Under the principles of life-long learning and whole-person development, teachers are expected to guide students to acquire knowledge, skills, values and dispositions through direct experiences with people and things outside of their classroom. In undertaking this task, teachers need to shift their role and orientation as a teacher who conveys knowledge to a role of leader who can guide students to explore and learn on their own in different milieus. This paper conceptualizes teacher leadership in terms of an organic leader-follower relationship established through a series of personal and interpersonal acts in resolving conflict, ironing out misunderstanding, building mutual trust and cultivating consensus for action. Based on a secondary analysis on ethnographical data distilled from four studies on the effects of different forms of experiential learning, teacher leadership was evident in liaising community members and other professionals to create opportunities for students to explore and learn on their own; in facilitating students to understand their experiences based on logical analysis; in guiding students to find meanings of their experiences through critical reflection; in grooming students into leaders as well as in gathering a group of like-minded teachers to meet the diverse learning needs of students. The practice of teacher leadership was found facilitated by a collaborative school culture and an open principal leadership but constrained by professional indifference and inertia. Implications to teacher education in nurturing leadership in teachers will be discussed.
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2010|