Teacher-led school improvement can help schools improve performance and academic achievement of students without increasing the administrative burden on the principal. An article by Brown (2008) titled “The case for teacher-led school improvement” describes how teachers can be included in the decision-making process to develop the culture of continuous improvement. Brown (2008) claims that even though many principles want to promote teacher-led school improvement, they fail to do so for a variety of reasons. Thus, Brown (2008) proposes three simple steps to helping teachers become the driving force of change and improvement.
First, Brown (2008) suggests that principals need to build capacity and consensus with the staff. It can be done by letting others become the initiators of change (Brown, 2008). For instance, if the principals decide that a certain change is needed, they can ask the opinions of the staff about the idea. If someone shares the viewpoint, the principal should let them introduce the initiative and start investigating the matter. Such a simple method can unite all the stakeholders around evaluating the initiative and reaching common ground on the subject.
Second, principals need to build strong leadership teams. A leadership team can help to sustain the implementation of research-based instructional practices and methodologies (Brown, 2008). This can be achieved by creating an environment where teachers feel comfortable sharing information and asking questions. The principal needs to encourage data collection and analysis supported by respect to all team members.
Finally, principals need to groom teacher leaders. This implies that formal leaders on every grade level and in each content area should be chosen. The leaders should be chosen not only by the principal but also by the teachers (Brown, 2008). These leaders should create a system of ongoing-training and provide support to other teachers for developing instructional capacity. The implementation of these three steps is sure to improve the academic performance of students and increase the job satisfaction of teachers.
In summary, Brown (2008) suggests that principals should utilize a shared leadership style to facilitate teacher-led school improvement. Shared leadership can be beneficial in the majority of circumstances. When team members are encouraged to share their knowledge and views, the school becomes a place of creativity and joy. At the same time, the diverse interests of teachers help to look at situations from different angles, which helps to find the best out of the available options. Thus, the shared leadership style is naturally designed to improve innovation, and it can benefit teacher-led school improvement.
However, the shared leadership style is very skill-sensitive, and not every principal can use it. My experience demonstrates that a variety of opinions and constant discussions may lead to decreased effectiveness of the decision-making process. The principals need to be able to regulate the amount of participation of teachers to ensure the processes’ effectiveness. For instance, in my school, teachers often have increased workload, and they do not have time to participate in the decision-making process. Teachers perceive discussions as a waste of their resting time. Thus, principals need to be able to meet the needs of teachers while giving them just enough power in the decision-making process to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency.
Brown, L. (2008). The case for teacher-led school improvement. Web.