Teachers’ leadership is the process by which teachers, individually or collectively, influence their colleagues, principals, and other members of the school communities to improve teaching and learning practices with the aim of increased student learning and achievement (The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, 2008).
Teachers’ leadership is part of the more general school leadership concept, that involves not only teachers’ activities but also others school personnel, such as head teachers and administrative staff.
School leadership has become a priority in education policy agendas across EU and partner countries because it plays a key role in improving school outcomes by influencing the motivations and capacities of teachers, as well as the environment in which they work. At the interface between classrooms, individual schools and the outside world, school leadership is essential to improve the efficiency and equity of schooling. School leadership is in the agenda of the European Commission, as part of the Professional development of teachers’ goal.
The Commission few years ago has established a peer learning group on school leadership, and inserted school leadership development among the priorities of LLP calls since 2011 and in the new Erasmus+.
A high level of leadership is indispensable in most tasks carried out by teachers, for example leading and facilitating learning in the classroom, networking with parents, participating in community life outside the school. The European Council conclusions of 26 November 2009 on the professional development of teachers and school leaders stresses that: ‘Demands on the teaching profession are evolving rapidly, imposing the need for new approaches.
To be fully effective in teaching, and capable of adjusting to the evolving needs of learners in a world of rapid social, cultural, economic and technological change, teachers themselves need to reflect on their own learning requirements in the context of their particular school environment.
The teachers need to take greater responsibility for their own lifelong learning as a means of updating and developing their own knowledge and skills. However, there is evidence that some teachers still have too few opportunities to participate in continuous professional development programs, while a significant number of those who do have such opportunities feel that these programs are not always sufficiently relevant to their individual needs and the challenges they face.
Some individuals have naturally a higher level of leadership than others, but leadership, as all the other transversal competences, can be learned. This project wants to develop methodologies and materials to improve leadership skills among teachers of secondary schools (students 14-18).
Methodology and materials will be based on peer to peer coaching among teachers and on the works of Thomas Gordon (effective communication in the school setting), P. Hersey and K. Blanchard (situational leadership), Peter Gronn (distributed leadership in the school setting).