading their peers,
through teamwork and the ability to lead something new(Vivian). The participants
understood their new role as teacher leaders as diering signicantly from their
generally perceived professional identity, which was described earlier. In line with
this, being chosen led to the dismantling of existing perspectives and triggered sig-
nicant ripples, uprooting the teachers from their comfort zones and casting them into
the ambiguity of the new and unknown. Such a change in existing order involved new
external expectations and responses from their peers and principals. This change also
set in motion an internal process of meaning-making and reorganisation.
Meaning-making process
In response to the challenge of being chosen, the participantsinternal eorts to meet
the new conditions involved an appraisal of the meaning of their new role in compar-
ison with their motivation to perform it, as well as of the presence or absence of
available resources. Interestingly, this internal dialogue also underscored the partici-
pantsself-perception with regard to their rst nature, traced to their deeply rooted
personal orientations. Overall, this theme includes three interrelated ingredients: (a)
motivation, (b) perceived availability of personal resources, and (c) the exposure of core
personal orientation, or rst nature(i.e. teachervs. leader).
Reecting on the new role oered to them, the participants voiced their motivation to
commit to the new role as corresponding with their personal motivation to contribute
to the greater good. This mostly related to dedication (I am the last one to leave the
school in the evening. . ., I come here on my free time and on my days o[Rebecca])
and passion to contribute to the school (I come here with a smile and with so much
passion[Dorit]). The school was repeatedly described as a second home:this is my
home, the second one. I am invested here as much as I am invested in my own private
home(Lee). The word lovewas mentioned repeatedly and demonstrated the partici-
pantsstrong sense of belonging, such as school for me is my whole world(Yael). Such
an emotional connection to the school as an organisation and community was reected
in the strong motivation to contribute to it and inuence its environment positively, for
example: I imagine myself inuencing my work environment, my school team and,
further, my community(Aden), and to contribute to the system is like making the
desert bloom, to renovate, to have a vision and full it in practice(Dina). Overall, as
part of the participantspersonal evaluation of their new role, questions emerge with
regard to their motivation and incentives to undertake the new and ambiguous role.
The motivations that participants voiced appear to align with their discontent with the
current status of the teaching profession (as expressed in the overall professional
identity section above) and their desire for greater inuence on their surrounding
Availability of resources
Alongside the exploration of personal motivations, the participants also voiced an
examination of the personal resources available. The investment of time, for example,
was frequently mentioned as a required resource for optimal functioning as a teacher
leader: In my regular teaching work it already feels like I am taking time away from my
family. . .. I want to do it [be a teacher leader], but it is dicult with all the workload, to
suddenly have more tasks(Reut). Similarly, Gal explained that such a role requires
commitment and eort, it requires time. It will come at the expense of my free time and
time with my kids . . . [but on the other hand] I want to open up, learn new things.
These instances imply the tension experienced between the desire to have time available
for family and leisure on the one hand and the anticipated benets of the new role on
the other hand. The resource of time was frequently related in the participantsaccounts
to support. In sum, as part of the participantsattempt to make sense of the new reality
at hand, motivation and the availability of resources were explored and pondered to
evaluate personal willingness, capability and emotional availability to take on new
commitments involved with the new role.
First nature
The analysis of the interviews enabled us to identify another component of the
participantsinternal meaning-making process, which refers to their deeply rooted
personal orientations or inclinations, which we termed rst nature. It is important to
note, however, that this should not be understood as a binary phenomenon which
assumes a zero sum, but rather a nuanced continuum. Furthermore, combinations of
these inclinations may also be an option as they can be associated with more than a
single orientation.
Some teachers described themselves as natural leaders, a characteristic that does not
require external ratication and can even be traced to an early age. For example, Hagit
explained: the title [of a teacher leader] is not what turns me into a leader.. .. I was already
like that before.. .. I always felt like I was leading teams.Aden also voiced a rather similar
experience: I lead my own household and at school I constantly initiate a number of social
projects without being asked to .. . [this] is what makes a leader, his motivation, his
initiatives and his abilities.Dorit described her story of being the leader typethrough her
experiences as a scout-guide, head of the student council at her school and her strong
desire to lead the next generation. Others reected on their innate communication skills,
portraying them as clear and sharp, thus placing them in a solid leading position as they
can reach out if there are problems with fellow teachers, for example, I know how to
search for a way to reach out and lead . . . this is who I am(Lilach).
