Who Is Interested in Teacher Leadership and Why?

Document Type

Book Chapter




Charles F. Webber


Studies in Educational Leadership

Publication (Name of Journal)

Teacher Leadership in International Contexts


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa






This chapter addresses some of the significant gaps in knowledge about teacher leadership. First, the authors describe important attributes of teacher leaders and their motivations for exercising influence. The spheres of teacher leader influence and responsibilities are described, progressing from the need for individual self-reflection to the classroom and throughout the school. The widest level of influence is on parents and the larger community. Further, the lens of teacher identity is used to examine the process by which teachers become leaders, along with the influence of beliefs, values, and a sense of agency.

Next, the chapter will consider some of the influential voices and influences on teacher leadership dialogue. It describes how the term teacher leadership obscures nuances relevant to different international contexts. The argument is presented that there is an unintended but clearly discernible hegemonic dimension to our understanding of teacher leadership. This will describe the terms in relation to implicit assumptions which may be competing and are perhaps primarily based in Western thought.

The chapter emphasizes the need for more context-centered interrogation of the discourse about teacher leadership, especially in relation to its cultural compatibility and sensitivity. Cultural, historical, economic, and political differences require understanding teacher leadership in global and local contexts. The chapter closes by briefly describing each of the chapters in the book and how they will address gaps in current understandings of teacher leadership.