computers, classroom, climbing, etc.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Classroom leadership

Classroom leadership - another buzzword these days.
When I took my degree in education, they told us that the days of teaching as private practice were over. No longer did you close the door to the classroom and do your own thing.

Turned out not to be true. The teacher as private practitioner is alive and well. Some teachers do report that at their schools there is a certain pressure to not be like that and that those teachers who cling to their 'private practice' attract negative comments and even sanctions.
A letter to the editor of the Norwegian teachers' union magazine caught my eye the other day. The writer found it ironic that in this climate of poo-pooing those teachers who act like private practitioners, classroom leadership has become such a buzzword. Isn't "classroom leadership" back to putting responsibility back on the individual teacher, standing alone in front of her class? I'm not sure we can have it both ways. If we are serious about opening up our classrooms and our teaching, then responsibility for managing the classroom also ends up shared. The challenges of leading young people in their learning end up shared by teams and institutions.
I'm not sure, but I think this is where we should be going. However, if your school cannot take the responsibility for classroom leadership as a whole institution or has no teams that can take that responsibility as a team, well, then it's time to admit that your school is made up of lots of teachers who are essentially free-lancers. The role of the school is then to support them in that role. That's maybe OK, too, at least for a time, while we think about how to open up the classroom.
Photo credit: T. Favre-Bull

No comments:

Post a Comment