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Ledarskap för lärares lärande: förstelärare som lärarledare
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Principal Development.
2023 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Leadership for teacher learning : first teachers as teacher leaders (English)
Abstract [en]

Today, new teacher leader functions are emerging in several parts of the world. Previous research has highlighted the potential of teacher leadership to enhance teacher learning, but also recorded resistance among teachers to being collectively led in efforts to improve teaching and learning. The aim of this thesis is to draw attention to, and contribute knowledge about, local school actors’ explicit and implicit teacher leadership constructions in schools. Three overarching research questions are addressed: 1) How is teacher leadership constructed in schools? 2) How do these constructions enhance and constrain possibilities to lead teacher learning? 3) How can visualising explicit and implicit teacher leadership practices contribute to learning about leadership for teacher learning?

Spillane’s model of distributed leadership and Wenger’s theories of social learning are used to study, analyse, and create knowledge about teacher leadership constructions. Empirically, the thesis is based on material collected in two qualitative studies conducted in Swedish schools in 2019 and 2021/22. This included interviews (58) with visual material and video-observations (6) designed to capture relevant understandings and practices, both explicit and implicit. 

The results show that egalitarian and autonomous norms strongly influence teacher leadership constructions, while ‘first teachers’, whose roles are supposed to include leadership, are solely regarded as teachers, not leaders, with unrecognized functions and practices. The mainly acknowledging and facilitative teacher leader practices both enhance and constrain teachers’ learning. On one hand, teachers are encouraged to share ideas and try out alternative teaching methods, while on the other hand, current methods and perspectives on teaching and learning tend to be conserved rather than challenged. Supportive and acknowledging leadership practices therefore need to be combined with challenging of perspectives and a habit of inquiry. By visualising explicit and implicit understandings and teacher leadership practices, local school actors and researchers can gain new insights about ways to develop and improve teacher leadership to promote learning. Four conclusions are drawn: 1) Local school actors’ understandings of teacher leadership need to be nuanced, challenged, and developed. 2) Leaders for learning need to manage learning as both individual and collective, concrete and abstract, acknowledging and challenging. 3) Conscious choices and changes are needed at all organisational levels to utilise teacher leaders’ capacities. 4) Visualisation of, and reflection on, explicit and implicit understandings and practices contribute to more conscious choices and changes in leadership for learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2023. , p. 93
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 129
Series
Umeå studies in the educational sciences ; 61
Keywords [en]
teacher leadership, teacher leaders, educational leadership, professional development, professional learning communities, middle leadership, middle leaders
Keywords [sv]
lärarledarskap, lärarledare, mellanledarskap, mellanledare, förstelärare, professionellt lärande, professionella lärandegemenskaper, utbildningsledarskap, skolutveckling
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-207829ISBN: 978-91-8070-032-0 (print)ISBN: 978-91-8070-033-7 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-207829DiVA, id: diva2:1754278
Public defence
2023-06-02, Lindellhallen 1 (hörsal UB.A.210), Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-05-12 Created: 2023-05-03 Last updated: 2024-07-02Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Exploring visual method in the field of educational leadership: Co-creating understandings of educational leadership and authority in school organisations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring visual method in the field of educational leadership: Co-creating understandings of educational leadership and authority in school organisations
2023 (English)In: Educational Management Administration & Leadership, ISSN 1741-1432, E-ISSN 1741-1440, Vol. 51, no 5, p. 1219-1238Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper contributes to method development in educational leadership research. The focus is on a visual method and the inclusion of visual material in data collection and analysis. Core concepts in this paper are educational leadership, power and authority. The method was used in face-to-face interviews in a research project that studied the steering and governing in, and of, Swedish schools. The method enhances verbal narratives when informants reason and motivate their understandings of positions, relations and hierarchies within the organisations. We found that using visual material encouraged informants to reason and problematise formalised leader positions, their relations and the hierarchies that appear. The method helps to visualise the informants’ understandings of the power distribution within the organisation depending on whether positions are described as distant or close, horizontal or vertical. The method made the informants take a stand on complex matters, reflect, and gain insights about their organisations. It provided us, as researchers, with rich data material. By making subjective understandings visual, implicit assumptions were made explicit. This could challenge the knowledge on existing leadership and power norms within educational organisations, and most likely in other forms of organisations as well.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2023
Keywords
Visual method, educational leadership, method development, authority, school organisation
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-186648 (URN)10.1177/17411432211030747 (DOI)000674083200001 ()2-s2.0-85109395474 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-08-16 Created: 2021-08-16 Last updated: 2023-12-21Bibliographically approved
2. The First Teacher as the Elephant in the Room: Forgotten and Hidden Teacher Leadership Perspectives in Swedish Schools
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The First Teacher as the Elephant in the Room: Forgotten and Hidden Teacher Leadership Perspectives in Swedish Schools
2020 (English)In: Research in Educational Administration and Leadership, E-ISSN 2564-7261, Vol. 5, no 2, p. 454-483Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

