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Leadership and Activism, Philosophical Meanderings

Taking on Teacher Leadership

Please open a tab and listen along as you read my comic.

Zombies, PBL, & a-ha

And there you have it. “Take on Me” is the new anthem of #edreform.


About Chad Sansing

I teach for the users. Opinions are mine; content is ours.


12 thoughts on “Taking on Teacher Leadership

  1. *Applause*

    Posted by Adam Burk | June 17, 2010, 8:00 pm
    • Thank you, Adam!

      I feel like I should have added a frame about confronting the failures of the system while celebrating the failures of teachers and students trying to innovate in teaching and learning. Are those the same things? Should we be celebrating the failures of public education?


      Posted by Chad Sansing | June 18, 2010, 6:14 am
  2. love it!

    Posted by kirsten olson | June 17, 2010, 8:42 pm
  3. Chad, I agree with you and like your comic strip presentation. What I and other reforming teachers in my school have found to work is just what you propose. Teachers should always be assessing their own teaching and be willing to make changes to improve student learning. Getting in the way of what isn’t working may mean ripping it out by the roots, doing some tweaking, or something in between. Teachers don’t like being told how to teach or what to use in their classrooms, so “publishing our convictions” is important so they can decide for themselves. It is important to be available as a resource to help teachers interested in making changes.

    So, to your original question, is teacher leadership the same as leading a revolution in teaching? I think teacher leadership begins with educating one’s self. I have learned so much through my PLN on Twitter. I didn’t perceive myself as a teacher leader until I connected with excellent, inspiring teachers all over the world last summer. I was trying different things in the classroom, moving farther and farther away from the stage, involving students more and more in self-directed learning. But progress was slow.

    Teacher leadership involves implementing new learning. Things really started cooking due to implementation of things learned through my PLN. Some things I learned about did not work in my classroom, some did.

    Teacher leadership definitely involves an exchange of ideas. I started sharing more and more with my colleagues about what I was doing in the classroom. I discovered there were many other teachers on campus doing really neat things in their classrooms. A campus-wide conversation was started.

    As teachers become aware of what others are doing that works, they can make similar changes in their classrooms. Good things tend to spread.

    So, for me, teacher leadership is education, implementation, conversation. Is that revolution? It can be.


    Posted by Bill Montana | June 17, 2010, 8:46 pm
    • Thank you for your insightful response, Bill –

      I think you’re right. Leadership, I think, is more about framing problems and setting up conditions that help people make self-discoveries in a supportive community of inquiry in education practice. I still struggle with how bring in people who want to stay out-of-frame.

      Leadership is also about modeling that process of inquiry and action in response to broken, harmful systems in public education.

      We need to work towards a system of self-assessment and interpersonal accountability; external assessment and impersonal accountability are killing authentic learning.

      Are you in Texas, Bill? How do your efforts play there?

      All the best,

      Posted by Chad Sansing | June 18, 2010, 6:11 am
      • I am in Texas, in a small district where teacher innovation and outside-the-box thinking are valued. Teachers are encouraged to find new, research-based ways to improve student learning. Collaboration with other teachers, both horizontally and vertically, is expected. We are not hampered by district-wide mandates as are some of our neighbor districts.

        That may be a unique situation, I don’t know. Within my school, I am in the unique position of being the only teacher who teaches my courses. I, perhaps, have more freedom than other teachers who are part of teaching teams, making it easier to implement different things in the classroom. I teach advanced physics and rocket science. Although flying solo, I do collaborate with the other advanced physics teacher. It does help to have someone else with whom to brainstorm.

        So, how does it play? Thankfully, I get rave reviews for what administrators observe going on in my classes. Self-directed student learning is taking place. However, I can do a lot of things better and am working to do so. I teach without regard for state standardized tests (TAKS), instead focusing on helping students learn how to learn in the context of the academic subject. I do have mostly motivated students, however. Again, my situation may be unique. I’ve never known anything different, having always taught in schools where teacher autonomy, and expertise are valued.

        I hope your question has been answered.

        Posted by bmontana07 | June 18, 2010, 11:27 am
        • Question answered, Bill – many thanks! You’ve clearly related your mission and situation – both sound great.

          What questions do you have that you think we should tackle?

          All the best,

          Posted by Chad Sansing | June 18, 2010, 1:15 pm
  4. when we crafted – your professional development design it – we have one of the main pieces to read Seth Godin’s Tribes.

    you guys are describing a lot of what he talks about..

    Posted by monika hardy | June 18, 2010, 9:31 am
  5. Love this comic and your creativity, Chad! I think one thing that scares people is the whole grade thing. So many students depend on their grades because the system has impressed upon them that grades and test scores are what matter unless of course you happen to be a quite talented athlete 😉 That’s another issue I won’t touch. We will not only have to tackle resistance from teachers but changing the system means we also have to tackle resistance from parents and students. For all, what is the most effective way to do this? Last year, I conducted parent Edtech workshops to demonstrate how parents can get the most out of our wiki and help their students achieve. The few parents that attended did transform their thinking and this made me hopeful.

    Posted by Shelly Sanchez Terrell | June 20, 2010, 12:30 am


  1. Pingback: - Mission: DS106 – Design assignment sprint - June 12, 2012

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