Another dominant orientation that emerged leans towards being a teacher, which was
presented as a lifelong orientation. Several participants recounted early experiences
playing the role of teachers as children, such as Orna who noted, as a kid, I always
was pretending to be a teacher, teaching my friends and siblings. Its like this profession
is a part of me.A dominant theme in this orientation was that being a teacher is ever-
present, and rather than a job, it is who they are, twenty-four hours a day(Vivian). For
some, it is such a dominant characteristic of their personality, to the point of talking to
my daughter with my teacher tone(Michal), and being recognised as teachers in their
social circles through their voice, intonation and teacher-like expressions(Liron). Such
phrases surfaced when the participants attempt to make sense of the new circumstances,
indicating that across time and contexts these interviewees hold a basic orientation to
be a teacher.
To conclude, being chosen to become teacher leaders triggered questions such as
why me?, which the participants had to answer for themselves as well as for others.
Such internal dialogue involved attempts to make sense through evaluation, processing
and examination of personal motivation, resources, capabilities and challenges, as well
as how the new role and commitments correspond to more basic orientations and
tendencies. These may reect the participantstendency to seek secure bases or stable
foundations to grasp in the face of challenging and ambiguous circumstances and thus
reduce uncertainty. It is important to note, however, that each of the components
described (i.e. motivation, resources and rst nature) does not stand alone but, rather,
interacts with the others. The interplay between them appears to enable the participants
to restore a sense of coherence and balance. These internal processes do not occur in a
vacuum, but also are constantly inuenced by external forces shaped by the partici-
pantsinteractions with their surroundings.
External forces
The participants perceived the new role as involving taking on a more dominant
position and possibly changing their work relations with their colleagues. This raised
concerns that were common to many participants: How am I going to do it? If I say
one thing, what will they say? Will they accept it or not? If not, will that aect our
relationship?(Roslana). The participants specically referred to concerns and worries
related to their peers, such as hurting colleagues due to their performance of the role:
It touches a personal weakness of mine, to do things that may hurt others . . . and in this
new role, there may be a pressure to succeed, to do things dierently than I used to before,
and its not easy. I worry, because I cant harm or hurt others in the process. (Rak)
Others expressed specic concerns around criticism:
Honestly, I have concerns that not all the teachers [her colleagues] will see my feedback
[following formal observations of them] in a positive manner . . . not all of them will be
able to accept my presence in a non-threatening way. They should approach it as
constructive feedback, but they may see it as criticism. (Rona)
These concerns appear to add tension to the general sense of ambiguity around the
new role:
I dont exactly know how to actually do it, it is all very blurry and unclear . . . do I have the
tools to manage this role? I mean, if Ill say X, or behave Z, what will they say? How will
they react? (Lea)
The need for their colleaguessupport and approval was notable throughout the
In a complementary manner, interviews with the participantsprincipals revealed
how the new situation was perceived from the other end. The principals learned about
the training programme through an email, a bulletin or a seminar, and were only partly
informed about its contents. Nonetheless, the scarcity of available information did not
prevent them from setting high expectations for their future teacher leaders. For
example, Nur, a principal, shared her expectation that her teacher leaders would lead
the schools team. They [teacher leaders] cannot just come to class to teach and then go
home. They are in a dierent position now.Dalia, another principal, said: currently I
am the only engine that pulls all the teachers behind me, and I want to see a change . ..
that they [teacher leaders] will come and tell me, we want to do this, lets do that.The
principals also voiced the expectation that the teacher leaders would commit to the new
role and the responsibilities it entails:
I dont see how someone who is not committed, loyal enough to the system can be tasa
teacher leader . .. when someone takes such a role, he or she becomes a representative, its
a managerial role. They need to represent the system and lead, which is not easy as they are
also teachers who experience day-to-day challenges. (Lia)
Thus, in the eyes of the principals, teacher leaders are expected to be both teachers
and leaders, to work with their peers and students, and to take an active leadership role,
in a semi-managerial manner.
It is signicant that not only the participants were conscious of the new roles
ambiguity, but also their colleagues. While some principals shared the available infor-
mation with their sta, informing them about their colleaguesparticipation in the
programme, others made no clear announcement. Such ambiguity often led to obvious
indications of jealousy of the teachers that were chosen coupled with a tense atmo-
sphere at school. Ella explained it by saying, If there is a new programme at school,
everyone should know about it . . . such a secret leads to quarrels, a competition among
teachers, and to jealousy. Diana was explicitly angry at the teacher leaders and her
They [teacher leaders] dont talk about it . . . maybe because they feel uncomfortable about
it, ashamed because they were chosen to be in this programme at the expense of others . ..
others need to participate too. You know what? I wanted to punch the principal for
choosing these two teachers to be in the programme.
