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Queries and Replies

Replies to Query:


We are working on developing criteria here in Maine for...

Reply 1:

You might want to have an audition where each potential leader does a mini presentation of some kind. The presentation could then be evaluated based on NSF Protocol for PD sessions. In an audition you would also, hopefully, see what kind of communication skills the teacher has, especially if the presentation is interactive (as most PDs would be). If you want a solid leader you need a good listener and strong communicator. We requested peer recommendations for our support teachers. Maybe you could have the prospective leaders solicit there peers for comment on anything they might have previously co-presented. Good Luck


Connie Black-Postl, 9/3/1999

Reply 2:

LSC-Net hosted a discussion group around a year ago on the topic of lead teachers and teacher leadership. You might find it helpful to look through the contributions to that discussion as a way of finding out how other projects are recruiting and training lead teachers. You can read the archives of the discussion by going to the "DISCUSSIONS" area of the site and clicking on the lead teacher forum.


anonymous, 9/9/1999

Reply 3:

Our LSC project also focuses on math K-8 in five rural NC school districts. We have focused on identification and development of teacher-leaders as a major strategy to copy with high teacher turnover & inducting new teachers, as well as providing leadership and guidance in working through problems in implementing NSF reform materials which will also address state accountability standards. Our process of identification has not been so rigorous because we need so many more leaders in order to have grade level representation in each building. Informally we have used attitude towards change as our primary selection criterion. We have selected people who have been involved in training, and who have shown the most willingness to try out new instructional approaches and reflect on those experiences. Since we have found the willingness to reflect on practice to be most crucial to successful implementation of inquiry as an instructional strategy at the middle school level, it has served us well in expanding our base of leaders. Almost all of these teacher-leaders have more than three years teaching experience, but we have not had the luxury of limiting our selection to five years or more, especially since newer teachers are sometimes more open to risking new instructional methods. Finally, we definitely have different levels of expertise among teacher-leaders, ranging from those who are committed to implementing and reflecting on new materials and approaches, to those who have proven themselves as trainers and leaders among their colleagues. While we don't distinguish among these levels in designating someone a teacher-leader, it is evident in the roles we ask these folks to play. These leaders meet regularly during the year as colleagues, which is proving invaluable in providing them the support to persevere in risk-taking and cope with a variety of attitudes among the colleagues. The collegial meetings model a team approach in which people are free to surface problems and questions and pursue the answers together.


Mack McCary, 9/10/1999

Reply 4:

a) One comment: I wonder who is going to assess the quality of the presentation "w/ staff person from our project and it was of high quality". b) I think the teacher leader needs to have a demonstrated depth of understanding of the content. I've seen teacher leaders, who are popular with their peers, but whose lack of content knowledge, in my judgment, makes them poor teacher leaders. I don't know how you're going to assess this but one way would be to observe the "applicants" in their classrooms at least twice so you can judge their understanding of content. c) In my experience, a teacher who is effective in his/her own classroom will not necessarily be effective with adults. In my experience, working with adults is takes different skills than working with elementary, middle, or secondary students. I do think that having an "audition" is a good idea but probably fairly hard to facilitate.


Rose Shaw, 9/13/1999