Investigating teacher leadership in three private K-12 schools in Beirut
This study investigated teacher leadership in three private K-12 schools in Beirut, Lebanon. It attempted to explore this concept as viewed by principals, coordinators and teachers themselves. The second purpose was to examine practices carried by principals and coordinators to check whether such practices promoted teacher leadership in these schools. The third purpose was to explore the images constructed by teachers, coordinators and principals for themselves as leaders. Based on the information found in the literature review, six questions were developed as the basis for research in this study. The research methodology was qualitative interviewing, where fifty-one semi-structured interviews with teachers, coordinators and principals, constituted the base for the data derived for the purpose of this study. NVivo computer software package from QSR International (2002) was employed for the purpose of handling data analysis effectively. It helped in the establishment of structured thematic analysis for the obtained qualitative data, by its powerful abilities at sorting and coding data. According to the findings of this study, teacher leadership has been defined by all participants in terms of most of the attributes that appear in the literature reviewed. Teacher leadership has been considered as an effective tool for creating a learning-oriented culture, which enhances teaching and learning thus leading to school improvement. The research emphasized the crucial role played by principals in establishing teacher leadership, however, it went beyond to show that coordinators 9subject leaders) played even a more significant role when communication in the school between teacher and the principal is 'funnelled through the coordinators'. It showed that though the school culture defines whether teacher leadership will flourish in the school or not, departmental sub-cultures seemed to better distinguish this aspect in this case. The findings also suggested the role played by parents in schools in determining and shaping the type of leadership role played by teachers.