Hanin, another colleague, articulated her desire to develop professionally and be selected
for the programme as well: It is important for me to be professional too, that I will be a strong
teacher, as an educator, a coordinator, that I will be knowledgeable. Its an opportunity.
Hence, with little to no information on the programme, a blend of envy and a sense of
injustice appeared to accompany the chosen teacher leadersexperience and was expressed in
various responses from their colleagues such as rivalry, contempt, resistance or underestima-
tion of the new role, suggesting that the new role is not really that dierent from existing roles
already lled by other teachers. Marina, a colleague, claimed: I can point at many teachers in
our school that lead projects and dierent programmes. . .. Frankly, each of us leads . . . you
can say that all of our teachers here are teacher leaders.Theratherpervasiveopposition
expressed by the participantscolleagues, coupled with their principalshigh expectations,
appears to aect the future teacher leaders. In other words, the participants were not only
challenged with their own personal uncertainty and doubts, but were also compelled to take
new expectations into consideration and to face resistance as they step out of existing
patterns. Formerly equal to their peers, they were now challenged to dene the meaning of
their new role and thus redene their position in the school hierarchy.
In summary, the ndings of the present study highlight the complex experience of
the future teacher leaders. The participantsoverall professional identity, comprising
beliefs, goals and a subjective sense of meaning, was shaken, triggering a need for re-
evaluation. The ambiguity of the new role spurred a search for comprehensibility to
restore a sense of internal meaning to their evolving professional identity. The internal
meaning-making process, a synergic evaluation of their motivation, available resources
and rst nature, took place simultaneously in the face of challenging external forces.
Taken together, the meaning-madeof these constantly evolving processes may yield a
variety of outcomes with regard to the likelihood of change in the participantsprofes-
sional identity and the way they react. These outcomes may range from the rejection of
new elements and opportunities involved with the new role to transformation by
adjustment and modication of the self to the new situation. In between these extremes,
participants could adopt some elements, while rejecting others. Whichever change in
professional identity may occur for each of the participants, it is likely to be manifested
both internally, within the self at the level of being, and externally, as the level of doing
and behaving in the face of external reality and interpersonal relations.
Educational leadership research and application has been on the rise around the world
(Bottery, 2004). For the most part, literature in the eld of teacher leadership has
remained largely focused on exploring the denitions, characteristics, training, roles,
conditions and eects of teacher leadership (Reeves & Lowenhaupt, 2016; Smylie &
Mayrowetz, 2009), creating a need to deepen understanding of the processes through
which teacher leadership develops (York-Barr & Duke, 2004). The present study
extends previous research in the eld by focusing on teacher leadersprofessional
identity development and thus joins eorts exploring teachersprofessional identity,
an emerging research area that has been on the rise during the last two decades
(Beijaard, Meijer, & Verloop, 2004). More specically, this study focuses on the unique
phase of the transition from dedicated teachers into a new position of teacher leaders,
who can facilitate professional development and instructional improvement of their
colleagues. This study also presents a four-component model of meaning-making that
may serve as a conceptual framework for better understanding of the processes under-
lying the experience of professional identity transition and reconstruction among future
teacher leaders. In what follows, the model will be discussed in terms of the dialectic
between internal and external forces that emerge and interact as part of the participants
meaning-making process.
