Teacher leaders in Singapore : a study of two government managed schools
The concept of teacher leadership is based on the premise that those able to exert the most influence on educational changes and most likely to sustain such changes are teachers from and within the school. They can raise the quality of instruction, enhance both teacher development and student learning, and transform teaching from an occupation to a profession. This study conducted in two government managed schools in Singapore sought to identify the informal teacher leaders and delved into their work and impact on their school. A survey to identify these teacher leaders was developed based on generally accepted characteristics of informal teacher leaders. Once identified, a self completed questionnaire was used to gather demographic information and in-depth interviews were conducted. The study reveals that while informal teacher leaders exist in Singapore schools and share many similarities with their counterparts in other parts of the world, there are differences attributable mainly to the local educational system and its culture. Where teacher leaders are nurtured, they can contribute to the development of a parallel leadership and a better understanding of school leadership in the real context. This parallel leadership holds implications for the central educational authority and the school administrators in their leadership planning and development and ultimately the realisation of a better educational system for the students.