Know your gurus in education: Teacher Leadership!
Dr. Ann Lieberman, former Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Professor Emeritus of Education at Columbia University, is a leading expert in teacher leadership, collaborative research, and understanding educational change. She has worked in both the United States and abroad on advisory boards centered on educational change and teacher leadership.
Dr. Lieberman’s ideas about collaboration and leadership are practical and inspiring for teachers at every level of experience and all content areas! Her current research as Senior Scholar at Stanford University seeks strategies, such as involving coalitions, networks, and partnerships, to enhance the knowledge and application of school structures that support positive school change.
Dr. Lieberman’s body of work is focused on several educational specialties:
- Teacher Leadership Her work on teacher leadership through the years has been at times groundbreaking and revolutionary. She understands that teachers have the natural ability to be authentic leaders in a school setting. Often hampered by top down hierarchy, the teacher's role in leadership can be limited.
Lieberman contends that leaving teachers out of leadership roles can be harmful to school change because they know so much about teaching, learning, and school climate. Harnessing this expertise helps develop several different types of teacher leaders; leaders in accountability and assessment, leaders in norms and expectations, teachers as scholars, leaders in school change, teachers as mentors, and teachers as professional developers.
- Collaborative Research Aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of teacher learning communities, collaborative research is designed to develop the teachers' ability to problem solve. Working in collaborative research teams provides a structure for teacher learning communities, facilitates reflection, and unites teachers in collegial partnerships.
Lieberman encourages this research to be focused on the naturally occurring needs of the school. Teachers should first define the need based on assessment data and classroom observation and then seek to solve it. This allows teachers to trust their practical knowledge and to spend time defining and researching a specific need.
- Understanding Educational Change The concept of school change is not new. Teacher learning communities have been seeking ways to enact change into schools for years. Ann Lieberman's work is aimed at providing effective structures for the process of change. Her building blocks for enacting school change are (1) think differently about curriculum and instruction; (2) consider changes in school structure; (3) enhance learning communities for students and professional communities for teachers; (4) build networks and professional partnerships; and (5) encourage and increase parent and community partnerships. Lieberman asserts that the backbone of any school improvement movement is a shared vision to make schools better for children.
If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Lieberman and her work, you may want to consider reading one of her books or accessing her online resources:
Pick up one of Dr. Lieberman’s books and be inspired to take your career to new heights. Find out more about educational leadership and the online Graduate Educational Leadership Program at Marygrove College by downloading our Free Principal Coaching Guide today!