Processes of meaning-making in the construction of new professional
In accordance with Kerbys(1991) suggestion that professional identity constitutes an endur-
ing process of interpretation and reinterpretation of experiences, the present study, based
mainly on the experiences of teachers, attests to the dynamic nature of evolving professional
identity of teacher leaders. The participantsoverallprofessionalidentity,whichwaslargely
informed by contextual and cultural perceptions that the broader society maintains of what it
means to be a teacher, was challenged when they were faced with the experience of being
chosen to undertake a new, ambiguous, leadership role. Such a critical transitional phase in the
process of becomingteacherleaders,aspaceofbetwixt and between, is characterised by lack
of clarity, disorientation and ambiguity (Turner, 1981). This entails a process of sense-making
to better cope with changing circumstances and challenges, as people strive to make meaning
of what happens in their environments (Baumeister & Vohs, 2002;Frankl,1963). Essentially,
meaning-making is considered the process through which individuals construe or make sense
of knowledge, experience, relationships and the self(Ignelzi, 2000, p. 5). Literature on stress-
related growth and coping with adversity, crisis and trauma commonly describe the concept of
meaning-making as an attempt to orient intrapsychic eorts to minimise disparities between
peoples experiences and their global meaning system or basic assumptions (Park, 2013). The
present study suggests that a rather similar process of meaning-making may be triggered by a
positive event as well, such as that of being chosenforaleadershiprole.Bothnegativeand
positive triggers may be perceived as unknown, ambiguous and sometimes unexpected
incidents, to which the individual is required to adjust and cope. These triggers thus bear
the potential to challenge the overall perceptual meaning that a person has about his or her life,
self and profession. Furthermore, in line with previous studies showing the importance of
making sense of potential organisational change for employees (van den Heuvel et al., 2009;
Weber & Manning, 2001) in general, the present study considers the theoretical perspective of
meaning-making as a useful framework to extend the understanding of the experience of
transition into a new professional identity as teacher leaders. The internal processes involved
endeavours to make sense of this through exploration of personal motivation, evaluating
available resources, capabilities and more fundamental orientations and tendencies. These
processes were accompanied by external forces, which include principalsand colleagues
expectations and responses.
Internal processes of meaning-making
Three internal interrelated ingredients of such meaning-making processes emerged from the
interviews: the teachersperceived motivations, availability of personal resources, and rst-
nature or core personal orientation. Evidence from past meta-analytic literature reviews
suggests that motivation is an important source of behaviour (e.g. Deci & Ryan, 2000).
While there are individual dierences in motivation from teacher to teacher, the literature
identies three main motivation categories for choosing the profession of teaching: intrinsic
(i.e. intellectual fullment and enjoyment of teaching), extrinsic (i.e. working with children/
adolescents) and altruistic (i.e. making a social contribution, perceived teaching eectiveness)
(Wattetal.,2012). Although all three types of motivations were evident in the present
ndings, it appears that the intervieweesdominant focus is oriented towards altruistic
motivation. This is in line with previous studies indicating that intrinsic and altruistic motives
such as the drive to assist in the formation, development and in making a positive dierence in
the lives of children have been signicant in choosing teaching as a career in western countries
(Ewing&Manuel,2005;Hayes,1990;OBrien & Schillaci, 2002; Richardson & Watt, 2006;
Sinclair, Towndrow, Koh, & Soon, 2008). In the present study such motivation was manifested
in the teacherspassion to inuence others and leave their mark on the school community and
to act as agents of change. In a way, such motivation sustains their striving to rise to leadership
positions despite the perceived demands and challenges. Further research is needed in order to
explore whether the altruistic motives reect a cultural tendency or a more general or
universal phenomenon of a common aspect of teacher leadersidentity. This may be an
important resource for teacher leaders for maintaining their commitment to the new leader-
ship role, in particular in the face of its ambiguous and demanding nature. The ndings also
shed light on an intriguing component of the meaning-making process: the exposure of rst
nature. As neither the teacher nor the leader orientation identied reects a zero-sum
phenomenon, it may represent an important consideration of a basic tendency, which
comes to light through the process of meaning-making. Building on Littles (2014) distinction
of personality traits between rst(bio)andsecond(socio)natures(p. 52), the exposure of
basic orientations as part of the teachersinternal dialogue may convey their eorts to make
senseofthenewroleaheadandtoaccommodateittotheirrst, core or customary inclination
(i.e. being identied as a teacher or a leader) in a coherent and consistent manner.
External forces in the shaping of the evolving identity of teacher leader
As the present ndings demonstrate, the internal process of meaning-making does not occur
in a vacuum; it is constantly inuenced and shaped by external forces, in this case the teachers
peers and principals. Such a dialectical process between the internal and external may have
signicant implications for understanding the dynamics between the environment surround-
ing the teacher leaders, which aects not only their own motivation and potential function, but
also future satisfaction and intention to remain in or leave their current job (Snoek & Volman,
2014). Thus, along with personal consolidation and change processes that the individual
teacher is undergoing, it appears vital to take into account the full range of forces operating
and inuencing the teacher leadersprofessional identity development and the way they
uctuate and unfold. This accords with recent studies asserting that socio-organisational
factors and structures may foster or hinder the development of teacher leadership (Lieberman,
2000;York-Barr&Duke,2004). These refer in particular to environmental characteristics of
schools such as trust, respect and collaboration (Harris, 2003;York-Barr&Duke,2004)aswell
as formal support from the principal (e.g. Mangin, 2007).
