Challenging the traditional idea of leadership in UAE schools

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On the Horizon


Purpose: This study aims to review the characteristics and practices of teacher leaders identified in recent literature and to investigate the impact of the professional learning process on teacher leadership development as it unfolded in two government schools. Design/methodology/approach: Using a longitudinal qualitative case study of two United Arab Emirates (UAE) government schools engaged in collaborative action research the study used focus group interviews, dialogue, observations, field notes and retrospective analysis to collect and analyze data and used an inductive process of identifying themes and key content areas. Findings: The study identified key issues that impacted the professional learning process and teacher leadership development in the schools. These included the sharing of leadership, school and cultural issues, shared motivation, formal and informal roles, content and pedagogical knowledge, critical reflection and interpersonal skills. The combination of these factors led to a cultural shift to collaboration as the "new normal". Originality/value: Teacher leadership is an emerging field of study and is yet to be fully valued by educational leaders and teachers in the UAE context. This current study identifies a professional learning process that led to an important cultural shift from individual, isolated practice to collaborative and shared perspectives about teacher leadership and its impact on student learning. This results in a "new normal" in teacher leadership. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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