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Examining espoused and enacted theories about the cultivation of teacher leaders : a case study of a university's education department


Teacher leadership takes different forms and serves various important functions in bringing about and sustaining educational change. However, prior research suggests such leadership is difficult to cultivate. Most efforts to develop teachers' leadership abilities take place when teachers are already in the classroom. Teacher education programs may also play a key, yet seldom researched role. Using a theoretical lens of organizational learning, this research involved case study methods to examine the cultivation of teacher leaders at a teacher education program at a research university. The study examined the program's espoused theories of leadership, how those are enacted, and how they are experienced by students at different stages of their training. Thirty students at different stages in the program and five faculty were interviewed, and documents were also analyzed. An analysis of the data revealed that the structure of the coursework and the culture of the program cultivated by faculty helped to create students whose ideas and beliefs of teacher leadership roles grew and changed. Over time, students began to view themselves as future teacher leaders and change agents. Implications for theory and practice in teacher education are discussed

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