The present ndings thus reinforce previous claims regarding the challenging nature
of the teachersleadership role, specically due to hostility, envy and resistance from
their colleagues (Fiarman et al., 2009). Additionally, Murphy (2007) shows how schools
are still characterised by deeply rooted norms, such as privacy and autonomy, which
dene the teaching profession and allow teachers to full their teaching duties in their
own way. Another shared norm is that of egalitarianism, the social-professional rela-
tions in schools which rely on the idea that all teachers are peers, based on their equal
position in the school. The introduction of teacher leaders in schools may challenge the
norms of privacy, autonomy and especially egalitarianism in terms of the chosen
teachers versus the rest.
Some studies suggest that teachers recently promoted to pedagogical leadership roles face
opposition or refusal to cooperate from their colleagues, who question the justication and
legitimacy of their role. Peers ask: What makes them better than all of us?and What gives
him the right to order me around?Many teacher leaders feel frustrated when their eorts to
transform themselves are dismissed (Donaldson et al., 2008;York-Barr&Duke,2004). They
tend to cling to an us-against-them mentality(Fairman & Mackenzie, 2015,p.78)andavoid
appearingasexpertsduetoconcernsthatitmay harm relationships with their colleagues
(Mangin & Stoelinga, 2011). It seems that the formal chosenleaders have to invest more
eorts than potential informal leaders in engaging with their peers. Thus, as this role is
essentially characterised by informal vertical, rather than formal horizontal, ongoing interac-
tion with colleagues and administration, it requires an enhanced capability to handle relational
tensions and complexities.
Along with these challenges, the present ndings suggest that, to a large extent, the
resistance teacher leaders experience stems from the ambiguousness regarding their promo-
tion to teacher leaders, particularly due to the lack of a deep understanding of the standards,
expectations and regulations that made them suitable for this (Fiarman et al., 2009). High
levels of ambiguity have often been reported to yield negative outcomes at both the psycho-
logical level (e.g. job satisfaction, tension and commitment) and the behavioural level (per-
formance and turnover) (e.g. Celik, 2013). In the present study, all of the 60 interviewees
without exception raised the issue of ambiguity. This signies an important feature of the
present sample. Whereas teacher leadership has received considerable attention in the United
States and other countries such as Canada and Australia (e.g. Muijs & Harris, 2006;York-Barr
&Duke,2004), in Israel it is a rather new role with relatively unknown characteristics and
structure which require ongoing eorts to make sense of. However, rather than paralysing or
constraining, such ambiguity appeared to carry with it positive opportunities as well. Unlike
other roles within the educational system in which structure, responsibilities and demands are
relatively known (such as disciplinary coordinator or administrator), the freedom to create
and shape the new role according to individual values, interests and ideals emerged as
fostering, rather than hindering, personal expression and ecacy. Thus, although their
selection for the programme was accompanied by ambiguity both in structure and content
that was intensied by the roles novelty and their colleaguesexpectations, they essentially
experienced this very open-ended exibility as enabling them to dare to dream creatively and
shape their own unique leadership role. This highlights the importance of facilitating proper
leadership preparation (Harris, 2003; Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001)toclarifytasksand
structure to potential teacher leaders as well as their colleagues on the one hand, yet leaving
the role exible and open enough to enable personal connection and the development of the
role by the prospective teacher leaders.
Overall, the teacher leaders meaning-making model proposed in this article, based
on a phenomenological analysis of the participantslived experiences, may serve as a
conceptual organising framework for understanding the dynamic interplay between
internal and external forces underlying the process through which teachers move from
a certain professional identity to that of a teacher leader. The participantsoverall
professional identity was challenged when faced with the experience of being chosen
to undertake a new leadership role. The ambiguity of the new role, coupled with
concerns regarding the unknown and colleaguesexpectations, yielded an ambivalent
stance among the teachers towards their selection. This triggered meaning-making
eorts to adjust and process the discrepancies between the new, unknown situation
and their overall meaning systems and basic assumptions related to the teaching
profession and opportunities embedded in a leadership position.
Limitations and suggestions for further research
In accordance with the phenomenological view, this study sought to portray the essence and
core meanings of the participantsshared experiences (Patton, 2002). However, the richness
and multidimensionality of the teachers leadersprofessional development may also benet
from an exploration of teachersdistinct rather than common experiences, such as individual
dierences in the lived experiences of individuals, socio-cultural dierences (for instance,
Jewish and Arabic school teachers; socio-economic backgrounds) or types of environment
(i.e. elementary school vs. high schools, special education, etc.). These may contribute to better
understanding the potential meaning-making processes as well as their mechanisms.
