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ERIC Number: EJ919640
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-1354-0602
The Myth behind the Subject Leader as a School Key Player
Friedman, Hasia
Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, v17 n3 p289-302 2011
A school subject leader (SL) is formally considered to make a difference in the educational system as a leader of a professional learning community, being responsible for the efficient and effective performance of the subject department. Since the department entails frequent and significant interactions among teachers, and organizational structures of schools contribute to innovation, the SL calls for a role that has characteristics of both a manager and a transformational leader. However, there seems to be less qualitative information in contemporary literature about the SL's act as a facilitating key player among departmental teachers. In order to study the real-life role of an SL, I chose as my unit of case study research English SLs, departmental teachers, and school principals, all working in five high schools in the centre of Israel. Semi-structured interviews, non-participant observations, and a reflective diary assisted me in accompanying each school. The cases were particularly different both in the SLs' personal variables and school contextual features. In contrast with literature findings, I learnt that the SLs were supposed to carry out orders in exact accordance with the principals' educational visions and national requirements, but were given a limited amount of authority within highly defined levels of outcomes. Emulating their principals' styles, the SLs narrowed their role and focused mainly on managerial/administrative aspects of their result-oriented departments. It follows that departmental teachers were encouraged to respond individualistically to short-term goals, while their professional demands were not significantly met and relationships among colleagues were loosely embedded in a "pale" and episodic version of a team. Realizing the significant position the SL holds within the departments in high school environments may change professional views of educational stakeholders towards acknowledging and empowering the SL. Providing the SL with voice can create a culture of trust that treats teachers as leaders, where teachers have a greater commitment to innovative reforms and higher pupil achievement in the long run.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Israel