International research has highlighted teacher leadership as a means to improve teaching and learning by distributing instructional (learning-centered) leadership to teacher leaders. Simultaneously, there has been an increase and alteration of teacher leaders in schools. One example is the 'first teacher' position in Sweden implemented in 2013. The article builds on an inductive, empirical study made in four Swedish schools. I conducted 34 semi-structured interviews with teachers, first teachers, assistant principals, and principals to explore how different school actors understand first teacher leadership and how this enables and constrains the construction of teacher leadership for teaching and learning. In the analysis, I concluded that the participants understand first-teacher leadership as horizontal and facilitative. Their understanding, built on egalitarian and autonomous norms, collides with the intensions of a changed role to improve teaching and learning. The result implies a hidden first-teacher function. In the article, I argue teacher leadership, as a concept, has been forgotten in Swedish research literature and schools, even though Sweden has had teacher leaders for decades. Increased exploration of first-teacher leadership in Swedish schools can contribute to a more visualised and nuanced understanding of teacher leadership and its impact on teaching and learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dokuz Eylul University, 2020
Keywords
Educational leadership, Teacher leaders, Teacher leadership, Teacher middle leaders, Career reform
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-175741 (URN)10.30828/real/2020.2.5 (DOI)000578920300005 ()2-s2.0-85092032654 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2020-10-07 Created: 2020-10-07 Last updated: 2023-05-03Bibliographically approved
3. How do teacher leaders lead in professional learning communities?: Explicit and tacit negotiations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How do teacher leaders lead in professional learning communities?: Explicit and tacit negotiations
2023 (English)In: International Studies in Educational Administration, ISSN 1324-1702, E-ISSN 1839-2768, Vol. 51, no 1, p. 34-51Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Teacher leaders who lead peers in professional learning communities (PLCs) are an increasing phenomenon in school organisations in several parts of the world today. However, the knowledge of how they lead professional learning is sparse. The purpose of this article is to create deeper understandings of teacher leadership in PLCs. It is based on data acquired through an empirical study with so-called 'first teachers' in three Swedish schools during 2021 and 2022. The article providesin-depth descriptions of explicit and tacit teacher leadership practices in PLCs. According to the results, the first teachers in the study led their peers by securing structure and relevance, building a supportive, sharing, and reflective community, and encouraging the use of new teaching methods. They tacitly negotiated their leadership in relation to previous experiences in teaching, leadership and professional development, explicit and tacit boundaries within teacher communities of practices, and their own understandings of their professional identity. The article contributes with important insights into how these negotiations made them build safe and inspiring learning cultures, but also restrained them to challenge their peers’ current understandings of teaching. The results highlight the need to illuminate and understand both explicit and tacit teacher leadership practices when developing and improving teacher leadership for professional learning in schools.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management (CCEAM), 2023
Keywords
Teacher leadership, teacher leaders, middle leadership, professional development, professional learning communities, educational leadership
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-207826 (URN)
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2023-05-03 Created: 2023-05-03 Last updated: 2023-08-22Bibliographically approved
4. Teacher leadership for teaching improvement in professional learning communities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teacher leadership for teaching improvement in professional learning communities
2023 (English)In: Professional Development in Education, ISSN 1941-5257, E-ISSN 1941-5265Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Teacher leaders are increasingly leading learning conversations in professional learning communities (PLCs) in schools in several parts of the world today, but there is little empirical knowledge of teacher leadership in PLC conversations. Thus, this article aims to enhance such knowledge, particularly the development of teacher leadership in PLC conversations. Empirical data were acquired in a study of three Swedish PLCs and consisted of six video observations and 24 interviews with teachers and teacher leaders (hereafter 'first teachers'). The study particularly addressed how professional learning and teaching improvement was encouraged in teacher-led PLC conversations, what tended to be missing, and how the conversations influenced the teaching practices of participating teachers (self-reportedly). The results indicate that the teaching practices did not change in depth if the first teachers focused on acknowledging and sharing PLC conversations about concrete teaching methods. Instead, there seems to be a need for informed teacher leaders who consciously and systematically analyse and support teachers' learning processes, and foster a habit of inquiry among their peers. It is suggested that this should include challenging norms and understandings about what it means to be a learning teacher and requirements to improve teaching practices in the long run.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
Keywords
educational leadership, learning conversations, Professional development, professional learning communities, teacher leaders, teacher leadership
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-207828 (URN)10.1080/19415257.2023.2264286 (DOI)001076747700001 ()2-s2.0-85173944995 (Scopus ID)
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form, with the title: "Teacher leadership for teaching improvement in professional learning communities: more than creating trustful, empowering, and sharing conversations".

Available from: 2023-05-03 Created: 2023-05-03 Last updated: 2023-11-03

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