Furthermore, as the participants in this study were chosen by the principals, it is possible
that this had an impact on the participantsself-perception and the way in which they perceive
the role of teacher leadership. Future research will aim to explore the professional identity of
teachers who were chosen via other methods. It would also be interesting to further investigate
whether the directions indicated in the present study are relevant to informal leaders in the
school arena, specically on the socio-professional level.
Employing a multilevel longitudinal perspective to gain a deeper understanding of how
the teacher leadersprofessional identity takes shape and crystallises during and following
training and in-service, while considering both individual and organisational factors, is also
worth exploring. Specically, to gain a deeper understanding of the dialectic process
suggested in the present study, it is suggested that future research focus on analysis of
specic clusters or groups of interviews conducted with teacher leaders, principals and
colleagues from the same school to consider how they relate to each other.
To conclude, the proposed teacher leaders meaning-making model suggests that
acknowledging potential challenges and ambivalence involved in the transition to a
new leadership role and addressing the internal processes of personal motivation,
available resources, capabilities and more fundamental orientations and tendencies
may enable better understanding and mapping of the facilitating conditions that may
cultivate (i.e. identity transformation or modication) or hinder (i.e. rejection, anxiety
or concerns) the formation of teacher leader professional identity. As such, the model
has ramications for furthering study and practice in the areas of leadership develop-
ment, teacher leadership and professional identity. Attentiveness to under-the-surface
processes and perceptions that accompany external forces of principalsand colleagues
expectations and responses may enable researchers, practitioners and policy-makers
alike to reduce paralysing or threatening ambiguity and concentrate eorts to facilitate
a healthy and growth-oriented expansion in teachersprofessional identity and invest-
ment of time and energy in the new role.
The authors would like to thank Tami Hirsch for her helpful assistance and insightful comments,
and to express gratitude to the participating schools and teachers as well as to the Branco-Weiss
institute and the Yad HaNadiv foundation for their support throughout the process.
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... Drawing on the sociocultural perspective, identity is not fixed or essentialized; instead, it is dynamic, situated, and negotiable in general, as is professional or teacher identity [6] and teacher leaders' role identity [5] in particular. Research shows that teacher leaders' identity development is a becoming process where they (re)interpret leading experiences informed by internal factors (e.g., making sense of resources, motivation, and teacher leader roles) and external factors (e.g., relationships with colleagues and principals) [21]. As the leading role is new and ambiguous, this process entails a transition that "thrusts one from a state of certainty to uncertainty; from knowing to not knowing; from the familiar to unfamiliar" [p. ...
... In Yuan and Lee's [7] study, a student teacher expressed how his positive emotions (joy, pride, excitement, and determination) facilitate teacher identity, while his negative emotions (anxiety, frustration, and anger) gradually accumulate and impede teacher identity. Likewise, implicitly in Russo-Netzer and Shoshani's [21] study, the positive emotional connection (e.g., commitment) secures teacher leaders, whereas unlike Yuan and Lee's [7] study, worries and concerns about being chosen as leaders invoke envy and a sense of injustice from their colleagues and a desire for approval from the chosen. Such results correspond to the prior literature that emotions are one of the many factors that impact professional identity [5][6][7][8]10]. ...
