Establishing collaborative structures and relationships: Teacher leaders' experiences
AuthorCanizo, Thea Lynne
AdvisorQuinn, David M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore teacher leaders' experiences as they attempted to establish collaborative structures and relationships resulting in improved science instruction at their schools. Teacher leaders were middle school science facilitators, full-time classroom teachers who acted as liaisons between the science teachers at their schools and a change initiative funded by the National Science Foundation. This was a qualitative study, using interviews to create a case study. The researcher used a three-part interview design developed by Seidman (1991). Six research questions served as a framework for the data analysis. Participants identified the following as factors which contributed to their success: support from the principal, other science teachers, central staff personnel, and the district-wide group of science facilitators; professional development; and the successful completion of a scope and sequence for science instruction. Factors identified as hindering their success were: lack of support or conflict with the principal; resistance to change; time constraints; a district policy which limited meeting time; teacher and administrator turnover; tension between the middle school and junior high school models; and personal doubts. From descriptions of their understanding and exercising of leadership, the researcher concluded that teacher leaders had become empowered. The school culture was seen to have a great effect on teacher leaders. The contrasts between a school with a positive culture and another school in disarray were presented. Structures such as summer institutes and release time during the school day were identified as critical for giving teachers the time needed to establish more collaborative working relationships. Once greater trust and understanding were present, teachers were better able to examine their teaching practices more critically. Participants identified mentoring of new members, a continuing role for science facilitators, and central support as necessary for ensuring the sustainability of the changes made during the years of the grant initiative. The researcher concluded that teacher leaders can be a powerful force for bringing about change in schools when provided with training and time during the school day to work with colleagues.
Degree ProgramGraduate College