The importance of teacher leadership has gradually come to be recognized in English Language Teaching (ELT). Research on this topic, however, has focused on program management or learner perception without considering teacher emotions. This study explores the leadership development of one Chinese English teacher who was a subject leader in the 12-Year Basic Education Reform in Taiwan with an aim to show how negative emotions may impede leadership development. Data were gathered from interviews and documents. The results reveal negative emotions—worry, anxiety, powerlessness, exhaustion, and dissatisfaction—in the English subject leader’s journey of developing a school-based curriculum. These emotions not only signify unpreparedness, low self-efficacy, limited support, exhausting work, and a divided vision, but also a disempowerment resulting from a hierarchical leader-follower relationship. This study thus highlights the primacy of learning a new mindset of horizontal teacher leadership and calls attention to the role emotions play in leadership development. 英語教學(ELT)已逐漸注意到教師領導的重要性。但是, 相關研究都著重在組織管理或學習者感知上, 而尚未討論教師的情緒。本研究探討一位在臺灣十二年國教改革中, 身為英語校本課程召集人的領導力發展過程, 重點將展現負面情緒如何阻礙教師領導力的發展。資料主要來自訪談和文件。研究結果顯示, 該英語學科召集人在校本課程的開發過程中, 所面臨的負面情緒, 如憂慮、焦慮、無能為力、疲憊和不滿。這些負面情緒不僅顯示教師領導的準備不足、低自我效能、有限的支援、工作疲憊感和分歧的視野角度, 而且還指出領導者與下屬之間的上下關係剝奪教師的賦權。據此, 本研究凸顯平等教師領導新思維的重要性, 並呼籲情緒在語言教師領導發展中所扮演的重要角色。
... Previous studies have shown that growth mindset beliefs can help foster teacher efficacy in enacting change in the classroom, working with students with difficulties, understanding students' attitudes, remaining focused on students' needs, and increasing students' motivation in learning mathematics (Stewart, 2018;Zeng et al., 2019). Similarly, previous studies have found that teaching efficacy was associated with teaching satisfaction, positive emotions, and meaning at work among teachers (Burić & Macuka, 2018;Russo-Netzer & Shoshani, 2019;Song et al., 2020). Thus, growth mindset can also be a driver for teachers' sense of efficacy and professional well-being and growth. ...
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The present study evaluated the effects of a programdesigned to promote a growth mindset in maths teachers (i.e., the belief that maths ability can improve through experience and learning) to enhance teaching and learning outcomes in their maths classes. The sample was composed of 155 Israeli high-school maths teachers who were randomly assigned to a one-year intervention or control condition. Growth mindset, professional well-being and emotional teaching efficacy improved significantly in the intervention group over time but did not change in the control group. Teachers’ professional well-being, was associated with an increase in student grades and a decrease in class dropout rates. These findings reinforce the need to promote a growth mindset in teachers to maximise their students’ potential for maths success.
... Such communities are intended to partially replace external teacher development with 'in-house', peer-led professional learning processes. Following the recommendations of the Round Table a new role was created: the 'leading teacher', responsible for 'guiding ongoing professional development processes for their colleagues at school' (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2017; see also Russo-Netzer & Shoshani, 2019). It is important to note that this new role was created through a temporary arrangement, which has not yet been incorporated into official school structures or the teaching workforce collective agreements. ...
This paper uses a case study of an Israeli teacher leadership initiative to explore a mode of educational governance that employs ‘bottom-up’ logic and discourse. The authors analyse the origins of this initiative, and – through a policy-making ethnography of the initiative’s enactment at the district level – show how it is sustained and governed through ‘top-down’ structures and strategies. The authors use the term ‘bottom-up governance’ to describe a hybrid mixture of discourse that valorises grass-roots leadership, of governance through actors’ autonomy and reflexivity, of enactment by a complex array of external and internal educational actors, and of initiation and control by central government, which provides insufficient, temporary and unstable resources. Their analysis highlights the conflicted and complex role of mid-level policy-makers in this mode of governance, as well as the simultaneous pursuit by the Israeli education system of centralisation and decentralisation, and ‘weak state’ and ‘strong state’ strategies.
... The relationship between EI and school leadership is the subject of this systemic review. The school principal directly impacts the school's culture, teacher commitment to the work, job satisfaction, student achievement and well-being (Leithwood, Seashore Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004;Russo-Netzer & Shoshani, 2019;Tan, 2018). Over time, the principal's values, mindsets and behaviours influence the health of the school culture and the climate in which learning takes place. ...
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The purpose of this systematic review is to explore the literature on emotional intelligence related to school leadership using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. The authors searched the electronic databases of Eric education, PsycINFO, Scopus and Psychology Database to find relevant articles. They used search criteria to identify a total of 110 references. Using rigorous selection methods, 35 articles were systematically reviewed. The results revealed that emotional intelligence is key for effective leadership and that the most commonly used skills/competences are self-awareness, self-management and empathy. Additionally, the literature makes it clear that the extent to which the leader builds trusting relationships contributes greatly to the development of teacher satisfaction and performance. These findings can help to inform the design of successful pre-service programmes for aspiring leaders and in-service programmes for school principals. Limitations and future lines of research are discussed.
... The relationship between EI and school leadership is the subject of this systemic review. The school principal directly impacts the school's culture, teacher commitment to the work, job satisfaction, student achievement and well-being (Leithwood, Seashore Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004;Russo-Netzer & Shoshani, 2019;Tan, 2018). Over time, the principal's values, mindsets and behaviours influence the health of the school culture and the climate in which learning takes place. ...
Full-text available
The purpose of this systematic review is to explore the literature on emotional intelligence related to school leadership using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. The authors searched the electronic databases of Eric education, PsycINFO, Scopus and Psychology Database to find relevant articles. They used search criteria to identify a total of 110 references. Using rigorous selection methods, 35 articles were systematically reviewed. The results revealed that emotional intelligence is key for effective leadership and that the most commonly used skills/competences are self-awareness, self-management and empathy. Additionally, the literature makes it clear that the extent to which the leader builds trusting relationships contributes greatly to the development of teacher satisfaction and performance. These findings can help to inform the design of successful pre-service programmes for aspiring leaders and in-service programmes for school principals. Limitations and future lines of research are discussed.
lthough there is a growing corpus of literature on teacher assessment capability, less has been written on sociocultural assessment leadership practices with its emphasis on shared capacity building. Expertize in sociocultural assessment that enhances student and teacher learning is an aspect of school leadership that can have a positive influence on teacher practice and student achievement. Research conducted with 38 principals is used to produce 16 dimensions of situated leadership for assessment capability. The article concludes with an argument for a sociocultural conception of situated leadership assessment capability which differs significantly to a clinical competence-based model of assessment leadership.
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Problem Statement: Role ambiguity and role conflict are considered issues that affect performance and lead to burnout. While numerous studies have analyzed role ambiguity or role conflict in relation to burnout or performance, few studies have studied all of these issues together. Since vice principals are expected to carry out a variety of responsibilities as principals and educators, it is predicted that they frequently experience role ambiguity, role conflict, and burnout. However, there is a dearth of studies researching how vice principals in schools are affected by this situation. Purpose of the Study: The study aims to investigate the effects of role ambiguity and role conflict on the burnout of head vice principals and vice principals and on job performance indirectly and directly. Methods: Two hundred vice principals working at elementary and high schools in the city centers of Denizli and Manisa were contacted. The Maslach Burnout Inventory, Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity Questionnaire, and Job Performance Scale were used. In line with the purpose of the study, the model was tested to analyze the cause and effect relationship between variables. SPSS 17 and AMOS 7.0 were used to analyze the data. Findings and Results: The indirect and direct effects of role ambiguity on job performance were significant. In terms of the effect of role ambiguity on job performance, full mediation of emotional exhaustion and partial mediation of personal accomplishment were found. The direct and indirect effects of role conflict on job performance were also significant. The full mediation of emotional exhaustion and the partial mediation of depersonalization resulted from the effect of Role Conflict on job performance. Conclusions and Recommendations: According to the results of the study, the direct effect of role ambiguity and role conflict on job performance is higher than the indirect effect. It was found that role ambiguity decreases job performance indirectly and directly. While the direct effect of role conflict increases job performance, the indirect effect of role conflict decreases job performance. Emotional exhaustion fully mediates both role ambiguity/job performance and role conflict/job performance relationships. While personal accomplishment plays a partially mediating role in the relationship between role ambiguity and job performance, depersonalization partially mediates the relationship of role conflict and job performance. Based on the results of the study, it can be said that determining the mission, authority, and responsibilities of vice principals might increase their performance. Descriptors: Assistant Principals, Burnout, Role Conflict, Administrator Characteristics, Performance, Administrator Responsibility, Elementary Schools, High Schools, Foreign Countries, Questionnaires, Statistical Analysis, Ambiguity (Context), Administrator Attitudes, Structural Equation Models
Rev.& expanded from Case study research in education,1988.Incl.bibliographical references,index
Research in higher education has concentrated on a number of areas, which include the values and collective identities of academic faculty, their role in higher education governance, faculty norms and socialisation processes, and the impact of change in higher education on academic roles. While many authors advocate the types of research methodology that should be used in such investigations, few question how academics come to possess the constructs and ideas that inform their professional identity. Discipline-based cultures are the primary source of faculty members’ identity and expertise and include assumptions about what is to be known and how, tasks to be performed, standards for effective performance, patterns of publication, professional interaction, and social and political status. However, changes in higher education have added a further complexity to identity formation within higher education. Professional identity is not a stable entity, it is complex, personal, and shaped by contextual factors. The concept of professional identity is complicated by competing definitions. Against this background, this chapter will explore the following areas: professional identity as a construct; the different ways in which professional identity is viewed; the relationship between identity and professional socialisation in higher education; and the role played by networks and their impact on identity formation. This chapter will also consider gender; midlife career academics; the emergence of mixed identities; and the development of new professional boundaries within higher education.